3hree Things: (A Few Of) My Favorite Drummers At the Moment

Watch out for 3hree Things every Tuesday, in which Riley Breckenridge, drummer of Orange County's favorite local alt-rock band Thrice, gives his take on life in Southern California as an OC native.
​the above image was respectfully borrowed from Kick/Snare/Hat and taken by Sangsouvanh Khounvichit

Over the past couple of years, via Twitter and the comment sections of my blog and here at 3hree Things, I've received a decent number of inquiries about which drummers I'd cite as my main influences. I tend to shy away from addressing the question of drumming influences (or, at least, cringe when the question is posed) because I: a) always manage to brain fart and leave someone highly influential off the list, and b) find that who and what inspires me as a drummer is constantly changing. It's just a tough question to answer.

After getting a few more questions about my drumming influences during the roll out of my favorite albums of 2011 over the past few weeks, I figured it was probably time to address them here at 3hree Things. Rather than try to make the list comprehensive, or deciding to rattle off the names that might be fairly obvious or common (John Bonham, Dave Grohl, Jon Theodore, Josh Freese, Buddy Rich, JoJo Mayer, Gerald Heyward, Neil Peart, Joey Castillo of QOTSA, JR Conners of Cave In, etc.), I thought I'd try to narrow it down to three contemporary drummers I've found myself listening to a lot lately and that have provided me with inspiration to try to figure out how and why they play what they play, as well as how I can take what I learn by trying to figure out their parts and playing along to their records and make it my own without totally aping their creativity (or parts).

These are those drummers (in no particular order) . . .

1) Allen Blickle, Baroness
Song: "Isak"

There's a very Bonham-esque quality to Blickle's drumming on this song, especially in the triplet feel he's playing off the quarter notes on his hi-hats by doing doubles on the kick. His work here provided the inspiration behind the beat that opens the song "Yellow Belly" on Thrice's Major/Minor. Once I got comfortable with those doubles, I started experimenting by dropping them into different parts of bars of 4/4, and the "Yellow Belly" beat was born. I also love that Blickle is a basher, especially given the context of what Baroness is going for sonically. There are few things in music that irk me more than a drummer in a really heavy band that doesn't lay into his kit. Blickle lays into it and then some, keeps it steady and solid, doesn't overplay, and provides an awesome backbone for a band that absolutely crushes.

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