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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18. Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste

Rolling Stone reporter Joe McEwen once described Zigaboo Modeliste's drumming technique as throwing "standard technique to the wind… punching out rollicking… rhythms with a stiff-armed attack." That pugilistic style, a powerful hallmark of Modeliste's work with the Meters in the early 1970s, solidified his status as one of the most lyrical funk drummers of all time. Modeliste’s style was steeped in the second-line tradition of his native New Orleans, where generations of drummers blueprinted a linear, almost melodic style of syncopation. On Meters' songs like "Cissy Strut" and "Just Kissed My Baby," Modeliste's stick work practically makes the trap set sing. After leaving the Meters in the mid-Seventies he continued to prove his talent for bringing a homegrown approach to the wider musical world by working with rock luminaries like Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

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