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Dumb and Drummer
"If you're not smart enough to play a real instrument, they give you two sticks, put you in the back, and call you a drummer."

In the eyes of many people, a percussionist isn't a real musician. After all, how many brain cells can it really take to bang on stuff with sticks? For a single item, probably not many. As a result, it's common for a drummer to be portrayed as, well, stupid. And yet...

Playing percussion adequately often involves managing many more actions and ideas at once than most other instruments. Real drummers often refer to themselves as "percussionists" in an attempt to distance themselves from this trope as well as because many drummers also play general percussion. So it's not Truth in Television. On the other hand, drum kits are expensive relative to guitars and amps, and require much more practice space; if your drummer is an idiot, it's not all that easy to replace him.

Compare All Drummers Are Animals, as there can be some overlap. Contrast Nobody Loves the Bassist.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comics
  • Vertigo Pop: London is about an aging rock star named Rocky looking to regain his lost youth. In a flashback set in India, a guru offers him some hash to smoke and Rocky's drummer gets envious:
    Daz: Hey, I want some of this present. It sounds crazy.
    Rocky: Sorry, Daz. Not for you.
    Daz: And why not?
    Rocky: Because... Because you're a drummer. And drummers... they're not meant to have life-changing transcendental experiences.
  • Pierce, from Zits. Unworldly, soft-hearted when it comes to living creatures, and lacking impulse control-yes. He's definitely not stupid, though,and the trope rarely if ever is mentioned in the strip.

Film
  • Played for Laughs in This Is Spinal Tap. All of their drummers get killed off.
    • Three spontaneously combust
    • One dies in a "bizarre gardening accident"
    • One dies in a Noodle Incident
      "A case better left unsolved"
      • They didn't really die from stupidity though. They were more a parody of high rates of mortality among musicians. There are several real life examples of "cursed" spots in certain bands, though as with everything else in Spinal Tap, it's turned up to 11 for the film.
      • Admittedly, that doesn't excuse drummer Mick Shrimpton from taking a bath with a plugged-in toaster resting on the side.
  • Animal from The Muppet Movie was portrayed this way.
  • Inverted with That Thing You Do!. The drummer is the hero of the story and even inspires a brief fashion trend with his trademark sunglasses.
  • The drummer in Still Crazy clearly isn't the brightest in the band and the narrator expresses the opinion that "If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then drummers are from Pluto."

Literature
  • Averted in Zero History by William Gibson: Heidi Hyde is a former drummer, but it doesn't seem to have caused any lasting mental handicap.
  • Lias "Cliff" Bluestone from Soul Music is a rather simple-minded troll who's frequently described as "one of nature's drummers".
    • Scum of Ande Supporting Bandes is apparently too stupid to be a drummer. "What if I miss?"

Live-Action TV

Music
  • Brad Paisley's "Kung Pao Buckaroo Holiday," running down the list of holiday songs identifying who they'd offend:
    "How 'bout 'Little Drummer Boy?'"
    "Nope, that offends short people."
    "And you can't say 'drummer,' 'cause that'll offend real musicians."
  • Averted by Rush's drummer Neil Peart, who is incredibly technical in his playing, writes the band's lyrics, has authored several books, and is outright stated by both of his bandmates to "have a bigger brain than [they] do."
  • Zigzagged but mostly averted by Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan. He's a virtuoso drummer - and virtuoso classical pianist, who isn't as good with but can capably play guitar, bass, and trumpet. He's also a composer, producer, wrote 90% of the lyrics and music for X Japan and all of it for Violet UK's works, an omniglot, and a fairly sharp businessperson. Alcohol and/or his occasionally bad responses to troublesome situations can, however, make it seem true for him if he's caught at the wrong time.
  • While Dave Grohl averts this, he stated that when Nirvana was in Australia getting a visa to travel to New Zealand, the consultate wrote "musician" on both Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic's documents, but "drummer" on his.
  • Strongly averted by Lille Gruber of Defeated Sanity, who, in addition to writing most of the band's material, is an experienced jazz drummer and theory nerd with a degree in classical composition as well.
  • Also averted by Yanic Bercier, former drummer for Canadian death metal band Quo Vadis. He holds a PHD in Physics from Mc Gill University.

New Media

Video Games
  • The Loading Screen for Guitar Hero 3 has random quotes, one of which is, "I'm the drummer, I don't get paid to understand any of this!"
    • Another reads, "Don't let your drummer handle the money."

Web Animation Web Comics
  • Kevin from Rhapsodies is essentially a amalgamation of every drummer joke you ever heard. Though he's more oblivious than stupid.

Western Animation

Jokes and Anecdotes
  • "What does it mean when the drummer's drooling out of both sides of his mouth?" "The stage is level."
  • "What's got three legs and a twat at the top?" "A drum stool."
  • "How do you turn a guitarist into a bassist?" "Knock his head on something, but not too hard, so he doesn't turn into a drummer."
  • "How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb?" "Just one, but he has to figure out not to hit it with a stick first."
  • "How can you tell if there's a drummer at your door?" "The knocking speeds up and he comes in at the wrong time."
  • "Did you hear about the guitarist who locked his keys in his car?" "It took him an hour to get the drummer out."
  • "How do you confuse a drummer?" "Put sheet music in front of him."
  • "What do you call a drummer who's broken up with his girlfriend?" "Homeless."
  • "What do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicians?" "A drummer."
  • "Why can't drummers tell jokes timing".
  • Q: What's the difference between a drummer and a drum machine?
    A: With a drum machine you only have to punch the information in once.
    Alternate Answer: About 40 seconds by the end of the song.
  • And in revenge: "How late does [band] play?" "About half a beat behind the drummer..."
  • "What's the difference between a drummer and a large pizza?" "A large pizza can feed a family of four."


"And if you're not smart enough to play drums, they take away one of your sticks, put you in the front, and call you the conductor."
Dueling DojosJust for PunDung Fu
Creator CoupleMusic TropesFace of the Band
Dug In DeeperStupidity TropesDumbass Teenage Son
Doing in the Wizard Sturgeon's TropesDumb Blonde

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