It's very important to get some influences from drummers to develop your style and your repertoire. Let's take a look at five important drummers that with their playing they influenced me and other drummers. IMPORTANT! I have chosen those that in my opinion is good to know of. The following drummers are NOT just the five best drummers of all time and also there is no best drummer in the world to my opinion. Everyone is different and best on something. Personally, the following 5 drummers are remarkable for their personality, style and career.
1. Dave Weckl
Dave Weck is probably the drummer who influenced most of the drummers to work on their technique and to develop their playing. His ability of playing rhythmic phrases along with dynamics on drum kit is unbelievable. His book "Back To Basics" is one of the best selling books for the drum set. Later on he published also many instructional video tapes. It's remarkable that in his career he played the drums for Chick Corea Elektric band and he went also for tour with the famous guitarist Mike Stern. In 2000 he was included into the Modern Drummer magazine Hall of Fame. Drummer World website includeed him also in the 15 legendary drummers of all time.
2. Buddy Rich
Well known as the greatest. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time. Rich was an incredibly fast jazz drummer and he liked to play long rudimental drum solos. He was a singer and tap dancer. Also he often used to play at the Apollo Theater with his band and featured backing vocals for his friend Frank Sinatra. Rich held a black belt in karate. He was described as aggresive, rivarly and rude. Rich couldn't read music and he always had a drummer next to him in the rehearsals to read for him and play.
In a Modern Drummer interview, Buddy had this to say about practicing: "I don't put much emphasis on practice anyhow. I think it's a fallacy to believe that the more you practice, the better you become. You can only get better by playing''.
3. John Bonham
For many rock drummers he is the best drummer in the world. Rolling Stone magazine ranked him first in its list of the "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time". Bonham was the drummer for the famous band Led Zeppelin. Bonham's style was revolutionary for rock music. He is characterized by his speed, heaviness and long drum solos on the toms and triplets with the bass drum. He was self taught as he liked to listen to jazz drummers mostly and try to understand what they were doing. Then he was trying his leakes with his band on lives. Bonham tragically past away at the age of 32 from alcohol.
4. Steve Smith
He is one of the most legendary drummers alive. He is well-known as the leader of the legendary jazz fusion band Vital Information and as the drummer of the famous American rock band Journey. His drumming style is very charecteristic as he combines rock techniques such as double pedal with jazz rhythms. Recently he applied on his playing the Indian mouth percussion technique konakkol. In 2001 Modern Drummer magazine named Smith one of the Top 25 Drummers of All Time. During the following year, he was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. In 2003, his DVD Steve Smith Drumset Technique – History of the U.S. Beat was voted the No. 1 Educational DVD of the year.
5. Benny Greb
Benny Greb is the youngest from all of the above. Nevertheless, his playing is characteristic from his extended vocabulary and he is creativity on the set with 4-way coordination grooves. He is the most integrated drummer of his generation as his ability on flams, ostinatos, linears, ghost notes, accents and brushes is limitless. Greb mostly writes, records and releases his own solo records, although he worked with many different musicians and expresses his style from punk to jazz. He also teaches regularly in Hamburg Music School and other places in Hamburg where he lives. In 2009 he shared his technique with the instructional DVD The Language of Drumming, and in 2015 with another DVD The Art & Science Of Groove. It's remarkable that his drumming is very technical although he put music and creativity first.