John Bonham’s Favorite Drummer Revealed
John Bonham - Bent Christiansen / Youtube
John Bonham, the legendary drummer of Led Zeppelin, left an indelible mark on the world of rock music with his innovative style and technical prowess. Known for his thunderous beats and intricate rhythms, Bonham’s influence on subsequent generations of drummers cannot be overstated. While his own greatness is widely acknowledged, the question of who Bonham considered his favorite drummer has long intrigued fans and fellow musicians. In exploring this question, the name that emerges is that of jazz drummer and bandleader, Gene Krupa.
The Impact of Bonham’s Drumming
John Bonham revolutionized rock drumming with his fusion of jazz techniques, hard rock sensibilities, and exceptional skill. His off-beat rhythms, mastery of the bass drum and triplets, and versatility across different musical formats set a new standard in the field. Even the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix was awe-struck by Bonham’s powerful drumming, remarking on his incredible right foot.
Neil Peart and Bonham’s Influence
Neil Peart, the highly regarded drummer of Rush, regarded Bonham as one of his all-time favorites. Peart acknowledged Bonham’s influence during his formative years, mentioning how Led Zeppelin and Bonham’s use of triplets on the bass drum inspired him. Peart developed his own style by incorporating variations on Bonham’s techniques, applying them not only in solos but also in songs.
Moby Dick and Bonham’s Innovative Style
Bonham’s renowned drum solo in “Moby Dick” showcased his groundbreaking style. Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain commended Bonham’s mastery of the fast right foot technique, the use of doubles, and the skillful manipulation of triplets on the bass drum. The speed and intricate rhythm patterns displayed in “Moby Dick” left an enduring impact on fellow musicians.
Gene Krupa: Bonham’s Musical Idol
While Bonham never explicitly named his favorite drummer, his admiration for Gene Krupa, a jazz drummer and bandleader, is well-documented. Bonham often referred to Krupa as “God,” highlighting the profound influence he had on him. Krupa is recognized as one of the original pioneers of drumming and a trailblazer in his own right. Neil Peart noted that Krupa’s influence on drumming was so significant that without him, drummers like Keith Moon and ultimately Bonham himself would not have existed.
Gene Krupa’s energetic style and charismatic showmanship captivated a young Bonham. He idolized Krupa’s distinctive drumming style, which he first encountered while watching the 1956 biopic “The Benny Goodman Story,” in which Krupa portrayed the legendary swing drummer. Bonham’s brother, Michael, shared that the film had a profound impact on him, and from that moment, Gene Krupa became his musical idol.