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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Matt Cameron

52. Matt Cameron

More than any other drummer, Matt Cameron laid the rhythmic foundation for the Nineties rock revolution, reconciling proggy technicality with overwhelming force. He aptly characterized his rotary-blade rhythms on the 1991 Soundgarden track "Jesus Christ Pose" as "a pure assault of the senses," but that efficient brutality wasn't necessarily characteristic of Cameron's work with the band – his drumming on Superunknown is as thoughtful as it is heavy, from the fluid asymmetry of "Spoonman" to the unshakeable backbeat of "Fell on Black Days." Twenty years after its release, Dave Grohl was still raving, "Nobody played drums like Matt." When Soundgarden suddenly disbanded in 1997, Cameron wasn't out of work for long: Pearl Jam invited him on tour the following year. "They didn't try to tone me down at all," he told an interviewer near the beginning of his ongoing stint with the band. "I'm kind of known for playing weird, crazy fills and sometimes playing things I shouldn't be playing, but they loved it — at least that's what they told me."

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