No Instructions Necessary: Famous Drummers Who Never Took Lessons

When I first started playing the drums in bands I was self conscious about the fact that I had never taken lessons, but I soon found out that there are a lot of successful musicians who are completely self-taught, especially drummers. This realization seemingly proves all of the “drummers aren’t musicians” jokes that everyone loves, but I like to think it has more to do with a natural talent and ability to learn by watching and listening to other musicians.

I understand that there are certainly disadvantages, but I now wear my lack of formal teaching as a badge of honor, and in that spirit, here is a list of drummers who never took lessons:

Buddy Rich: American jazz drummer and band leader, billed as “The World’s Greatest Drummer.” Buddy admired and was influenced by Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Dave Tough, and Jo Jones.

John Bonham: Drummer of Led Zeppelin, widely considered one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. Bonham was influenced by Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, as well as other drummers in his hometown of Redditch, Worcestershire.

Dennis Chambers: American drummer, has recorded and performed with John Scofield, George Duke, Santana, Parliament/Funkadelic, and many others. Dennis has listed Clyde Stubblefield, Al Jackson, Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Tony Williams as some of his influences.

José Pasillas: Drummer of alternative rock band Incubus. Some of his influences include Chad Sexton, Stewart Copeland, and Tim Alexander.

Joey Castillo: Drummer of Eagles of Death Metal, formerly of Queens of the Stone Age, Danzig and Wasted Youth. Joey’s style is influenced by bands such as War, Al Green, Led Zeppelin and Black Flag.

This is just a short list and I know there are more out there, if you know of any others leave me a comment!

AB