Chops Are Back: Carter Beauford’s Prime Cuts

Carter Beauford Prime Cuts

Carter Beauford

Every decade, a few drummers rise to become dominant role models for the next generation of drummers, due not only to their undeniable talent and unique styles, but also to their membership in monstrously popular bands. Ringo Starr, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Stewart Copeland, Lars Ulrich, and Travis Barker have all proven to be huge influences on their era’s young drummers. The Dave Matthews Band’s Carter Beauford certainly belongs on this elite list. Not only does he possess the chops, groove, and skill necessary — he has a unique and unusual approach that separates his playing from the herd. He grooves, often without sticking to a consistent pattern, frequently embellishing ideas, depending on the music at that moment. It’s an improvisational approach common to jazz, but rare, or perhaps frequently stifled, in pop music. But the DMB is the exception to the rule. These reigning kings of “frat rock” seem to have none of the usual ingredients of successful bands. Mix together DMB’s unusual instrumentation, quirky melodies, and unusual arrangements, and you have a recipe for success that must completely bewilder A&R honchos. And with DMB undertaking a long tour this summer, you might want to take a close look at some of those confounding drum parts for yourself.

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