The Tracks Of His Peers
If your idea of a great drummer is a dude with six bass drums thrashing out a 12-minute solo, then Aerosmith’s Joey Kramer totally blows. If, however, you know that really good drummers play in the pocket and stay in the shadows, you’ll recognize Kramer as one of the best. He’s just released a collection of drum grooves that can be sampled by musicians. We got his thoughts on the work of some other notable drummers (whom we did not identify). — Rob Brunner
— The Beatles, ”Carry That Weight” (Ringo’s famously flaccid solo) It’s Ringo. [In a British accent] It’s Richard Stah-key. Some people think he’s great and others think he sucks, but what he did for the Beatles was greatness. You can take a drum solo like this one for what it is — not great technically, but very different.
— Jerry Garcia and Howard Wales, ”Morning in Marin” (Bill Vitt’s surprisingly funky drum intro) [Laughs appreciatively] Wow. Something like Weather Report? No? It’s a Jerry Garcia record? Well, that’s something I’m completely unfamiliar with. I’ve never been a Grateful Dead fan. They’re a little too happy for me.
— Aretha Franklin, ”Rock Steady” (Bernard Purdie’s drum break) Aretha Franklin. It’s got a charge that hits me in the chest. I played with a soul band before Aerosmith, and they took me to James Brown at the Apollo. My roots are R&B and soul, and that’s what I bring to Aerosmith.
— ELP, ”Tocatta” (Carl Palmer’s absurdly overwrought synth drum solo) [Laughs derisively] Holy s — -. What is that? Oh, ELP? This is very nonmusical, a bunch of noise. I like stuff that’s simple and strong.
— Spinal Tap, ”Big Bottom” (drum intro) I don’t have a clue. Eh…it’s okay. It’s adequate. It’s Spinal Tap? [Laughs loudly for a long time] Okay. You got me.