Benny Greb has got style. There is no getting around it. If Benny Greb were two miles away from me and all I could hear of him was the distant rumble of his bass drum, I would still be able to tell it was him playing. His style is very distinct: lots of ostinatos on the foot pedals and a back and forth between grooves spread across the toms and heavy, deep beats in the pocket. All four limbs have minds of their own, each roaming freely about the kit to create a nice full sound. The thing I love most about Benny, though, is his feel. It’s hard to describe without hearing, but when he gets in the pockets and even plays just a simple beat, it invokes that strong, visceral feeling that makes you bob your head and tap your foot. Think of the feeling you get when you hear the drum intro on When the Levee Breaks or the drum break on The Funky Drummer and you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about. Greb’s style is completely his own, but at the same time it feels almost familiar. I don’t know how he does it, but regardless he is a huge influence on myself and the drumming community. Here’s my favorite drum solo of all-time (even though it’s a compilation of one of his performances) and I think it sums his style up nicely. Here’s the monster of a solo by Benny Greb:
I mean come on. He has 5 foot pedals and one of them is rigged up to hit a little bongo. Sick.