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Lead Drummer

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Drummers in a band, as a rule, are usually forced to be in the background while the lead singer takes the center stage.

However, there are a select few bands whose drummer is known to sing lead on some or all of the band's songs or otherwise being the most notable member of the band they're in.

Sister Trope to Lead Bassist and Lead Singer Plays Lead Guitar. Contrast All Drummers Are Animals and Dumb and Drummer.


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     Anime & Manga 


  • Johnny from Tricky Business goes home with a different woman every night, usually from whatever gig they were playing at. Hilarity Ensues when he ends up banging a grieving divorcee onboard a cruise ship where another girlfriend of his is working, leading to his running naked through the ship pursued by an angry woman with a carving knife.

     Video Games 

  • CHUNITHM has the band leader of Irodori Midori, Serina Akesaka, being also the drummer.

     Western Animation 
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): During the song "Love Makes the World Go 'Round" from "Mime for a Change", Bubbles is both the drummer and main vocalist among the Powerpuff Girls.
  • Spider-Gwen drums for The Mary Janes, a band who's name makes it clear who the frontwoman is... in the comics. On Marvel Rising, the microphone is on Gwen's drum kit, and at least one of the songs by her voice actress Dove Cameron appears in-universe.

     Real Life 

  • Rick Allen of Def Leppard, even more so for being one-armed. The loss of Allen's arm completely changed Def Leppard's sound in the late '80s to accommodate for his new partially electronic drum kit, resulting in the electronic rock style of their blockbuster album Hysteria.
  • Ginger Baker of Cream did lead vocals on some songs (e.g. "Blue Condition") but what really qualifies him for this trope is his being one of the first rock drummers who did solos on a regular basis.
  • John Bonham of Led Zeppelin is one of the best-known and revered drummers out there, and his band both let him play thirty-minute solos and decided to break up the group once "Bonzo" died. Most of the band's reunions even called his son Jason to fill in.
  • Christian Vander of Magma. Since the very founding of the band, he's been the leader, main composer and only constant member of the band. As such, he is responsible not only for the inimitable drumming, but also their strange language and whole sci-fi concept. On top of that, he is the lead singer in some of the songs.
  • Jess Bowen of the Summer Set.shares her "face of the band" status with lead singer Brian Dales.
  • Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad
  • Bill Bruford is quite possibly the most famous Progressive Rock drummer after Phil Collins and maybe Rush's Neil Peart (the fact that he has a page on this wiki may be a tell here). Unlike Phil, he doesn't sing, but his work with bands such as King Crimson, Yes, and for that matter Collins' own Genesis is renowned enough that he doesn't have to. Ironically, he's been mostly retired since 2009.
  • Karen Carpenter, drummer and singer in Carpenters, is most known for her vocals. She considered herself a "drummer who sang," but she's not featured as a drummer in many of their songs.
  • Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five never fronted any songs but often sang backup and wrote some of the group's big hits, particularly with singer/keyboardist Mike Smith.
  • Phil Collins of Genesis occasionally sang lead during the Peter Gabriel years, and succeeded him as lead singer. After that, Chester Thompson (Frank Zappa, Weather Report) usually replaced him as drummer in most songs onstage (though Bill Bruford of Yes and King Crimson also had a stint in the drummer's seat before Thompson), but Collins continued to either play or program all the drums in the studio until he left the band in the mid-90s. Even during concerts, as long as Collins was physically capable of drumming, a second, left-handed drumkit would be set up for him to act as a second drummer when performing certain songs, most notably "Los Endos".
  • Liz Cox of Christmas, alternating or singing back-up with guitarist Michael Cudahy. Both musicians went on to form Combustible Edison.
  • Peter Criss of KISS, most notably on the song "Beth."
  • Nick D'Virgilio of Spock's Beard.
  • John Dittrich of Restless Heart has sung lead vocals on several occasions, most notably most of the songs during the period in The '90s when lead singer Larry Stewart left. Dittrich can be heard on "When She Cries", the band's biggest hit of that decade.
  • Jim "Hoolie" DeCaire of Da Yoopers played drums on, co-wrote, and produced nearly all of the band's songs, and sang lead on a large number of them as well.
  • Micky Dolenz of The Monkees
  • Stephen Drozd of Flaming Lips was originally recruited as just a drummer, but soon took over most of the instrumental duties on record, and switched to guitar and keyboards on stage. Also, he has a huge hand in songwriting, and despite not being as visible as his bandmate Wayne Coyne, has quite a following.
  • Dero Goi of Oomph! is the band's lead singer/frontman and drummer. In concert, however, the band employs several session musicists, including a drummer, so that Dero Goi only sings.
  • Ventor, the drummer of Kreator, preformed most of the lead vocals on the Pleasure to Kill debut and alternated them off with guitarist Mille Petrozza for the following three albums. Considering the ridiculously fast and technical drumming he pulls off, preforming Harsh Vocals at the same time is an impressive feat to say the very least.
  • Dave Grohl began his career as a drummer, most notably of Nirvana, then became the (largely non-drumming) frontman of the Foo Fighters. He still returns to the drums whenever possible, whether as a guest or in his own band (where the long-time drummer, the late Taylor Hawkins, served as The Lancer and received the most spotlight outside of Dave's).
  • Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü fame: he wrote (and sang) a little less than half of the band's songs, and had a notable solo career to boot. (His bandmate, Bob Mould, seems to have viewed songwriting as a competition in productivity and made sure he had at least one more song than Hart on all of the band's releases).
  • Mick Harris of Napalm Death is one of the better known members of the band's early days, not least for coining the terms "blast beat" and "grindcore", though his erstwhile bandmates Justin Broadrick, Bill Steer, and Lee Dorrian may have eclipsed him in public exposure for founding Godflesh and Jesu (Broadrick), Carcass (Steer) and Cathedral (Dorrian), respectively. (To be clear, Harris didn't invent the blast beat; jazz drummer Tony Williams is sometimes considered its first practitioner, and it had also been used in Hardcore Punk before its usage in metal, but Harris certainly helped to popularise its usage in metal.)
  • Mike Heller (Fear Factory, Malignancy, and far too many others to list) is renowned for his world-class technical ability (including his expertise in linear drumming), extreme versatility, prolific session work, and equally prolific teaching work. Being a student of Heller's will get you noticed.
  • Jan Axel Blomberg, better known by his pseudonym Hellhammer (after the Spiritual Predecessor to Celtic Frost), is quite well known in Black Metal circles for his work with a variety of bands including Trope Codifiers Mayhem, Arcturus, Shining, Dimmu Borgir, and The Kovenant.
  • Levon Helm of The Band sang lead on several of their songs. He was considered one of their lead vocalists. He was also involved in the songwriting.
  • The page image is Don Henley of Eagles, who was the front man along with Glenn Frey, and who sang lead on more of their songs than any other member (as well as co-writing the better portion of the band's songs with Frey). He then had the most successful Breakup Breakout of the band.
  • Gene Hoglan is quite well known for his work with a variety of metal bands.
  • Ashton Irwin of 5 Seconds of Summer. Given that they are effectively a boy band, the spotlight tends to be split between the four members equally.
  • Kelly Keagy of Night Ranger
  • Keith Knudsen of The Doobie Brothers
  • Nile's George Kollias, who has become renowned as one of the fastest drummers in metal, in addition to being a highly versatile session player in many genres.
  • Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth
  • Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe co-wrote the band's songs along with Lead Bassist Nikki Sixx, and remained in the spotlight thanks to numerous public incidents (sex tapes, fist fights, marriage to Pamela Anderson; sex tapes & fist fights not involving Pamela Anderson).
  • Jen Ledger of Skillet stands out due to her gender, being the band's co-vocalist with John Cooper (himself the Lead Bassist).
  • Gary Lewis, of Gary Lewis & the Playboys (also the son of Jerry Lewis), started out as this, serving both as lead vocalist and drummer for their first hits (with added contributions from session musicians on recordings). However, it wasn't long before he stopped playing drums and concentrated on vocals.
  • Dave Lombardo of Slayer is widely considered one of the most influential drummers in heavy metal, especially in popularizing double kick drums.
  • Mark Maher, AKA Kram, is the frontman of Australian rock band Spiderbait who shares vocal duties with bassist Janet English.
  • The drummer Jimmy Marinos shared lead vocals with Wally Palmar in the original lineup of The Romantics.
  • Gil Moore of Triumph
  • Ian Paice of Deep Purple is the only member of the group to have appeared on every one of their albums and their longest tenured member.
  • Neil Peart of Rush is arguably the most well-known member of the band for his drumming virtuosity and lyrics. (Ironically, since bassist Geddy Lee is the lead vocalist, guitarist Alex Lifeson is the member of the band who's probably the least known to the public.) Original drummer John Rutsey served as master of ceremonies in live shows.
  • Peter Prescott as an occasional vocalist and songwriter in Mission of Burma, and more prominently in Volcano Suns, as that band's only consistent member and lead vocalist on nearly every song.
  • Daniel Presland of Ne Obliviscaris has won awards for his drumming ability and is possibly the best-known member of the band apart from vocalists Xenoyr and Tim Charles.
  • Pete Rivera of Rare Earth
  • Ringo Starr sang lead vocals in a few songsnote  in The Beatles. He wrote or co-wrote a few Beatles songs ("Don't Pass Me By," "Octopus's Garden," "What Goes On"), and has recorded occasional solo albums as a singer.
    • Ringo was also one of the first drummers to insist that his drum set be placed on an elevated stage. He may have been behind the rest of the Fab Four, but sitting on an elevated stage made him easier to see and subtly emphasized his importance to the group.
  • Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold. Mostly because of his death though. Mike Portnoy, his successor, also counts, if mostly due to being his replacement and his history with Dream Theater.
  • Queen is renowned for having three high-quality singers among them, one of those being drummer Roger Taylor.
  • Lars Ulrich formed Metallica, and is almost as well-known as James Hetfield (with whom he writes most of the songs), primarily for the Napster lawsuit.
  • Butch Vig in Garbage, even if at times he only produces and relies on drum machines and guest drummers.
  • Country Music singer Bryan White ("So Much for Pretending") sometimes played drums on his own albums.
  • Maurice White was a noted session drummer and sideman before he stepped out to front his own band, Earth, Wind & Fire. He frequently played drums on the records, but left the live drumming to Ralph Johnson and Freddie White.
  • Robert Wyatt of (The) Soft Machine, who sang the bulk of the songs on the band's first three albums. Unfortunately, an accident in 1973 left him paralyzed from the waist down and he can no longer play drums in a rock and roll style. He still does play drums in a jazz fashion, without the use of his feet, and generally qualifies as a Handicapped Badass. Ironically Wyatt credits the accident that paralyzed him with saving his life, as by his own admission he had become an alcoholic and the accident served as a wake-up call.
  • Fred Young of The Kentucky Headhunters is one of the band's main songwriters, and sang lead vocals on "Dry-Land Fish".
  • On Brazilian band O Rappa, drummer Marcelo Yuka was the main composer. Then a bullet wound during a robbery got Yuka tetraplegic, forcing him to leave the band (the keyboardist took over the drums, and the singer most of the lyrics).
  • During his tenure with Frank Zappa, Terry Bozzio sang a few songs for him while playing drums. A notable example of such is Punky's Whips.
  • Many jazz bandleaders have been drummers:
    • Louie Bellson
    • Art Blakey (The Jazz Messengers)
    • Kenny Clarke
    • Billy Cobham
    • Gene Krupa
    • Buddy Rich
    • Max Roach
    • Chick Webb (the "King of Swing")
    • Tony Williams (The Tony Williams Lifetime)
  • Andy Sturmer of Jellyfish sang lead vocals, drummed, contributed guitar and keyboard parts to the band's albums, and wrote or co-wrote and co-produced most of the band's material. He and keyboardist/vocalist Roger Joseph Manning Jr. led and founded the band and were its only constant members. Also notable in that Sturmer sang and drummed on a small kit in front of the stage while standing up.
  • Danny Carey of tool may be the most famous member of the band after its frontman Maynard James Keenan due to his absurd virtuosity as a percussionist.
  • John Longstreth is probably the best known member of Origin. His tenure in Gorguts and several other well-loved bands may have helped with that, as does the fact that he's one of the most skilled Technical Death Metal drummers out there.
  • Brann Dailor of Mastodon is the standout member of the ensemble to the extent that he may be the only member casual fans will be able to name.
  • Fred Estby of Dismember was one of the longest-running members of the band, was one of the main songwriters and lyricists, and helped with production on the band's albums, and even other budding Swedish Death Metal bands.
  • An awful lot of Technical Death Metal bands have lead drummers, such as Cryptopsy (Flo Mounier), Lykathea Aflame (Tomás Corn), Defeated Sanity (Lille Gruber), and so on. This is probably at least in part because the genre demands such technical prowess of its drummers that they're bound to attract attention, but many of these are also the main creative forces and only consistent members of their respective ensembles, including Mounier and Gruber.
  • Questlove of Hip-Hop group The Roots is the drummer and also the best known member outside of the hip-hop community, having quite a few music production credits under his belt.
  • When bassist Jah Wobble left Public Image Ltd., the band decided not to replace him. Instead, they recorded the New Sound Album The Flowers of Romance, on which Martyn Atkins' drums became the focus of their sound, as prominent in the mix as John Lydon's vocals and sometimes overshadowing Keith Levene's guitar and synthesizer.
  • Cozy Powell, drummer with several heavy rock bands, had several hit singles - instrumentals such as 'Dance With The Devil that were built around his drumming and placed the focus firmly on the drums as lead instrument.
  • Ken Bedene of Aborted is known for his extreme speed, power, stamina, and technical ability, as well as his creative cymbal work, extremely fast footwork, and great accuracy and sense of timing (as he does not use a click track), and he is also a multi-instrumentalist who does a good deal of writing and has substantially shaped Aborted's modern creative direction.
  • Teddy Ibing, "permanent replacement drummer" for the German country band Truck Stopnote , is the only remaining founding member of the group.
  • When Udo Lindenberg had only just started his solo career and begun to put together his Panikorchester, he played the drums himself—even live while singing.
  • Herwig Mitteregger was both the drummer, the primary lead singer for Spliff. And yes, he also sang while drumming live. To make matters worse for the sound technicians, he didn't always bring his Simmons SDS V electronic kit that didn't bleed into his vocal mic.
  • Hail the Sun drummer Donovan Melero is also the group's lead singer.
  • Jami Morgan from Code Orange is the drummer, one of two lead vocalists (the other being vocalist/guitarist Reba Meyers), and does most of the interviews. As of 2020, he's moved into more of a frontman role with Ethan Young hired to play drums on tour.
  • Charlie Benante of Anthrax is not only one of the more well-known members of the band (behind guitarist Scott Ian, but ahead of bassist Frank Bello), he's also written virtually all the band's music since their second album.
  • Dave Munden of The Tremeloes formed a Vocal Tag Team with bassist Chip Hawkes.
  • The extremely prolific Tatsuya Yoshida of Ruins and Koenjihyakkei is known as the lead creative force and sole constant member of those acts and as a virtuoso who's capable of playing extremely complex fills at absurdly fast tempi without ever losing the beat. He also takes lead vocals on many of his works.
  • Albert Bouchard of Blue Öyster Cult was the band's principal songwriter during his time as a band member.
  • Most of the members of British post-punk band Squid also sing lead or share vocals between one another on a few songs, but their principal lead vocalist is drummer Ollie Judge.
  • Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones may have qualified as a downplayed example; he was nowhere near as well-known as Mick Jagger or Keith Richards, but apart from those two, he's the only Rolling Stone to appear on every record and tour until his death in 2021. Both rock critics and fellow drummers also regarded him as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time (for an example of each, critic Robert Christgau called him the greatest, and Phil Collins named him as one of his five favourite drummers in a 2020 interviewnote ), and after his death, tributes unanimously poured out that noted how important he was to the Stones' sound.
  • Kim Berly of the Canadian rock band, The Stampeders, shared lead vocal duties with bassist Ronnie King and guitarist Rich Dodson.
  • Atsuo is considered the front manfor Japanese band Boris because he's the only member who speaks English.
  • Rocky Collado of the Filipino pop-rock band The Bloomfields, is the lead singer and often the main songwriter.
  • Alina Olesheva of the Russian pop-punk band Kis-Kis is the drummer and is the founder and de-facto leader of the band along with lead singer Sonya Somuseva. Though only Sonya sings in most of their songs, Alina can sing too and sings a duet with Sonya on the band's song "Padik".
  • Lera Kozlova and later Nyuta Baidavletova of the Russian pop-rock band Ranetki as both the lead singer and the drummer. Slightly downplayed in that the role of lead singer was shared with Anya Rudneva, one of the guitarists. Though Lera was initially the most notable member, after she left, this role fell to Anya rather than new member Nyuta.

Alternative Title(s): Drums Front And Center