Next up is Rob Haynes - hardest working drummer in rock, currently banging the skins for The Membranes, Goldblade, Inca Babies, Harry Stafford, Boz Heywood, and previously for BoneBox, A Witness, Pure Sound, There’ll Always Be Diseases (TAB-D), Who Shot Who, and Fes Parker. Rob has drummed on 27 albums and counting.
I first met Rob over 20 years ago at The Duchess of York in Leeds when Goldblade were supporting Idlewild. Our paths have crossed countless times since then and if there's a nicer, more humble person in the music business then I've yet to meet them! Here are his Top 10 drum tracks.
Pic: Andi Callen Photography Membranes @ Ritz 2019
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy – The Stranglers (Jet Black)
Every music list I make has to start with The Stranglers, a dark and inventive creative force who sparked my musical awakening in the late 1970s and who remain my favourite band. Nice ‘n’ Sleazy was the first ‘punk’ single I bought, and it starts with a superb Jet Black drumbeat, so simple and hypnotic, which laid the foundation for the characteristic bass and keyboard wizardry and Hugh Cornwell’s matchless sneer. On other songs Jet Black would often look like all he did was play a simple beat – as I got older I realized that that ‘simple beat’ was a talent in itself, a fundamental, literal pulse of the band as an organism, and furthermore, every once in a while he’d throw something in like this or Genetix, which reminded you that he really was a quality player who generally did just what the song needed with no need to impress. An important lesson.
Hellraiser – The Sweet (Mick Tucker)
Before punk, glam rock was a big influence, although I was too young to analyse why. The twin drum Glitter Band would be an obvious choice, but Sweet were the first band I had a poster of on my wall, and Mick Tucker was a great drummer too. Listening to them now, it’s odd how they threw all these odd stops and starts in there and still had huge hit singles with them regardless.
Dog Eat Dog – Adam and the Ants (Chris Hughes & Terry Lee)
The Kings of the Wild Frontier era of Adam and the Ants is so heroically, audaciously bizarre. Two drummers channeling Burundi rhythms alongside Duane Eddy guitar with all the clashing costume imagery, and it works so incredibly well.
Unspeakable – Killing Joke (Paul Ferguson)
If one song (or one band) inspired me to be a drummer it’s this. A fearsome avalanche of mood and power, kicked off by the mighty Big Paul Ferguson, each musician playing their own lead part and having it chemically merge into something even bigger (they were similar to The Stranglers in that respect)
Indiscipline – King Crimson (Bill Bruford)
80s era King Crimson were probably the band that took over my musical imagination after the whole punk / post-punk thing had worked its way through my system. At this stage they were heavily into filtering their jazz / prog rock beginnings through funk and African rhythms. Like many of ,my favourite bands, they had four musicians seemingly playing separate lead roles, but this one took a little more deciphering than I was used to. The bass player and one guitarist play a repeated five beat riff while the other guitarist and drummer Bill Bruford lash out in seemingly chaotic soloing, except they are also in time. It sounds like chaos but, like an explosive chemical reaction, there are unbending mathematical laws underpinning them (and I always loved how professorial Robert Fripp looked while all this was happening)
They Shall Not Pass - The Ex (Katherina Bornefeld)
I first saw The Ex in the late 1980s when I was at a gig to see a friend’s band support them. I wasn’t familiar with their work apart from a vague idea of their reputation. As they were setting up I saw their drummer, a slender, slight young woman, and I have a vague but shameful adolescent memory of idly speculating about her ability to fire up the engine of a punk band. Two seconds into their set I was pinned back against the wall as this utterly ferocious juggernaut of angular noise blasted me out of all manner of stupid preconceptions. They remain one of the finest spectacles in live music, still with Kat in the engine room.
FBLA 2 – Helmet (John Stanier)
I remember hearing Helmet’s Meantime album round at a friend’s house, and it totally clicked with me – these huge, geometric metal riffs in slightly odd time signatures, with this brilliant drummer (John Stanier) nailing it into place down the middle. This song features some gratuitous drum fills halfway through, so it gets top placing in their discography above some fearsome competition.
Ouroborus Is Broken – Earth (Adrienne Davis)
There comes a point where you realize that there are more and better ways to show off than being faster, louder and more technically dazzling than the rest. I’d heard the first Earth album, where everything sounded like Tony Iommi slowed down to 16 rpm speed (there’s a concept to date you) but there were no drums. The band then disappeared while Dylan Carson cleaned himself up, and then came back playing densely evocative spaghetti Western instrumentals. Although more conventional in structure it was still pretty innovative. Playing drums this slowly is genuinely difficult, you have to fight the natural urge to speed up, and watching their drummer Adrienne Davis at a gig is fascinating, her technique being a highly physical act of turning herself into a human metronome, arms swinging in glacial progress like a slow motion mime.
Pravus – Meshuggah (Tomas Haake)
Although I like a lot of extreme metal I’m generally not into technical ability for its own sake. Meshuggah and Tomas Haake are a class apart though. I kind of know what they’re doing, but can never crack the code exactly. They sound like the music that Terminator robots would operate a terrifyingly coordinated mosh pit to.
DC Sound Attack – Clutch (Jean Paul Gaster)
My feel good band of choice. Old fashioned classic rock with the chunkiest of grooves courtesy of Jean Paul Gaster, whose drumming swings with the best of them, combining the power of John Bonham with the soulful feel of James Gadson.
Pneuma – Tool (Danny Carey)
These days I can’t think much beyond Danny Carey as the pinnacle of rock drumming, particularly since Tool ended their epic gestation of latest album Fear Inoculum and set it free. Much like Rush (another of my all-time favourites) this took a little while to settle, but once it did a multitude of levels opened up in my mind. Even after repeated plays, I can’t quite crack the rhythms of Pneuma. Every time you think you’ve settled into the groove they add another couple of extra beats It somehow never disturbs the flow, though. Fiendish and brilliant.