10 Top Acts With Dual Drummers

Mlevins1.jpg
The Melvins
Tonight, The Melvins will perform at Trees. While perusing the Internet in search of photos, I realized the band has two drummers. I thought about how pointless and excessive it is to actually employ two drummers to support a band, but then I considered how powerful the result can be. Two drummers slamming the toms in time. There's something tribal about that.

What follows is a list of bands and musicians that use the dual drummer platform so well that we had to make a list. Enjoy.

The Melvins
What's interesting about their set-up is that drummer Coady Willis is left-handed and drummer Dale Crover is a righty. They set up at the back of the stage, one right next to the other, and even share a floor tom.

Radiohead
Radiohead has only recently ventured into the world of two drummers. Phil Selway has held down the band's backbeat for over two decades, and now he's joined by studio drummer Clive Deamer, who has played with Portishead, among other legendary acts.

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew sessions
This revolutionary double album utilized the relatively new platform of stereo recording to feature a left and right drummer. For the most part the drums are minimal -- just a cymbal tap throughout entire songs -- leaving room for the other musicians to play.


Mind Spiders
Denton punk act Mind Spiders don't really need two drummers. The jittery, caffeine-laced songs would do just fine with only one guy on the trap kit, but having a second drummer does serve a purpose. The energetic songs become more powerful and driving.

Bon Iver
I was one of the of the folks who championed Bon Iver's 2011 self-titled release. Unfamiliar with his previous album (must have been under a rock), I was surprised how powerful the instrumental sections were. They kind of reminded me of Explosions In The Sky with two drummers, which is awesome live.

Sufjan Stevens
When Sufjan Stevens released his latest album, 2010's The Age Of Adz, many longtime fans weren't too keen on the singer's new electronic leanings. In his live performance, though, the rhythm section translates incredibly, with two drummers on the far right and left side of the stage. Each drummer handles a share of the electronic parts.

Modest Mouse
The story has it that founding drummer Jeremiah Green left the band in 2003. The band replaced him with Helio Sequence drummer Benjamin Weikel and Green returned the next year. Instead of firing Weikel, they just had two drummers for a while until Weikel quit.
 
Arcade Fire
The most talented person in Arcade Fire might be Régine Chassagne. She dances, plays a variety of instruments including the drums. During live performances, especially since The Suburbs have been released, she often takes a seat behind a second drum set.

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
This Austin band has toned down over the last decade. There are legendary stories of the band throwing all their gear into the Colorado River during a performance at South By Southwest. They don't damage their gear anymore, but they've replaced the intensity by adding a drummer.

Phil Collins
Good Lord, is there a better drum moment than when the drums kick in on "In the Air Tonight"? During Collins' live performances, drummer Chester Thompson holds down the backbeat, but Collins drums on a second drum set for a portion of the set. They even do a drum off.

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17 comments
cthompsoncreative
cthompsoncreative

I'm a little late to this discussion party, but, um, Steely Dan tour n '74 with Jim Hodder and Jeff Porcaro? How many bands were doing that in their touring act back then, and with drummers of that calibre? 

Mark S.
Mark S.

The Doobie Brothers also had two drummers.  You can hear them solo live in the song "Road Angel" on the album "What Once Were Vices Are Now Habits."  Very good.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

I'm gonna assume (shit) that you mean two drum kits being played simultaneaously rather than a drummer and percussionist combo....which would then include a vast number of great (and not so great) acts.  With that in mind, Course of Empire (I'm a homer that loves my locals) needs some shout out.

LAYGO
LAYGO

I couldn't believe the Butthole Surfers omission either. WOW!

Blow
Blow

Chicago, .38 Special, funk brothers, genesis, the dead, Rush (Neil Pert is subhuman, he counts as two)

Steve
Steve

Fuck Radiohead.

Seriously, FUCK Radiohead.

And fuck every fucking Radiohead suckoff fan.

Andy Young
Andy Young

Pretty much every Motown record recorded at Hitsville USA employed the use of two drummers. One playing a "high"part (ride cymbal) and one playing a "low"part (hats or floor tom).

Jonathan
Jonathan

Tortoise and Pavement are pretty forgettable two drummer bands.

Merlick
Merlick

How could you leave out the most legendary two drummer band from Texas? The Butthole Surfers!

me
me

dude, the Dead... as in Grateful Dead, and the Allman Brothers - hell the Allman's two drummers are the only original members LEFT ALIVE, 'cept for Greg. But really, I thought these two acts were the Original Two-Drummer Bands in rock. I must be getting old....

Neff Conner
Neff Conner

Modest Mouse toured w/ Jeremiah Green on 'drums' and Joe Plummer (Bare Minimum, Black Heart Procession, Magic Magicians, presently The Shins) on 'percussion' circa 2007 until the fall of 2011.

Trey
Trey

are you the guy who likes Jack White? ha

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