Don’t worry. I’m not trying to dredge up the age-old debate about who was the better drummer. But I have long had a theory that every drummer falls into one of two categories: either a Krupa or a Rich (that’s right, either Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich). You see, I think that infamous friendly feud helped to define generations of drummers that followed them. And it doesn’t matter what style you play, how old or young you are, your grip and pedal techniques, and so on.
According to my theory, drummers who incessantly attempt to break speed records, use outrageous techniques, play bombastic drum solos, and dominate the bandstand fall into the Rich category. On the other hand, I consider drummers that are content to groove hard with the ensemble, look for opportunities to add little accents and colors, and use solos to make melodic musical statements to be Krupas.
Okay, let’s pick some drummer duos who hail from approximately the same generation to further define the categories. During the ’60s, Ringo Starr was a Krupa and Keith Moon was a Rich. During the ’70s, Jim Keltner was a Krupa and Mitch Mitchell was a Rich. During the ’80s, Jeff Porcaro was a Krupa and Terry Bozzio was a Rich. I could go on. And on.
I consider myself a Krupa. How about you?