A Drum Forum drummer using the name “homeby5” has thread titled, “Are We a Dying Breed?” “When I was young I was attracted like crazy to live music with one catch….they had to have a drummer or it wasn’t a real band!,” writes homeby5. “But today, we are replaced by machines, DJ’s, single acts, tambourine players, etc…but mainly computer beat machines!”
Are drummers a dying breed? Good question. In the early 1980’s I was at Max Weinberg‘s home and he was showing me a Linn Drum, an early drum machine that sold for $3,000. The Linn Drum was causing a lot of excitement in the recording world. Someone thought Modern Drummer should feature the Linn Drum as a cover story. That is, instead of a drummer on the cover, have a Linn Drum on the cover.
Max said, at the time, he could envision future drummers no longer bothering to learn the rudiments. Why, Max asked, would you go through all the trouble of playing a decent double-stroke roll when you can just push a button and have a near perfect double-stroke roll?
That thought literally made me shiver because I thought Max was making a great, plausible point.
Bottom line: acoustic drums, electric drums, drum machines — at best they are all communication tools. How well people communicate with them is up to the individuals using them.