I remember what must be one of the very first videos I ever watched on YouTube way back in the day. It was a live clip of Jimi Hendrix tearing through ‘All Along the Watchtower’. Since those early days, the amount of live music content on the site has bloomed exponentially, and that’s at least one thing in this shi*ty world that I’m thankful for, as musicians doing rad sh*t really is my internet catnip. For all its evils, at least the internet is filled with videos of musicians being awesome while practicing their craft. Often, that manifests through cool cover versions—like this, or this, or indeed this.
Recently, my favorite manifestation of this has been a series put out by the channel for online drumming platform, Drumeo. The premise is simple: Professional drummers listen to a drum-less version of a famous tune, and they try to play along. The results are proof of the miracle that is a drummer’s mind. Yeah, yeah, you could break things down into how this works because experienced drummers can anticipate standard patterns, transitions, etc., but that’s part of the miracle as far as I’m concerned!
I can drum a tiny little bit, but it comes about as naturally to my brain as running backwards. Despite the complete lack of natural aptitude—or maybe because of it—it’s often the part of any music I listen to the most keenly. Then again, when my favorite band is Iron Maiden, and one of my most listened to albums is their mammoth piece of work, ‘A Matter Of Life And Death’—in which Nicko McBrain puts on an absolute masterclass—I suppose that makes sense. I definitely air-drum more than anything else too, which is funny for a guitarist. All that said, these Drumeo videos are pure joy. Just look at these amazing fuc*ers! Look at their faces as they take things in, their brains parse the info, and their limbs deliver!
And speaking of Tool, here’s a bonus treat! A video I watch pretty much every time YouTube recommends it to me: A drum-cam of Danny Carey performing ‘Pneuma’ live in Boston. Drum-cams: Best. Idea. Ever.