If you’re into drums, here’s a book for you

There are many different styles of drumming. But one of the most energetic of all is the kind of rhythms you have to play if you’re in a punk band. There’s a new book called Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming which is a collection of essays by people who know what this is all about. Call it a stroll through the evolution of punk drumming since 1976.

Check out this trailer:

Here’s a list of contributors:

  1. Foreword by Lucky Lehrer (Circle Jerks)
  2. ESSAY: Ira Elliot on Proto Punk & Garage Rock (Nada Surf)
  3. ESSAY: Curt Weiss on Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls)
  4. ESSAY: John Robb on British Punk (Editor of Louder Than War)
  5. TOP 5 DRUMMERS: Hudley Flipside (Former co-owner of Flipside fanzine)
  6. ESSAY: Bon Von Wheelie (Girl Trouble)
  7. ESSAY: Matt Diehl on D-Beat (Author, Music Journalist)
  8. ESSAY: D.H. Peligro (Dead Kennedys)
  9. INTERVIEW: Mike Watt on George Hurley (Minutemen, fiREHOSE)
  10. ESSAY: Lynn Perko-Truell (The Dicks, Sister Double, Happiness, Imperial Teen)
  11. ESSAY: Laura Bethita Neptuna on Gina Schock (The Neptunas)
  12. TOP 5 DRUMMERS: Pete Finestone (Bad Religion)
  13. INTERVIEW: Jan Radder on Grant Hart (Writer of Grant Hart documentary)
  14. ESSAY: Jim Ruland on Bill Stevenson (Author of My Damage; Do What You Want)
  15. ESSAY: Eric Beetner on D.C. Hardcore & Post Punk (Crime Author)
  16. TOP 5 DRUMMERS: Jon Wurster (Bob Mould, Superchunk)
  17. INTERVIEW: Lori Barbero (Babes in Toyland)
  18. ESSAY: Joey Cape on Derrick Plourde (Lagwagon)
  19. TOP 5 DRUMMERS: Marko DeSantis (Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut)
  20. INTERVIEW: Tré Cool (Green Day)
  21. ESSAY: Mindy Abovitz on Riot grrrl & Tom Tom Magazine (Tom Tom Magazine)
  22. INTERVIEW: Steven McDonald (Redd Kross, Melvins)
  23. ESSAY: Kye Smith on Self-Taught Punk Drumming (YouTube star)
  24. ESSAY: Ian Winwood on Brooks Wackerman (Author of Smash)
  25. INTERVIEW: Phanie Diaz (Fea)
  26. ESSAY: Benny Horowitz (Mercy Union, Gaslight Anthem)
  27. TOP 5 DRUMMERS: Shari Page (Thick)
  28. ESSAY: Urian Hackney (Rough Francis & Death)
  29. INTERVIEW: Rat Scabies (The Damned)

Here’s an essay about the book by co-editing S.W. Lauden.

Whether they’re self-taught bashers or technical wizards, drummers are the thrashing, crashing hearts of our favorite punk bands. In Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming, some of today’s most respected writers and musicians explore the history of punk percussion with personal essays, interviews and lists featuring their favorite players and biggest influences. From ’60s garage rock and proto-punk to ’70s New York and London punk, ’80s hardcore and D-beat to ’90s pop punk and beyond, Forbidden Beat is an up-tempo ode to decades of punk drumming.

Over a 150 drummers are written about in this book, from self-taught bashers to technical wizards, and just about every style of playing in between. Some have whole essays and interviews dedicated to them, including Jerry Nolan (New York Dolls), Gina Schock (the Go-Go’s), Bill Stevenson (Descendents), Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü), Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion), Derrick Plourde (Lagwagon), and more. Others are mentioned as important influences in interviews with Rat Scabies (the Damned), Tré Cool (Green Day), Lori Barbero (Babes in Toyland), Mike Watt (Minutemen, Firehose), Phanie Diaz (Fea) and more. Plus Top 5 lists from Jon Wurster (Bob Mould, Superchunk), Marko DeSantis (Sugarcult, Bad Astronaut), Shari Page (Thick), and more.

“Drummers march armies into war. Before they are born, babies hear their mother’s heartbeat in what might be called a Bossa Nova in-utero. Drumbeats are felt in the soul and heard in the heart. There is something primitive about pounding drums we drummers feel called to do,” Lucky Lehrer writes in the foreword to Forbidden Beat.

Taken all together, the diverse viewpoints, opinions, and personal stories included here create a kind of collage that connects the rhythmic dots for many different eras, scenes, and bands. Other contributors include D. H. Peligro (Dead Kennedys), Lynn Perko-Truell (the Wrecks, the Dicks SF), Urian Hackney (Rough Francis, Death), John Robb (author of Punk Rock: An Oral History), Jim Ruland (author of Do What You Want: The Story of Bad Religion), Curt Weiss (author of Stranded in the Jungle: Jerry Nolan’s Wild Ride), and more.

“This collection is a salute to that sweaty blur at the back of the stage giving everything to propel the music we love,” S. W. Lauden writes in the introduction to Forbidden Beat.

Available February 8, 2022 from Rare Bird Books

Pre-order Links:


Select quotes from Forbidden Beat:

“Much has been written about the music style, politics, and attitude of late-seventies bands, but interestingly little gets said about the drumming. The machine gun guitars and guttural vocals are endlessly detailed, but this was also an era when there were many great drummers creating their own beat narrative.” —John Robb, Punk Rock: An Oral History

 “I always felt like we were doomed to failure, but what did I know? I loved playing with Brian, and I loved Dave and the Captain and being in a band with them, but, you know, I thought it was going to last about three months.” —Rat Scabies, the Damned

“I always watch the drummer, since I was young and saw bands play at music festivals. Of course, I’d watch the singer and guitar player, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the drummer—to me that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen.” —Lori Barbero, Babes in Toyland

“The forbidden beat and the D-beat were certainly the most fashionable rhythmic choices when it came to eighties punk’s attempts to set land speed records.” —Matt Diehl, music journalist and author of My So-Called Punk

“I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. There was never any ‘Cover your bases. Learn a trade.’ Fuck that. Just play drums. I didn’t even graduate high school. I was like ‘I’m not playing drums enough right now because I’m wasting time at school.’”  —Tré Cool, Green Day

“I spent many days locked in my darkened room with a hand-me-down Discman and those practice pads, trying my best to keep up with Minor Threat’s drummer, Jeff Nelson. That made me more aware of drumming in music and was the first time I felt like I was forming my own taste in music.”—Urian Hackney, Rough Francis 

“I don’t just think that Brooks Wackerman is the best to have played with Brian Baker, Jay Bentley, Mike Dimkich, Greg Graffin, Brett Gurewitz, and Greg Hetson—I think he’s the best in the history of punk rock.” —Ian Winwood, music journalist and author of Smash!

“I will always be evolving as a drummer. You can be happy, but never satisfied. I think I play perfectly for what I do and that’s enough for me. Always room to learn though.”—Phanie Diaz, Fea

 “I’ve been beyond fortunate to have gotten to play drums with former Hüsker Dü/Sugar singer/guitarist Bob Mould for the last eleven years. Playing with Bob is like running a 10k while also being in a boxing match. It’s by far the most physically demanding thing I’ve ever done, and it doesn’t get any easier as the years go by.” —Jon Wurster, Bob Mould and Superchunk


About S.W. Lauden: S.W. Lauden is the editor of Forbidden Beat: Perspectives on Punk Drumming. He is also the co-editor of the essay collections, Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation of Power Pop, and the sequel, Go Further. His Greg Salem punk rock PI series includes Bad Citizen Corporation, Grizzly Season and Hang Time. Steve is a father, husband, writer and drummer living in Los Angeles. WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram

About Lucky Lehrer: Lucky Lehrer performed and recorded with several LA bands including the Circle Jerks and Bad Religion. He appears in major films charting the rise of punk rock music. Considered influential by Dave Grohl, Travis Barker, Dave Lombardo, and many others, Lehrer was voted one of the best punk drummers of all time. WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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