Give the Drummer Some Credit or Cash

The butt of countless jokes, drummers are often misunderstood. It's time to rehabilitate the timekeeper's rep and beat some sense into you haters.

MYTH:Drummers are typically the least intelligent members of the band.

TRUTH:The drummer's general take on life—and hygiene—may be unpolished, but let's look deeper. If a drummer finds himself playing in a shoddy band, for example, his brilliance can be inspirational. He can mask his embarrassment easily at the back of the stage and can claim he has absolutely nothing to do with the band's performance or songwriting. On the other hand, if the band is highly regarded, he claims that thanks to his steady backbeat, the rest just seems to fall into place.

MYTH:Drummers get more groupies than any other instrumentalists or singers.

TRUTH:When a drummer has just finished playing a set, or “slaying it,” he typically hopes to meet women. Though the adrenalin of the show (and the booze, of course) has temporarily quelled his shyness and fueled him with a healthy dose of confidence, he is faced with a familiar dilemma: Because of the gear he has to lug out of the club, he will return to discover that his band mates have pounced on anything remotely female within blocks of the venue. This is when the drummer's patience and determination can reward him handsomely. His wit can be crucial when attempting to coax a young lady away from a bass player who's run out of drink tickets, or out of the hands of a slack keyboardist whose attention has shifted from his next victim to an overenthusiastic co-worker. The outcome of the night, however, is inevitable. It is the singer who will land the most tail. After all, women love lyrics—especially from a man who delivers them with impressive, forced sincerity. Nonetheless, the drummer is no stranger to the company of women, and he is often in the running for the slightly more interesting ones (translation: nerds love him).

CONCLUSION:The drummer is the foundation upon which all other instrumentalists must build, yet he sits outside the action. The band may occasionally throw him a song to sing, although it's one the other guys hate. Still, he sings it proudly and comes to understand and accept his place. He welcomes the notion that he is not a real musician because in the end, he receives the same perks as any other band member: a sore back, the inability to hold down a steady job and an empty bank account. Sure, the drummer may be a simple man, but you'd miss him if he weren't there.

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