BY RADIM MCCUE
Did you know that James Brown was a drummer before he was a singer? Or that Justin Bieber’s first love was drums? Check out our tour of 20 celebrity drummers, and feel free to add your own to the list.
Bill Cosby’s dream was to be a great jazz drummer.
Johnny Carson loved the drums and was a great friend of drummers like Buddy Rich and a huge fan of legendary Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessey.
Shortstop Omar Vizquel who had a great career with the Indians, Mariners, Rangers, Giants, and White Sox, is a drummer who performed on the album “Oh Say Can You See” with other major leaguers.
Billy Bob Thornton is another one whose first love was drums, and probably still is. He plays guitar when fronting his band but still takes a turn on skins when he can.
This may be the only early photo of James Brown on drums. Once the band made him the lead singer, and changed their name to the Famous Flames, fame was inevitable.
Justin Bieber’s first instrument was drums and he still does a passable job on the instrument, sometimes playing in concert.
Talk show host Jenny Jones toured Canada as a teen with a rock band and later formed her own group in L.A., the Cover Girls.
Actor and producer Jeremy Piven knows what to do behind a kit and has jammed on the Jimmy Kimmel Show with The Roots.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel himself is no slouch on the tubs.
Actor John Stamos toured on guitar and drums with the Beach Boys and has performed with other classic acts like John Fogerty.
Marvin Gaye’s career started as a Motown drummer. He later switched to singing and make-out music was never the same.
Songwriter Mel Torme is most famous for his lush velvet voice and writing the immortal Nat King Cole hit, “The Christmas Song.” But he started out as a jazz drummer.
Baseball legend Mike Piazza bangs out beats as well as homers.
Beatle Paul McCartney is just one of many rockers to double on drums and other instruments. He frequently laid down the demo drums on Beatles tunes and played all instruments on some of his solo albums.
Comedian Rosie O’Donnell not only plays drums but sat in several times with Cyndi Lauper.
Balladeer Josh Groban? Yeah, he’s a drummer.
Tipper Gore, wife of Vice-President Al Gore (1992-2000) may be the only real drum set player to ever get close to the seat of power. She played in bands in high school.
Comedian Dana Carvey’s greatest solo was on a Saturday Night Live episode of “Church Lady.”
Dancer Fred Astaire had great moves in any situation.
Steven Tyler’s career took off when he traded his throne for a microphone and joined Aerosmith.