Drummers don’t often get the recognition they rightly deserve, yet a wise man once said that a band is only as good as the person behind the kit -- which is why we'd like to give special shout-outs to 10 of San Diego's top drummers that take our music scene to the next level. While the argument of 'technical skill vs. feel' will always rage on, these musicians always keep us in the groove (listed alphabetically).
Travis Barker: Survey says that Blink-182's drummer extraordinaire is the perfect combo of mind-blowing skill and pocket-perfect feel. Pop-punk might occasionally be derided for being simplistic or formulaic (hey, don't shoot the messenger) but try playing Barker's beats and get back to us.
Lety Beers: Beers' wild, guitar-slinging frontman counterpart, Pat, may get most of the attention in the Schizophonics but you know what they say: Behind every great man, there's a great(er) woman. Lety's got that supreme rock & roll swagger goin' on that a select few can boast -- and that's hard to beat.
Nathan Hubbard: There isn't enough room on this website to list all of Hubbard's musical projects but suffice to say, this experimental-jazz cat is in a league (or world) of his own when it comes to local percussionists and drummers. Case in point: Check out one of our favorite new(ish) groups in recent memory -- the SDMA-nominated Parker Meridien. Or head to Hubbard's website and go down the musical wormhole.
Dylan Marks: Metal drummers get a lot of love in the drum world (just pick up any issue of Modern Drummer) and with good reason -- great metal is often extremely difficult to play. Few people in town do it better than Marks, who provides the thunder for both death-metal juggernauts Eukaryst and TJ thrashers Beekeeper.
Jake Najor: There's no question that when it comes to San Diego drumming greats, Najor (who currently plays in several Redwoods Music bands as well as his new solo project, Jake Najor & the Moment of Truth) deserves a spot at the top. Simply put: No one in town has a better groove. Just ask Big Daddy Kane, TV on the Radio, Kelis, Joss Stone, Jason Mraz, Redman -- the list goes on. Also, for all you crate-diggin' producers out there, grab his recently released "Dirty Money Breaks" 7-inch.
Mario Rubalcaba: When it comes to intensity and sheer power, we can't think of anyone that can match the chest-rattling beats of Rubalcaba. Check out the music of Earthless, Rocket From the Crypt, Hot Snakes and others for indisputable proof.
Ilan Rubin: When Trent Reznor is so impressed by your drumming abilities that he taps you to join Nine Inch Nails, you've kinda made it. Rubin -- who also fronts his own rock band the New Regime (a SoundDiego LIVE party alum we might add) and has also drummed in Paramore, Angels & Airwaves and more -- is simply a master behind the kit. See the below video.
Kelli Rudick: Rudick's a legit multi-hyphenate -- in addition to playing drums in the experimental art-pop duo Vakoum, she also sings, plays guitar, and keyboards as well (often at the same time). Did we mention a lot of their songs are in odd time signatures, too? Radiohead fans, eat your hearts out.
Cory Stier:Cults, Hideout and Mrs. Magician all got one thing in common and that's Stier's low-key drumming greatness. Playing to the benefit of a song (rather than for yourself) is an oft-overlooked and underdeveloped skill in the music world and while Stier may not be the flashiest of drummers, he's always playing only what songs need and that's impressive in its own right.
Elise Trouw: The nearly 700,000 people who follow (and fan-boy out) on Trouw's Facebook page can't be wrong. She's a veritable pop star, who made a name for herself over the last few years with her drumming videos on YouTube. They started off as impressive showcases for her jazz-inflected chops but have transformed over time into immensely popular mash-up covers -- so much that she was recently tapped to perform on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." If she's not considered a household name now, she will be soon.
Of course, these ain't the only great drummers in town. There's just too many to list here and the above are just 10 of our favorites. If you want to give a shout-out to yours, let us know in the comments!
Here are a few of our other lists:
- 9 of San Diego's Top Record Labels
- 8 San Diego Musicians Taking Care of Business
- 8 Things Not to Do at a Show
- 10 San Diego Bands That Should Be Signed
- 7 of San Diego's Weirdest Bands