There are countless incredible drummers in the world, both male and female. But I wanted to draw up a list for this week’s Drumming Diaries of the women who inspired me to pick up my own sticks. I’m also incredibly inspired by male drummers like Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins, Phil Collins and Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ Chad Smith – and no doubt I’ll talk about them soon. But for now, I want to raise a stick to the women who inspired me to think “I can do that. I want to be as good as them.” A woman behind a drum kit is a beautiful thing to behold – as these Big Babes prove. Here are five inspiring female drummers who you’re sure to get your rocks off to.
Julie Edwards, Deap Vally
The idea that I could start to play drums in the first place was kindled by Deap Vally’s Julie Edwards. I’ve spoken about my love of them countless times (really to anyone who’ll listen) and she’s mandatory on any playlist I make. Combine her with Lindsey Troy’s vocals and you’ve got the soundtrack to start a revolution with.
Why her drumming rocks: Her primal energy, her stage outfits, her hair is another drum stick.
Venzella Joy, Beyonce’s drummer
You just KNOW if you’re watching Beyonce you’re seeing some of the best talents out there – and her drummer is no exception. Joy’s style is way more technical than Edwards’ – it’s two very different feelings they evoke, but both are as impressive as the other. Also, kudos to Joy’s parents who saw the girl had rhythm and bought her her first drum kit. It’s clearly paid off.
Why her drumming rocks: Beyonce thought she was good enough. Nuff said.
Sheila E, Prince’s drummer
Prince has been a long supporter of outstanding female talent – the lineup for Prince and the Revolution was female dominant, after all. Sheila E, one of Prince’s most famous collaborators, is an exceptional performer. She doesn’t just play her drums, she slays them. If I get within a mile of how good she is I’ll die happy.
Why her drumming rocks: Sheila is all about performance – she’s the ultimate entertainer.
Cora Coleman Dunham, Beyonce AND Prince’s drummer
What’s better than a drummer for Beyonce or Prince? Someone who was revered by and toured with both. It’s thanks to my drumming teacher Dave that I know about Cora Coleman Dunham (even her name is rhythmical) and she’s one of the best musicians I’ve been introduced to, ever. There’s no point pointing out her technical ability, it’s flawless, but it is worth pointing out she’s a drumming powerhouse. And she’s legit called Queen Cora – need we say anymore? Watch. That. Video.
Why her drumming rocks: Mesmerising performance skills
Viola Smith, general badass
Viola Smith is widely considered to be one of the first professional female drummers. The thing I love most about watching her drum is she is SO over the top. There is nothing subtle about her performance; she’s all elbows and smiles. I love seeing a musician who shows how much of a good time they’re having (think Dave Grohl’s smile every time he performs) and Viola is the perfect example of someone loving what they do.
Why her drumming rocks: She looks like she is having the BEST time