By at 8:51 AM Monday, February 25th 2013


Top Ten Dave Grohl Drum Tracks of All Time

Dave Grohl, Lists


With all of the projects Dave Grohl has been involved in throughout his career, the Foo Fighters frontman has provided the music world with countless drum tracks, many of them earning “classic” status in Rock history. Having been a full time drummer in multiple world-renowned bands, Grohl has also filled in as a studio drummer on an unending barrage of projects.

He’s been a punk drummer, a funk drummer, a grunge drummer and even a metal drummer, all adding to his evolving sound and style. While there are probably songs that are more famous, intricate, or special to some of you out there, these ten were chosen to showcase the evolution of Dave Grohl’s drumming while serving ample evidence of just how damn good he is.

10. Drag Queen – Dain Bramage

Drag Queen, recorded when Dave Grohl was just about sixteen years old, is not necessarily the most exciting track in Grohl’s repertoire, but it holds so many of his classic moves. The funky tune comes from his second band, which struggled to be taken seriously by other punk bands in the scene at the time, only succeeding as their drummer gained attention. Looking back on Dain Bramage, it’s clear to see why Grohl stood out against the other simple, speed-hungry drummers in his local DC punk scene. His signature form took shape at a young age and is able to shine on this song.

9. Fucked Without A Kiss – Scream

The evolving nature of Dave Grohl’s drumming is on full display here. Mastering his speed, the drummer really found his stride in Scream. This particular track showcases his metronomic abilities more than any other song from this band, never overshadowing his dynamic fills.

8. Throwing Needles – Late!

With all parts recorded by Grohl during a lull in Nirvana’s career, the Pocketwatch cassette was anonymously released through the Simple Machines label in 1992. Unfortunately, the album is still unknown to much of the mass public, but it holds some true gems, a few of which have been released under the Nirvana and Foo Fighters names.

7. Aneurysm – Nirvana

I can hear the “What about Scentless Apprentice?!” cries now, and I can explain… The drum riff on Scentless Apprentice is catchy and definitely a classic, but that’s all it is…a repeated riff. But the drums on Aneurysm hold their own. You could listen to an isolated drum track from this song and know exactly where you are. In addition, Grohl’s rolling fills and powerful cymbal hits are almost overwhelmingly pleasing to the ear. You don’t even have to get me started on the intro. Listen for yourself.

6. Dictatorsaurus – Probot

As Grohl’s career shifted out of the 90s, he seemed to gain a lot more confidence in his playing which is noticeable throughout his metal project, Probot. You could pull just about any song from the album and find an incredible drum track, but Dictatorsaurus definitely stands out. It’s almost unbelievable how anyone can keep time so well while adding their own flair throughout the alterations. The heart of the song is fairly simple, but every change-up is so signature that they can’t be overlooked. The first thirty seconds alone solidify the entire drum track.

5. Getting Smaller – Nine Inch Nails

Initially set on adding You Know What You Are? to this list, a refresher listen to all of Grohl’s tracks on NIN’s With Teeth made it impossible to ignore the wild time signatures in Getting Smaller. With the fills and tempo changes, the song pushed its way into the foreground and onto the top five.

4. Implant – Killing Joke

Much like the Probot album, you could take any song from 2003’s Killing Joke and hear some insane drums, but Implant excels if only for the hi-hat work and speed. One of the best features in Dave Grohl’s drum style is his control of the hi-hat. You could likely pick him out of a lineup based solely on that sound. But of course, there is more than just good cymbal work in this song – there are tempo changes and lively fills to blow your mind as well.

3. Run With the Wolves – Prodigy

If you’re too lazy to listen to the whole thing, start at 0:40 and take note, even if only for a short while. You’ll understand.

2. Elephants – Them Crooked Vultures

What TCV song couldn’t be on this list? They’re all amazing. But Elephants is arguably Grohl’s best Vultures track. He hits hard. He hits fast. He even hits slow. He does it all. And there’s that hi-hat again, accompanied by the most insane line-up of cymbals you can imagine. With a growing kit and growing experience, Grohl stepped up his game to play alongside one of his heroes – John Paul Jones – in a new band we can’t wait to hear more from.

1. A Song for the Dead – Queens of the Stone Age

*Bonus isolated drums version

Maybe there is magic in the air when Josh Homme and Dave Grohl share studio space because the results always feel a little enchanting. In the case of A Song for the Dead, the two men and the rest of QOTSA churned up a classic tune. The intro paves way for a loose feeling, hard hitting drum track. The song feels like a powerhouse jam that just happened to come together perfectly. This, of course, wasn’t the case. The band put effort into achieving such a clean sound, having Grohl track with rubber pads in place of cymbals to avoid washing out the drums. He came back in later and filled the empty space, creating a deep, dominating sound. Legendary.


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. dan says:

    Tenacious D belongs in the top 20.

  2. Reverend Justito says:

    This Is My ‘No Love For Ghost’ Comment.

  3. rapsai says:

    First it Giveth

  4. me says:

    Not sure what you mean by “wild time signatures” in “Getting Smaller” ? it’s in 4/4 the whole time.

    • Taylor Weese says:

      Yeah, you’re right. Poor choice of wording. I suppose I shouldn’t have phrased it that way, because I meant to draw more attention to the beat and the pauses than the actual measures.

  5. abrids says:

    Late! is excellent

  6. Justin Dettle says:

    Dave Grohl has never been a funk dummer. Now, I like him as a drummer… but c’mon. There is no funk on this list, and I can’t find any funk or fusion he was ever on.

    Harvey Mason, John Jabo Starks, Dave Garibaldi, Steve Gadd… those are funk drummers.

    You wanna see some upper level funk drumming though… google or youtube the one and only Mike Clark, and watch a MASTER musician make the 4/4 count his bitch.

    • Joseph Guzy says:

      I think for some reason funk and disco get mixed up/intertwined a lot. There’s a few interviews where Dave refers to his Nirvana drumming as “just sitting back there playing disco drums.”

      • You’re totally right. It’s because of the syncopation. Any time a song is very syncopated anymore, people who don’t know better call it funk or “funky”. It isn’t. It’s just syncopated, and the most notable genre for hard syncopation is funk music.

        People don’t know shit anymore, and only Musicology nerds care. People don’t remember Sly & The Family Stone, they never understood James Brown or Parliament’s music in the first place… and they sure as HELL don’t know about Herbie Hancock. That’s alright though… fusion IS making a comeback.

        Any music can be written to be syncopated. It doesn’t make it funky.

    • Paradiddle says:

      You for got the master of them all, Billy Cobham.

  7. joe says:

    lists about art are gay

  8. trevor says:

    the opening drum lick to ‘song for the dead’ is an homage to a black flag song. do your resarch, people.

  9. Matt Smith says:

    The Colour & The Shape has all of Dave’s best drumming on one album. Not sure how this could have been overlooked.

  10. Jack says:

    Wouldn’t say that this is the 10 best drum performances of his career, but more of an evolution of his sound (which is still cool). In my opinion, his best drumming came when he worked with Juliette and the Licks; his drums carried that entire album, and his work is fucking awesome

  11. Sebastian says:

    This list is missing “No One Knows” from Queens

  12. Jesus says:

    Antiquiet names A Song for the Dead Grohl’s greatest drum track????? NO WAY!!!!! way to be totally unpredictable you QOTSA fiends.

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  15. Many thanks a bunch for posting!

  16. Johnny says:

    Dave’s best when he’s working with Josh Homme.

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