Paul Wilson is the topless, power house drummer for Southern Gypsy Queen. Barry van Zyl has been drumming for the Johnny Clegg Band since 1999 and his recent highlights include working with Annie Lennox, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Brian May, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Jimmy Buffet and Oliver Mtukudzi. Tim Rankin was one of the founding members of Dorp and he's currently the drummer for Blues Broers, Bed on Bricks and Karen Zoid. Tshepang Ramoba is the drummer of the Joburg based band Blk Jks. And Artur Pereira has played with several of Cape Town's iconic rock bands including Three More White Guys, VOL, Andy Lund and the Mission Men, Coal; he's also toured with Taxi Violence and Hog Hoggidy Hog, amongst others.
We chatted to the men behind the skins and asked them about their heroes, villains and benchmarks of the drumming game.
Name your top three greatest drummers of all time.
Paul Wilson: Can't only pick three! (Laughs) John Bonham, Chad Smith, Matt Sorum, Carter Beauford, Taylor Hawkins! All influenced me growing up!
Barry van Zyl: John Bonham, Jim Keltner and Steve Jordan (purely a personal choice because drumming is not an extreme sport).
Tim Rankin: Stewart Copeland, Vinnie Caliuta and Chad Smith.
Artur Pereira: Mike Bordin (Faith No More, Ozzy Osbourne), Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantômas) and Charlie Benante (Anthrax, Stormtroopers of Death).
Tshepang Ramoba: Tshepang Ramoba, Omar Hakin and Jack de Jonnette.
Who, according to your personal taste, is the most overrated or cheesiest drummer and why?
Paul Wilson: Probably Thomas Lang! Super impressive but not musical!
Barry van Zyl: No comment.
Tim Rankin: Charlie Watts, he aint got no satisfaction.
Artur Pereira: Don't think any drummer can be referred to as 'cheesiest drummer' because it is mainly a personal opinion, but I do get 'meh' moments listening to Lars Ulrich. I think he is the only drummer to have lost ability instead of gained ability.
Tshepang Ramoba: All the gospel and SA Pop drummers, don't know their names.
With some practice, do you think you could play Terry Bozzio's drum sequence on Frank Zappa's "Black Page"?
Paul Wilson: Probably not! Ha ha ! Bozzio is a machine! Will probably try now! Lol.
Barry van Zyl: Yup. Did it for an end of exam at music school in L.A. Couldn't do it now though...
Tim Rankin: You must be joking.
Artur Pereira: Not a damn! You have to be really intensely gifted to pull THAT off! Suppose I could ... if I practiced 8 hours a day ... everyday ... for the rest of my life.
Tshepang Ramoba: Definitely.
What annoys you when seeing an amateur drummer?
Paul Wilson: They try to do too many fills and don't groove enough! Rhythm section has to be tight!
Barry van Zyl: Nothing.
Tim Rankin: They got the attitude before technique.
Artur Pereira: All young/new drummers (and I know this because I did it) tend to overplay and try to do more than what is required or what their abilities can pull off. It effects the bands tightness and definitely makes the song suffer as a result. Any professional drummer will tell you that it is not what you do to fill space that shows how good you are, it is the ability to know when to leave space.
Tshepang Ramoba: Nothing.
Mike Portnoy or Carter Beaufort? Why?
Paul Wilson: Carter Beauford! One of the few busy drummers who grooves like a motherf#cker! Doesn't hurt that I'm a huge Dave Matthews band fan! Ha ha!
Barry van Zyl: Neither. Too many notes.
Tim Rankin: Carter. He uses those golfing gloves!
Artur Pereira: Carter Beaufort. Without a doubt. He can play any style. Mike Portnoy plays Mike Portnoy.
Tshepang Ramoba: No comment. Ha ha.
Neil Peart or Joey Jordison? Why?
Paul Wilson: Neil Peart! But I'm not really a Rush or Slipknot fan!
Barry van Zyl: Peart for his lyric writing. Jordison for his make-up.
Tim Rankin: Joey, because it could be Neil behind the mask.
Artur Pereira: Come on! THE PROFESSOR! These guys are miles apart from each other and I do not think Joey should be grouped with the great one.
Tshepang Ramoba: Joey Jordison, Neil Peart plays exercises.
What's your opinion on Meg White?
Paul Wilson: She is really cool and hits the kit nice and hard! She's not technically great but she is perfect for The White Stripes!
Barry van Zyl: She has a brother who's a great musician.
Tim Rankin: I would love her paycheque.
Artur Pereira: She plays the bare bones and doesn't do anything flashy and yet the songs are still enjoyable! For someone not regarded as a brilliant drummer, she sure knows how to keep the song moving. I love that. Simplicity.
Tshepang Ramoba: I would hit that!
If you could choose any fantasy guitarist and bassist for one gig, who would they be?
Paul Wilson: Drumming for Rage Against the Machine! The fattest riffs!
Barry van Zyl: Trevor Rabin. Anthony Jackson.
Tim Rankin: Jaco on bass and Jimi smashing Marshall stacks.
Artur Pereira: Bassist? Billy Gould from Faith No More/Brujeria. The guitarist would have to be Scott Ian. Especially of his work with Stormtroopers of Death.
Tshepang Ramoba: Ormar Rodrigues and Flea.
What's your opinion on hippy drum circles?
Paul Wilson: Nothing worse than a drum circle!
Barry van Zyl: They're great. Although not musical events.
Tim Rankin: Shoot hippies full stop.
Artur Pereira: Hippies. Next question.
Tshepang Ramoba: They don't play.
What's your favourite drummer joke?
Paul Wilson: Who is the guy who hangs out with musicians all day? A drummer! Wha ha ha! All drummer jokes are great! Luckily I'm a singer!
Barry van Zyl: What's the difference between a drummer and gynaecologist? A drummer only deals with one ... etc. etc
Tim Rankin: My neighbour knocked on my door at 2 am, lucky I was still up playing drums.
Artur Pereira: Drummers are people too.
Who, according to you is the greatest South African drummer?
Paul Wilson: So many great SA drummers! My favourite is Tim Rankin! Groove machine with amazing skill!
Barry van Zyl: Anton Fig (according to me and most of North America).
Tim Rankin: Kevin Gibson is the man by far.
Artur Pereira: That is a tough one to answer. But a name that spring to mind is Louis Nel from Taxi Violence (you can hear him from a mile away). He has such a style and sound that is his own, and he plays to his strengths, and he plays to his strengths, and most importantly, he has fun when he plays.