As there is a pilot that controls the plane, there are the drummers that drive the band. I am a drummer myself and have been told many times that you can have amazing members in your band that play the hell out of their instruments, but if the drummer isn’t there to hold the pieces together, the band will fall apart. Today, I wanted to take an exclusive look at my 10 favorite songs that drive the band from the very beginning. I am talking about drum introductions. This
means there are no other voices/instruments from the start of the track, just drums. These are based on my taste and opinion so without further ado, let’s dive in.
10. COME OUT AND PLAY BY THE OFFSPRING
Starting off with a fun one here, this intro has the drummer play on the hi-hat stand itself and then upstroke on the cymbal. If you listen closely you’ll definitely hear that. This is one of those songs that is perfect to learn for a beginner.
9. 6:00 BY DREAM THEATER
Now this song definitely speaks the opposite compared to the offspring song. I had to include a Mike Portnoy intro because Dream Theater is known for their complexity in the prog world and they have been doing it for a while. Portnoy is one of my favorite drummers to watch what he does because he is an innovator for the instrument even though now, he is no longer in the band. In the drum intro to 6:00 Portnoy establishes the complex time meter (no surprise cause it’s
Dream Theater) and then just treats the intro like it’s almost melodic.
8. TICKS AND LEECHES BY TOOL
Moving onto another hard song to play on the drums here we have Danny Carey’s intro to Ticks and Leeches by Tool. Tool is another prog band that has established its own heavy sound and I think Carey plays a big role in why that is. With this song, there’s a lot of syncopation going on in the toms, in the beginning, to then open it up to the double bass part … to THEN opening it up
to a scream by Maynard James Keenan.
7. NO EXCUSES BY ALICE IN CHAINS
This is my grunge pick for the drums. I know. I know. Nirvana’s – Smells Like Teen Spirit or Scentless Apprentice or whatever you’re thinking right now were considerations but I feel like Nirvana already gets a lot of attention. So I decided to go with an Alice In Chains pick just to switch it up a bit. This song’s intro features a lot of high-pitch tom hits and a few splash cymbals here and there. It’s also not too busy for a rock song that’s chill.
6. SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY BY U2
This next song is definitely iconic for this drum intro. The mood takes you into a marching-type scenario like we are going somewhere. I really like how it fits into the context of the song as well because it’s about an actual event called, “Bloody Sunday” where British soldiers shot at protesters from Northern Ireland. Thus, this is known as U2’s protest song.
5. RUN TO THE HILLS BY IRON MAIDEN
Run for your life. This is my pick for a great drum intro that comes from the 80s metal era. Drummer for Iron Maiden, Nicko McBrian, has a crazy kit to look at. He has all of the toms you need and more. When he goes on tour, his kit becomes a work of art.
4. WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS BY LED ZEPPELIN
When we are talking about rock, no top 10 list is ever complete without Led Zeppelin. Every one of the members are insanely good at their instrument and has inspired many many musicians. For me, John Bonham was no exception. I’m talking about When the Levee Breaks here, but he also has Rock & Roll, Good Times Bad Times, Moby Dick, and I could go on. If we are talking about
setting the tone for a song with the drums, Bonham is perhaps the king at this.
3. PAINKILLER BY JUDAS PRIEST
Painkiller doesn’t give you time to relax. Painkiller is speed. From the very start of the song, we are punched in the face with the double bass kick, and those crashes. In my opinion, this is one of the best double-kick intros there is along with Hot For Teacher by Van Halen. We have to thank Scott Travis for this intro and for making me a little envious of the people that play with double-kick.
2. DIGITAL BATH BY DEFTONES
Our key word here for this intro is “space.” Abe Cunningham’s style of drumming is one of the cores that makes Deftones so ethereal and hard-hitting. I can’t really put it into words as to why it’s on my number two, but just listen to it. There is no difference really what plays in the intro as for the verses. It’s just so clean.
HONORABLE MENTION: DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS
OOH AH AH AH AH
1. MY HERO BY FOO FIGHTERS
Finally, we have My Hero by Foo Fighters. Played by another favorite drummer of my whom recently passed, Taylor Hawkins. Hawkins had the energy to spare always it seems. I never got to them live but when I watch their show recordings, their shows just are filled with that raw energy and fun. It is my number one because it was one of the first drum intros/parts that I wanted to learn and that ultimately sparked my interest as a musician to keep playing.
That’s all I have for you guys! I hope you enjoyed my list and please check out our other posts for all things music.