Top 10 Underrated Drummers in Rock

Script written by George Pacheco It's time to hit those skins. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Drummers in Rock. For this list, we'll be ranking the rock drummers whose status or profile may run comparatively under the radar when placed against some of their contemporaries. Special thanks to our user Georgina Bransfield for suggesting this idea, check out the voting page at WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+most+underrated+drummers
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Top 10 Underrated Drummers in Rock


It's time to hit those skins. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Underrated Drummers in Rock. 

For this list, we'll be ranking the rock drummers whose status or profile may run comparatively under the radar when placed against some of their contemporaries. We're not commenting as to the superiority of one drummer against another, but rather giving these hard working musicians behind the drum kit a little extra love!
 

#10: Larry Mullen, Jr.
U2 


The music of U2 is often built upon layers; a cohesive construction of melody, composition and style. Sure, the guitar work of The Edge and Bono's instantly recognizable vocals may be the star of U2's show, but it's the confident and restrained drumming of Larry Mullen, Jr. which drives home the show for these rock legends. Experience in his school's marching band laid the groundwork for Mullen's career as a drummer, and served as a major influence towards the strong and propulsive rhythm Mullen would utilize on such classic U2 songs as "New Year's Day," "Pride (In the Name of Love)" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
 

#9: Matt Tong
Bloc Party, Algiers


Matt Tong may be more recent than some of the other drummers on today's list but he nevertheless earns his position as an underrated drummer, thanks to his popular work with the indie band known as Bloc Party. Tong actually parted ways with the band in 2013, but he has continued impressing audiences through his work with Algiers. Matt is known to have a fun and loose groove, borrowing both from dance, pop and house genres while giving each song a firm identity of their own.
 

#8: Reni
The Stone Roses 


The Stone Roses gained a massive amount of success and influence when they first broke through from their native Britain in the late 1980s. The band's combination of classic rock heritage and interesting indie influences spoke to both fans and musicians alike, the latter of which paid particular attention to the smart kit work of Stone Roses' singularly-named drummer, Reni. Indeed, Reni's deceptively complex and tight drum performances earned retroactive praise from Oasis founders Noel and Liam Gallagher, who maintained the Roses as a big time influence towards their own musical dreams during the early 90s.
  

#7: Dominic Howard
Muse


Progressive rock lives on within the pioneering spirit of Muse, who first burst forth from their native Devon in 1994. Much of this musical influence can be felt within the powerful drum performances of the band's man behind the kit, Dominic Howard. The skinsman's dedication to the driving rhythms of prog's past, combined with his embracing of modern technology and ideas makes Howard an influential musician in his own right. Whether it's his unique take on spaghetti western soundtrack tunes in "Knights of Cydonia," or sheer chaos of "Stockholm Syndrome," Dominic Howard's place amongst rock's most underrated drummers is solidly secure.
 

#6: Jon Theodore
The Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age


The Texas-based rock band The Mars Volta also have a strong progressive rock spirit burning through their musical hearts, thanks to the number of intensely powerful drummers the band have employed behind the kit. Jon Theodore performed on the band's breakthrough albums Frances the Mute and De-loused in the Crematorium, while Thomas Pridgen saddled up with the band in 2006 prior to their Bedlam in Goliath album. Both drummers were notable for their textured and unique styles, with Theodore eventually going on to join desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age after the release of their 2013 album, ...Like Clockwork.
 

#5: Topper Headon
The Clash


 
The Clash may be one of the most iconic punk rock bands of all time, but they're also one of the most musically talented, thanks in part to the performances of one Topper Headon behind the drum kit. Headon and his Clash crew bucked the punk rock trend of musical minimalism by employing influences as diverse as dub and reggae into their band's pissed 'n political sound. Aggressive anthems like "White Riot" and "I Fought the Law" are just a few of the interesting hits for those seeking out more of the band's work, yet it's Headon's strength and versatility as a drummer which makes him one of the most impressive aspects of The Clash as a unit.
 

#4: Taylor Hawkins
Foo Fighters


Sure, the Foo Fighters may feature within their ranks one of rock's most popular and commercially prolific drummers in songwriter Dave Grohl, but it's also important to note the Foo's Taylor Hawkins as an equally integral aspect of the band. Hawkins' manic energy and immense power drive home such Foo Fighters standards as "Learn to Fly" and "The Pretender," while the drummer's ease at collaborating with Grohl in a humorous and often self-deprecating manner within the band's music videos make him a fan favorite. Hawkins' skills are no joke, however, and easily speak for themselves with character and charisma.
 

#3: Chad Smith
Red Hot Chili Peppers/Chickenfoot


Don't let anyone tell you that the funky style of drumming from the 1970s has gone out of fashion, at least not while Chad Smith's behind the kit. The incredibly versatile Smith has leant his talents to side projects such as Chickenfoot while maintaining his main band the Red Hot Chili Peppers, all the while impressing his collaborators with his tight, in-the-pocket sound. Smith's dexterity is probably matched only by his ability to switch styles with the greatest of ease, playing both jazz beats and manic funk grooves alongside the very best of his generation. Want further proof? Just ask Will Ferrell.
 

#2: Tim Alexander
Primus


The unclassifiable Californian trio that is Primus are another band on our list to have featured not one, but two fantastic drummers within their lineup. Primus may be ever anchored by guitarist Larry LaLonde and bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool, but it's the position behind the drum kit which has always served as a driving force behind the band's heavy, alternative funk sound. Both Tim Alexander and Brian "Brain" Mantia have kept time in Primus, with Alexander returning to the band for Primus' 2014 album, Primus and the Chocolate Factory with the Fungi Ensemble. Alexander's dizzying, polyrhythmic style takes the cake for our list,, as evidenced by such groovy Primus jams as "Mr. Krinkle" and "Jerry was a Race Car Driver."
 
Before we unveil our number one underrated drummer, here are a few honorable mentions!
 
Clive Burr
Iron Maiden
 
Gar Samuelson
Megadeth
 
Dave Rowntree
Blur
 

#1: Terry Bozzio
Frank Zappa, Missing Persons

If it's true that a band is only as good as their drummer, then that band has probably employed Terry Bozzio. This underrated drummer cut this teeth and built a reputation performing with Frank Zappa throughout the 1970s, before forming the successful New Wave band Missing Persons alongside ex-wife Dale Bozzio in 1980. It's Bozzio's ability to move with ease from intensely complex jazz rhythms to driving hard rock, which makes him a secret weapon within the musical community. This was showcased within Bozzio's career throughout the 90s and beyond, which saw the drummer collaborating with Mike Patton's Fantomas  as well as Korn, on their 2007 Untitled album. The skills of Terry Bozzio are proof positive that talent can be timeless.
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