What drummer first got you paying attention to drummers?
The answer to this question is easy. Animal from the Muppets of course… As soon as I saw this madman pounding his mini drum kit I was mesmerized by his “caraaaazy”! He was the type of Muppet that marched to his own beat, played the drums with abandon, as if no one was watching, and occasionally played them so hard he would spontaneously combust and get pulled away to the insane asylum. A perfect role model for any preschool aged kid, don’t you think?
Whether you agree or not I think the important takeaway here is to do what you love and have fun doing it. Animal might have had too much fun for his own good but and I enjoyed watching him for it. Since then I have always found myself looking through the lead singer of any band trying to see who was behind the drums and asking myself is he having fun or is he just getting in a great arm work out?
I don’t even drum so who am I to say right? I’m sure all drummers love what they do and are too busy focusing on staying on time to care what they look like but, some seem to enjoy it more than others. At least that’s how I see it from the audience. Some are out there working and some are out there really having fun. Obviously there is a lot of responsibility is bestowed on the drummer. As they say, the drummer is the heartbeat of the band. The tempo of the song the band is playing us up to he or she. One mistimed beat can throw off the entire band.
So Animal set the bar for me. Sure he was typically off on his own beat and out of control but he was a showman and was one of my favorite members of the Muppet Band. Although he was in the back, you knew him by name and you knew he was there. Today there are many other drummers who are great showman. Look at this guy… But what a coincidence that the first human drummer that caught my attention was nicknamed “Animal” after the beast himself.
This animal however is Alex Gonzalez of MANÁ. If you ever go to a MANÁ concert you are typically focused on the voice and showmanship of lead singer, Fher Olvera, but after a few seconds of the show you cant help but notice the guy in the back banging the drums with precisely timed abandon, twirling his drums sticks in his hands while standing on his thrown, then throwing them 20 feet in the air before he jumps down to catch them in perfect time to not miss a beat. Not only does he do all this, he actually is the main backing vocalist for the band and even sings lead on a few of their songs. His 10 minute drum solo at every show always reminds me of Animal’s solos. They are pretty insane. Check out the behind the back skills at about minute 2:50 of that link and the secret cooler in his kit in minute 5:30.
It’s fitting that one of the songs he is in charge of singing while he plays is what was my teenage revolt song named “Me Vale” which is Spanish slang for (“I Don’t Care”). A fitting song for any “Animal”. I leave you with its chorus.
Cause I don’t don’t care
I don’t care at all
I don’t care I don’t care
I don’t care at all
If they don’t understand, they don’t get me
Cause I don’t care
I don’t care at all.