When it comes to metal drummers of the 21st Century, nobody could claim to be more iconic than Joey Jordison. Behind the kit with Slipknot, helped bring extreme metal motifs to mainstream audiences, whilst building an enviable CV playing with everyone from Rob Zombie and Ministry to Korn, Satyricon and Metallica when Lars Ulrich took ill at Download Festival, as well as further exploring his love for extremity in the groups Vimic and Sinsaenum.
Joey's passing on July 26, 2021 saw an outpouring of grief from across the metal world, everyone from metal fans and his peers to the icons that had helped inspire him highlighting just how much of a force of nature he had been and how his passion for music was always at the forefront of his mind.
In 2016, Hammer sat down with Joey to find out which drummers he ranked above all others. These were his picks.
“I remember being about five years old in 1981”, Jordison said, “and hearing my parents play Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones. They were big vinyl collectors and huge music fans, and they were still young so they’d always be cranking music late at night. Little T&A is still my favourite Stones song. Keith fucking Richards, man. He’s out of his fucking mind on that track – and it rules. And the funny thing about that is when you’re a kid you ask your parents, ‘What does T&A mean?’ But that’s still to this day my favourite Rolling Stones song, and Tattoo You was pretty much my introduction to my musical career.
“After that it was Quadrophenia by The Who, and Led Zeppelin, I, II, III and IV”, he adds. “But my favourite Led Zeppelin album, which is also a counterpart to how I started really playing drums, is In Through the Out Door. That record is fucking amazing, man. In the Evening is one of the heaviest and most haunting songs ever written. That record will blow your fucking mind. Music doesn’t hit me today like it did then. Those are the records that made me do what I’m doing today, and they never leave.”
John Bonham (Led Zeppelin)
“I have to start with John Bonham. When I was listening to Led Zeppelin II when I was real young, the drums on that record were so fucking heavy, but I didn’t fully understand the capacity of how talented that band was until much later on. All I knew was that I was infected by the music. As I got older and my uncle would play me all of Bonham’s solos, I got totally hooked.”
Neil Peart (Rush)
“Another record that reminds me of that time was Rush’s 2112. That record fucking blew my mind when I was young. I have to hand it to my uncle for introducing me to lots of great heavy rock whilst I was growing up, and 2112 set my heart on fire as far as thinking, ‘Oh my god, how can someone play like that?’ I still can’t play like Neil Peart! But I give it a shot. These guys never cease to amaze me and records like that never ever get old; they only get better with age, like a fine wine.”
Keith Moon (The Who)
“As I said earlier, my parents used to play me Quadrophenia all the time whilst I was growing up, and I’ve mentioned this a lot before, but Keith Moon was one of the most eccentric, fast and crazy drummers of all time. There’s never going to be another one like him; you can’t duplicate him.
It’s the same thing with Bonham, and it’s the same thing with Neil Peart. These are dudes that I still look up to, and I still practice along to them even though there’s no way I can get close to their majesty. It’s not like he went to drum school either; this shit comes from the heart.”
Bill Ward (Black Sabbath)
“I will say forever that Bill Ward is the best heavy metal drummer of all time. He has the ultimate fucking groove and swing, and he has the ultimate jazz, the ultimate heaviness, and the ultimate rock, all in one. You can’t learn that, man. That stuff comes from within. Master of Reality is one of my favourite records ever made – it’s actually in my kitchen at home, on my record player.
Vol. 4 still blows my mind as well, and the vibe that Bill Ward brings is insane. When Slipknot toured with Black Sabbath I got to hang out with him; it’s so weird how life turns and you get to meet and become friends with your heroes. He’s the whole reason I’m here today and he was so humble and great. You can’t ask for anything better than that.”
Lars Ulrich (Metallica)
“A lot of people give this guy shit, but they need to shut their fucking mouths because Lars Ulrich is probably one of the best and most innovative drummers ever. I got to tour with the guy and I watched him play every night from behind the kit, and his double bass was completely on point. He’s also one of the best businessmen that keeps this type of music going; he’s the heart of the whole fucking community, because Metallica are the kings.
There’ll never be anybody that will match them, and Lars is a huge, huge part of that. Without that guy, and the influence of that band, I wouldn’t even be sitting here talking to you. Lars is one of my gods and he always will be. That guy fucking rules, period. So when I got the call asking if I’d fill in for him at Download Festival, of course I knew everything because he’s one of my hugest influences.
I remember playing to his shit all the time growing up and trying to be as good as him. Our technical abilities are way different but I’ll still never be as good as that guy, and getting to sit in his stool was one of the biggest fucking dreams come true. What an honour. I love that dude.”
Charlie Benante (Anthrax)
“I grew up listening to Anthrax, and Charlie Benante is still on fucking fire. Most people can’t catch up to that dude; he is absolutely on point at all times. I busted my ass trying to learn the double bass parts to A Skeleton In The Closet as a kid, and I’d drive my parents crazy playing it over and over again trying to catch up to his speed.
He’s hugely responsible for training me whilst I was growing up, and he’s absolutely one of my biggest heroes of all time. And he still looks fucking good and he’s still in great shape, and he’s playing better than ever right now. I was listening to Among the Living in 1987 when I was in seventh grade, and I’m fucking 40 now and he still rules. That’s what I call influence; people like that do not lose the fire, man.”
Brann Dailor (Mastodon)
“Brann Dailor is absolutely one of my best friends, but I’m not just putting him in the list because of that. We’re counterparts, even though our styles are completely different; he appreciates my drumming and I appreciate his. His style is so fucking badass. He has like a six piece kit and he makes it sound like there are 50 fucking thousand drums being played.
He’s one of the best drummers in this day and age. He’s almost unbeatable. He’s total old school prog metal, and not a lot of people can pull that off. So Brann Dailor is absolutely one of my heroes. He writes a lot of the band’s lyrics as well, so it’s not only his playing but also the whole vision that he comes up with. I can’t say enough good things about that guy; he’s fucking killer.”
Danny Heifetz (Ex-Mr. Bungle)
“I think Danny Heifetz is probably one of the most underrated drummers that there is. His technique is almost unsurpassed; the way he switches from jazz into metal is fucking weird because you have to have those two different styles. And Mr. Bungle is one of my favourite bands of all time. They’re unbeatable in that type of genre and no one will ever match them. I play to Mr. Bungle a lot at home, and I get and I can play it but it isn’t the same. You cannot match that dude.”
“I obviously share a counterpart with Attila [Csihar] in Sinsaenum, and in the black metal genre Hellhammer is the best that there is. There’s always people coming up that might be faster or tighter, but the difference is the vibe, and Hellhammer has the fucking vibe.
The first time I met him I was on tour with the Murderdolls and he was playing with the band The Kovenant – who were like a techno, black and roll type band – and I was already a huge fan. I still listen to his stuff all the time and he never disappoints and he never ceases to amaze me. He blows everyone away; you can tell from his double bass and blasts and fills that he’s in a different world.”
Dave Lombardo (Slayer/Fantômas)
“Dave Lombardo is the fucking master. I’ve said this in a couple of interviews, but in 1986 all I wanted was Slayer’s Reign In Blood, and I got it in my fucking Easter basket – that’s how cool my parents were. Now, that record is the best fucking speed metal/thrash metal hybrid of all time. It will never be beaten, period.
Lombardo is the fucking speed metal god of drums. He will never be matched. His intensity still to this day blows my mind. I got to tour with the guy, and not only that but he’s one of my fucking friends now, and he’s one of the sweetest guys on earth. And the reason he can play the way he does is because he has no ego. He goes up on stage and he becomes the drums; he doesn’t play the drums, he is the drums.
He’s my ultimate influence as far as this type of music goes. Fantômas are the ultimate supergroup, too. When I first heard about them I was like, ‘That’s my dream band right there. Mike Patton, Buzz Osbourne, Trevor Dunn and Dave Lombardo; it doesn’t get any better than that.’
I watched them play live at The Troubadour [legendary nightclub in West Hollywood, California] when we were making the first Slipknot record, and I can’t even put into words what I saw that night. It was the most insane fucking show I’ve ever seen; it was magic. You always see one show in your life that you think, ‘I wish I could go back and relive that’, and that’s the show I wish I could go back and see, at The Troubadour in 1998. Of course I’ve seen Slayer live a bunch of times, and Slayer are one of my favourite bands of all time, but that Fantômas gig showed me that no one can touch that man. So Lombardo is my ultimate drum hero.”