The 10 Best Punk Drummers

Brooks Wackerman
Brooks Wackerman
Andrew Youssef

Punk Rock may not be known for its musical technicality. But at the same time, one crucial musical component that stands out in any great punk band is the drums. The drummer's role in a punk band is to codify the sounds of the guitar and bass together, by using structure of beats and timing. Speed, energy and aggression are just a few elements that the drums can add to punk music. We now present out list of the 10 Best Punk Drummers.

10. Nick Manning

A Redondo Beach native, 40-year-old Manning has been a part of the greater South Bay punk scene for decades. He's showcased his skills in various bands, including Final Conflict, Circle One, Vice Squad, and the Voids, D.F.L., G.F.P., Krigblast and more. Manning's fast, spouts of punk aggression behind the drums play well to old school hardcore, and he has also performed as a drummer with the Damned, 46 Short, Fervent Hub, The Imposters, 3rd Strike and others.

9. Don Bolles

Bolles was the most consistent member one of the Germs, one of the first punk bands to emerge from the early LA scene in the late '70s. Bolles had a sound that was distinct and stood out, which provided just the right amount of aggression, which complimented singer Darby Crash's anguish. Bolles traveled from his home in Arizona to LA, just to try out for the Germs, and was hired by the band immediately. Bolle's talent at smashing away at the drums also allowed him to have stints in bands such as 45 Grave, Vox Pop, Nervous Gender and others. He is also a writer and still part of the LA music scene.

8. Brooks Wackerman

Although he might be best known for his role behind the drum kit in Bad Religion, Wackerman's career as a drummer in punk began in the early '90s, when he was part of the funk/metal band Infectious Grooves. In 2000, he also played for the Vandals, and a year later, joined Bad Religion, where he tours and performs at the band's recorded albums. He is featured on the albums

The Process of Belief


The Empire Strikes First


New Maps of Hell


The Dissent of Man

(2010), and

True North

(2013). Wackerman has also lent his skills on Korn's untitled 8th studio album (2007), and has played drums for Blink 182, Tenacious D, and Avril Lavigne. His style of playing is very versatile, which makes sense why he is sought out for touring and recording by various rock, punk, metal and even pop bands/artists.

7. DJ Bonebreak

DJ Bonebreak is one of the original-founding members of the seminal LA punk band X. His roots in playing the drums began at age 12, when he began playing in the San Fernando Valley area of LA. From a young age, he studied and practiced Classical music and jazz. This gave him the musical foundations to play all types of music music, from everything to country western and pop, to rock, jazz, and eventually punk, joining X in the early LA punk scene, more than three decades ago. Zoom has also worked with Ray Manzarek (The Doors), The Knitters, Joe Strummer (The Clash) and many more. Bonebreak also plays tbe vibraphone for Orchestra Superstring, and Bonebreak Syncopators, both jazz orchestra bands. He is most widely recognized for his work, both on record and live performances, with X.

6. Josh Freese

Freese ls, as well as Devo. His talents are seen in many punk bands, both past and current, but they expand beyond the genre of punk and include many established, rock, metal pop and even industrial bands. He also has an established solo career, with several solo releases over the years. Freese has worked literally hundreds of bands and artists, both for live shows and on record, and is said to appear on now over 400 records. Just to name a few, Freeze has played drums at one point for Suicidal Tendencies, Guns N Roses, NIN, Blink 182,A Perfect Circle, Sublime with Rome, Weezer and even Paramore, among tons of others. He is a widely respected and extremely talented drummer that can bend his abilities to fit into almost any genre of rock music.

5. Earl Hudson

As original drummer for one of the pioneers of hardcore punk, Earl Hudson was behind the kit for the Bad Brains, a DC area group of all black Rastafarians, who played zoned out, hyped-up punk, fast and furious, but mixed with segments of reggae. It was these interludes and drumming patterns perhaps, that facilitated the origins of the slam dance/circle pit, as the music was able to change from slow and mellow to angry and in your face in seconds. Hudson's vibe, tempo and energy with the drums were apparent on the band's recordings but particularly at live shows he performed with the Bad Brains. Hudson's brother, H.R. was the infamous singer of the band, and this family chemistry also played out a bit in the dynamics of the band. But, Hudson's drumming also shaped the way many hardcore punk bands, and even metalcore bands use drums in their music today.

4. Bill Stevenson

A South Bay native, Stevenson is one of the main songwriters, and drummer for the Descendents, which was formed in the late '70s, in Manhattan Beach. Stevenson has also played with Black Flag, having joined the band for a period of a few years in the early to mid 80s. After the Descendents were done, Stevenson also played with ALL. He is almost unanimously considered significant drummer and figure for creating the early hardcore, and even pre pop punk sound. Everyone from Green Day and The Offspring cite Stevenson and the Descendents as direct influences. Stevenson has also played with the band punk super group OFF!, and is a producer of tons of punk and metal bands, including As I Lay Dying, NOFX, Hot Water Music, Rise Against, Alkaline Trio and many more. He has also produced albums by both Black Flag and Descendents.

3. DH Peligro

Though most known for his role as drummer for the Dead Kennedys, Peligro was also the drummer for a little band from LA in 1988, called the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Having been a friend of the band, Peligro was the drummer after the band's tragic loss of original guitarist Hiliel Slovak, from a drug over dose. Peligro was eventually fired from the band, and replaced by current drummer Chad Smith. With the Dead Kennedys, his magical presence behind the drum fit perfect for the frantic and unpredictable nature of DK front man Jello Biafra. Peligro has also played with the bands The Feederz, the Hallations, and Nailbomb, among others, and has a solo band known as Peligro, the Spanish word for danger. His drumming is a blend of styles including metal, punk, rock, jazz-fusion and even industrial.


2. Chuck Biscuits

This Canadian drummer has been a member of Danzig, Circle Jerks, D.O.A, Black Flag and most recently, in the 1990s, Social Distortion. Having been an early member of the Canadian hardcore punk band D.O.A (Dead On Arrival) from the band's inception in the late '70s, Biscuits had street cred and obvious talent as a hardcore drummer, before he performed on the first 4 solo Danzig records. His sound became quickly established as a leading force among metal/punk rock drummers after this. Biscuits also appeared on the 1990 Samhain album, Final Descent, and a live album with Social Distortion in 1998. His styles borrowed heavily from old school rock bands, to create the fury, rage and often times melodrama, needed for such punk and metal bands.

1.Tommy Ramone

As the original drummer for the godfathers of Punk, the Ramones, and Tommy Ramone's drums were a quintessential part of the Ramones sound, early in the band's formative career. He developed the speed, attitude, look and drum beats that took the Ramones to the next level. Not many could match his intensity and clear passion for being behind the drums. Even though he wasn't always the band's drummer, Tommy had worked with the Ramones as a producers, and even rejoined the remaining band onstage later in his life, in 2008. Sadly, Ramone lost his battle to cancer in Queens, NY, at age 65, in July, 2014, making it the official end of an era for punk rock: All original members of the Ramones are dead.

See also 10 Punk Albums to Listen to Before You Die 10 Goriest Album Covers 10 Most Satanic Metal Bands

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