SKF NOTE: Three Punk rock drummers agree with me on the importance of knowing song lyrics. That view, which is shared by all kinds of great instrumentalists, going back to at least the 1930s, must be a universal music truth.
Punk rock drumming roundtable: Budgie, Steve Grantley and Danny Farrant
Punk vets talk fast and furious drumming
Steve: “I think something that’s happened in the last 10 years, everybody has got way too busy and there is not enough focus on feel, there’s more focus on pure, raw technique.”
Budgie: “What’s the song about? What are the lyrics? I used to have lyrics taped to my bass drum or my cymbal so I knew what the singer was up to. What I’d remember was vocal cues.”
Steve: “It’s like John Bonham almost being punctuation to Robert Plant. You can bring musicality rather than just technical ability.”
Budgie: “I was feeling inadequate for the longest time because I didn’t have that technical prowess. But I was thinking, well, I’m still here so there must be some reason, but I always used to watch the singer. It was vocalists that I kept close with. Everybody has got to be there when they land.”
Danny: “That is so true, even if they’re wrong, which is something you learn. You make a call. A lot of this goes on in our band. I know which side of the coin I come down on – I go with the singer.
“If the singer is doing his thing and can’t hear you because he’s communicating with the audience, but I know he’s gone out by two beats or a beat, I come back in with him. To me, that’s being a trustworthy person. You’re on his side and you’ve got his back. But you learn that.”