BEYOND THE BEATS: Rock & Roll’s Greatest Drummers Speak!
Publisher:Music Square Media; 1 edition (March 13, 2018)
Reviewed by Dr. Wesley Britton
Being a longtime drummer myself, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to review this book when I saw its title. Once I scanned the table of contents, I realized author Jake Brown is a tad younger than me. I was part of the generation where young drummers venerated the likes of rockers Keith Moon, Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell, John Bonham, and jazzers like Elvin Jones, Gene Krupa, and Buddy Rich. The only stick-man from those times Brown interviewed was Doug “Cosmo” Clifford from Creedence Clearwater Revival. Many of the drummers Brown interviewed, it soon turned out, also admired the same drummers I did.
Brown interviewed an profiled the likes of Lars Ulrich(Metallica), Joey Kramer (Aerosmith), Tommy Lee (Mottley Crew), Taylor Hawkins (The Foo Fighters), Chad Smith (The Red Hot Chili Peppers), Tico Torres (Bon Jovi), Matt Sorum (Guns N Roses), Jimmy Chamberlin (The Smashing Pumpkins), Kenny Aronoff (John Meellencamp/ John Fogerty), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), and Steve Smith (Journey).
Drummers are certainly going to be the most appreciative audience for these interviews as we are given a detailed analysis of many of the beats for some of rock’s biggest hits. We get other insights as well such as Tommy Lee’s revelations about how he incorporated showmanship into his on-stage presentations. These performers share their perspectives on how to stay on top, decade after decade. They offer advice for future drummers, compare live with studio drumming, discuss the usefulness of click-tracks, and praise their mentors. They talk about the interaction between their roles with other musicians, engineers, and producers. Drummers will appreciate their notes on the types of instruments and equipment they like.
But fellow drummers shouldn’t be the only readers to enjoy the stories of drumming creativity and how these musicians became the stars they are. If you’re a fan of one or more of the bands covered, the price of admission will fit just fine. If you’re a devotee of hard rock and metal, this is a must-have volume, whether or not you’re a stick-man. Or stick-woman.
(Beyond the Beats will have an audiobook release on May 15, 2018 featuring bonus content like audio excerpts from each of the drummers interviewed in the book.)
This review first appeared at BookPleasures.com on April 2, 2018: