Famous Drummers

Inspirational words from famous drummers

We’ve compiled some of our favourite drumming quotes from famous drummers, including Buddy Rich, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tony Williams, Dennis Chambers, and Dave Grohl.

Keep these thoughts with you when practising and playing!

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Tony Williams

Playing fast around the drums is one thing. But to play music, to play with people for others to listen to, that’s something else. That’s a whole other world.

– Tony Williams

It’s so true, as Tony Williams said, it’s all too easy to get caught up playing lots of fast notes and lose the musicality of what you’re playing. Play with the listener in mind.

Buddy Rich

You only get better by playing.

If you think you stink, you probably do.

I consider every drummer that ever played before me an influence, in every way.

– Buddy Rich

Playing drums, or any musical instrument in fact, is so much about the way you think and about your attitude towards the instrument…

Mickey Hart

Life is about rhythm. We vibrate, our hearts are pumping blood, we are a rhythm machine, that’s what we are.

– Mickey Hart

Dennis Chambers

When you approach this instrument for the first time, what comes out of you is simply what you feel.

– Dennis Chambers

All of the famous drummers featured here have experienced a great deal of different musical emotions and drumming situations. Experience is the best teacher! These quotes are simple soundbites that we can all learn from.

Brian Blade

You need to take risks, you never know if the end results will be beautiful or strange, you need to be instantaneous, listening to every moment, without missing a scrap of the music, even if you play a rest.

– Brian Blade

This is all good drumming philosophy so far, now for some quotes about life as a drummer…

Mel Lewis

I found that to really make money, you had to give up music. So I gave up money.

– Mel Lewis

Topper Headon

Love every minute of it… Appreciate it and try not to get carried away because it can be a short career.

– Topper Headon

Dave Grohl

I love being a drummer. Everyone thinks you’re dumb. What they don’t realise is that if it weren’t for you, their band would suck.

– Dave Grohl

If these little snippets of wisdom have inspired you, seek out interviews and articles written by these and other famous drummers.

Just space for a few final words of advice about validating your own creative freedom with drumming:

Vinnie Colaiuta

Anytime you strike the drums, you have to be aware that you’re creating a musical event.

– Vinnie Colaiuta

Benny Greb

Any sound, if it’s in time, has some value.

– Benny Greb

The final word has to go to the wisest and most influential drummer of them all. If you take away just one piece of advice from reading this, REMEMBER THESE FOUR WORDS….


Eat drums! Eat cymbals!

– Animal

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