The Drumming System (affiliate link) has a great section on progressive rock. It’s kinda funny, but the instructor, Mike Michalkow, refers to it as wild and bizzare playing. He’s not saying this to insult the style, just stating an opinion (which I share). In fact, he’s a specialist in this style of drumming.
It’s easy to label it as wild and bizzare because it includes odd time playing, crazy fills, intricate snare and hi hat parts. Since most music is written in 4/4, any thing that is performed in an odd time signature might feel weird. Although not a progressive rock song, Dave Brubeck’s Take 5 is one of the few songs with an odd time signature that became wildly popular.
This style of rock began in late 1960’s with bands such as King Crimson, Genesis, and Yes. In the 1970’s bands like Pink Floyd and Rush became popular. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, Dream Theater kept progressive rock alive. King Crimson, Rush, and Dream Theater are still actively performing today.
Neil Peart, Mike Portnoy, Chester Thompson, Phil Collins, and Bill Bruford are drummers who considered to be pioneers of progressive rock. Be sure to check out some of the incredible footage of each of them on YouTube.
The Drumming System (affiliate link) has progressive rock training for drummers at every level.
- For beginners, their are beats with snare drum notes in random spots and thirty second notes on the bass drum. It might seem difficult, but it starts off very simple.
- For intermediate drummers, the beats add more random snare drum notes, along with sixteenth notes on the snare and bass drum.
- For advanced drummers, the beats are straight up WACKY! You get stuff like broken ride cymbal patterns and two and handed sixteenth note triplet ride patterns. Really weird…but also really fun.