|I was watching some Queen shows lately and it shows a nice evolution of Roger's drumming.
In the 70s And early 80s he was very fast and had a very agressive approach to the snare/toms/cymbals. Drummed with tons of confidence and he was really on top of his game.
Mid 80s (Works Tour) He wasn't on his best, don't know if it was because of a very heavy touring schedule or because of him playing with an electric kit as a hybrid, but he didn't sound all that great to me. Sometimes abit bored and uninspired, and the electric kit sucked ass for his overall sound. I think he would've been sounding 1000 times better if he only played with an acoustic kit
Mid 80s (Magic Tour) He was back to acoustic and was playing with lots of confidence, doing a great amount of fills, played with agression and he was fast again. What happend? Magic Tour has some of his finest drumming since the late 70s in my opinion.
Freddie Tribute, his drumming was in a small decline, wasn't as fast anymore, lost some confidence, but his wrist was as sharp and agressive as ever!
Queens day (2002) I think that it was one of the lower points in his career. Drumming was rock solid, but he didn't drum with power, and he sounded quite "Boring"
Paul Rodgers period (2005-2006) He was getting back to it's 80s drumming. He lost some agility but he gained "power" He sounded fantastic when he did drumfills and he was again, a very solid drummer.
Paul Rodgers period (2008) He lost power, stopped drumming with the agression that he had 2 years prior. Started to sound a bit "old" for the first time since i've heard him drumming, his decline was noticable.
Adam Lambert (2012-2015) This is his all time low for me. His drumming sounds uninspired alot of times, he sounds exhausted after about 5 songs into the set, he has Rufus playing along (And yes, 70% of the set he is playing along, i saw it with the Rock in Rio show, the show at the Ziggo Dome, and during the Big Ben show) Rufus mostly adds a snare and some of the more demanding drumfills are done by Rufus. He doesn't even drum from his wrist anymore. He rests his arm on the top of the snare and barely moves his wrist, sounds very lifeless and soft/bored or whatever you call it.
He still sounds great on some songs though, playing with that typical Roger groove and feel(Another one bites the dust and Sombody to love spring to min But i still have the feeling that he's done (His voice is still in fantastic form!)
I saw The Stones last year and Charlie watts for example worked his ass of, still beating the shit out of those drums, doing pretty flashy fills (As far as his fills are. But he's still pretty nimble / dynamic / agressie) And sounding rock solid (And he's 75)
Ringo Starr still amazes me aswell, okay.. He isn't a fast drummer, not even in the same league as Charlie Watts, but he still is very rock solid and hasn't missed a damn beat since his hayday with The Beatles.
Those drummers are in a different league of course! But age had a lesser/diferent toll on them. It's pretty sad to see Roger so declined. (Given that both RIngo Starr and Charlie Watts are 7 years older than Roger)
|His best drumming was probably late 70's to early 80's. Very precise and tight drumming. His drumming lately has dramatically changed obviously because of age. But he is still awesome. One of my favorites, definitely.|
|Definitely agree re his drumming while on the shows with Lambert. I was really looking forward to seeing him live in London, but when I did, I was somewhat disappointed. Of course I realise he's now a man in his mid 60s, but I was a bit taken aback, he sounded lifeless. And as you say, Rufus was standing in for him or playing along for most of the show. I don't want to sound too hard on poor Roger, but it does seem like he has lost his edge. I'm not sure if the fact he is a little overweight has anything to do with it - but it might certainly contribute to making him get more easily exhausted.
Brian still sounded amazing though. I was more looking forward to hearing Roger on the drums for some reason, but in the end it was Brian's guitar which I was really happy to hear.
|Yeah exactly. When I saw then live I was disappointed with the drums. I mean.. they even let Rufus drum on tie your mother down.
Brian hasn't lost a step in my opinion. He lost some creativity but he's still as sharp and fast as ever.
BradMay wrote: Brian hasn't lost a step in my opinion. He lost some creativity but he's still as sharp and fast as ever.You say that but I disagree.
Since the demise of Queen, Brian has had more ups and downs with his playing than a roller coaster.
At the tribute concert and on his BTTL tour, he was still Brian May of Queen, but the AW tour showed Brian playing more slowly and many people actually wondered if he'd got arthritic in his fingers.
By the 2005 PR tour, Brian had Jamie Moses backing him up and he was no longer playing "his" guitar parts ala Queen songs: he was playing the Queen "sound" whilst letting Jamie do a lot of the work. Same with the 2008 tour.
By 2012, when they played Hammy with Lambert, Brian had ditched Jamie and had no choice but to play the guitar properly again. I'm glad he did as he's now playing it all himself and having to do what he did with Queen back in the day.
Of course, as each tour progresses, his playing get's sharper and sounds better. I suppose it's all to do with practice - the more you do, the better you get. If you don't use it, you lose it.
I still don't think Brian is anywhere as good as he was in the old days with Fred, but he IS getting older. Even his recorded works of the last decade are distinctively lacking in the speed and power of the Queen era.
That said, the day he decides to pack up that beautiful old Lady of his and stop playing will be one of the saddest days of my life.
|The King Of Rhye
|I agree with BradMay about Roger mostly....he still sounds good IMO though, and his singing is as good as ever (more than you can say for Brian really!)
Rufus is a pretty good 'stand-in' too....I've seen some videos of him playing with The Darkness, even watched a whole show that was streaming on Yahoo a while ago, I think he's better than the drummer that was on their last album.
|I would say it's a combination of age, health and simply not caring enough. But yeah, his drumming is one of the 2 reasons why I don't like the AL collaborations.|
|Maybe my video on Roger's drumming in the 70's can be of interest.
Here's an mp3 of some of his 80's stuff as well, though there's not as much great stuff there, obviously:
I would say that he was at his best all the way from the Smile/early queen period to about 1977 - 79. He had loads of creativity and power behind the kid during those years, both in the studio and live.
His playing got noticeable less energetic on The Game (the album and most notably the tour) and he started to decline, physically as well as creatively from there.
I do agree that he had a brief return to form during the Magic tour, for example Knebworth - not quite to his 70's level, but his playing and technique definitely improved.
|Cruella de Vil
Interesting topic. I think that the diversity of styles Queen embraced in the 1970-1979 period demanded both technical skill, musical creativity and in some cases stamina. (Think of the 'All day long' section in Liar, Tokyo May 1, 1975). Roger had to go beyond being a solid drummer, to a musically creative drummer. By the Game - Works era, (not talking concerts, just studio work) the song styles demanded less of him. By the Paul Rodgers to Adam Lambert period, it had to be said, I feel that his age and physical condition play a part in his agility and stamina. I too was taken aback when they came to Sydney, and saw Rufus basically doubling Roger or taking over completely on TYMD. Even in the last shows of the 2015 South American tour, Stone Cold Crazy was dropped.
However, this being said, at 66 what has he got to apologise about? Why would we expect him to play as he did 44 years ago? The comparison to Charlie Watts is I feel invalid, as Charlie is at heart a jazz drummer: light and detailed. On the whole, Roger got his sound from the likes of John Bonham (volume and tone) and Mitch Mitchell/Ginger Baker (agility and variety) with the craziness of Keith Moon thrown in (remember the end of the guitar solo leading back to Son and Daughter, the lager on the floor toms?). When needed he could slam the shit out of the kit and move about like a jack rabbit on ice.
|Roger's drumming abilities/stamina fell off a cliff by the mid 80's. Can only put it down to weight gain/not rehearsing enough/not touring as much/failing to get back to match fitness. He hadn't toured as a drummer since then until the collab with Paul Rogers - so it's hardly surprising that someone who had already lost their abilities, wouldn't be a particularly impressive drummer when they returned 20 years later!! I remember the Brixtion gig and he looked like he was going to have a heart attack.|
|"He doesn't even drum from his wrist anymore. He rests his arm on the top of the snare and barely moves his wrist, sounds very lifeless and soft/bored or whatever you call it."
Actually that rest on the snare is something he has always done if you look back over the years,
He certainly has slowed down, but I think that's something many drummers do as they get older, Brian's playing is also less fluid than it used to be, age will get you everytime
|70s and Magic Tour had Roger's finest moments in my opinion. It's like he had cyborg arms!|
|During 2014-2015 the toms were small due to the fact that the drum set could not fit under the giant moving Q, so they used them and the microphones were set up below the drums instead of above.
From 1981-82 till The Works 1985, Roger showed some good drumming,
1)Styaing Power live
2)Dragon Attack live 1982
3)Liar 1982 live
4)Now I'm here live 1982 and Put out the fire live 1982
5)Body language (stupid song but hard rythm)
7)Keep passing the open windows very tricky
8)Radio ga ga live
9)Hammer to fall (solid drumming like NIH studio)
From the Game he is great and full of ideas on Dragon Attack, Sail away sweet sister and PTG
From the Magic til Innuendo he had a return to dynamic, clever and bright ideas drumming, not the same level as 70s but very good
|Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
I don't agree with the some views about Roger drumming over the years. Of course, in the beginning of the first Paul Rogers tour he was out of shape, but when they reached Japan that year it was a joy to watch and listen to Roger play again. In their first American US tour in 2006 Roger was on top form again, singing IILWMC like a pro.
On the second Paul Rogers tour when they toured South America, Roger was on top form again. He would play the drum solo and then he would sing AKOM while playing the drums. Fantastic!
On this Adam Lambert tour, he started very safe. I believe that he was checking how his body would react to the concerts. That's why he was so more confident as time went on. He invited his son probably to help him get into show business and keep him out of trouble, but i agree that in the first shows it was very noticeable that he was playing safe, like on "Stone Cold Crazy", but by the time they got to Madison Square Garden he was on fire again. The tempo of SCC was insane on that show because of Roger. The fact that Roger has is son helping him contributes to the fact that Roger looks more relaxed behind drumms and even let's his son doing some fills, but that doean't mean he couldn't do it himself by now. In fact, by the time the AL tour reached Europe, Roger was again on his top form, and he was on his very best at the show where Freddie's mom and sister were attending- Nottingham. Clearly both him and Brian have a new founded life because of the prospect of being members of a touring band again.
I'm a huge Roger fan, and in my opinion he is a better drummer now than he was in the seventies. I'm not saying he's faster, because it would be stupid to say that, but he is a much better musician (so is Brian!), and the way he plays the drumms is much more pleasing to the ears. In fact, there are some songs that i only started to really appreciate to listen to on their Paul Rogers tour, because they've slowed things down, and the music and instruments could breath. Fat Bottomed Girls is a good example of this. And their version of "Let me entertain you" in 79 is shit!
Faster isn't always better, and even though i will always defend Queen with Freddie, fact is that some songs during the 78-80 were shit because they played it too fast!
So, in my opinion both Brian and Roger are better at their instruments now than they were when Freddie was alive. "I Was Born To Love You" live in South Korea and Japan last year is a great example of this.
Roger is more relaxed behind drumms because he has learned to use his body wisely. He's more efficient with his playing and he's very good at saving the so much needed energy, but it gives me much more pleasure to listen to him now than ever before.
Just one last thing, Roger Taylor was the star of the Freddie Mercury tribute. Until today i wasn't aware that some people saw Roger in decline in that concert because if anything he played better on that concert than in all Magic tour. The way he played songs like TSMGO, "All the Young Dudes", and the best version of SCC is just extraordinary!
And to end this post, here's Roger being the Boss in Under Pressure in Porto Alegre September 2015:
It's easy if one only sees one concert where Roger wasn't so inspired, to reach some innacurate conclusions about his playing, but i followed all the tours, and i've listen to almost every concert of QAL, and i can say that Roger ended in a crescendo again. I even mentioned in Queenonline that he reached a level in 2015 that was the best since Freddie's tribute.
Here's a video from the concert in Notingham 2015. This was the concert were in my opinion Roger peaked again:
I'm very happy the way things are going for Brian and Roger that are still able to play so good.
|That last link had some pretty nice drumming for sure.
He was an amazing musician in the 70's, adding tons of details to the songs both in the studio and live. With AL, he completely ignores all the cymbal accents that compliment the riff in SCC, and plays very few of the bass drum notes. He drags significantly in songs like Dragon Attack and Don't Stop Me now to the point that they almost seem like they're going to stop, which is about the worst thing a drummer can do. He recently stopped dragging in Dragon Attack when he started skipping the 16ths on the high hat though (which unfortunately kinda kills the groove).
In my opinion he is unable to deliver drumming with enough precision, energy and attention to detail in many of their songs. I can understand if you appreciate the softer touch over his harder hitting self in the 70's live concerts (though he was just as delicate then when he had to be), but as someone who's more into Queen's heavier and more bombastic part of their catalogue, I can't agree with his drumming being more "pleasing" to the ears. Let Me Entertain You sounds absolutely incredible on Live Killers. Maybe you're just not very into hard rock?
|Well said, Mr. Queen fan. Rog is playing acording to his age. I recently saw him in Porto Alegre and Buenos Aires (he was on fire) and those show remembered me why I starded to play drums. Hi is still the engine of Queen music and that makes me really happy.|
|Precision is the one thing he still has and good general rhythm, unlike he's son Rufus who doesn't has the talent, my opinion was set by listening to AKOM and TYMD same to be said by Taylor Hawkins covering Queen songs.
And yes RT does not give a shit anymore... if he did then things would be different.
|If he's as good as he was, why does he need Rufus there? That's a rhetorical question btw. The answer is so painfully obvious no reply is needed.|
|At the risk of repeating myself frm the other thread, The kit was NOT chosen due to the moving Q, Roger selected smaller toms for reasons that I can only assume were based on the fact he liked the tone, larger toms make no difference to the footprint of the kit, they only had to find another way to mic it without boom stands, but the kit itself was not selected to fit under the Q.
As for playing with his son, I can totally understand why he'd want to do that, speaking as a drummer, there is nothing more enjoyable than sharing teh stage with your kids when they can play, rock drumming is VERY hard work once you get past 50, yes he's slowed down, but his timing is still right up there, as is the passion, so he may not do the manic 1000 beats a min drum solo anymore, but he, it's a bit old hat now anyway, he will always be my favorite drummer, I very much doubt the other rock gods would be any different had they lived, Moon, Bonham etc, they crashed out too early, but no way would Moonie be playing in the same way in his 60's
Togg wrote: I very much doubt the other rock gods would be any different had they lived, Moon, Bonham etc, they crashed out too early, but no way would Moonie be playing in the same way in his 60'sI agree, but there are plenty if older drummers still touring.
Neil Peart, Ian Paiste, Ginger Baker John Goglan from the original Quo line up, Charlie Watts.
While I agree that age changes your approach and capabilities all of these players seem to be playing to a higher level than RT.
This doesn't take away my liking of what Roger does and I certainly wouldn't criticize and claim he can't do it anymore.
Vocal harmony wrote: Neil Peart, Ian Paiste, Ginger Baker John Goglan from the original Quo line up, Charlie Watts. While I agree that age changes your approach and capabilities all of these players seem to be playing to a higher level than RT.Peart cant drum properly and will retire very soon, according to Geddy Lee. Of course he still can play, but Rush's songs are very technical!
Roger suffers from arthritis on a few fingers, so it may be the reason why his drumming is having lots of ups and downs.
|I think there's no doubt age and the lack of touring in the 90's played a big part for Roger, but actually technicall he overplayed and hit too hard when he was younger, some more technical drummers would say his style was rather manic, these days is just as good at playing for the song which is what he always claimed he did, but he's slowed down somewhat, speaking as a drummer in my 50's me too...
I don't agree that Ginger Baker is the same as he was back in the 60's, never much cared for him to be honest, but if you watch the Cream concerts at the reunion he was definately not the same guy, still bloody good but he slowed down too, Paiste is still much thesame I reckon, Watts never really was a true Rock drummer, his Jazz influence kept him more focused. Peart is a God, and I can imagine that if he finds he misses one beat he will beat himself up for days and then retire...
|^^^^ agreed but I can't help thinking the changes in Roger's playing are more obvious than others.
I'm sure that his lack of touring in the 90's, and only sporadically the last ten years, has effected what he does.
Interesting comments about his playing in the 70's. A friend of mine is a professional drum tutor and his view is the RT is a far better and more thoughtful ( live ) player now than he was in the 70's.
|Roger is a more thoughtful drummer yeah, he plays more restricted due to age. But he stopped doing random fills and crashes every odd second.
I still stand by my words that Charlie Watts (Although he is a jazz drummer in a Rock & Roll band) Is a far superior drummer nowadays. I was watching a Stones show tonight and the man still hits those cymbals and toms and snare like his life depends on it. Hard to believe he's 7 years older.