Top Drummers in Garage Rock

Francis Scott Key White • White Mystery • Chicago, IL

Time to give the drummer some…

…help loading gear into the club, and perhaps, a doobie. While garage rock is perceived as “raw and energetic,” the drummers of the genre are incredibly disciplined, hardworking musicians. Today we honor the heartbeat of the band, whose blood, sweat, and tears drive every performance. Here are eleven essential drummers you need to know.

Max Hiersteiner • Dirty Fences, Metalleg, Josephine • New York City

Don’t let his hilarious antics and “class clown” persona fool you, Max “Hersh Guy” Hiersteiner is an incredibly disciplined performer. Besides being a rock solid skin pounder, Max is a gifted skateboarder and athlete, and perhaps the funniest and most charming man we have the pleasure of knowing. Check him out in the Dirty Fences music video Judy Don’t Go.

Lamont Thomas • OBNOX • Cleveland, Ohio

To call Lamont “Bim” Thomas merely a drummer would be a massive understatement. Bim is a multi-instrumentalist, poet, producer, engineer, and exists in the highest echelon of rock and roll generals. He is a seasoned veteran of the Cleveland scene, a rock solid comrade in the trenches, and a true friend. Enjoy this rippin’ video “Molecule” from Obnox, one of his many projects.

Erin Emslie • Hunx and His Punx • Los Angeles, California

Erin is the glamorous beat queen of rock’n’roll dreams. She’s the plucky drummer in Hunx and His Punx, the groovy bass player and lead singer in The Time Flys, among many projects. Erin Emslie has traveled the world playing rock n’ roll since most of you were in diapers. Watch her demolish the drums at a skate park in California.

Emi Morimoto • Shonen Knife • Osaka, Japan

If there was an award for the best posture in rock, Emi, formerly of Shonen Knife, would win it. Perched in a perfectly upright stance with a disciplined smile, Emi is a force of nature to behold. With her badass gloves and Angelic singing voice, she is the beat baroness of Osaka, Japan. When White Mystery toured with Shonen Knife back in 2012, her song “Psychedelic Life” was our favorite.

Jose Ceniceros • Monarchy Over Monday• Chicago, IL

Jose reminds me of a younger version of myself, if I had ten times more talent. Jose is the perfect combination of tight control and explosive volatility. He commands the stage and his band with shocking authority for his young age, while keeping guessing as to where his groove is going next. Keep an eye on this young star and watch Monarchy Over Monday cover The Replacements, “Alex Chilton.

Mike Shoun • Thee Ohsees • San Francisco, California

Mike is fucking amazing. His legendary tenure in the golden age lineup of Thee Oh Sees spawned hundreds of soundalikes and wannabes. His legacy as a worldwide touring musician is forever revered by the real rock and roll community, and his work ethic and drive was so mighty he needed to be replaced by two drummers. Watch his legendary performance of “The Dream” at Pitchfork Music Fest in 2012.

Cedric Walker • The Black Tones • Seattle, Washington

If White Mystery was one half of a Ying Yang, our other half would be The Black Tones, featuring Cedric and his twin sister Eva. Raw chemistry, effortless telepathy, and overflowing with charisma, Cedric and his sister are a force to be reckoned with. Watch them holler for they’re mama!

Karissa Talanian • Strychnine, Wet Piss, Eye Vybe • Chicago, IL
Photo by Lee Klawans

Karissa is one of the most determined drummers we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing develop over the course of a decade. She rocks a 5 piece all-maple Pearl Decade kit, and possesses a truly unique style. She’s the backbone of Wet Piss, Les Strychnine, Lil Tits, Plastic Crimewave Syndicate, and Negative Scanner, and is the CEO of her own tape cassette label Eye Vibe Records.

Connor Brodner • Twin Peaks • Chicago, IL
Photo by Ian Laidlaw

Connor “Hammer Strength” Brodner is a true product of Chicago. Broad shouldered, determined, and unrelenting, he is the blue collar engine behind the world famous rock band Twin Peaks. A product of Chicago Public Schools and raised in the back yard DIY scene, Connor is a no nonsense hard worker that earned every bit of success that came his way. Check out this rad video for “Flavor.

Stef Roti • Yoko and The Oh No’s • Chicago, IL
Photo by Sound Dessert

There are certain drummers in the DIY scene that prove themselves to be strong backbones of not just their bands, but their entire communities. Stef is an incredibly focused and trained drummer in Yoko and The Oh No’s, as well as a talented booker, promoter, and business woman. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Check out the amazing Yoko and The Oh No’s video Love U.

Alejandro Morales • Running • Chicago, IL
Photo by NRML

There is more to be said about Alejandro than this post can contain. He was a true artist, a brutal noise musician, and a frenetic and overwhelming drummer. He was an activist, a social worker, and a dear friend to all that knew him. He gave much of his own energy to lifting up those around him and propelling them to greatness. May his memory be eternal and his music be blasted at the great DIY show in the sky. Please enjoy this amazing video of Running at The Empty Bottle.

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