While the Dave Matthews Band is all about the groove, Carter Beauford has plenty of jazz skills and complicated licks to give the music a pop of life when it’s needed. He was a founding member of the band, and he can do it all: explosive bass drum work, thrilling hi-hat patterns, and doubling up on the snares in order to create interesting vibes.
He’s said that he loves to play to the audience at their shows, changing up what he does in order to fit the energy behind his huge kit. The goal is to create a different message every time they play so that an audience will have every reason to keep coming back. If they just play the same thing over and over, eventually, the word will get out, and it might get boring.
Ramon “Tiki” Fullwood
Legend tells us of a young drummer who would sneak into clubs at only seventeen years old in order to perform. His name was Ramon Fullwood, and he would eventually gain the nickname Tiki. George Clinton discovered the young drummer and had to beg Fullwood’s mother to take the drummer out on a tour. He had a signature heavy style that got the band to stop wearing suits and start bringing out the really hard funk and psychedelic stuff like “Maggot Brain.”
His heavy-handed attack on the toms and snare made him a favorite of hip-hop producers once that genre got started. The mother of Eddie Hazel, the guitarist for the band, even said that it was like bombs going off all around them while they played.
Jack DeJohnette was musical from a young age – he got started on the piano at the age of four, but he didn’t sit behind the drums until he was eighteen. That late start didn’t hold him back (in fact, we’ve heard drummers are sometimes encouraged to learn piano, too). He quickly got work with John Coltrane, became part of the Charles Lloyd quartet, and got a gig with Miles Davis, helping the trumpeter make the landmark 1970 album “Bitches Brew.”
DeJohnette says that he loved playing with Miles Davis since Davis loved the drums. DeJohnette would eventually go on to become a composer and bandleader, and he would fuse everything he had learned from those musical greats to make even more amazing music. His own expertise came in mighty handy, too.
If you love banging your head, you have Bill Ward to thank. He was one of the co-founders of the band Black Sabbath. But he brought a lot more than just speed to the kit – he learned jazz from Joe Morello and Gene Krupa, and that gave him the ability to adjust, to shift, and to stay flexible in any type of song. Instead of just locking into the riffs of guitarist Tony Iommi, he would fly around them.
Even on this original heavy band’s songs, he could bring some jazz or R&B fun to the tunes. Though Black Sabbath would move on to other drummers, none of them could truly recreate the more gentle tones and skill behind the kit that Bill Ward had to offer.
Playing for bands like Annihilator, Extreme, and Steve Vai, Mangini had put up his bona fides in a big way. He started playing at only two and a half years old, inspired by Ringo Starr. Before getting into music full-time, he got a degree in computer science and was programming software for the Patriot Missile program – no wonder he’s been called a human metronome.
He appeared on the Discovery Channel show “Time Warp” to show off his high-speed drumming skills – over twelve hundred strokes in a single minute! He’s set multiple fastest drummer world records and even stepped in for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theater for more than a decade until the original drummer came back. He’s also played the drums for singer James LaBrie’s solo albums and has his own solo stuff, too.