This is another one that I enjoyed doing. I have loved me some good drums since I was a young adolescent in 8th grade. It was then that I not only fell in love with music, but that I discovered Rush. I was given a cassette tape by a friend of mine that had Rush's "2112", in addition to finding the cassette of "Moving Pictures" at Musicland for the low, low price of $2.88. Neil Peart was the only drummer that we cared about as teens. Truth be told, the music we loved was saturated with talented musicians. Steve Smith from Journey has probably gone on to surpass Neil Peart (in my heart) because of his amazing ability to do Rock drumming, in addition to being an accomplished Jazz drummer.
Truth be told, as much as I STILL love the drumming of Neil Peart, my respect for him has diminished over the years. Not because I think he is less of a drummer, but because I think he reached a plateau and simply stayed put. The drum solo that I heard on the "Roll The Bones" Tour was just an adaptation of the solo that was featured on "Exit Stage Left". It seemed that he just wanted to keep doing the same thing year after a year... maybe add a feature here, tweak a sound there.
Fast forward to 2001, when I discovered the music of Porcupine Tree, one of the many projects of the brilliant Steven Wilson. When I stumbled upon their music, their most recent album was "Lightbulb Sun". This album, ironically, was the last to feature their original drummer (if you don't count anything done by Mr. Wilson, himself), Chris Maitland.
I kept myself busy hunting down all the early catalog of this amazing band, not necessarily an easy feat, since many of the titles drifted in and out of print. When the band returned in 2002 with the album "In Absentia", they were featuring a new drummer, someone that I was not familiar with. Being completely satisfied with the work of Chris Maitland, I was skeptical and somewhat closed minded to what the new drummer, Gavin Harrison, would bring to the band.
Again, fast forward to 2006, following the release of "Deadwing", when I first had the opportunity to see this amazing band live. When we left the show (at the Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado) the most prevalent comment amongst my friends and I was how good the drummer was. I really began to sit back and pay attention to the intricate detail with which he played his drums. Gavin has a lot of drums... a lot of teeny, tiny cymbals... and he utilizes them all. When he does a roll and includes all the small cymbals in what he is doing, it is both mesmerizing AND mind blowing.
Apparently, I wasn't the only person paying attention to the work of Mr. Harrison. Because of his work with Porcupine Tree and, undoubtedly, his solo work (mainly a Jazz fusion sound... proving that he was perfectly capable of doing multiple styles), he was asked by Robert Fripp to join King Crimson. Gavin maintained his status as drummer of Porcupine Tree, while sharing drumming responsibilities in King Crimson with drummer, Pat Mastelotto.
To this day, I can't listen to Gavin's work on Porcupine Tree... or watch it... without being completely blown away by his abilities, and his ability to make it seem.... easy.
So, ladies and gentlemen... here he is... my favorite drummer, GAVIN HARRISON.