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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Glenn Kotche
John D. Shearer/BEI/Rex82/100

82. Glenn Kotche

Surrounded onstage by what bandleader Jeff Tweedy calls his "in-Glenn-tions," Glenn Kotche brings Wilco an orchestral percussionist's sensibility, an indie rocker's experimental urges and some solid dad-rock chops. Kotche, who joined the band in time for their sea-change album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, has outfitted his kit with a vibraphone, MIDI effects, gongs, a hubcap, tuned antique cymbals, pellet-filled ping-pong balls and an air tube connected to his floor tom. He sometimes "prepares" his drums by laying chains on them or scattering beads and rice across drumheads. In his own compositions, Kotche explores accidental and coincidental rhythms (i.e., unintentional polyrhythms) in collaboration with So Percussion and other adventurous contemporary music ensembles. "I think he's one of the world's greatest drummers," said Tweedy, "and we have an incredible musical trust." To which the Jim Keltner–John Cage hybrid would reply, "I'm there to serve the songs."

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