100 Greatest Drummers of All Time

From rock thunder machines to punk powerhouses, we count down the kings and queens of slam

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Phil Rudd
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86. Phil Rudd

Longtime AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has recently has received more ink for threatening to kill a former employee and for possessing meth and weed than he has in all his 29 years of simple, rock-solid beats and immaculate timing. That's a shame, since Rudd's economic style and monster groove helped pave the way for the iconic band's stardom. One of the most consistent minimalists in hard-rock drumming, Rudd influenced a wave of international players from Rammstein's Christoph Schnieider to Kiss' Eric Singer. "He lays it down in the most economical, yet effective way," Singer said. "His feel is really the heart and soul of the band." Rudd joined AC/DC in 1975, replacing Peter Clark, and played on seven studio albums before vocalist Bon Scott died from "death by misadventure." Following a bout with substance abuse and a physical altercation with rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, Rudd was fired in 1983. He returned to AC/DC in late 1993 and played on another four albums — his lean, mean trademark feel remained gloriously intact on 2014's Rock or Bust — before derailing in his recent scandal.

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