My Favorite Drummers

Several years ago I posted my favorite guitarists. Now, it’s time to list drummers.

Emmanuelle Caplette

I first found Emmanuelle’s Youtube channel way back when I was searching for jazz drumming videos. During the first video of hers I watched, I was just astounded at how relaxed and fun her playing looked! You could tell she had put in the hard work on fundamentals, timing, etc. but didn’t look so serious when playing, and also not showing off. I’m not a huge jazz person, but for inspiration in that style I am a fan of Emmanuelle.

Danny Carey

Brace yourselves, but I’m not the biggest Tool fan in the world (gasp, clutch those pearls!). However, the incredible poly-rhythms that Danny Carey employs in his playing is unbelievable. For the one track of Tool’s I’d pick to appreciate his playing, I’d have to go with The Pot.

Randy Castillo

As the drummer for many of Ozzy Osbourne’s albums – The Ultimate Sin, No Rest for the Wicked, and No More Tears – Randy Castillo‘s playing has had a huge influence on my life; in fact, far more and longer than I really knew for such a long time. Those albums, along with Ozzy’s earlier solo albums, where almost literally all I listened to for the teenage years of my life. While I may have focused more on the guitar playing back then, it was the drumming that I came to appreciate, and on those prime Ozzy albums Randy’s playing is big, thunderous, and larger than life. If there’s one track I’d recommend to best show this, I’d have to go with The Ultimate Sin.

Stewart Copeland

As a huge fan of The Police, I have come to admire the reggae-styled chops of Stewart Copeland. As a true supporting player and solid foundation of a band, especially a trio, Stewart always plays what’s needed for the song first, and then adding a sprinkling of style and flash on top of it. If I could choose anyone’s ability and style, it might just have to be Stewart’s.

Gene Hoglan

Widely known as “The Atomic Clock”, I don’t think you can find any more impeccable, fast, and downright tight drumming than from Gene Hoglan. Starting with Dark Angel, I know him best as the drummer for Dethklok (do you folks like coffee?), and for that alone he’s on this list. He has played for Death, Fear Factory (check out Powershifter!) and Testament among numerous other bands, and he has ably fit into each of those bands and helped pushed each to their playing limits. For a true consulate gentleman and professional drummer, you can’t do much if any better than Gene Hoglan.

Dave Lombardo

As a co-founding member of Slayer, Dave Lombardo brings speed, impeccable timing, and Cuban-inspired rhythm to one of the greatest thrash metal bands. While no longer a member, his work will always exemplify the best of what both talent and hard work can showcase when it comes to drumming. I personally don’t think anyone besides Gene Hoglan can even come close to Dave’s speed and double-bass drumming (seriously, check out when he played Raining Blood at a clinic; he had to stop the playback because it was too slow!).

Neil Peart

One of the greatest rock trios with some of the most talented musicians, this list HAD to have Rush’s Neil Peart on it! While they’ve released albums for several decades now, I’m more familiar with Rush’s earlier works. My favorite Rush track that also really highlights Neil’s playing is Subdivisions.

Kristina Schiano

I first found Kristina’s Youtube channel while searching for drum cover videos. My initial finds listed her covers for Paramore, but the more I looked into her channel over time she has added a nice variety of covers. My current favorites are her covers of Your Betrayal and What’s Wrong.

Bandcamp find: First Aid Kit

When I finished the second episode of Life is Strange 2, I wanted to check for an updated soundtrack playlist on YouTube (I sure hope they release a soundtrack like they’ve done for Life is Strange and Before the Storm!), and my favorite song so far is the last song of the episode, First Aid Kit’s I Found a Way. Searching around I found a page for them on Bandcamp, where their first 2 albums are available, including the one with I Found a Way, The Lion’s Roar. While I’m not exactly a fan of country music, I do like the older/traditional music, which ties into and overlaps folk music, which is how most would categorize First Aid Kit. If you’re looking for something that’s a nice change of pace from the hectic modern world I highly recommend you give them a listen!

Bandcamp find: Party Nails

One of my favorite sites to visit is uses this, which twice a week interviews someone regarding the hard- and software they use for their work. Subjects come from a wide range of fields, including writing, programming, music, and more. The current one is for Party Nails, a musician from LA. Going to her Bandcamp page, I was instantly taken in by the vocals and bass playing. It’s a nice poppy and laid-back vibe, perfect for what I’ve been wanting to listen to lately!

Art & Arcana

From Empire of Imagination author Michael Witwer, joined by Kyle Newman, Playing at the World‘s Jon Peterson, and Michael’s brother Sam, Art & Arcana is a very comprehensive look at the visual history of Dungeons and Dragons. Starting from the beginnings of the original game and going up through the current 5th edition, this book is absolutely crammed full of artwork! The accompanying text is not too bad a read, though the text size was a tad small for me. Also, I did appreciate the slight ribbing at the 3rd, 3.5, and 4th edition rules and the exaggerated artwork that came along with it (seriously, I CANNOT stand Wayne Reynold’s artwork!), but glad it wasn’t too overbearing. I bet there’s plenty of artwork you’ve never seen before, and it was nice to re-visit some of my favorite pieces from David Trampier, Erol Otus, and Jeff Easley!

Black Mirror

Introduction

I had heard of Black Mirror quite a few times over the years, but despite having access to it via Netflix I never thought to check it out before. That changed awhile back when I decided to watch the San Junipero episode from Season 3. I had heard Black Mirror was an anthology, and while some episodes have connecting elements it could be watched in any order. Hearing just how good San Junipero was, I figured I could start there and if I liked it could then go back and start at the beginning.

Well, needless to say San Junipero was amazing! But, it was quite awhile before I actually sat down to begin watching the other episodes. In fact, it wasn’t until the release of Bandersnatch that finally gave me the needed kick in the butt. As there are quite a few episodes in total, I wanted to give my quick impression of each one. I’m also careful NOT to spoiler anything, because you REALLY need to go into this and experience it with no previous knowledge!

Individual quick reviews

  • The National Anthem – An obscene and over-the-top premise quickly sets the tone of what to expect from this show. But, a great ending does set things up…
  • Fifteen Million Merits – An interesting premise, but felt very claustrophobic and under-developed regarding the technology and plot relating to it. But I do have to give a shout-out to Daniel Kaluuya‘s performance, especially his monologue at the climax.
  • The Entire History of You – The first episode to wisely use futuristic technology, along with fantastic acting and realistic portrayals of relationships. This is the first episode to make me REALLY want more!
  • Be Right Back – The first of the more emotional episodes, this one isn’t quite as well-developed. I think the introduction of the android(?) was too soon and her adjustment too easy.
  • White Bear – One of the best episodes, the premise and ending will make you think and grimace simultaneously.
  • The Waldo Moment – Ugh. Definitely the weakest episode, and honestly shouldn’t have made the cut. Unfortunately nothing warrants mention.
  • White Christmas – A great “anthology within an anthology” episode, and the ending is fantastic. Also, Jon Hamm was incredible!
  • Nosedive – Another episode with an almost strange implementation of technology, I think it’s only because of Bryce Dallas Howards’ acting that this episode works as well as it does.
  • Playtest – This episode is my guilty pleasure pick. Taking technology and video games into account, there are some genuinely scary moments and a great setting! Also, Wyatt Russell shows an incredible range of emotions and behavior.
  • Shut Up and Dance – One of the least tech-featured episodes ends up being one of the most dramatic and intense of the series. Hard to watch, especially the ending, but it’s undeniably Black Mirror at its best.
  • San Junipero – Absolutely one of my best picks! A great story, unique way of showing the technology in a delayed manner, and both heartbreaking and uplifting acting.
  • Men Against Fire – This episode had an interesting premise and technology, but I don’t feel it was fully developed and was left underwhelmed.
  • Hated in the Nation – Basically a full movie, this had an outstanding story and technology! It takes a bit to get going, but thankfully due to various run-lengths of each episode this one was allowed space to breathe and grow organically.
  • USS Callister – A very ambitious episode with a stellar cast. Definitely one of my top picks!
  • Arkangel – This episode was too slow and I didn’t really care about the characters, as interesting as the technology was.
  • Crocodile – Wow! Very grim and dark. A great opening/beginning, and continues to spiral out of control from there. A stunning shooting location helps set the tone.
  • Hang the DJ – A very sweet episode, perhaps with a better ending than San Junipero. You can’t help but smile!
  • Metalhead – It was very interesting to see an episode entirely in black-and-white, I would love more in this style! A grim post-apocalyptic setting and shorter runtime made this one of the most intense episodes.
  • Black Museum – A very interesting “anthology within an anthology” episode, like Metalhead I would love to see more like this. Fantastic ending!
  • Bandersnatch – While not technically part of Season 5, Bandersnatch is labelled as a Black Mirror-related release. Not a normal episode or film, instead it’s characterized as a choose-your-own-adventure. It’s hard not to like the retro-inspired setting and tone, while the acting and pace of the story are both excellent. Your first viewing may take a long or short amount of time, but either way I guarantee you’ll go back at least once to try other things.

Conclusion

I’ve never really watched that much TV, past or present, cable or not. We’ve had Netflix for a number of years now, but the rare times it was used for TV shows were for old favorites. However, in the past few years Netflix has (co-)funded numerous series, usually modeled after the British style of fewer but longer-running episodes. We’ve slowly started to check these out, and Black Mirror certainly stands high in favor!