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All Drummers Are Animals

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"A drummer's job is to use big sticks and beat on animal skins stretched across round pieces of wood. This takes absolutely no formal musical training to accomplish, of which the drummer has none anyway. To put it frankly, drummers just aren't too long out of the caves. They are primal and fundamentally flawed in their genetic code."
Billy Queen, former drummer of Jacob's Dream, on drummers.

Drums connect with our primal selves. Maybe this is why most drummers will have animalistic tendencies, or if the current universe allows, actually be animals...

This is technically true (since humans are, by scientific definition, animals), but in the non-literal sense, this isn't always the case. Real Life instrumentalists can often pick their instrument in accordance with their personality. And regardless of any personality implications, drums sets require the largest and most muscular movements of any instrument in a modern/rock music repertoire, and therefore it really helps to be physically fit. In terms of intelligence, drummers are actually said to be among the most intelligent of musicians since most of their work is improvisational and more complex than traditional compositions. This is especially the case with jazz drummers like Buddy Rich and Max Roach. Yet Animal in fact was designed after Fleetwood Mac's drummer Mick Fleetwood, who is quite tall and slender. His personality, however, is rumored to have been based on The Who's Keith Moon.

When dealing with a Five-Man Band, The Big Guy usually becomes the drummer.

Compare Cymbal-Banging Monkey, Dumb and Drummer, and Rotten Rock & Roll. Also compare Primal Chest-Pound, where a character drums on oneself, also often indicating a savage, animalistic personality. See also Nobody Loves the Bassist for another example of a band-member stereotype.


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  • The Cadbury's commercial with a gorilla drummer.
  • The Energizer Bunny, a toy rabbit playing a large (for its size) bass drum that keeps going... and going... and going...
  • In the UK, this can also apply to the Duracell Bunny; though his field is mainly athletics. A recent commercial had the Duracell Bunny placed up against several gorilla toys in a drumming competition.

    Anime & Manga 
  • BanG Dream!
    • Downplayed with Tomoe Udagawa, who is usually very reliable and mature, but can be very hot-blooded, and can often rush into situations without thinking first. Her younger sister Ako plays this trope straight, as Ako is a bubbly, energetic Genki Girl who is the drummer of Roselia.
    • Inverted with Kanon Matsubara, who is a Shrinking Violet as well as one of two saner members of her band full of Cloudcuckoolanders.
    • Somewhat played straight with Masuki "MASKING" Sato though, whose scary expressions and aggressive performance earned her the nickname of "Mad Dog" among her peers. But even then she's still very much a Tomboy with a Girly Streak who enjoys baking cake and is a fan of cutesy idol band Pastel*Palettes.
  • Another inversion is Nijika Ijichi from Bocchi the Rock! who despite being somewhat a Genki Girl drummer, when compared to Bocchi, Ryo, and Kita she managed to be one of the most down-to-earth characters of the series (along with her sister) who reins in the antics of her fellow bandmates.
  • Dandadan: The rock'n'roll exorcist Hayashi performers' drummer is ripped, shirtless, and vigorous.
  • Nishida, drummer of the eponymous Detroit Metal City. He isn't just an animal when drumming, his whole character is, um, well, only driven by basic needs.
  • Downplayed with Ritsu from K-On! She's the most extroverted girl in the band and will do things she wants to do (sometimes to the dismay of Mio), but she's nowhere close to other examples on this page.
  • Veffidas, the Zentradi drummer of Fire Bomber in Macross 7. On the other hand, despite being one of the main characters she has the least lines of dialogue in the entire series; not because she appears rarely but because she's The Stoic. While the others do the talking, she's practicing drum solos in the background on the nearest wall with her sticks.
  • My Hero Academia: Flipped around. The kids suspect that Bakugo, the most aggressive and hot-headed student at school, will be a decent drummer, and it turns out they're right.
  • Completely inverted with Haruko from Rock it, GIRL!! She's very mellow and dresses in a hippie-inspired style.
  • Tae Yamada is the only zombie of the undead idol group Franchouchou featured in Zombie Land Saga that doesn't awaken from her feral state after the first episode and continues to act akin to a dog. Tae later plays the drums in a more metal/hard rock inspired song performed by Franchouchou in the fourth episode of the second season "Revenge"


    Comic Books 
  • X-Men:
    • Subverted by Beast, who is a drummer but only because his mutation prevents him from playing guitar like he used to. He is rather calm and incredibly intelligent.
    • Played straight in the Alternate Universe story X-Men rEvolution in which Nightcrawler is the drummer for a band of angry teen mutants.
  • While usually more of a Deadpan Snarker, Kim Pine becomes this the moment she gets behind the drums in the Scott Pilgrim comics. Taken up to 11 in the movie.
  • Spider-Gwen: Gwen Stacy is the drummer of the Mary Janes (when we first meet her) and one of her favorite ways to release the tension she feels from her double life (and the standard Spider complications) is to totally unload on the drums, to the point that she needs to be shouted at to stop.
  • Talking gorilla Sticks from Astro City is a drummer who'd much rather make music than break things, having turned his back on his people's militaristic lifestyle.
  • In Scare Tactics (DC Comics), the group's drummer is Gross-Out: a grey sludge monster who communicates in Hulk Speak and is the team's Big Guy. He plays the drums with enthusiastic abandon. However, it is later revealed that beneath the monstrous exterior, Gross-Out is actually intelligent, good-hearted, and shy.
  • Literally in Perkeros, with the drummer Karhu, who is a bear. One early scene also has a badger as another band's drummer.
  • In De Cape et de Crocs, the drum-beating coxswain on a 17th century Slave Galley is represented as a manic metal band drummer. Notably, he keeps crazily hammering on his drums while sitting on a raft with the rest of the crew after the slaves successfully revolted and threw them out.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jeremy in Zits tries to get Pierce to be in his band as a drummer because he says "All drummers are jerks". (This was before Pierce's Flanderization.) To his credit though, Pierce is quite hyperactive while drumming.

    Fan Works 
  • In no less than two different (and unrelated) parodies of Daft Punk's "Get Lucky" featuring the cast of The Avengers ("Get Loki"), the Hulk naturally ends up as drummer.
  • In the Assassins' Guild School in A.A. Pessimal's Discworld, the Concordat requirement is that all Assassins must be literate in music so as to enter the Profession as fully rounded Ladies and Gentlemen. This and Art are mandatory courses. Unfortunately, not everyone is musically gifted. The school's Music Department, being well-resourced and seen as a vital part of the training, therefore has to instill some sort of musical proficiency in people with the musical talent of concussed badgers who are otherwise excellent prospects in the Profession. Famke Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons, after the sort of early training in the piano that leaves her teachers with nervous tics that were not there before, is sent to what is viewed as the remedial class. She is to be trained as a percussionist. Drumming is taught in a sub-basement soundproofed studio quite a few floors beneath ground level. Studio 7a is known, with good reason, as the Concussion Bunker. Famke loves drumming. She gets to be quite good at it.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Brought up in the Tamara Drewe movie.
  • In The Commitments, both drummers of the group fit this to a tee. The second even starts his career with the band as their easily provoked bouncer-slash-roadie-slash-heavy. By the end, although he can play with finesse and surprising gentleness, he's still utterly incapable of controlling his temper. Although frankly, the surprise was that he hadn't decked Decko long before that point, given how much of a prick the man is.
  • Hinted at in The Drummer when Sid learns from the drummers in the mountains that drumming is about control, not anger.
  • Subverted in That Thing You Do! where drummer Guy Patterson is probably the sweetest, most grounded member of the band. Their manager Mr. White plays up the image though by dubbing him the "bad boy" of the group and creating the alter ego "Shades" accordingly.
  • Robert "Fish" Fishman, the main character of The Rocker, to the point of his former bandmates being kind of terrified of him.
  • The succession of drummers in Spinal Tap, something of a running joke, all of whom die in bizarre accidents, ranging from Spontaneous Human Combustion to an unspecified "gardening accident".
  • A Star Wars T-shirt, which depicts the main characters as a band, has Chewbacca as the drummer.
  • Mad Max: Fury Road: The Doof Wagon, in addition to the bungie-suspended blind flamethrower guitarist, also features four drummers who never seem to stop pounding even when the truck is under attack.
  • Played straight when Eddie assembles a new band in Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives!: while the other band members are scoped out during banal club gigs (or in the keyboardist's case, at a piano recital), the drummer, Charlie Tansie, is first seen performing behind a cage, showing off and shamelessly mugging while making eyes with the female fans. He's also got a wild mop of untamed, curly hair, big, sculpted muscles (even compared to star Michael Paré), and is always shirtless when performing (except for one audition for a backer, for which he wears a blazer over his bare chest).
  • A slow burn variation in Whiplash. Starting out, Andrew Neiman is at worst a haughty guy who prides himself in his drumming skills. However, as Terrence Fletcher continues to teach Andrew, the latter slowly becomes more and more insane. In fact, this is how Andrew's father sees him in the ending; As an out of control, completely submissive and obedient pet to Fletcher, going crazy on the drums as if his life depended on his performance and Fletcher's approval.

  • There are several jokes involving drummers:
    Question: What does it mean when a drummer is drooling from both corners of his mouth?
    Answer: The stage is level.

    Question: What should you do when there's a drummer at your door?
    Answer: Pay him for the pizza.

    Question: How can you tell when a drummer's heading to practice?
    Answer: He takes the pizza sign off of his car.

    Question: What do you call a drummer who broke up with his girlfriend?
    Answer: Homeless.

    Question: What's got three legs and a twat at the top?
    Answer: A drum stool.

    Question: What do you call a person who hangs around musicians?
    Answer: A drummer.

    Question: What's the difference between a drummer and an extra-large pizza?
    Answer: The pizza can feed a family of 4.

    Question: What did the drummer say just before he got fired?
    Answer: Hey guys, let's try one of my songs now!

    Question: What do you say to a drummer who is wearing a suit?
    Answer: The defendant may rise...

    Question: How can you tell when there's a drummer at your door?
    Answer: Knock speeds up.note 

    Man: [Walks into a store and asks:] Can you teach me to be a great musician?
    Shopkeeper: You're a drummer, aren't you?
    Man: How did you know?
    Shopkeeper: This is a Fish-and-chip shop, son.
  • Epic drummer at the wrong gig.

  • This is why the tradition-bound bards of Llamedos disapprove of percussion in Soul Music. The Band With Rocks, in having a troll for a drummer ("I hit dem wit der hammers"), might be an example.
  • In Chorus Skating, Jon-Tom finds the drummer in a displaced Earth band... easy to identify.
  • One Giftedly Bad Nightside band has a werewolf drummer. On breaks, he shifts and goes on searching for fleas and licking his balls. "Presumably, because he could."
  • The single most primal villain ever seen in Redwall, Gulo the Savage, is a huge cannibalistic wolverine who gets his horde into a frenzy by pounding a stolen drum (it was to be a gift from Salamandastron to Redwall when Gulo fell on the hares delivering it and ate them).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jack's dog from Jack's Big Music Show is the drummer whenever necessary.
  • Animal, the drummer from the Hey Hey It's Saturday house band.
  • Top Gear (UK)'s band has Jeremy Clarkson as the drummer. That pretty much says it all, really.
  • In Jonathan Creek, Edwin Drood's drummer, Marty Crowe, was known for urinating on the audience.
  • Brought up in Never Mind the Buzzcocks (s23 ep 11, to be specific) during one of the "odd one out" sections.
    "He's a drummer, right? I think it's number 4. He's got the most deranged look in his eye; they're all nutters."
  • Referenced in a throw-away gag in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Revelations" when Faith is describing her ex-boyfriends: "Ronny: deadbeat; Steve: klepto; Kenny: drummer..."
  • The credits and extended intro to Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation features Michelangelo behind a set of drums in several shots.
  • The Punisher (2017). Beth talks of how she used to be a member of various bands and "somehow I always used to end up dating the drummer, which everyone knows is a bad thing."

  • Keith Moon of The Who. His antics included blowing up his drumkit on stage,note  driving his Lincoln Continental into swimming pools, and getting banned from hotels for trashing them. He's been quoted as claiming he's clumsy rather than crazy; he never meant to trash hotel rooms, it just happened...which would be contradicted by both his reported fondness for blowing up hotel room toilets with cherry bombs, M80s, and dynamite. That Other Wiki also mentions an anecdote in which he's being driven from a hotel to the airport. He tells the limo driver to go back because he forgot something. What did he forget? To toss his room's TV set into the hotel pool. Clumsy? Riiight...
  • Jon Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Moon liked to trash hotel rooms; Bonzo liked to trash people.
  • Ginger Baker of Cream. Known for being aggressive when playing, but also in general. Was known for getting into fights with bassist Jack Bruce, often on-stage. Allegedly this combative streak contributed to his acrimonious departure from space-rockers Hawkwind, where the irritant was the band's leader Dave note Brock.
  • Yoshiki Hayashi of X Japan, as a Zig-Zagged Trope. Early on, due to There Are No Therapists running headlong into Alcohol-Induced Idiocy, he was known for behavior that sometimes hit the limits of Ax-Crazy: fighting offstage to the point that his behavior, along with hide's and Taiji's, earned the band a reputation of being aggressive drunken assholes. note  At the same time, he was one of the most extreme drummers in rock and metal, exceeding 800BPM at one point without heel-toe pedaling or any other extended drum techniques. Unfortunately, the sheer violence of his performances inflicted a variety of injuries that he lives with to this day, including a broken neck in 1995 that required surgery to repair split vertebrae in 2009, torn muscles on repeated occasions, severe wrist tendonitis, and more. Due to those injuries, and due to maturing as a person, coming to terms with his emotions to some degree, and eventually getting his drinking behavior and drinking somewhat under control despite repeated falls Off the Wagon, though, he maintains a somewhat more restrained and socially responsible image starting as of the mid-1990s and also relies more on safer techniques in drumming. In one PV, he became a Serkis Folk werewolf, despite his image generally being Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
  • Motörhead's Phil "Philthy Animal" Taylor. Need to say more?
  • Tribal drums aside, Gene Krupa could quite possibly be the Trope Maker or at least the Trope Codifier. The man literally invented the drum solo in this song. Before him, drums were used to keep the beat and occasionally throw in a quick lick or two to punctuate things.
  • Buddy Rich embodied this trope both on and off stage. A beast on the drums, and a monster to his band (audio is NSFW). Buddy Rich vs. Animal in an old-school drum battle.
  • Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, probably best known for his wild sexual activities with groupies and even Pamela Anderson. He is also a crazy party animal, possibly the rowdiest of the entire band. That is saying something, considering the whole band is on The Tyson Zone, and Nikki Sixx once partied so hard he died... and then got better. And THEN wrote a song about it.
  • British heavy metal band Samson (the one where Bruce Dickinson started his career) had Thunderstick, a drummer who wore a black leather S&M mask and played his drums from inside a cage onstage.
  • Heavy metal band Raven was once described as "Two brothers and a lunatic". Said lunatic was drummer Rob "Wacko" Hunter, a man who performed wearing hockey gear onstage. The other guys in the band discovered him in a music store where he was testing cymbals by banging his head into them.
  • The Ferals. In the occasional music thing, Derren the dog was the drummer. It became more prevalent with Feral TV.
  • Kita, the drummer of Lordi, is portrayed as being a Mi-Go from the Cthulhu Mythos, which would make him a literal application of the trope.
  • Liberty DeVitto, drummer for Billy Joel. Billy tells this anecdote that helps illustrate Liberty's personality.
  • Dave Grohl is an odd case. His drumming style actually looks a lot like Animal from The Muppets (and Grohl, in fact, played the stand-in for Animal in the 2011 film as something of a Lampshade Hanging) and the music styles that he's most famous for are hard rock, punk, metal, and grunge, but he is also a subversion of the trope, being so famous for his off-stage affability that the title "Nicest Man in Rock Music" follows him around. And then again his oddball sense of humour has him often majorly playing up to this trope especially in Fresh Pots.
  • Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, to a T. At T.A.M.I. Show, while performing "I Get Around", he actually shattered a drumstick mid-song.
  • Stewart Copeland of The Police has been known to bust a snare open in the middle of a number.
  • Def Leppard's Rick Allen can work up a sweat behind his kit with only one arm.
  • Paul Hester of Crowded House played up this trope although his actual personality was less wild. He did, however, suffer from depression and was prone to "wild mood swings," until he died of suicide in 2005.
  • Darren King of Mute Math comes off less like an animal and more as a robot, combining computer-like precision with raw mechanical power. He's been known to drop a stick in mid-performance and complete the rest of the section with one hand with no noticeable difference. Every fan who sees the band live for the first time will eventually have that moment where they realize, "Wait a minute — that part of the song WASN'T an electronic loop?" As David Letterman once remarked: "How 'bout that drummer? Lookit that guy!"
  • In a funny subversion, Max Weinberg, longtime drummer for Bruce Springsteen seemed more strait-laced and less colorful than the rest of the E Street Band. Then he became the bandleader for Late Night With Conan O'Brien where they developed a comic persona for him which was more perverse and disturbing as this fake PSA and this skit demonstrate.
  • Ian Paice of Deep Purple is known for his explosive drumming style (see intro to the title track of "Fireball", all of the title track of "Burn" and the second half of "Space Truckin'" from the drum solo onwards) but is known for almost never talking during interviews and being generally very reserved. Given that much of Deep Purple's lineup problems were due to the presence of huge egos in the group (Vocalists David Coverdale and Ian Gillan, and most notably guitarist Ritchie Blackmore), it is perhaps not a surprise that he is the only remaining founding member of the band.
  • Shellac drummer Todd Trainer. Additionally, he's pretty much a Cloudcuckoolander who has a strong bond to his dog, resulting in an even more irritating presence. Despite that, or maybe because of that, he is universally beloved by Shellac fans, despite the fact that his bandmates Steve Albini and Bob Weston has been household names in the indie music world even since before Shellac was founded.
  • Mike Wengren of Disturbed is a completely straight example. He's not just the craziest member of the band, his style often plays with booming tribal beats and he's well-known for his bass-kick speed and polyrhythm. He's not just an animal himself, he invites you to become one.
  • Pink Floyd's Nick Mason has always been the quiet one of the group, but his drumming style could be considered wild at times, especially on rockers like "Interstellar Overdrive" and "One of These Days". Also, on the one song he "sang" on in the band's whole career, "One Of These Days", Mason had only one line, growled through a ring modulator: "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces!" Averted in "Learning to Fly". That very calm, methodical voice reading a pre-takeoff checklist during the bridge? That's Nick, and it was recorded straight off the comm radio in his airplane.
  • KISS takes this literally with the Cat (Peter Criss, then Eric Singer). Eric Carr never wore the Cat make-up; he was the Fox. And yet Eric Singer's style is more like Peter Criss', jazz-oriented and very relaxed and technical. It was Eric Carr, the Fox, who was the rampaging rock drummer of the band.
  • Aerosmith's Joey Kramer is both an example and a subversion. Onstage, he pulls all the funny faces and during his solos, he tends to abandon his sticks and use his hands, forearms, elbows, and head to drum. Then you read his book and his Twitter and discover he's a quiet, shy gentleman who mostly tweets about his wife and Labrador puppy.
  • Dan Konopka of Ok Go is a notable subversion: his nickname is "Danimal" and he's gone face to face in a hardcore staring contest with the muppet Animal, but he's actually a pretty quiet and easygoing guy.
  • Dream Theater have had two; original drummer Mike Portnoy and current drummer Mike Mangini both play with considerable energy and tremendous skill. Mangini currently holds the world record for the most strokes in 60 seconds.
  • Mike Smith from Suffocation was one of the pioneers of brutal death metal drumming and renowned for both his technical skill and focus on pounding the shit out of his kit to make every note hit the listener like a sledgehammer, but there was also his infamous temper and proclivity towards violence, something that caused Terrance Hobbs to force him to take anger management classes for in order to be allowed to stay in the band.
  • Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden (he even invented a technique where he kicks the snare drum instead of using a pedal!).
  • The last drummer of The Mars Volta Deantoni Parks was known for pulling some very primal facial expressions.
  • Similar statements can be made about Joey Castillo of Queens of the Stone Age. As one youtube user put it: "Every band should have Tarzan on the drums".
  • Don Henley of Eagles was an aversion. He is usually referred to as the percussionist rather than the drummer, since he did play other percussion instruments as well. If anything he was the Only Sane Man of the group. The resident Animal for Eagles was Joe Walsh, and Henley admitted that Walsh's antics made him nervous more than once.
  • Zach Hill, drummer of Hella, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and Death Grips, plays so hard he wears out drums faster than usual. He's known to bend the top rim of his drums, and frequently punctures drum heads. He also injures himself a lot playing, even once having to take a hiatus because of a drumming-related wound. And, of course, let's not forget the infamous cover image of Death Grips' No Love Deep Web.
  • Origin's John Longstreth, while known for his almost inhumanly calm and composed live performances in spite of the incredibly difficult material he's playing, is also known for his tendency to make bizarre faces at the camera.
  • Absu's Proscriptor McGovern. Also the lead vocalist, he combines this trope with Large Ham, best exemplified here.
  • Mimi Parker of Low averts this, largely because her role as a vocalist is sometimes more important than her role as a drummer.
  • John Weathers of Gentle Giant is an interesting case; he thrashes about wildly whenever he drums, but given the rhythmic complexity of the material he performs, this belies his ability.
  • Just guess what instrument GG Allin got his start by playing.
  • Averted with Neil Peart from Rush (Band). He was well-known for being The Stoic of the band, and his face while drumming would convince you that he was filing accounting paperwork or something. Similar comments apply to Charlie Watts of The Rolling Stones and John Dolmayan of System of a Down.
  • Reanimator from The Protomen is constantly climbing on his stool, drums, fans, and items on the stage, either posing dramatically or leaping down to hit his drums with so much force that he frequently snaps his drumsticks. Photos of him make it appear that he can defy the laws of gravity, frequently photobombing above everyone's heads. There is now a Meme about it called Get Down From There Reanimator, where fans caption pictures nagging him to get down from wherever he is and play sweet jams.
  • Alex Bent is known for his manic live performances and equally manic and unpredictable playing style (he's basically a gospel and fusion drummer playing death metal), as shown here.
  • Ringo Starr is a notable subversion, a fairly low-key sort generally regarded as the Nice Guy of The Beatles. That doesn't mean he didn't occasionally indulge in wacky drummer-type antics(such as the drum solo of "The End" and the main drums for "Helter Skelter"), however; check out the video for "Day Tripper." He has a saw.
  • Given Paul McCartney rose to fame sharing a band with Ringo, it's quite a contrast seeing his current drummer for over a decade, Abe Laboriel Jr., is a straighter example of this trope.
  • Space rockers Hawkwind are renowned for their bewildering number of personnel changes over the years — at least forty and possibly more members have been through the band. At the last count. sixteen of them have been drummers, including the legend Ginger Baker and Terry Ollis, who insisted on playing gigs naked, arguing that if stage dancer The Amazing Stacia could get her kit off, he could too.
  • The late Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold also counts. Just check some of their backstage scenes during their concert tours for proof.
  • Damon Che from Don Caballero. He's considered one of the best drummers in rock music but is also known for his unpredictable stage antics, like randomly spitting fire.
  • The secret to Fleetwood Mac's "sound" is that there are three leads who think they're in an art-rock band and a drummer who thinks he's in Led Zeppelin.
  • Touché Amoré has an interesting case - Elliot Babin, their current drummer, is a skinny, nerdy-looking dude, fairly quiet and polite... until he gets behind the kit. He's known for performing in nothing but his underwear, if even that.
  • A Berserk Button for drummers is that any songs they compose rarely get onto the albums,note  and they only ever get to do the vocals on "joke" or novelty songs.note  There is apparently no anger like a drummer whose musical contribution is scorned once too often. Drummer Albert Bouchard is said (again, allegedly) to have left the Blue Öyster Cult following a really heated band discussion, as to why hardly any of his songs made it onto the band's albums. Bouchard named his own band The Brain Surgeons. note  After Bouchard left, the BÖC went through nearly as many drummers as Hawkwind.
  • Arejay Hale of the band Halestorm once kicked his cymbal into the crowd during a concert and had to ask for it back. In the music video for "Love Bites (So Do I)" he is shown again kicking his drum set as part of the performance.
  • Russian folk-rock combo Otava Yo has Petr S, a drummer who cultivates an air of other-worldly "strangeness" as if he's two or three steps behind everybody else and has to run to keep up. This aura of being the weird and slightly sinister one is played in so many videos that it can't be there by chance or accident; if anything strange or perhaps Fortean occurs in the videos, it will occur around Petr. (His apparently developing a third hand to play a complex drum-beat, for instance, as in Cossack's Leginka)
  • Averted with Rina Suzuki of the all-girl Japanese band Scandal — here's the most feminine and girliest drummer you'll probably ever see. (She has, however, named Keith Moon as one of her favourite drummers.)
  • Christopher Guanlao, drummer for alt-rock band Silversun Pickups, has a very Animal-esque drumming style, as seen in this video.
  • Green Day's Tré Cool is often compared to Keith Moon, given he's manic in both drumming and stage antics.
  • Danny Seraphine, Chicago's original drummer, is a high school dropout who fathered his first child at fifteen and spent most of his teenage years in gangs (he credits music with getting him out of the lifestyle).
  • Subverted by Gloryhammer, at least in the Gloryhammer-verse. In-verse, the drummer, Ben Turk, is associated with Ralathor the Hermit who is The Strategist and the Superego of the main Power Trio. The Barbarian Hero The Hootsman is associated with the bassist.
  • Scott Columbus of Manowar. His drumming style was so animalistic that he eventually had to switch to a stainless steel drumkit because regular drumkits couldn't handle his drumming style.
  • Fumiya of Unlucky Morpheus. Just watch any of the band's videos. The man looks as if he's possessed by ... something.
  • Classical music is not immune to this. At a performance at the Royal Festival Hall in London, a percussionist alternatively revolted and amused the audience by pretending to pick his nose with the drumstick. Classical percussionists are commonly regarded as the troublemakers of the orchestra. note 
  • Angus McSix's Manu Lotter. It would be the drummer who plays the character "Skaw! the Buff Berserker from the North".


    Puppet Shows 
  • Animal from The Muppet Show was apparently inspired by Keith Moon of The Who.
  • In the 2011 Muppets film, Fozzie was found working in Reno with a "tribute" band called The Moopets made entirely of Suspiciously Similar Substitutes of the real Muppets with the exception of Animal, who was impersonated by Dave Grohl. While Animal himself is in an anger management class with Jack Black, which encouraged him to quit drumming. But at the climax, he ends up off the chain again.
  • In The Banana Splits, the group's drummer was a monkey named Bingo. And an elephant played the keyboard, so it's not much of a stretch.
  • Another literal example with the Nyango Star (a.k.a. the Overqualified Mascot Drummer) from Japan, his true identity forever hidden in a red, round, manga catsuit... then the beat kicks in, and he becomes a different sort of beast.


    Tabletop Games 

  • In Follies, Phyllis tells that, before she married Ben, she had a passionate affair with a "young and crude and foolish" drum player with "long hair and no command of language."

    Video Games 
  • Guitar Hero:
    • The band's drummer is a big, brutish-looking lunk.
    • The loading screens take quite a few shots at drummers as well. (As well as singers, but drummers seem to get it worse.)
      • "Don't let your drummer handle the money."
      • "Don't give your drummer a microphone. It'll only end in tears."
      • "Well, maybe a drum machine will show up to practice on time."
  • In Primal, after watching one Undine brutally attacking the corpse of another, Jen says, "Lewis's drummer gets like that after his fifth shot of jack."
  • Viewtiful Joe has a music video after the end of the game that extends this trope to the drummer and lead guitarist.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask
    • The drums are given to Link's Goron form, which is essentially The Big Guy of Link's various forms.
    • As well in the band of Zoras, the biggest one is... Dun dun dun, der Drummer.
  • World of Warcraft: In-universe, Blizzard's Heavy Mithril band Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain has Chief Thunderskins, a Tauren (bull-man) as their drummer.
    • His "drumsticks" are big, stone hammers. And it is as awesome as that sounds.
  • Subverted in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City where Love Fist's drummer is, by far, the smartest member of the band (and the only one capable of defusing a bomb that was planted in the band's limo).
  • Donkey Kong is associated with playing bongos in many Donkey Kong games. They double as looking like barrels, which are an important feature in his titles. Donkey Kong is usually the most primal of the Kong's when he appears outside of his series.
  • The drummer of the Fake Band "Midnight Riders" in Left 4 Dead 2 is nicknamed Ox, and is the biggest and hairiest of a big, hairy lot.
  • Persona 4 Golden: The Inaba Gang gets roped into putting on a concert at the local department store, and to no one's surprise, Thuggish Kanji gets stuck with the drums.
    • Persona 4: Dancing All Night has the cast dance rather than play instruments, but instrumentals are distributed to their Personas. Once again Kanji and Take-Mikazuchi get drum duty.
  • Official art for BlazBlue has the four Military Academy students performing a stage musical to Ragna's horror. Noel is on vocals, Jin on guitar, Tsubaki on bass, and Makoto on percussion. No points for guessing which one's the beastkin.
  • League of Legends: In the metal band Pentakill, the character playing the drums is Olaf, a berserker bloodthirsty warrior wielding dual axes.
  • Pokémon has Rillaboom, introduced in Pokémon Sword and Shield, a muscular gorilla that uses a hollowed-out tree stump for a taiko drum. During the end credits of Sword and Shield a Rillaboom takes the role of drummer in a band made up entirely of Pokémon.
  • Zuke in No Straight Roads is a subversion, being the blue oni to his bandmate Mayday's red. He's even a college graduate with a Master's Degree in Fine Arts and Music.
  • Dr. N. Gin becomes this in Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time, where he makes a giant mecha drummer to go with his Large Ham Cloudcuckoolander personality and serves as a boss fight for Crash and Coco to contend with.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Subverted. Denny is by far the most level-headed and intelligent member of "Samurai", to the point that Johnny Silverhand, who dispenses compliments with the same frequency hand grenades dispense Dr. Pepper, outright states that she is way too smart and talented for the band she is actually a member of.
  • Lyrica completely inverts this with Shiue. Despite serving as the drummer for Yang and Chun's band, she is the most elegant and reserved of the three. Having come from a wealthy and influential family, she has to hide her drumming interest because it totally goes against the image she's cultivated.
  • Sim musicians in the The Sims 2 can't play the guitar, bass or piano in an apartment if they have low creativity skill or else they'll have visits from angry neighbors complaining about the noise. But drummers will always draw complaints even at 10/10 creativity skill.
  • Yakuza0: Zig-zagged. Sleazy Tarashi is the absolute opposite of an animal, who loves soap operas, pancakes, window shopping, and his little dog Chibi-chan. However, when he has to pose as a hardcore punk, he claims to spend his days off bare-knuckle brawling, all day, every day.

    Visual Novels 
  • Averted in Kira☆Kira, as Chie is one of the most rational and calm members of the band.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Homestar Runner universe, The Cheat plays drums for the band Cool Tapes. He also DJs and plays keyboards. Actually arguably a subversion, depending on how you look at it: The Cheat is the literal animal of the band, but Strong Mad (who plays bass guitar) is the Big Guy and the most primal one.
  • Invoked in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks Shorts "Pinkie on the One", where Rainbow Dash insinuates that resident Cloudcuckoolander and Genki Girl Pinkie Pie is the ideal drummer. Granted, this is after about a day's worth of Pinkie Pie cheerfully pounding on whatever's available, and shortly before Pinkie performs a Shout-Out to the Animal, so she's definitely the genuine article.

  • Robyn, the drummer with Plan 9 in 1977:The Comic, is a female version of this trope. Do not threaten her, get her angry, or press any of her Berserk Buttons. You could just get her horny...
  • Tailsteak's comic Band is about a band named Band who, after losing their drummer, find a squid-like being in one of their houses, name it Tyler, find it has a perfect rhythm sense and put it in their band. Of course, it's probably more complicated than that.
  • Taz MaDara from Dominic Deegan is a pretty good example.
  • Subverted with Hannelore from Questionable Content. She's quite sweet and likes drumming because it appeals to her OCD. To quote her, it's "like counting with your whole body."
  • Suberted with Steve in Nineteen-Ninety-Something. He's the most unflappably chill member of the regular cast. He only takes up the drums in Joel's band because someone needed to, so why not him?

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Interestingly, A Cappella artist Smooth McGroove is normally a drummer, which explains the hair and beard, yet he averts the trope by having a large following who are fans of him specifically (1.3 million subscriptions for his solo work on YouTube alone). On top of that, he further averts the "brutish neanderthal" portrayal by being a gracious, well-spoken person and Kind Hearted Cat Lover who often cameos his cat in his videos.
  • The Bread from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared 5 certainly goes crazy banging on Peanut Butter and Jelly Jars. He's also barely able to speak, as he just mumbles the names of various foods while his band desperately tries to make a coherent song.
  • Zigzagged with Yoyoka, whose drum covers include the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Nirvana, and Red Hot Chili Peppers, and have managed to impress the original recording artists... even before they find out she's an eight-year-old (now ten) Japanese schoolgirl who started playing when she was two. She's self-taught and a skilled improvisationist, and has composed drums and lyrics and sung on an album of her own songs — which probably comes closer to what most viewers would expect from a little girl who likes wearing shirts covered in rainbows, flowers, and unicorns.

    Western Animation 
  • SpongeBob SquarePants' band, SpongeBob and the Hi-Seas, has the village-idiot character Patrick as its drummer.
  • Jabberjaw, the drummer in the Neptunes, is a giant shark.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • In the movie Legend of the Vampire, the gang decides to go undercover as the band "The Meddling Kids". Out of five mostly human candidates, it's the dog that drums.
    • Subverted with Dusk from The Hex Girls. She's not particularly any more wild than the others. If anything, Thorn (the bassist and lead singer) is the theatrical and "scary" one, and even that is not much due to their Perky Goth personalities.
    • Averted in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!. When the gang has to pretend to be a band in "Screama Donna", it's Control Freak Fred who winds up on drums.
  • Subverted in Metalocalypse: Pickles the drummer could probably qualify if he was in any other band, but he's the only member of Dethklok who's even close to being civilized and marginally intelligent. Of course, he's also been a singer and a guitarist in his time. Ironically, he came closest to living out this trope back during his stint as lead singer for Snakes 'N Barrels.
    • Gets even weirder in the episode "Rehabklok": since Pickles is the one singing this song Offdensen is the one playing the drums in it. The straight laced C.F.O. and manager of Dethklok.
  • Darkwing Duck features a very short-term attempt at a "rock" band from Gosalyn, a rambunctious Tomboy on vocals; Honker, her nerdy best friend on guitar (whose music teacher considered form superior to function); and Honker's bigger Jerkass brother Tank on drums. Gosalyn's justification? "You were born to hit stuff!"
  • Foxxy's musical number in Drawn Together featured Ling-Ling on drums.
  • Family Guy:
    • One episode had the family play as a band for a little while. Brian, the dog, was the drummer. Something of a subversion, as Brian is one of the calmest and most sensible characters on the show. During THAT time period, anyway...
    • A Cutaway Gag had George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon in the kitchen discussing which of their songs would go on the new album.note  Ringo Starr walks in, full of excitement that he too has written a song. The other three praise him exactly as if he was a six-year-old who's done well at school and Starr beams with pride, unaware he's being patronised. Paul McCartney then praises him and says he's going to pin the song to the fridge door with a magnet, look, like all the rest...
    • In "Road to Europe," Peter Criss, the original drummer of Kiss, is portrayed as quite feeble-minded. Most of his lines are non sequiturs ("My Grand Slam was supposed to be with sausage..."), and after Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley leave the stage during a performance, he and Ace Frehley perform "Chattanooga Choo-Choo." Peter is annoyed when Lois dresses as Criss to go to Kiss's concert, since nobody wants to be Peter Criss. Not even Peter Criss.
  • Generation O!'s drummer was a kangaroo.
  • The Bremen Avenue Experience stars a Garage Band made of Funny Animals. The drummer is a rooster named Tanner.
  • Subverted like hell in the Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers episode "Battle of the Bandits", where the crew had to infiltrate a galactic rock show (it was The '80s, that's the only excuse that can be given). It's Zachary that gets shoved on drums.
  • Also subverted on The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan; the band's drummer is the mature, responsible Henry and in one episode the mild-mannered Tom had a short turn at the drums.
  • An episode of Viva Piñata, "On a Sour Note", had the gang and their band become popular due to the addition of an uncontrollable and feral sour pinata. Eventually, the sour literally breaks out of its shell and becomes a mild-mannered, cultured ordinary pinata, rendering the band unpopular.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Buford, The Bully, is usually the drummer when the characters play as a band, although it should be noted that he's a Card-Carrying Villain.
    • Subverted, though, by Swampy from Love Handel. When he wasn't in the band, he was a librarian.
  • Subverted in Regular Show when the audience finds out that the man behind Heir to the Throne's famous drum solo was none other than BENSON, Mordecai's and Rigby's boss.
  • Whenever Animaniacs requires a character to play drums, it's always the aptly-named Wakko. (Fridge Brilliance in that his voice is a Ringo Starr impersonation.)
  • Kon Kujira from Grojband is Grojband's drummer, as well as a Big Fun Cloud Cuckoolander and Genius Ditz. One episode even took things literally when he got turned into a dog!
  • In the The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy TV movie "Big Boogey Adventure" Billy performs a song "Scario" about things that scare him, he has a band playing for him and the drummer bears a resemblance to Animal.
  • Amethyst, the wild Big Fun of Steven Universe, plays the drums as her musical instrument of choice.
  • Miraculous Ladybug, episode "Horrificator": In the impromptu band that defeats the monster through music, Cat Noir (a cat-themed superhero) enthusiastically takes the drummer role, using his split staff as drumsticks and various trashcans.
  • In Arthur, the Tibble twins, the wildest little kids in town, get drums and play by randomly banging them as hard a possible.
  • Subverted in Welcome to the Wayne episode "We're the Wayniacs". Ansi, the mild mannered Neat Freak of Team Timbers usually plays the drums, whereas the Cloud Cuckoo Lander Olly instead is on the guitar.
  • Inverted in Milo Murphy's Law. Mort the drummer is an easygoing Granola Guy.


Video Example(s):



Vikke - "The King of Viking Metal" - is one of the Dark Purveyors, a group of zombies from Rotten World summoned to bring about the apocalypse.

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