There’s a well-known saying in the music bizz that a band is only ever as good as its drummer. No matter how good your songs are, no matter how hard your bassist slaps, your guitarist shreds or your singer wails, if the beat isn’t holding it all together then you might as well pack your stuff up and go back to bashing on your steering wheel during heavy traffic.
Nobody knows that better than COG‘s Lucius Borich, who’s carved out a rep as one of Australia’s most formidable tubthumpers. This month he’ll be heading to the Sydney Drum & Percussion show, where he’ll be serving up a performance-based showcase of his band’s songs, as well as discussing a bunch of musical concepts like the integration of electronic sounds with more traditional playing.
And to mark the occasion (which FYI will also feature sessions from some of the most prolific beat ninjas including Ben Ellingworth, Thomas Lang and the great Virgil Donati) Borich has taken the time to share with us his top five fave drummers of all time.
Catch his list — which features more than a few curveballs — below.
COG’s Lucius Borich’s Favourite Drummers Of All Time
1. Buddy Rich – Buddy Rich Big Band
Buddy is a phenomenal jazz player and gave me a benchmark to aspire to. To this day I have not seen one drummer come close to his capability as a drummer and a musician. For me, Buddy has that x-factor. I can’t explain why but can only say watch him and you might see, hear and feel the brilliance that is Buddy Rich.
2. Stewart Copeland – The Police
Stewart is my life long drumming buddy that I’ve never known. It’s funny how you can even end up having dreams about hanging out with someone talking drums just because their drumming style has influenced and affected you so much. Because of Stewart and his drumming I got heavily into Jamaican reggae and African tribal beats.
3. John Bonham – Led Zeppelin
John was the first to teach me how to play rock music the right way. The space in between the notes helps create the groove and John’s powerful sound. He played for the song, with a blend of feeling and creative technical ability.
4. Billy Cobham – Mahavishnu Orchestra
Billy was the drummer that I first heard play odd meters around the time other than 4/4. The music was very dynamic – a jazz-rock, ’70s-fusion style. His playing has everything from power to speed, dexterity and amazing dynamics.
5. Tony Williams – Miles Davis, Allan Holdsworth
Tony comes from an amazing jazz background but went on to experiment with the jazz-rock fusion style. Tony’s kit sound and choice of cymbals, his chops and grooves were very well established as his own. For me, that helped me understand how I can be myself behind the kit.
Obviously, short of selling your soul to the devil in exchange for superhuman musical abilities, nobody gets as good as any of these dudes overnight.
But if you want to try to up your percussion prowess you can always stalk Lucius’s many epic drum vids on Instagram and try to take some notes, or else you can read five top tips for young drummers that the man himself has also graciously slapped together for us, below.
Lucius Borich’s Top Tips For Young Drummers
When practising, split up your practice time with say four different things you’re working on. If you have four hours practice, then do an hour on each exercise and make sure you stay disciplined to not move onto anything else until you have nailed the exercises you’re working on.
2. Focus on just your hands on the snare drum and take the kit away
Make sure you study all the top rudiments like paradiddles, double stroke rolls, five and seven-stroke rolls, flams, drags etc. Make sure you practice to a click track metronome at all different speeds from slow to fast, as well as establishing your inner clock heartbeat groove and feel when playing time without a click. This is so important!
Also, make sure you get out and play live as much as possible, with lots of different types of musicians. That’s really where you’ll find out about your drumming and your ability.
3.Make sure your kit is set up to suit your body type
Don’t place things just so it looks cool. You want your body to reach everything with little to no effort. Playing drums is very energetic and you want to conserve energy not waste it. Having a kit that is easy to play will help that.
4. Listen to many different styles of music
This is a must! If you’re not studying, listening and practising with jazz, reggae, Latin American music, blues, rock, heavy rock, metal, country, punk, Indian, African tribal – musiv with odd times, not just 4/4 – then how can you call yourself a drummer? We should know all these different styles off by heart when needed. You will build a much better drumming vocabulary and have more to choose from when writing drum parts and playing with others.
5. Remember why you’re playing
Our prime role as musicians is to help heal and bring joy through music and dance so people know and feel it’s an import part of their life’s experience. The drums (real drums) are the organic foundation of music, so we must be confident and have absolute integrity coming from our hearts when we play. People will feel and respond to it and hopefully, we can help lift their spirits. We are the beat doctors of this creation, I say!
Sydney Drum And Percussion Show
Saturday, 27th May
Rosehill Gardens, Grand Pavilion
Sunday, 28th May 28
Rosehill Gardens, Grand Pavilion