Oh, so you like to play air guitar? Well tell it to your Tamagotchi on your Friendster page, because air guitar is over. For we cools it’s all about air drum. Here’s a Spotify playlist of two hours of music 1One which leans heavily on loud rock, because that’s what I most enjoy air drumming to. that teaches you if you free your arms your ass will follow.
WARNING: This playlist is not for noobz!!1! If you lack energy, precision, maniacal limb flailing, or Intense Air Percussion Facial Expressions, you’re gonna be outclassed. For example, when I asked for suggestions to build this list, chump after chump came at me with “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, calling it the greatest air drumming song ever. WRONG. “ItAT” is for amateurs and pattern baldies. Put away childish things and step into the pros. The true greatest air drumming song ever begins this list, pummels Phil’s drum machine into plastic crumbs, and it is:
“Lust for Life” by Iggy Pop (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Hunt Sales
“Me and my friends are like
The drums on ‘Lust for Life’
We pound it out on floor toms
Our psalms are sing-along songs”
–Craig Finn, from the The Hold Steady’s “Constructive Summer”
“Flipside” by The Breeders (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Jim MacPherson
While Lust for Life’s accessibility keeps “Flipside” from being the greatest air drumming song ever, it’s my personal favorite. Jim MacPherson went on to keep the beat for Guided by Voices.
“In Bloom” by Nirvana (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Dave Grohl
I hear Cream’s Ginger Baker in the work of my most beloved and the most air-drummable of rock drummers, Dave Grohl. 2In Dave’s speech during Nirvana’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he credited the band’s prior drummer Chad Channing with In Bloom’s fantastic snap-snap-dah-dum-dah-dum lick. I restricted this list to one song per band, but because Grohl’s played with so many bands, I can include an extra song he appears on. This one:
“Song for the Dead” by Queens of the Stone Age (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Dave Grohl
Here’s a Valentine’s Day poem I once wrote:
You don’t have to be witty
You don’t need to be droll
I just ask that you love me
Like a Dave Grohl drum roll
“Nitro-Turbo-Overdrive” by Midnite Snake (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Paul Quattrone
Seems to me the successor to Keith Moon’s drums-in-a-cement-mixer style is the unstoppable Paul Quattrone of (my hometown) Pittsburgh’s dark, throbbing soul Midnite Snake. 3Also co-founder of the one-time indie darlings Modey Lemon.
If you like “Nitro-Turbo-Overdrive,” try Midnite Snake’s 12-minute live version of “Cruise Control,” and imagine this band’s A380 roar in a room the size of your chair. Air-drumming experts only should venture into 7:10-8:20.
“She Loves You” by The Beatles (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Ringo Starr
“Longview” by Green Day (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Tre Cool
Tre Cool adores Ringo Starr, and tell me you can’t hear it in “Longview.” There’s very little closer to an act of pure joy than pounding out the extended roll going into the final chorus.
Bonus Track! “Breathe” (Live) by Ministry
There’s a song unavailable on Spotify that I couldn’t leave off this list, and I also couldn’t resist putting it right after Shellac, since that band’s founder has been so outspoken in his hatred for this one’s. For Ministry’s 1990 tour, Al Jourgensen decided to duplicate his programmed beats with two live drummers, Martin Atkins and Bill Rieflin, who smash the shit out of this outtake from “In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up,” included on the long out-of-print Sire Records compilation Just Say Da.
“Dazed and Confused” by Led Zeppelin (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: John Bonham
Sure, “Rock and Roll” is the classic for air drumming whilst getting out one’s led, but if you don’t know about that one already, you’re in the wrong place. Up your game with D&C, especially coming out of the guitar solo around 5:05.
“Bra” by Cymande (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Pablo Gonsales, Sam Kelly, Mike Rose, et al.
My pal Devon W. Thompson suggested this one, thereby reminding me that no air-drumming mix is complete without some air bongoing. My favorite air bongoing song, though, is this Bonus Track!
“The Fox” by Sleater-Kinney (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Janet Weiss
I can’t make this list without a lady drummer, nor could I make it without this song, one of my favorites of last decade, which should also make the list for air guitar and air screaming one’s fucking head off.
“Candy’s Room” by Bruce Springsteen (Spotify | iTunes | Google Play | Amazon)
Drums: Max Weinberg
Imagine keeping up this pace for three and a half hours a night, three nights a week. At age 64. The mighty Max Weinberg does.
How about you? Do you have anything left? When you can air drum for an hour and 56 minutes and still hammer your way through this last one, you have summited Mt. Pantomime Percussion. Welcome, child.
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|1.||↵||One which leans heavily on loud rock, because that’s what I most enjoy air drumming to.|
|2.||↵||In Dave’s speech during Nirvana’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame he credited the band’s prior drummer Chad Channing with In Bloom’s fantastic snap-snap-dah-dum-dah-dum lick.|
|3.||↵||Also co-founder of the one-time indie darlings Modey Lemon.|