At first listen, punk rock sounds fairly easy for a drummer. All it takes to see otherwise is to sit down and try and play one tune that resides in the 160-200+ bpm realm—you will quickly discover respect for this genre.

Bands such as X and The Dickies use fast tempos at ties and these grooves can serve as a great exercise to build speed, control, stamina, and to develop fill ideas. If you are at all like me, a loosey-goosey, rootsy player, you could probably benefit from this power session lesson to help your overall drumming.

The following grooves are typical 1-bar grooves heard in punk music. Take one of these or a groove of your own and follow this cycle:

  1. 8 bars closed hi-hat playing quarter notes
  2. 8 bars open hi-hat playing quarter notes
  3. 8 bars closed hi-hat playing eighth notes
  4. 8 bars ride bell playing quarter notes

punk rock drumming chart

punk rock drumming chart


  • Play a small fill (no more than four beats) in bar 8 before transitioning to the next hi-hat or ride pattern
  • Start at 130 bpm and gradually work your way up to 190+ by adding 10 bpm after every few minutes at one temp
  • Once you hit a wall, lower the tempo a few clicks and cycle groove and fill patterns in repetition—the fill that you screw up is the one to work on









































Key Points of Focus

  1. Recognize acknowledge any tension. Once you are playing past your comfort zone you need to bring the tempo back.
  2. Note placement and tempo. Once you change the tempo you must lock in immediately. Do not allow yourself to fall into the pocket after a few bars, it must be instant.
  3. Do not over correct. If you are under or over tempo simply slide in the correct direction (up or down) without over doing it and going past the target tempo.