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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Vinnie Colaiuta
100
Vinnie Colaiuta49/100

49. Vinnie Colaiuta

"Before I saw him, I could figure things out," Devo drummer Josh Freese told Drum! "He was the first guy I saw close-up and just didn't get what he was doing." According to the infinitely demanding Frank Zappa, Vinnie Colaiuta took "first prize" when it came to supplying complementary polyrhythms to his guitar solos "on the moment" — look no further than the intricate guitar-drum confabulations of Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar for proof. But Colaiuta is also a master of restrained finesse, in demand by everyone from Herbie Hancock to Joni Mitchell to Sting. "You're not there to show off a bunch of crap or be the center of attention," he says of his job. "You're there to blend in and be a part of it."

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