Ben Dumas: On My Playlist

It was only a matter of time before the country-rock spirit of the ’70s was resurrected by a gang of harmony-loving music mavericks, including drummer Ben Dumas. Whether it’s the laurel Canyon acid-fry of “hard Wind” or the Muscle shoals organ of “The Ceiling” from the Nashville band’s self-titled debut, you can always count on Dumas’ comfy pocket and perfectly chosen beats. We managed to catch the 32-year-old on a rare break at home in Nashville, where he was spoiling his Chihuahua mixes, Rocky and Rambo, while letting us in on the sources of his telepathic feel and consistent innovation.

THE MAN Max Weinberg
THE JAM “hungry heart” by Bruce Springsteen
DRUM MOMENT “Max’s beat is so sparse and spacious. It’s really laid back, yet delivered with so much power. The way he drags the backbeat but rushes the fills creates this fun sense of urgency. it’s like the rest of the band wants to run away with the song, but Max is taking his time, killing that groove. it’s making my heart hungry just thinking about it.”

THE MAN Jimmy Chamberlin
THE JAM “Geek USA” by Smashing Pumpkins
DRUM MOMENT “This entire performance is an all-out tour de force. Some of the fills he lays in there are white-hot. I do not understand how the drumming during the guitar solos is so ferocious yet so precise. His accuracy and control are unrivaled here without ever sounding like someone plainly exercising chops. He’s just destroying everything.”

THE MAN Danny Carey
THE JAM “Forty-Six & 2” by Tool
DRUM MOMENT “I could go on and on about how Danny Carey brilliantly crafts super tricky grooves that don’t sound tricky to the listener. I hate drum solos, but that thing he does in the breakdown is a bona fide drum solo. And it’s amazing. And melodic. How is a drum solo melodic? I don’t know, but there it is. Topped off with one of those fills I hear and think, ’Well, I’ll never be able to pull off that one.’”

THE MAN Mick Fleetwood
THE JAM “What Makes You Think You’re The One” by Fleetwood Mac
DRUM MOMENT “I am really fascinated by Mick Fleetwood’s drumming. It’s so unconventional at times yet always so listenable and satisfying. This song I certainly do not understand. He doesn’t really play a groove, but he makes the song groove so hard somehow. It sounds like he is just hitting random things most of the time. It’s about as good as in-the-moment drumming can get.”

THE MAN Lee Harris
THE JAM “After The Flood” by Talk Talk
DRUM MOMENT “The Godfather of post-rock drumming? An anti-drum moment? Seriously though. He just lays with that beat the entire time and lets it simmer while the other instruments do whatever it is they are doing. It’s so hypnotic. And so sexy. He gives the song so much movement without barely doing anything at all.”

THE MAN Phil Selway
THE JAM “Exit Music (For A Film)” by Radiohead
DRUM MOMENT “Phil Selway is a master of knowing exactly what to play, when to play, and how it should sound. Here he waits almost three-fourth’s of the way through to make some action. His opening fill is perfection. Then, with a groove so painfully thick and sexy, he takes the song to explosive heights. After just about a minute he’s already back out of the song, making the listener wonder if that even happened.”