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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Dave Grohl
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27. Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl's relentless, brawny drumming – forged in Washington, D.C.'s Eighties punk scene – was the perfect wallop needed to take Seattle's Nirvana from independent grunge band to multi-platinum icons. "Kurt had called me up and said, 'I have the best drummer in the world now. He plays louder and harder than anybody I've ever met,'" Nevermind producer Butch Vig told Grohl biographer Martin James. "And I'm like, 'Yeah, right.' But they were totally right. … There were no mics on [the drums] in this room and they were just as loud acoustically as the amps!" Grohl honed his unique style in the D.C. suburbs playing on pillows with thick marching band snare sticks: "That’s why I started hitting the drums so hard," he told Spin in 1997, "playing on pillows, pushing down and pulling up with these fucking bats listening to 'Violent Pacification' by D.R.I. I’d do that until the windows in my bedroom were dripping with condensation from the sweat in the room. It was like a workout tape."

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