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John Bonham - My Musical Hero
by Liam Geoghegan of Kids with machetes‏

A tough subject to answer - Your musical hero!

I've had so many different influences over the past 8 years of drumming that I've lost count of them all. I've gone from really technical drummers (Mike Portnoy, Neil Peart, Danny Carey) Up to really fast, death metal drummers (Shannon Lucas, George Kollias, Derek Roddy) And then back down to really tight, groovy guys (Stanton Moore, Gavin Harrison etc)

There's 8 right there, plus a ton more that fit inbetween those classes.

But when it comes down to it, there's two people that I've always come back to once I've snapped out of a phase. Those two people are John Bonham and Keith Moon. Both timeless classics in two very different ways.

John Bonham, an absolute powerhouse with a right foot that was 10, maybe 20 years ahead of its time. And Keith Moon, the showman with not one single care in the world, ever.

Since I have to narrow it down to just one, It's Bonham. Because to play like Keith Moon would take concentration, and the true spirit of him is lost if you have to think about what you're playing.

So, Bonham.

It's a shame that a lot of 'new' drummers don't totally understand the importance of Bonham in drumming history. A lot of what he played way back then is considered basic by today's standards. Shuffled triplet kick patterns heard sporadically in 'Good times bad times' and driving offbeats like those throughout 'Immigrant song' are often shrugged off in modern music, but back in the 70's they were ground breaking and largely unheard of.

Admittedly, I shied away from learning anything by Led Zeppelin for years and years (With the exception of Immigrant song, because that kick pattern is too good to overlook) mostly because of the fiendish foot patterns and stupidly tight triplet rolls around the entire kit.

But recently I've gone back and focused on trying to learn these parts, and ultimately, do them justice. To play like him is one thing, but to sound like him too is an entirely different thing entirely. Take an already complex part and add in accents in what would seem like the wrong places, and everything gets a whole lot harder. That's what John Bonham really brought to the table, setting a different standard for 'balls out' rock 'n' roll that's been imitated ever since.

'Rock n roll' is a brilliant example of taking something simple sounding but making it something differently entirely. It's not as easy to hear the finer details in music from years ago as it is today. So it's easy to miss the fact that throughout the entire song the left hand playing the snare is constantly moving underneath the hihat, with accents played in the obvious places. I've heard so many people play this without the extra ghost notes on the snare and it never sounds as good. Not only does it make it sound better, it makes it a lot harder to play properly, as for a majority of the song both hands and the right foot are all pretty much playing the same thing, at the same speed, but with accents in different places.

Tap both hands and your right foot all at the same time at a fairly quick pace without going out of time. Hard isn't it?

Liam Geoghegan

Liam is drummer in Manchester dubstep meets metal crossover band Kids With Machetes - check out his band here http://www.facebook.com/kidswithmachetes

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