It seems like more and more bands from the Phoenix area are making it on the national and international stages. It is an exciting time to be a drummer in the Phoenix area, as there are truly more opportunities than there ever have been before.
Being a drummer and music teacher in this community for more than 15 years now, and having had the opportunity to witness the mojo of all of these players live, I have studied the drummers of this city to no end, paying attention to all the little nuances that make each of them great and how they stand out from the rest of the pack. I am inspired and challenged by these players, as some of them have I have been watching closely for almost 20 years. Collectively, their careers melded together are worth 20 lifetimes.
Here are the 10 best drummers in Phoenix.
10. Zach Lind
I have been a fan of Jimmy Eat World for more than two decades now, and throughout that entire course, I have been watching the one and only Zach Lind consistently bring big energy and fun, intricate rock beats to the table. I don't care how old "The Middle" is. His drum fill in that chorus is, without a doubt, a huge reason why that part still pops like no other. Zach reminds us that rock drumming is still a ton of fun, while bringing those little nuances of air-tight dynamics that make his playing, and his band, continue to stand out from the rest.
9. Jesse Kongos
Jesse Kongos is a very talented musician. In his work with his platinum-selling band KONGOS, Jesse's attention to detail in writing drum parts is integral to the band's ever-evolving and catchy sound. On the band's recent single "Take It From Me," he is singing lead, laying down intricate and exciting hi-hat work, adding more cowbell, throwing those KONGOS-signature percussive hits together, and making it grow and drop at just the right times to make everything just feel huge. It's wild to see how KONGOS has blown up. And from the drum world, if you listen to Jesse rocking, you can hear exactly why.
Luke Holland is definitely the youngest guy on this list, without a doubt. And in the drum world that says a lot, because there is certainly no substitute for time and years of experience. However, this young man certainly breaks some of the molds with his skillful playing, speed work, and flashy chops. He does awesome YouTube videos of fun, popular songs, and he recently departed with AZ's own the Word Alive after three years of rocking fast, technical metal. He amazes with his double bass pedal, hi hat, and fill work. (Side note: Actually, all awesome metal drummers amaze me with that.) Like it or not, that's hard and it's progressive. He is now currently gearing up for a tour with Jason Richardson, so we shall see what's next for Luke.
7. Al Pahanish Jr.
Al Pahanish Jr. is certainly a pioneer in the drum world, being on the forefront of the "rap/rock/metal" sound that was so prevalent throughout the '90s. The former founding member and principal songwriter for Powerman 5000 certainly has his share of credentials under his belt, playing and recording with the likes of Cypress Hill, Martin Sexton, and several others throughout his career. While having the pleasure of working side by side for two years with Al at School of Rock (2012-2014), Al once told me that when he first started at Berklee he "couldn't do a 'good' roll to save his life." A lot changed for Al. Without a doubt, he does some of the fastest and toughest single stroke rolls of anyone I know personally, and he does them cool as a cucumber. I dream of being that fast while he actually is that fast, and probably faster now. Currently, Al is molding the next generation of rock all-stars at the School of Rock in Scottsdale, and plays with Boston-based punk band DYS. Still going strong today, this animal shows no signs of slowing down.
A.D. Adams is a veteran, and resident wild child, of the Phoenix music scene. He is one of those guys that exudes positivity, has a glowing aura about him, and can light up any room he walks into. He is a true industry success story and is living proof that if you work hard enough, you'll get it. When he gets behind the kit, you see everything I am talking about, as A.D. brings an energy that is unmatched and gets bodies grooving every time. I recently saw one of his soundcheck solos he posted from one of his recent tours with Louis Prima Jr., and he was absolutely ripping it, making it seem almost effortless to the naked eye. He currently plays with Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses, DL Marble, and locally with Chuck E. Baby. A fellow TJS Custom Drums artist, A.D. has been teaching lessons in the Valley here for more than 25 years. He is as rock solid as they come and a true Phoenix standout.