Once upon a time, in the land of Rock!, drummers were stupid. More stupid, even, than the average guitarist. Singers quite often were the ones who read books, bass players could play keyboards and re-wire the PA system blindfold if they need to. Drummers hit things. That’s it. Unless you include getting very, very drunk as part of their job, which a lot of them did.
These days, something has happened. This came to me while listening to the new Mercury Rev album ‘Snowflake Midnight‘ – which is quite good (and I expect it to get better the more I hear it). The drummer in Mercury Rev -whose name I don’t know because I buy downloads these days and there are no liner notes – doesn’t just play drums. He plays keyboards too, and not in a ‘why not humour the drummer and let him play his shitty little song on the new album, we’ll stick it near the end of side 2…’ way. He is also a co-songwriter. David Lovering – drummer in Pixes – had a good career as a rather entertaining left-field magician before they reformed. I think he might even have supported Pixies with his magic show. The Ting Tings let their drummer do interviews on his own. That wouldn’t have happened in the olden days. This is a good thing, no?
Oh, I’ve checked Jeff Mercel is the drummer/co-songwriter with Mercury Rev.