Love me some drum fills

Reading Andrew’s post this morning about The Art of the Fill reminded me of a neat thing that happened a few weeks ago. I thought I’d share.

I wrote this on April 30th, 2010, so forgive the present verb tenses:

I had to go to the Claymont post office today to mail some stuff. As I was walking out, I heard some music blasting from someone’s car stereo. I walked through the parking lot towards my car, and I saw a mid-20s guy with long hair sitting in his beater with the windows down, unabashedly rocking out to In the Air Tonight. He was waiting for the big drum fill of awesomeness, and he was singing along in full voice, shamelessly.

I smiled to myself at his I-don’t-care-who’s-watching groove, and I walked to my car. But then I thought hmmmm… wait a minute.

I turned on my heels walked over to his open drivers side window about 35 seconds before the big drum fill (Well I remember…and I remember don’t worry…), and as he looked up at me I said, “Dude, I just need to hear the drum fill.” He gave me that 100% acceptance nod because he totally knew that this was a necessity. It wasn’t weird at all; no pretense. It just was two people about to ROCK.

And then… “The hurt doesn’t show; but the pain still grows / It’s no stranger to you or me!

DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DUD-DAT, DJAT! DJAT! / DOOM dugga djat-jat etc. etc…

I played some delicious air drums! He banged on the steering wheel!

And after a few seconds of the chorus had passed, I said “Thank you!” and he said, “Right on!” and I walked to my car to drive away, both of us wearing doofy grins of pure happy.

By the time I got my car started and my seatbelt on, the guy had gotten out of his car and walked over to mine to wave goodbye.

That was it.

I love people.

So with that said, what are your favorite drum fills? You know, the ones where you can’t turn off the song until you’re basking in the drumfill afterglow? These don’t have to be epic “quaalude thunder” fills; I also wanna know about the delicate pizzelles of drum fills.

  • So the obvious one is In The Air Tonight. Duh.
  • Durkin’s post mentions D’yer Mak’er by Led Zepplin… also fabulous.
  • Neil Peart’s killer fill in the intro to 2112
  • Misunderstood by Dream Theater — the fill from 5:31 to 5:40 is awesome.
  • But I’m also a fan of the gloriously simple fill that consists only of two simple quarter notes in Sundown by Gordon Lightfoot, about 47 seconds from the end of the tune. (Yes, Gordon Lightfoot. I love him.)

What else?
Talk to me!

6 thoughts on “Love me some drum fills”

  1. Man, I love a good drum fill…and you picked some lovelies. I’m sure I’ll think of a bunch after hitting “Submit Comment,” but here’s what leaps to mind first…

    For sheer head-banging shamelessness, I love the 32nd-note fury leading into the final chorus of “Fat Bottomed Girls.”
    For sheer economy, Matthew Sweet’s drummer does a few nice fills in “Girlfriend.” I especially like the two-kick, two-snare thing he does bringing us out of the solo section.
    For folk whimsy, the pickup into the second verse of the Indigo Girls’ “Least Complicated” always makes me smile.
    For maintaining a fantastic laid-back feel while keeping the groove exciting, there are Watts’ great fills in “Tumbling Dice.” I especially love what he does around the 3-minute mark.
    Toward the end of “I Got You (End of the Century)” by Wilco, the drummer does a nifty pickup into the coda.
    And it seems almost unfair to mention the mighty Keith Moon, but the entirety of “The Real Me” is pretty much one spectacular drum fill.

    Dang it all, I know there are more…but this was fun!

  2. I love this topic. Although I do have to point out that the final word of the third paragraph of Jill’s story should be RAWK.

    As for a favorite fill: I’m sure more will occur to me, but I love Levon Helm’s fill to bring in the horns and his vocals on the final chorus of “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” from The Last Waltz.

    I can’t quite remember the exact locations, but I think there are some tasty fills in a bunch of Tears For Fears tunes, including “Woman In Chains” and a few things from “Songs From The Big Chair.” I’ll have to dig those out to listen.


  3. Jason, I’m thinkin’ that Tears for Fears drum fill might be the one in “Head over Heels” around 2:44; it’s the one that transitions into the “This is my four leaf clover” (or is that “clovaaaahh?”) tag at the end. Also of note: the whole drums/percussion track in “Shout” are pretty spiffy.

    Which reminds me of the nifty drum fill in Simple Minds’ Don’t You Forget About Me, just before the la-las kick in at the end, around 3:50-ish.

    And now I’m remembering the (totally unrelated) drumfill that Liberty DeVitto nails in “Laura” off of the Nylon Curtain album (one of my favorite albums of all time) heading out of the second time we hear the line “I’m her machine, and she can punch all the keys / she can push any button I was programmed through…” around 3:47. Sweet Wounded Elvis, I love that song.

  4. Anything Zep, but I’d say D’yer Mak’er, Kashmir, Trampled Under Foot, Rock N Roll. I used to play Whole Lotta Love on my drumset probably every day in high school.
    Rush’s Spirit of Radio and Freewill, obviously. Amazing.
    Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots Part 2, Flaming Lips.
    Ringo did some good stuff! Day Tripper, Strawberry Fields, and anything on Abbey Road.
    Some great drumming in Bowie’s Suffragette City, even though it’s mixed pretty low with all the amazing other stuff.
    Mick Fleetwood – perfect drumming in Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams (one of the best short opening fills).
    Could go on and on!

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