The Genius Of Danny Carey


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Danny Carey isn’t just the drummer for Tool – he’s a musical genius in his own right. And we’re going to show you why.

If you’re familiar with Danny Carey, you probably know him for his polyrhythms, his mathematical approach to music, or at the very least, his awesome kit. But you don’t need convincing.

If you haven’t yet figured out why the Tool drummer has so much hype, here are 5 reasons why Danny Carey is a drumming genius:

0:00 – Intro
1:24 – Creative Grooves
There are too many wicked grooves to list here — but just listen to the drum parts on “Stinkfist”, “The Pot”, and “Vicarious.” Danny’s grooves are undeniably cool, and Tool fans – even non-drummers – can instantly recognize many of them.

5:01 – Odd Time Mastery
If you’re new to Tool, check out the cool drumming on tracks like “Jambi”, “Rosetta Stoned”, “The Grudge”, “46 & 2” or “7empest” for examples of Danny Carey mastering odd time signatures.

7:58 – Distinctive Drum Fills
Danny Carey’s fills are chock full of hand-foot combos, mixed subdivisions and groupings, and flawless bass drum skills (he used to practice rudiments in his feet). Tracks like “Sober”, “Lateralus” and “The Pot” feature some incredibly varied and textured fills. Go listen.

10:16 – Polyrhythmic Drumming
For a band that writes songs based around the Fibonacci sequence, you can bet the drummer dives deep into polyrhythms, polymeters, and other mathematical goodies.

In tracks like “Rosetta Stoned”, Danny plays in 3/4 while implying 4/4 on the right hand and 5/16 with the bass drum. We hear multiple time signatures/meters happening at the same time, in many songs, giving us a cool over the bar line feel.

Even if you didn’t pay attention in math class, it still sounds really cool.

16:21 – Setup, Sound & Influences
Math, geometry, metaphysics: even his kit reflects his interests, with symmetrical cymbal placements and geometric designs on his electronic pads.

Many of his musical choices aren’t standard for a rock or metal kit. He uses Mandala electronic pads for samples, a Wavedrum, other electronics (Bill Bruford from Yes is an influence) and many other percussion instruments.

19:38 – Final Thoughts
So why is Danny Carey a ‘genius’?
He isn’t just a drummer – he’s an incredible musician who has carved out his own style of playing and composing. He writes memorable and interesting drum parts that have inspired drummers for over 30 years.

For other video breakdowns on why certain drummers are so well loved, check these out:

The Genius Of Neil Peart:
The Genius Of Dave Grohl:
The Genius Of Phil Collins:

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