It has been said that if women are from Venus and men are from Mars, then drummers are from Jupiter.
Drummers are somewhat of an enigma. The whole concept of someone who gets their jollies from banging things repeatedly as hard as they can is frankly a bit disturbing. However, they are also, more often than not, the most committed, talented and enthusiastic musicians you could meet.
It’s easy for most people to understand why someone would want to be a guitarist and or a singer, the genesis of which is usually the desire to learn to play and perform your favourite songs in your bedroom and in turn learn to write songs yourself. It’s harder to see why a kid would want to spend hour after hour teaching every limb in their body to create a series of in-time thuds and smashes, that slowly drive you deaf and your parents insane. And after all that they put you at the back! At least guitarists get to slide on their knees at the front of the stage while irreversibly damaging their inner ears. Why be David Seaman, when you could be David Beckham you may wonder? Don’t ask me. I’m a bass player, the Des Walker of the musical world.
The answer to this will undoubtedly differ from drummer to drummer. The answers I have received over the years have differed from “I had a really inspirational music teacher at school that really encouraged me” to “ADHD, man, ADHD”. I’d like to think that it also has something to do with Animal from The Muppets, but it’s probably more to do with the likes of Keith Moon (the inspiration for Animal), Jon Bonham and Dave Grohl.
It seems to me, that drumming is a discipline that either comes naturally to a person or doesn’t. Put me in a room for a week with just a drum kit, two sticks and a copy of “A dummies guide to drumming” and when you return the only thing I will have achieved is an impressive fleet of paper aeroplanes made from the book. The drum kit would be scattered around the room, destroyed in frustration. I’m just not wired for it. Few are.
A talented drummer is worth his weight in gold. The fact that the mass majority of them are mad as a badger is just an entertaining bonus.