Queen legend Roger Taylor crowns his all-time drum heroes 'He sounded like thunder'

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Queen legend Roger Taylor crowns his all-time drum heroes 'He sounded like thunder'
As Roger heads into his sixth decade at the top of the music business, he has been reflecting on his earliest days, from banging on his mothers pots and pans with knitting needles to the musicians who inspired (and sometimes intimidated) him. The Queen legend describes the man who was “technically frightening” and more than one who he regards as “just phenomenal.” In a wide-ranging tribute, Roger also reveals two of his favourite drum tracks of all time.
Roger may be known for his work with one of the greatest rock bands of all time, but his admiration lies with “jazz drummers because of their beautiful fluidity.”

He particularly singles out the “sublime” Mitch Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix’s iconic bandmate.

Roger said: “I was blown away by his playing, everything was tight and so perfect and he always played for the song…”

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In a new interview, the Queen star advised any aspiring drummer to always “be aware of the whole song, not just the drum part.”

READ MORE: Brian May says the Queen guitar solo he is proudest of is NOT Bohemian Rhapsody

Continuing to praise Mitchell, he added: “His fills were just fantastic and he was so fast with those jazz chops that you barely saw his hands.”

Roger singled out two particular examples: “Fire and Manic Depression – from The Jimi Hendrix Experience (album) Are You Experienced – are still two of my favourite drum tracks.”

During the in-depth interview with Rhythm magazine, Roger also highlighted his admiration for two other rock legends.

He said: “Another drummer that blew me away when Freddie and I first saw (Led) Zepellin play live was John Bonham… He sounded like thunder!

“He was pure rock – he had speed, power and wonderful technique. ”

Roger said: “(The Who drummer) Keith Moon was another big influence on me, He was just phenomenal at what he did, and he was another drummer with a great sound.

“Those tympanic toms were quite revolutionary and his phrasing was just so natural, untutored and brilliant.”

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Roger also “loved” Tony Meehan and Brian Bennett from The Shadows who, he believes, “don’t always get the recognition they deserve.”

The Queen legend happily admits to a little envy too: “Brian also had the most beautiful Ludwig Silver Sparkle and I dreamed of owning a kit like that!”

Roger’s described how his extraordinary journey through the history of the greatest drummers took him back to some of the early pioneers from the Big Band era.

He said: “I went back and found out about other drummers like Gene Krupa – such a showman – and Louie Bellson who was just phenomenal. I really don’t know how Louie did some of that stuff.”

Krupa is regarded as the founding father of the modern drum set starting with the classic drum-driven track Sing Sing Sing. Bellson actually pioneered the use of two bass drums aged just 15 and aged just 17 in 1941, beat 40,000 others to win a national drumming contest named after Krupa. 

Roger added one more idol: “Buddy Rich? Well, he was technically frightening, but he did make me realise the double stroke stuff (striking twice in quick succession with the same hand) is quite important and I actually enjoyed the process of improving that part of my playing.”

NEXT: Watch Bellson perform with his wife, legendary singer Pearl Bailey


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