Gene Krupa is easily one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, elevating the role of the jazz drummer from sideman to soloist to superstar. His energetic playing on Benny Goodman’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” remains a standard-bearer 80+ years later, and The Drum Battle he recorded with Buddy Rich in 1952 is as dizzying today as it was upon release. But Krupa’s towering influence has not been confined to jazz and swing drummers. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that he was a major inspiration for some of punk rock’s most important timekeepers, including Jerry Nolan of the New York Dolls and Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers, Rat Scabies of the Damned, and Lucky Lehrer of Circle Jerks.
Here’s something I discovered over the last couple of years: Tell somebody you’re putting together a book about music and their response is usually something like, “Cool! I love music.” Tell them it’s a book revolving around punk drummers and the response is more like, “Damn. I hate math.” | ©2022 by S.W. Lauden