Singers with drums – it’s officially a trend!

What is it these days with singers playing a drum?  It’s a definite trend (SOIWT! being such a modish, style-setting, Vogue-advising and super-kool blog, I’m officially permitted to make these sorts of industry-sweeping, analytical comments).  Just as I’d got used to 75% of singers pointlessly tapping a tambourine, too.

The latest and highest-profile case of drum flu came this week in America, as London’s own Florence & the Machine assaulted a poor percussion during her nervy rendition of Kiss With A Fist on David Letterman’s Late Show (yep, she’s made it) – follow the video link below for proof.  Previous outbreaks of this pandemic include Fanfarlo at Field Day and Efterklang at Bestival, although in this case the disease is at an unusually advanced stage, with all members of the band playing all instruments, including the mike-side drum, in a sort of demented musical ferris wheel.


It seems a particular pose is needed, too.  Instructions are thus: 1. lean forward approx. 45º degrees; 2. hit the drum in a dandyish-but-intense way, keeping to a simple-as-piss rhythm, preferably fast – if only arm is used, leave the other one hanging somewhere eclectically; 3. nod your head far too often; 4. move your hips up and down (and feet if possible), ideally to suggest that you’re made of elasticated rubber; 5. close your eyes and look generally gaga and intense, as if you are now part of a remote African tribe in Togo.

Now, there is a precept here: Don Henley and Phil Collins were both marvellous talented drummers and singers.  Chris Cornell’s also been known to leather a cymbal or two.  But these are are genuinely two-talented individuals; not bored bellowers who want to do something with their hands.  Because that’s my theory, anyway.


I can almost hear the (rhythmic) patter of feet as the Drummers’ Union forms a picket line outside The Lead Singers’, er, Union, and demand that their skillset not be mocked by these amateur tappers afront the stage.  “If yer not singing, SHUD UP”, they yell, drumsticks thwacking around threateningly.  Dancing around or gesticulating: these are fairer and worthier pursuits of crooners during instrumental sections.  But to mock a man’s (or woman’s) livelihood – well, that’s just not cool.   (Unlike SOIWT!, of course)

Have I missed anyone?  Has this actually been lasting for years?  Am I a frigging genius?  Please write comments and tell me!

MP3: Florence & The Machine – Kiss With A Fist (zSHARE)
MP3: Florence & The Machine – Drumming Song (zSHARE) (see what I did there?!)

~ by ripamel on 29/10/2009.

3 Responses to “Singers with drums – it’s officially a trend!”

  1. This is nothing new. All drummers want to be lead singers and all lead singers want to be drummers. See examples Dave Grohl ( drummer for Nirvana) is the lead singer of Foo Fighters. Also Josh Homme is lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age and is the drummer in Eagles of Death Metal.

    • But those examples are just like Don Henley and Phil Collins – like I said above, those are people who clearly can do both, who excel at both disciplines. This blog is decrying those arrogant singers who just idly, once-in-a-while, pick up a drum stick and hit a solitary drum beside their microphone stand, probably just to pass the time. I think there’s a definite difference between them and the sorts of proven singer-drummers you mention!

  2. I guess you’re right as a drummer myself, it’s a little degrading that a singer showcases their abilities by simply beating a drum. Not naming any names (Florence).

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