Last month, the blog Sound Diego published a list of San Diego’s best drummers. Unfortunately, it kind of missed the target. Choosing Slightly Stoopid’s drummer over The Locust’s is a bizarre oversight, for instance. We do, however, applaud the inclusions of Travis Barker and Jake Najor, but in the interest of highlighting some of the most insanely kick-ass drummers in San Diego, here’s a CityBeat-endorsed list of locals to ever claim the throne.
Brian Hill: Currently with The Soft Pack, Brian Hill first delivered his aggressive, albeit jazz-inspired technique as a member of post-hardcore quartet The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower. His skills aren’t to be fucked with.
Nathan Hubbard: Having worked with Rafter and Passengers, Hubbard also has a history of building his own instruments, such as the harpophone and ribbon cymbals. For a good example of his experimental style in action, check out any of his releases or performances with Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed.
Dave Mead: Rhythm is essential to Cuckoo Chaos’ vibe, so having a solid percussionist is a must. Mead, whose calypso-inspired technique keeps him loose and nimble behind the kit, anchors the group’s dreamy indie-pop perfectly.
Chris Prescott: A staple of the ’90s indie scene, Prescott honed his chops in Tanner and Fishwife before joining No Knife. His performance on their 2002 album Riot for Romance warrants his place here alone. Though his work with Pinback and The Jade Sherer doesn’t hurt, either.
Brandon Relf: You can’t really call yourself “math rock” (though most bands hate that term) without a drummer to do some of those complex rhythmic equations. Relf, of Sleeping People and Innerds, is just the percussionist to do such heavy lifting.
Mario Rubalcaba: Also known as Ruby Mars, Rubalcaba has built a pretty long résumé during the last two decades. He’s backed The Black Heart Procession, Earthless, The Hot Snakes and, most recently, hardcore vets OFF! The list goes on, but there’s a reason he’s so in demand: Dude kicks ass.
Gabe Serbian: Noisecore shriekers The Locust couldn’t exist without a quartz-precise rhythm section holding down beats with machine-gun speed. Serbian’s simply a beast behind the kit, having also lent his skills to death-metal outfit Cattle Decapitation and hardcore band Retox.
Adam Willard: Willard (aka Atom) has had a successful career backing bands like Social Distortion and Angels and Airwaves, but look no further than “Middle” and “Born in ’69,” the first two tracks on Rocket from the Crypt’s Scream, Dracula, Scream to hear the kind of crazy skills he has.