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A Drummer's Perspective (Book Review)

Friday, 07 January 2011 Written by Dave Ball
A Drummer's Perspective (Book Review)

Pretty much every music fan has sat and wondered what it must be like to look out from a stage at a packed crowd hanging on your every move. Well wonder no more as David Phillips’ newly released book ‘A Drummer's Perspective’ gives you the best view in the house.

Having spent years working in the drumming industry, as well as being a drummer himself, Phillips is uniquely qualified to shoot images which show every element of the drummer’s view of a performance. Usually parked at the back of a stage, often out of the spotlights, photographing drummers is an incredibly difficult task. Combine the awkward stage placement with the constantly moving limbs and you have a photographer’s nightmare.

What Phillips has done here is combine a huge variety of shots of drummers from a whole variety of backgrounds. While many will immediately be drawn towards the pictures taken from behind the drummers head looking out onto a packed arena, such as the cover shot of Judas Priest’s Scott Travis, this book gives you much more than just that. Also captured are drummers at small convention type events, during sound checks in front of cavernous, empty spaces and backstage relaxing.

The range of featured artists also spreads across every genre you can imagine. As expected the heavyweights of rock drumming are featured with the likes of Dave Grohl, Nicko McBrain and Joey Castillo but there are also many other, lesser known drummers playing lesser known percussion such as Alex Acuna on cajon and timbales. There are images of complex kits from the likes of Terry Bozzio and Neil Peart, simple 3 piece kits and electronic kits giving an insight into the individuality of a drum kit to its player.

Bringing the pictures to life are short paragraphs detailing where the shot was taken and quick anecdotes about the drummer or venue which add to the overall experience of looking through this collection of exceptional music photography.

Picking favourite pictures from the over 200 in total is a tough task and every time I open the book again I seem to have a new favourite but I'll have a go at detailing my top three. First up that stands out the most to me is the view from Dominic Howard's (Muse) kit looking out at an empty Wembley stadium from on top of a Perspex stand. Next would be the close up shot of the snare used by Brent Fitz while on tour with Slash, detailing the incredible custom paint job he’d had done for that tour. Finally, the truly astonishing photograph of Joey Jordison of Slipknot in mid air on a riser which lifts him from the stage and turns him upside down during a solo.

As a drummer I found this book both interesting and inspiring but it’s something that all music fans will appreciate. In the book's sleeve notes Phillips says, ‘I want to put drummers in the spotlight and offer a photographic celebration of the world of drumming’, he has certainly done that and then some.

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