In rock music, the list of most famous drummers who became part of history is enormous. You might even say that trying to complete a list of the best rock drummers of all time is a difficult task due to the sheer number of notable people you could think of.

As a true rock fan, you should know about these legendary drummers because they played on nine out of ten records you listened to.

They shaped the rock and roll music we know today. With this article, we pay respect to some of the best drummers of all time, whether it’s because of their technical skills or the footprint they left in rock history.

Some of these great drummers introduced licks, rhythms and songs we still play today.

Besides music, they shaped rock drumming with instructional videos, books, clinics and inspirational performances. 

Here are some of the best rock drummers of all time.

John Bonham

One of the best and most influential drummers ever, John Bonham helped redefine what a drummer does. His grooves were simple yet effective, which made him one of the best drummers ever! He’s best known for being a member of the band Led Zeppelin from 1968-1980, but he also played with other groups like The Band and Bad Company until 1980, when he died due to alcohol poisoning at age 32.

Keith Moon

Keith Moon
Photo from Clasp Garage

A founding member and original drummer for The Who, Keith Moon was one of the pioneers of the rock drum solos. He is best remembered for smashing his kit at the end of “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” He was also known to have a wild personality and addictions that led him into trouble with the law which ultimately contributed to his death at the age of 32, from an overdose of barbiturates in 1978.

Neil Peart

One of the greatest drummers ever, Neil Peart, is best known for being a founding member and drummer for the Canadian rock group Rush. He has been with them since 1974, when they released their self-titled debut album to present day 2017’s “Clockwork Angels Tour.” His unique style helped form one of the best hard rock groups in history!

Jeff Porcaro

Jeff Porcaro
Photo from Pinterest

Jeff is one of the founding members of Toto. Toto helped pioneer the best soft rock sound. Porcaro’s most famous for his drumming on their best-selling album “Africa.” His most iconic rhythm is in the song “Rosanna“. He took the famous “Purdie shuffle” and adapted it to a rock situation. 

Jeff Porcaro died young, at the age of 38, from a heart attack. He was using pesticides in his garden that caused an allergic reaction. Later, it was discovered that he had a serious heart problem.

Tommy Aldridge

Tommy Aldridge
Photo from Discogs

He is best known for his time with Whitesnake and Black Oak Arkansas and his contribution in Dio’s band and Ozzy Osbourne’s band from 1977 to 1979. Tommy Aldridge has also played drums on many other artists’ albums, including Queensryche, Thin Lizzy, etc. Tommy is a self-taught drummer who bought his first drum kit at the age of thirteen.

Ginger Baker

The co-founder of the rock band Cream. Baker’s first solo album, “Ginger Baker and Friends,” features many guest stars such as guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Mark Knopfler and Johnny Winter. In the drumming world, he is most known for incorporating jazz playing into rock music and his long-form drum solos.

Ian Paice

Iance Paice
Photo from Wikipedia

Best known for his work as the drummer for Deep Purple. He has also played with Gary Moore, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath (on their album “Live Evil”). Paice is a self-taught musician who began playing drums at age thirteen. The Song “Burn” by Deep Purple was written by Paice in 1969 and featured his best-known drum solo. He is a left-handed drummer who began playing drums at age thirteen.

Jim Keltner

Jim Keltner
Photo from LA Times

The unknown fact is that Jim Keltner is the most recorded drummer in history. He played on over 600 albums, movie scores and singles. He is best known for his work with the Rolling Stones, John Lennon and George Harrison. Jim Keltner has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame twice – as a member of The Band (1994) and then again as a solo performer (1999).

Kenny Aronoff

Kenny Aronoff
Photo from Indiana.edu

One of the studio greats. He’s been working as a studio musician for over 35 years. He played for Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, The Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Sting, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Dave Grohl, Elton John, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Jon Bon Jovi, Steven Tyler, Meatloaf, B.B. King, Rod Stewart, The Smashing Pumpkins. If you want to learn more about Kenny, we suggest checking out his book called “SEX, DRUMS, ROCK’ N’ ROLL”.

Cozy Powel

Cozy is one of the greatest drummers coming from England. He played with rock bands such as Jethro Tull and Uriah Heep, The Jeff Beck Group, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath and others. Cozy Powel is best known for his drumming style that blends jazz, rock and pop. He died young, at the age of 51, on July 18th, 1996, in a car accident. What you may not know is that his real name was Colin Trevor Flooks.

Chad Smith

Chad Smith
Photo from Loudwire

A truly unique drummer that brought funk to a big rock stage. Chad Smith’s best solo album was in 1995, called “Give me back my balls.” He’s best known as the drummer for The Red Hot Chili Peppers. He uses a lot of cymbals and percussion for his fills. Chad Smith is one of the best drummers in history because he’s been able to keep up with all these different genres over time. Check out his playing on songs like “Suck My Kiss,” “Pretty Little Ditty,” and “Give It Away”; it’s truly unique.

Terry Bozzio

Terry Bozzio
Photo from Terry Bozzio

The man behind the biggest drum kit on the planet. His kit incorporates a lot of unorthodox sounds that will blow your mind. At the age of 13, he started taking drum lessons from Todd Fletcher and Ken Blewer. He’s best known for his work with Frank Zappa and Missing Persons. Terry Bozzio played on records like “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” or “Stink Foot”. Not so known fact is that Terry played on Korn’s eighth studio album.

Mitch Mitchel

Mitch Mitchel
Photo from Drummer World

Most known as a drummer for Jimmy Hendrix, He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2009. His best-known drumming work is the song “All Along The Watchtower”. He started showing interest in drums while working at Jim Marshall’s drum shop. Interestingly, he was chosen to be a part of Jimi Hendrix Experience in a coin toss, the guy who was less fortunate than Mitch was Aynsley Dunbar.

Roger Taylor

Photo from NME

Not the most technical drummer, but his enormous contribution as a musician can’t be neglected. Taylor played in front of thousands and thousands of people and became a part of history with one of the best rock bands ever, Queen. 

He is not only a drummer but a songwriter and a singer. He was a part of Queen from the very beginning, and with them, he co-wrote songs like “Innuendo,” “Under Pressure,” “Radio Ga-Ga,” “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” and many others.

Danny Carey

Carey is best known as the drummer from the band Tool. His sound and style are incomparable. If you want to hear it, just listen to “Third Eye” or “Lateralus”. Odd time signatures and polyrhythms are a natural thing for Danny, and if you like musical drummers, you will love him. He started as a jazz drummer, which allowed him to develop his musicality. Carey is not only an amazing drummer but also a songwriter and vocalist of the band.

Alex Van Halen

Van Halen has played drums professionally since he was 14 years old, first in local bands then with his brother’s group Mammoth that later changed name to Van Halen. He played on Van Halen’s debut album when he was only 18 years old. Through Alex’s drumming you can hear his biggest influences:  Billy Cobham, Ginger Baker, Keith Moon and John Bonham.

The funny fact is that Eddie Van Halen started as a drummer, but he switched to guitar when he heard Alex’s drumming skills. 

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr
Photo from Chicago Tribune

Some drummers love Ringo while others don’t find him a talented drummer, but one thing is sure: Ringo Starr has been a part of the best-selling album ever, “The Beatles,” and he was inducted into every major drumming hall of fame. 

Ringo Starr has been playing drums since the age of 13, and as a member of the Beatles, he has recorded more number one hits than any other act in the history of music. While being one of the greatest drummers, Ringo is the richest drummer globally, with a net worth of $350 million.

Matt Sorum

Matt is best known for his work with the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses. He has been active in various forms of popular music since 1980.  He was a member of The Cult and Velvet Revolver. He joined Guns N’ Roses back in 1990 after their departure with Steven Adler. Slash was the one who saw Sorum playing with Cult a year before that.

His playing was captured on famous albums such as “Use Your Illusion I”, “Use your illusion II”, “Spaghetti incident”. He is a true hard hitter. For their Paris concert in 1992, Matt hit the crash cymbal so hard that it caused temporary ear damage to guitarist Jeff Beck.

Mark Schulman

Mark Schulman
Photo from Gretsch Drums

A drummer best known for his work with Billy Idol, Cher, Foreigner, Velvet Revolver, Sheryl Crow, Frank Gambale, Tina Turner and the list goes on. For the past decade, he’s been a sideman for Pink. The unknown facts are that Mark plays cello, holds motivational speeches and co-owns West Triad Studios in Venice, California. His professional career started with Simple Minds back in 1990, and up to this day, Mark Schulman is one of the most demanding studio drummers for rock and pop sessions.

Simon Phillips

Simon Phillips
Photo from Louder Sound

It’s needless to say that every drummer who ever worked with Toto is a master. Simon is no different. His incredible talent can be heard on albums such as “Falling in-between” and “Toto IV”. He is known as a studio legend and drummer with the best dynamic around the kit. Except for Toto, he recorded albums for David Coverdale, Whitesnake, Michael Schenker, Mick Jagger, Mike Oldfield, Joe Satriani and many more. In addition, we suggest checking out Simon’s fusion drumming with Hiromi Uehara.

Vinnie Colaiuta

Inventive drummer and studio legend. He can’t be classified as a classic rock n roll drummer but can’t be missed from any best drummer list. He is best known for his work with Frank Zappa, Sting and Joe Jackson. Vinnie has also played on albums for Megadeth, John McLaughlin, Joe Pesci, Jeff Beck, Toto, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion and many more.

He is known as a chameleon who can play any genre equally well. It’s not uncommon for Vinnie to record Miley Cyrus’s album and then Megadeth’s album. Many drummers claim that Vinnie is the greatest drummer in recent history.

Ash Soan

Ash Soan
Photo from DrummerWorld

In 2017, he was declared the best studio drummer by the Modern Drummer Magazine readers poll. He is best known for his work with The Stone Roses. Ash played on their debut album, “The Stone Roses”.

He also toured as a Bryan Adams backing band member and worked briefly with Oasis before rejoining The Stone Roses. Ash Soan played on hit records of artists like Adele, Billy Idol, Dua Lipa, Alicia Keys, Robbie Williams, Rod Stewart, Dermot Kennedy, Eros Ramazzotti, and the list goes on.

Nicko Mcbrain

Nicko Mcbrain
Photo from Beat IT TV

One of the great British drummers. Mcbrain is a drummer for the band Iron Maiden. He played on their 13 albums. “The Number Of The Beast” album is considered the best-selling album in UK history; 

He also toured with other bands like Gary Moore Band and Whitesnake. Nicko McBrain has won many awards and become an inevitable part of rock history. In the drumming community, he is best known for his tom fills and fast right foot. 

Mike Portnoy

Mike Portnoy
Photo from Hit It Channel

Mike Portnoy is best known as the drummer of the band Dream Theater. He was also a member of Liquid Tension Experiment, which released two albums in 1996 and 1997, respectively. 

Mike Portnoy is one of the best fusion rock artists who won many awards during his long career in music, including Best rock drummer by Modern Drummer Magazine in 2015. 

After departing from Dream Theater, Mike Portnoy played with Avenged Sevenfold, The Winery Dogs, Transatlantic, Neil Morse. Today, many of the fills drummers play are his signature fills, like four with the hands, two with the feet. 

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl
Photo from Billboard

Dave Grohl played on 11 Nirvana and 13 Foo Fighters albums. He became a part of rock history as a member of two iconic bands, first Nirvana and later Foo Fighters. In Nirvana, he played only drums, while in Foo Fighters, he sings and plays the guitar. 

Dave also produced music for bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails. He was nominated for a Grammy 39 times and won 16 times.

Phil Collins

Phil Collins
Photo from i95Rock

If we could name one superstar drummer, then this is definitely Phil. He is the most famous drummer on our list. But despite the fact he is a great rock n roll drummer and creator of a famous fill from “In the air tonight.”

Phil is most known for his mega hits, singing and composing. Except for the Phil Collins and Genesis albums, he composed music for animated movies such as Tarzan, Brother Bear, etc. The song from Tarzan, “You’ll be in my heart, dedicated to his daughter, won him and Oscar.

Bill Ward

Bill Ward
Photo from Drummer World

Bill Ward played with Black Sabbath from 1969 to 1983. After leaving the band, he also worked on several projects, including albums by Rainbow and Dio in 1987-1990s and Geezer Butler’s solo album “G” in 2005. 

He is one of the founding members of Black Sabbath, along with guitarist Tony Iommi and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Many famous pranks from that period nearly cost him his life, but he rejoined the band on more than one occasion. 

Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee
Photo from Loud Wire

Many of the greatest drummers on our list set various standards over the years. Tommy Lee, however, set a standard for a drum solo that can hardly be surpassed. Along with his team, he constructed crazy construction for his drum solos so his drum kit can twirl, go up and down, above the crowd etc. 

His best-known performance is on the 1986 hit “Tommy’s Drum Solo,” which helped make him a celebrity. Tommy is most known for his work with Motley Crue in the 80s and 90s and his marriage with Pamela Anderson. 

Carmine Appice

Carmine Appice
Photo from The Main Edge

Here is the drummer who served as an influence for John Bonham when he was young. This went in-depth into rock drumming with his book The Realistic Rock Drum Method. He is most known for his work with Black Sabbath and Ronnie James Dio. 

He showed his versatility by working with Rod Stewart. He is not the only member of the Appice family that became part of rock history. Carmine’s brother Vinnie is also one of the greatest rock drummers in recent history.

Vinny Appice

Vinny Appice
Photo from Drummer World

Same as his brother, he also worked with Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath. He started playing drums at the age of nine. In 1980, he replaced Billy Ward in Black Sabbath and became recognizable in the rock world. 

Vinny Appice was the last drummer to play with Ronnie James Dio, and yes, Vinnie played on the Holy Diver album. In 2017 he was inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History.

Hal Blaine

Hal Blaine
Photo from New York Times

Hal was a member of the Wrecking Crew. The group was a collection of session musicians who played on many recordings from the 1960s to the 1980s. 

Hal Blaine is one of the most recorded drummers in history. In 1965, he became the only non-Beatle to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a Wrecking Crew member. According to our research, Hal recorded over 380 albums and singles.

Phil Rudd

Phil Rudd
Photo from Sonor

Iconic drummer known for his rock-solid groove. Phil Rudd is best known for working with the Australian hard rock band AC/DC from 1975 to 1983 and again from 1994 to 2015. His drumming style has been described as “staccato”, “hard-driving,” “(hit) heavy,” and “powerful.” 

He’s best known in the Rock world for being a member of AC/DC during their golden years – “Back In Black” and “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)”.

Jack Bruno

Jack Bruno
Photo from DrummerWorld

Maybe one of the most underrated drummers ever. We say underrated cause he is not so famous in the drumming community, but he played the biggest rock shows with Tina Turner and Joe Cocker.

If you want to know what it’s like to play in front of 190 000 at Rock in Rio or 300 000 in Woodstock, ask Jack. Besides these two giants, he played with Elton John, Cher, LeAnn Rimes and John Miles.

John Jr Robinson

John Jr Robinson
Photo from DMME

Whether or not you heard about this studio legend’s name, you must have heard his iconic drum beats such as “Ain’t Nobody” by Chaka Khan that brought him a Grammy or “Rock with you” by Michael Jackson. His drumming can be heard on 50 Grammy winners. 

John has been working with the list of people, but let’s name a few: Whitney Houston, Lionel Richie, Madonna, Barbra Streisand, Seal, Rod Stewart. He also works on the movie soundtracks with guys like Hanz Zimmer.

Ray Luzier

Ray Luzier
Photo from Modern Drummer

Although Ray Luzier is more into Nu Metal with Korn in recent years, he spent his whole life being a rock n roll drummer. Before Korn, he played on albums for the guys like Billy Sheehan, David Lee Roth and others. He played in David Lee Roth’s band from 1997 to 2005. A funny fact that you might not know is that he was a member of Steel Panther for six years.

Mike Bordin

Mike Bordin
Photo from Pinterest

Anyone who knows anything about rock music should know Mike Bordin. He is best known for being the drummer of Black Sabbath and Faith No more. He also played with Ozzy Osbourne, Korn, Black Label Society, Primus. 

The cool fact is that Mike Bordin played with all three Metallica bassists over the years. He played with Cliff Burton in the EZ-Street band and with Jason Newsted and Rob Trujilo with Ozzy Osbourne and Jerry Cantrell.

Vinnie Paul

Photo by Amy Harris/REX/Shutterstock (5674659cf) HELLYEAH – Vinnie Paul Carolina Rebellion, Charlotte, North Carolina, America – 06 May 2016

Vinnie was one of the co-founders for the band Panthera, together with his brother Dimebag. Vinnie Paul played on all ten of their albums and is best known for his work as a songwriter and producer in Dimebag’s projects Rebel Meets Rebel, The Great Southern Trendkill, Reinventing the Steel, Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar display of power. Unfortunately, Vinnie passed away in 2018 due to coronary artery disease. He was 54

Dave Elitch

Dave Elitch
Photo from Drummer World

Many of us first heard about Elitch when he started playing with The Mars Volta in 2005. He played there all until 2011. He also played drums in At the Drive-In and Sparta, both of which have disbanded (2001 – 2011). He spends most of his free time working as a drum teacher in LA and conducting masterclasses. The fun fact is that one of Dave’s students is famous comedian Bill Burr.

Nick Mason

Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets Portsmouth 23-9-2018 by Jill Furmanovsky

The heritage Nick Mason left in music is enormous. He is the only member to appear on every Pink Floyd album. He has received many awards for his work, including an Ivor Novello award in 1997 for International Achievement, five Grammy Awards—one with Pink Floyd, and four as a solo artist. As a race fanatic, he competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He is the owner of a Ten Tenths company and many race cars including more than 40 ferraris.

Gavin Harrison

Gavin Harrison
Photo from Hudson Music

Gavin Harrison is a well-known member of the drumming community, thanks to his unique sound and polyrhythm grooves. It’s hard to describe Gavin as a classic rock n roll drummer because of his versatility and advanced technique. 

However, his contribution to rock goes through the bands Porcupine Tree and King Crimson. In addition, he has played on albums by artists such as Jethro Tull, XTC and Peter Gabriel. His first solo album was released in 2007.

Larry Mullen Jr.

Larry Mullen Jr.
Photo from KNAU.org

You all probably know Larry as a drummer for U2. But an uncommon fact is that he worked on many projects outside the U2. For example, he recorded the soundtrack for Mission Impossible, co-wrote the anthem for the Fifa World cup, worked with artists such as  Emmylou Harris, Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Maria McKee

Besides his drumming career, Larry won several prizes as an actor. He even played a role in Man on the Train with Donald Sutherland.

Rich Redmond

https://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Rich_Redmond.html
Photo from Drummer World

Nashville introduced many studio legends, and Rich Redmond is one of them. His numbers speak for themselves. Rich played drums on more than 28 number one hit records and sold over 20 million records. He is not a classic rock drummer, but he leans toward the country. 

Here are some of the shows he worked on: The Voice, American Idol, The Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show (with Leno, O’Brien and Fallon), The Today Show, Conan O’ Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson show.

Shannon Forrest

Shannon Forrest
Photo from Medium

Shannon was the drummer for Toto on their last tour. We all know Toto always had prolific drummers, and they didn’t pick Shanon by accident. He joined the band in 2015, but he was and still is a successful studio musician for many years. 

He records tracks for artists such as Taylor Swift, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood, Michael Mcdonald, etc. He won the Academy of Country Music Award for Drummer of the Year seven times.

Tico Torres

Tico Torres
Photo (c) 2017 David Bergman / www.DavidBergman.net — Bon Jovi performs on the “This House is Not For Sale Tour” at Allianz Parque in São Paulo, BR on September 23, 2017.

The longtime drummer for Bon Jovi. He joined the band in 1983, and he has been with them ever since. Before joining the band, he auditioned for the Kiss in 1980. In 2008, Tico was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame as a member of Bon Jovi. 

As a young jazz drummer, Tico studied with Joe Morello. Before joining Bon Jovi, he played in the psychedelic rock band Six Feet Under. Besides, Bon Jovi worked in the studio with Cher, Alice Cooper, Steve Nicks.

Gergo Borlai

Gergo Borlai
Photo from Drummer World

Gergo is versatile, but his playing is mostly related to fusion and experimental rock. He is one of the technically most advanced drummers of today. He is best known for his work with the Hungarian progressive rock band Omega. He currently lives in Barcelona, Spain, but he originally comes from Hungary. Among the many awards he won in his career, he appeared on more than 300 albums and singles.

Stewart Copeland

The co-founder of the band Police, along with Sting and Andy Summers. He is a multi-instrumentalist who played drums on every one of the band’s songs, including hits like “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” and “Every Breath You Take.” 

Copeland now spends much of his time composing soundtracks for orchestra, ballet and opera. In addition, he composed soundtracks for the movies and tv series such as Wall Street, Good Burger, The Equalizer and games like  Alone in the Dark 4 and the Spyro.

Steve Gadd

It’s hard to talk about the world’s greatest drummers of all time without mentioning this legend. We can’t classify Gadd as a rock-only drummer because of his versatility and footprint as a jazz drummer. 

He’s known for his work with Steely Dan and James Taylor. In the ’90s, Gadd was a member of Eric Clapton’s backing band, and he stills plays with Eric. Steve Gadd recorded many iconic rock and roll and blues albums with Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Art Garfunke, BB King, Paul McCartney. 

Todd Sucherman

Todd Sucherman

If you are into rock drumming, you must have heard about Todd Sucherman so far or listen to his playing with the rock band Styx. In addition to Styx, he played with artists like Brian Culbertson, Spinal Tap, Briand Wilson and many more. 

Todd showed his capabilities in a drum video two years ago. He played a couple of tracks on top of the mountain in rainy weather and showed what a monster he is. In May 2020, he released his 1st solo album, “Last Flight Home”.

Mikkey Dee

Mikkey Dee
Photo from Music Radar

He spent most of his career being the moving force behind Motorhead. While on tour with King Diamond, Lemmy, the frontman of Motorhead, asked him to join the band and replace Phil Taylor. In 1992, Dee accepted the invitation and was with Motorhead until Lemmy Kilmister passed away in 2015. 

In 2016 Mikkey Dee joined the German band Scorpions. He also played temporarily with the German metal band Halloween. In addition, Dee is best known for his extensive work with the Swedish hard rock band Europe.

Glen Sobel

Glen Sobel
Photo from Music Radar

Glen Sobel has been playing drums since he was 11 years old. He is best known for his work with Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, Hollywood Vampires, Impellitteri, Sammy Hagar, Steven Tyler, Tony MacAlpine, etc. 

He started playing in marching bands, then switched to rap/rock and finally signed his first contract with Beautiful Creatures, where he met guitarist DJ Ashba with whom he played later in a band called Six AM. He filled in for Tommy Lee on Motley Crue’s farewell tour in 2015.

Scott Travis

Scott Travis
Photo from Sonic Perspectives

Did you ever hear the famous drum intro from the song “Painkiller” by Judas Priest? If yes, then you heard Scott Travis playing style; if not, we suggest you check it out. Scott worked with Judas Priest and Racer X. 

He is world-known for his heavy metal drumming. Scott Travis first sat behind the drum kit in the early 1970s when he was only 15 years old. In 1981, Scott joined forces with guitarist Larry LaLonde to form a band called Racer X. The group disbanded soon after it released its first album due to conflicts.

Lars Urlich

Lars Urlich
Photo from CNBC

Lars Ulrich is a superstar drummer and member of a best-selling metal band of all time – Metallica. Lars began to play drums in 1979 and, together with James Hetfield, lead vocal formed Metallica in 1981. They started as a thrash metal band but soon began a lot more than that. His drum set included two bass drums from the start, and he’s widely known for his bass drum use.

The drumming world is divided in terms of Lars’s drumming. Many don’t find Lars such a great drummer, and while there are better drummers than Lars in terms of technique, no one can deny his unique and recognizable style.

Deen Castranovo

Photo from Rock Pages

Deen Castranovo is best known as the drummer for hard rock band Journey. He joined in 2002, taking over from Steve Smith who left to join progressive metal act OSI (though he returned briefly in 2005).

Castranovo was born and raised on Long Island New York but lived much of his childhood near San Francisco California. Deen joined Dead Daises few years ago and recorded the album with them in 2017. He left the band in 2021 due to minor back surgery.

Jeremy Colson

This hard-hitter is most known for his cooperation with guitar legends such as Steve Vai, Marty Freedman and Michael Schenker. However, he spent most of his career (almost 20 years) playing with Steve Vai. In 1995, Jeremy won 3rd place on the famous Guitar Center Drum-Off. 

His drumming to an odd-time signature song called “Freak Show Excess” got him the gig with Steve Vai. As Jeremy says, he was happy enough to be able to pick the riff from the song quickly.

Virgil Donati

Deen Castranovo

The madness of Virgil Donati is best described in the Dream Theater drummer audition documentary. First, they threw at him some hard odd-time signature riff. After a couple of takes, they thought he couldn’t play it, but they were wrong. 

He showed them that he got it but was trying to go a step further and make the groove more interesting. If you are a drummer interested in crazy polyrhythms and metric modulations, you should check out Virgil. 

Travis Barker

Travis Barker
Photo from Audacy

If you like punk rock, you probably come across Blink 182 and their famous drummer Travis Barker. He’s been a part of some successful bands and has played with other big names like Eminem, Lil Wayne, Rihanna. 

Rap artists dig his drumming style that isn’t very complicated, but his timing is impeccable. Travis was fortunate to survive the plane crash in 2008. Besides drumming, his business is related to the clothing company “Famous Stars and Straps”.

Thomas Lang

Thomas Lang
Photo from Alchetron

The drumming community became aware of Thomas Lang after his DVD “Creative Control” was released for Hudson Music in 2004. Since then, Thomas won plenty of awards not just as a drummer but as a clinical.

He played with many artists in the rock and roll world, such as Paul Gilbert, Glen Hughes, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Robbie Williams. In 2011 Thomas launched “The Big Drum Bonanza,” a five-day multi-drummer festival with featured artists Virgil Donati, Chris Coleman, Stanton Moore, George Kollias. Thomas Lang lessons on double bass drumming are truly unique, you can find them here.

Mike Mangini

Mike Mangini
Photo from Drummer World

Mike Mangini is the current drummer for Dream Theater, the best fusion metal band in the world. But, long before Dream Theater, Mike was the well-established drummer. He played with John McLaughlin, Joe Satriani, Annihilator, Dave Weiner. 

Mike Mangini has won plenty of awards, but his biggest achievement by far is winning the worldwide Dream Theater drummer audition. He won the audition where his competitors were:Virgin Donatti, Thomas Lang, Aquiles Priester, Derek Roddy, Marco Minnemann, Peter Wildoer.

Marco Minneman

Marco Minneman
Photo from WikiPedia

After the Dream Theater audition, Minemann gained a substantial amount of respect in the drumming community. But, for the large part of this community, he wasn’t a new guy. 

He had the opportunity to record and play live shows with Paul Gilbert, Tony MacAlpine, Joe Satriani. For the people who truly follow his work, he is known for his own band, The Aristocrats, including Guthrie Govan, Bryan Beller, and Marco. Up to this date, he released 3 DVDs and drum-related books.

Taylor Hawkins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marco_Minnemann

Known best for being the drummer of Foo Fighters, Taylor Hawkins has also been drumming in his band The Coattail Riders. Before Foo Fighters, he was a touring drummer for Alanis Morissette. In 2005 he was voted as best rock drummer by drumming magazine Rhythm. 

Many Foo Fighters live shows feature him on vocals. This is not odd because he is a lead vocal in his band Coattail Riders. He overdosed on heroin in 2001 and spent two weeks in a coma.

Conclusion

We finally reached the end of our list. As a first step from here, we suggest listening to all the drummers you haven’t got a chance to hear before. 

Check out their instructional videos, books and all the cool drum parts they played over the years.

Listen to their sound, dynamic, grooves and licks and try making it your own.

Rock n roll drummers pay attention to how the performance looks, so there is a lot to learn on that end.

Use them to help yourself in becoming a great rock drummer with a recognizable sound.

Have fun, enjoy, and let us know if you think we left out someone and we might update the list.