Who's Your Favorite Drummer? Bell Gardens' Charlie Woodburn Answers

Charlie Woodburn
Charlie Woodburn

"What's the biggest misconception about drummers?"

"That we're not musical," answers Charlie Woodburn. "I think they're definitely the heartbeat of the band and with arranging, they help out a lot with that. I guess because we don't play an instrument that makes a melody, but you've gotta have a beat."

Woodburn has been working behind the drum kit since childhood. He played in his first band, Sub Pop Culture, as a junior high student just outside of Dallas, Texas. Later on, he moved to Austin and joined indie band Furry Things, which brought him to Los Angeles by the end of the '90s. After that group's demise, he embarked on a string of session gigs and and other projects. Today, Woodburn plays with six different outfits. His main band is Bell Gardens, but he also performs with Sarah Radle, Scott Watson, The Digs and subs for Artichoke and Hexham Heads. Tonight, Woodburn will join Radle on stage at Spaceland and, on Saturday, he plays Bootleg Theater with Bell Gardens.

Drummers can almost float through the music scene anonymously. It's not often that you'll see an interview with one outside of a publication for drummers. Trying to get a shot of one on stage can be a difficult feat. With that in mind, we asked Woodburn to name his five favorite drummers and one favorite solo.

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1. Stewart Copeland (The Police)

He was very original in his music at the time in the '80s, being on the level he was as the drummer of the Police, coming out with an original style and being influenced by different cultures like African drumming and reggae.

2. Budgie (Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Creatures)

There were all those punk drummers and his drumming was just different from them. I'm not sure what his influences were, but he played drums that seemed to me to be tribal mixed with some military style. He played those oversized Grestch drums that are really cool.

3. John Bonham Led Zeppelin

A real obvious one. My mom had those records when I was really young and Led Zeppelin II and IV, I would sit around and learn those drum parts in my room. He was a big influence on me.

4. Pete de Freitas (Echo and the Bunnymen)

He was the drummer from Echo and the Bunnymen and he was a really big influence on my drumming. He died in a motorcycle accident in the '80s... His drumming had a little something extra to it. It was really precise, but with a lot going on.

5. Mitch Mitchell (The Jimi Hendrix Experience)

He was a drummer who took jazz style and put it into rock. I came up through jazz and then implemented it to rock music.

Favorite Solo:

Fiona Apple "Fast As You Can"

There's a breakdown on it where there are two drums on both speakers, on the right and the left. I believe the drummer is Matt Chamberlein. That's a really cool solo.

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