These are the legends of the drums, masters who make the most acrobatic drum fills look effortless. It's fun to listen to them play; it's even more fun to watch.
Here now, Kotaku Melodic presents the funniest, the shreddingist, the most entertaining; the 12 Greatest Drum Solos On The Internet.
(Thanks to all who suggested solos over the last few weeks.)
Dave Lombardo - "Show No Mercy"
There had to be some Slayer on here, and resident Slayer-head Luke Plunkett put this one forth. It's hard to argue with it—this solo captures Lombardo's body-crushing chops better than perhaps any other one.
Screaming Headless Torsos - "Smile in a Wave"
"Wait," you say, blinking and checking your computer monitor, "This band is called… the Screaming Headless Torsos?" Yep. A 90's/2000's jazz fusion project by freaky guitar master Dave Fiuczynski, this tune from their first album features Daniel Sadownick absolutely murdering it on percussion with Gene Lake on drums. The studio version of this has JoJo Mayer on drums, and that guy ain't half bad as well. Actually, you should check it out. It has fretless guitar solos!
Rowan Atkinson's Invisible Drum Set
A great example of just how much fun the drums can be, Rowan Atkinson pantomimes along with an actual drummer in a show that's as grooving as it is funny.
Buddy Rich vs. Animal on The Muppet Show
Easily one of the most famous drum battles in history—drumming legend (and notorious a-hole) Buddy Rich warmed right up on The Muppet Show, taking Animal down a peg with his smokin' stickwork. This is funny and all, but then it's also this bracing reminder of how ferocious a drummer Buddy Rich was. Good lord.
Terry Bozzio Live With Frank Zappa
Zappa had a whole passel of insane drummers over the decades, but Terry Bozzio might be the most iconic of all of them. A wild man on the kit, and known for building some of the most hilariously humongous drum sets ever seen, this live solo encapsulates his whole deal. Love those triggered effects.
Papa Jo Jones Does It With His Hands
Papa Jo Jones (not to be confused with Philly Joe Jones) was one of the first great jazz drummers. He held down the drum chair in Count Basie's big band during the height of the band's prominence. This solo is a great display of the joyfulness of his playing, and the now-longstanding tradition of jazz drummers getting amazing sounds with nothing but their hands.
Dennis Chambers Annihilates His Bass Drum While Drinking Some Refreshing Water
Man, it was hard to choose a Dennis Chambers clip for this list. But this one captures what makes the guy so great—the way he occupies the space behind the kit, the way he just sort of towels himself off, takes a drink of water.... and then just smashes the living shit out of the drums with a smile on his face. I mean… man, this is ridiculous.
Garth Algar Likes To Play
I really wanted to include Dana Carvey's hilaramazing "Church Chat" drum solo since really, that was the first time a lot of people realized that the dude could play. But that video sucks, and so we'll settle or Garth Algar's visit to the music store in Wayne's World. This is the only time I'm aware of that a film or TV show has tackled the weird heirarchy and behaviors on display in the Guitar Center, and I'm glad they did. Oh, guitar store shredder. We salute you. Also you, Dana Carvey, for being super good at music in addition to being super funny.
Steve 'The Mad Drummer' Moore - "Sharp-Dressed Man"
This one falls under the "not sure if kidding" category—I've never quite known whether this entire video exists as a spoof of a shitty cover band, which perfectly sets up Moore's incredible gymnastic goofiness on the kit. The title of the video, after all, is "This drummer is at the wrong gig." Real or fake, it's a super funny performance. I'd hire him.
Keith Moon's Drum Set Explodes
Okay, so this one's not exactly a "solo" like the other ones are. But of all of The Who's famous instrument-destroying finales, this one is easily the most famous. Keith Moon loaded his kick drum up with cherry bombs for a performance on The Smothers Bros Comedy Hour. The resulting explosion rocked the stage, cut out the live feed, and left Pete Townshend's hearing permanently damaged. Watching the video, you can see just how taken aback everyone in the band was, Moon included—no one thought it would blow that big. There's a metaphor for The Who in there, I'm sure of it.
Dave Weckl vs. Vinnie Colaiuta vs. Steve Gadd vs. Their Mullets
There are so many of these SUPER DRUMMER SHOWDOWN videos to choose from, so I thought I'd go with the most mullet-y one. I actually can't take credit; an old drummer friend of mine from high school recommended this one, and given that I spent an inordinate amount of time after school at his house watching videos of the Blue Devils drum corps and watching Dennis Chambers and Gregg Bissonette go at it on old VHS tapes, I trusted his judgment. There is some insane playing here, man. More drumming per square inch than most other YouTube videos.
Nick Andopolis - "The Spirit of the Radio"
And here I'll leave you with my favorite one. Nick Andopolis, the most lovable of Freaks & Geeks's many lovable losers, plays along with "Spirit of the Radio" by Rush. And oh, how he plays.
Neil Peart isn't my favorite drummer. No swing, man. But the spirit that Rush conjures is amazing, and this performance by Jason Segel perfectly captures that spirit, and the way that Peart was the hero of so many young drummers in the 70's and 80's.
The cut-away to reality at the end of the clip is so perfect; it's the kind of small, funny heartbreak that Freaks & Geeks made into an art form. Haven't we all been there? We sit there, playing Rock Band. In our mind's eye we're on stage playing "Tom Sawyer", singing along with Geddy and nailing every drum fill. And then someone shoots a video of us, and there we are, sitting in our Umbros blasting out-of-time clacks on a plastic drum set.
The illusion breaks; but oh, what a beautiful illusion.