billy-rymer

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee”

Fast drumming can sound brilliant. Plus if a drummer can play extremely quick notes and rests as well as the standard ones, it allows for greater diversity in the construction and intensity in the dynamics. More light and shade, if you aren’t yet over that expression.

A friend of mine was taught to use a sabre by a Romanian fencing master, amazing old guy. He said the key to speed was to make each movement very small, so the point of the blade has less distance to travel. The further something has to move in space the longer it takes in time. Only amateurs wave their arms around wildly. This old Romanian shuffled along and seemed barely to move his hands, but his sword passed through his opponents’ guard as though they were standing still.

I think even the least-informed listeners realise that drummers don’t get fast without years of practice. So the respect factor for fast hands is always high. We recognise the skills.



Obviously there are lots of clinic types who hold records for speed, but this is an art site so they don’t make it in. Speed is not art; read this to see why (http://www.luzifer.at/world’s-fastest-drummer.htm).

Here are some drummers who know how to move fast and also know WHEN to move fast …


‘I wouldn’t if you didn’t' by The Dillinger Escape Plan. Like all DEP fans I wondered if new guy Billy Rymer could possibly live up to the wealth of artistry shown by his predecessors, but I never doubted he’d have wrists. As indeed he does.  (We’ll get to the other stuff later.)

'Wax simulacra’ by The Mars Volta. Blow up your speed camera.

'Unity’ by George. Such great hands.

'Sulphur’ by Slipknot. Yeah, okay, here’s some Slipknot …