Is the Greatest Drummer Bonham or Peart? Let's Ask Lars Ulrich!

Vistalite Black

Ludwigs in the Basement
Platinum Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 17, 2015
Messages
3,904
Reaction score
1,749
Location
North Carolina
From Blabbermouth.net:

METALLICA's Lars Ulrich joined Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, "The Howard Stern Show", this week. While on the program, Ulrich was asked to weigh in on whether LED ZEPPELIN's John Bonham or RUSH's Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time.

"It's ... (edit: like exceedingly) hard," Lars said (see video below). "Listen, I've been asked that question, on and off, for 40 years.

"I would put two additional names on that list. DEEP PURPLE's Ian Paice is an incredibly technically gifted drummer, and Phil Rudd is what gives AC/DC that incredible bounce and swing."

After Howard brought up the "soul" of Bonham's drumming, Lars said: "You mentioned 'When The Levee Breaks'. I mean, that's classic Bonham. The drums are big, thunderous, ambient. He's a little bit behind on the snare. And it's got that groove. He's in the pocket."


As for his opinion of Peart, Ulrich said: "The first time I ever met Neil, it was 1984. Our manager Cliff [Burnstein] signed RUSH, and I had drum questions about gear and this and that. He goes, 'Neil loves to talk to younger drummers.' He goes, 'Call Neil. He wants to hear from you.' And it was, like, 'Huh?!' I was 20 years old with not a pot to (edit: to put my coins) in. And I called him, and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone and were geeking out on drums. And the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can't play drums and not love Neil and you can't not be appreciative and respectful."

Pressed to pick his favorite, Lars said: "Between Neil and between John, no disrespect, but I'll have to go with John Bonham."

Back in 2017, Ulrich told Baltimore radio station 98 Rock that he would pick Rudd to take over behind the kit for METALLICA if he was no longer able to play drums in the band. "He's been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turn-away from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after 'Justice', when we got into the 'black album' and the 'Load' stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that," Lars said. "Phil Rudd, he's the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James [Hetfield], that'd be pretty cool."
 

Nacci

DFO Master
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
3,513
Reaction score
2,870
Location
Roxbury, NH.
When they discuss these type of things it is implied that it pertains to the world of popular Rock-n-Roll and Progressive Rock, and that is fine, it is a fun conversation to have, but no one who knows drumming thinks that any of these guys are the world's greatest, not when people like Tony Williams, Simon Phillips and Billy Cobham exist.

Still, I agree with Lars, within the context of Rock, Bonham was the greatest.


...and good job with the edits Vistalite, that is fine work staying within forum guidelines.
 

JimmySticks

Very well Known Member
Silver Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 28, 2019
Messages
953
Reaction score
900
Location
Queens NY
Honestly, Bonham and Peart, it’s two different styles, so it’s tough to really say who is “best”.

Now, make it between Ian Paice and Bonham, and I think you have a competition...if one is necessary.
 

Deafmoon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2014
Messages
382
Reaction score
285
I followed Peart from when I was 15 years old and they released Fly By Night. Loved his playing. But he never had the swagger of John Bonham. Bonham was a freight train and he had legitimate swing in his style. Case closed.
 
Last edited:

Squirrel Man

Very well Known Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2020
Messages
546
Reaction score
481
Yeah I scratch my head with these things sometimes, there are so many variables and inconsistencies with comparability that make it impossible to quantify and it boils down to 90% opinion. And opinions are great, aren't they?

Lars is probably, historically the biggest influence on most of my drumming style that I'm trying to ween away from at this point. For his genre he's very accomplished but him personally, I think he's a bit immature and unpolished so I tend to discount his opinions, fwiw.

So yeah, just a casual observer here. And I'm not in consideration in this debate, yet so no dog in this fight.
 

Slingwig26

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 17, 2015
Messages
183
Reaction score
95
Location
massachusetts
It is a completely subjective question. Who do “you” think is the best drummer? The correct answer is...there is no “best” drummer.
 

langmick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
115
Location
East Lansing, MI
I always say no one could have done what Neil did, playing over a thousand live shows, difficult shows, at a high level, and with creativity, putting out albums years after year, and just going for it big time.

Bonham, same can be said of him, he was the foundation for the others in the band, not as active in the career of LZ as Neil was in Rush. Take him away, the band falls apart.

Who was best...a dumb question, but at least Howard is a Yes fan.
 

cruddola

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
90
Reaction score
66
Location
usa
When they discuss these type of things it is implied that it pertains to the world of popular Rock-n-Roll and Progressive Rock, and that is fine, it is a fun conversation to have, but no one who knows drumming thinks that any of these guys are the world's greatest, not when people like Tony Williams, Simon Phillips and Billy Cobham exist.

Still, I agree with Lars, within the context of Rock, Bonham was the greatest.


...and good job with the edits Vistalite, that is fine work staying within forum guidelines.
From Blabbermouth.net:

METALLICA's Lars Ulrich joined Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, "The Howard Stern Show", this week. While on the program, Ulrich was asked to weigh in on whether LED ZEPPELIN's John Bonham or RUSH's Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time.

"It's ... (edit: like exceedingly) hard," Lars said (see video below). "Listen, I've been asked that question, on and off, for 40 years.

"I would put two additional names on that list. DEEP PURPLE's Ian Paice is an incredibly technically gifted drummer, and Phil Rudd is what gives AC/DC that incredible bounce and swing."

After Howard brought up the "soul" of Bonham's drumming, Lars said: "You mentioned 'When The Levee Breaks'. I mean, that's classic Bonham. The drums are big, thunderous, ambient. He's a little bit behind on the snare. And it's got that groove. He's in the pocket."


As for his opinion of Peart, Ulrich said: "The first time I ever met Neil, it was 1984. Our manager Cliff [Burnstein] signed RUSH, and I had drum questions about gear and this and that. He goes, 'Neil loves to talk to younger drummers.' He goes, 'Call Neil. He wants to hear from you.' And it was, like, 'Huh?!' I was 20 years old with not a pot to (edit: to put my coins) in. And I called him, and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone and were geeking out on drums. And the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can't play drums and not love Neil and you can't not be appreciative and respectful."

Pressed to pick his favorite, Lars said: "Between Neil and between John, no disrespect, but I'll have to go with John Bonham."

Back in 2017, Ulrich told Baltimore radio station 98 Rock that he would pick Rudd to take over behind the kit for METALLICA if he was no longer able to play drums in the band. "He's been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turn-away from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after 'Justice', when we got into the 'black album' and the 'Load' stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that," Lars said. "Phil Rudd, he's the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James [Hetfield], that'd be pretty cool."
Personally, I loved to hear Carl Palmer's work. And see him too on the drums. Buddy too.
 

L300burn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 23, 2019
Messages
115
Reaction score
34
I wish Bonham had lived longer so his style could’ve naturally evolved. Peart became a HUGE beast at the end of Rush. Who knows what Bonham could have done with 40 more years of practice and playing!
 

DavedrumsTX

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2014
Messages
115
Reaction score
111
Location
Dallas, Texas
From Blabbermouth.net:

METALLICA's Lars Ulrich joined Howard Stern on his SiriusXM show, "The Howard Stern Show", this week. While on the program, Ulrich was asked to weigh in on whether LED ZEPPELIN's John Bonham or RUSH's Neil Peart is the greatest drummer of all time.

"It's ... (edit: like exceedingly) hard," Lars said (see video below). "Listen, I've been asked that question, on and off, for 40 years.

"I would put two additional names on that list. DEEP PURPLE's Ian Paice is an incredibly technically gifted drummer, and Phil Rudd is what gives AC/DC that incredible bounce and swing."

After Howard brought up the "soul" of Bonham's drumming, Lars said: "You mentioned 'When The Levee Breaks'. I mean, that's classic Bonham. The drums are big, thunderous, ambient. He's a little bit behind on the snare. And it's got that groove. He's in the pocket."


As for his opinion of Peart, Ulrich said: "The first time I ever met Neil, it was 1984. Our manager Cliff [Burnstein] signed RUSH, and I had drum questions about gear and this and that. He goes, 'Neil loves to talk to younger drummers.' He goes, 'Call Neil. He wants to hear from you.' And it was, like, 'Huh?!' I was 20 years old with not a pot to (edit: to put my coins) in. And I called him, and we spoke 30, 45 minutes on the phone and were geeking out on drums. And the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can't play drums and not love Neil and you can't not be appreciative and respectful."

Pressed to pick his favorite, Lars said: "Between Neil and between John, no disrespect, but I'll have to go with John Bonham."

Back in 2017, Ulrich told Baltimore radio station 98 Rock that he would pick Rudd to take over behind the kit for METALLICA if he was no longer able to play drums in the band. "He's been probably my main, biggest source of inspiration when we did the turn-away from the super-progressive stuff, the crazy stuff after 'Justice', when we got into the 'black album' and the 'Load' stuff, when it got a little more about the bounce and the riffs and the feel and the groove and all that," Lars said. "Phil Rudd, he's the top of that pyramid. Hearing Phil Rudd play behind James [Hetfield], that'd be pretty cool."
Greatest, best, etc only makes sense in sports and games, not drumming. You can ask who do YOU like best and who had the greatest influence on YOU, but not greatest. Let’s face it, it’s art.
 


Top