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File:Animal at drums.jpg

...and yet sadly, despite our best wishes, all drummers are not Animal.

"A drummer's job is to use big sticks and beat on animal skins stretched across round pieces of wood. This takes absolutely no formal musical training to accomplish, of which the drummer has none anyway. To put it frankly, drummers just aren't too long out of the caves. They are primal, and fundamentally flawed in their genetic code."
Billy Queen, former drummer of Jacob's Dream on drummers.

Drums connect with our primal selves. Maybe this is why most drummers will have animalistic tendencies, or if the current universe allows, actually BE animals...

This is technically Truth in Television (since humans are animals), but in the non-literal sense this isn't always the case. Real Life instrumentalists can often pick their instrument in accordance with their personality.

When dealing with a Five-Man Band, The Big Guy usually becomes the drummer.

Compare Cymbal-Banging Monkey, Dumb and Drummer.

Examples of All Drummers Are Animals include:


  • The Cadbury's commercial with a gorilla drummer.
  • The Energizer Bunny, a toy rabbit playing a large (for its size) bass drum that keeps going...and going...and going...

Anime and Manga

  • Nishida, drummer of the eponymous Detroit Metal City. He isn't just an animal when drumming, his whole character is, um, well, only driven by basic needs.
  • Veffidas, the Zentradi drummer of Fire Bomber in Macross 7. On the other hand, despite being one of the main characters she has the least lines of dialogue in the entire series; not because she appears rarely but because she's The Stoic. While the others do the talking, she's practicing drum soloes in the background on the nearest wall with her sticks.
  • Downplayed with Tainaka Ritsu from K-On!. She's the most extroverted girl in the band and will do things she wants to do (sometimes to the dismay of Mio), but she's nowhere close to other examples on this page.


  • Subverted by Beast of X-Men, who is a drummer, but only because his mutation prevents him from playing guitar like he used to. He is rather calm, and incredibly intelligent.
  • While usually more of a Deadpan Snarker, Kim Pine becomes this the moment she gets behind the drums in the Scott Pilgrim comics. Taken up to 11 in the movie.




  • Brought up in the Tamara Drewe movie.
  • In The Commitments, both drummers of the group fit this to a tee.
  • Hinted at in "The Drummer" when Sid learns from the drummers in the mountains that drumming is about control not anger.
  • Subverted in That Thing You Do where drummer Guy Patterson is probably the sweetest, most grounded member of the band. Their manager Mr. White plays up the image though dubbing him the "bad boy" of the group and creating the alter ego "Shades" accordingly.

Live Action TV

  • Animal from The Muppet Show was apparently inspired by Keith Moon of The Who.
  • Jack's dog from Jack's Big Music Show (he has a name, don't know it right now) is the drummer whenever necessary.
  • Animal, the drummer from the Hey Hey Its Saturday house band.
  • In The Banana Splits, the group's drummer was a monkey named Bingo.
    • And an elephant played the keyboard, so it's not much of a stretch.
  • Top Gear's band has Jeremy Clarkson as the drummer. That pretty much says it all, really.
  • In Jonathan Creek, Edwin Drood's drummer, Marty Crowe, was known for urinating on the audience.
  • Brought up in Never Mind the Buzzcocks (s23 ep 11, to be specific) during one of the "odd one out" sections.

  "He's a drummer, right? I think it's number 4. He's got the most deranged look in his eye; they're all nutters."



  • This is why the tradition-bound bards of Llamedos disaprove of percussion in Soul Music. The Band With Rocks In having a troll for a drummer ("I hit dem wit de hammers") might be an example.
  • In Chorus Skating, Jon-Tom finds the drummer in a displaced Earth band...easy to identify.


  • Keith Fucking Moon. His antics included blowing up his drumkit on stage, driving his Lincoln Continental into swimming pools, and getting banned from hotels for trashing them. He's been quoted as claiming he's clumsy rather than crazy; he never meant to trash hotel rooms, it just happened...
    • Which would be contradicted by both his reported fondness for blowing up hotel room toilets with cherry bombs, M80s and dynamite. That Other Wiki also mentions an anecdote in which he's being driven from a hotel to the airport. He tells the limo driver to go back because he forgot something. What did he forget? To toss his room's TV set into the hotel pool. Clumsy? Riiight.
  • John Fucking Bonham. Moon liked to trash hotel rooms; Bonzo liked to trash people.
  • Ginger Baker. Known for being agressive when playing, but also in general. Was known for getting into fights with bassist Jack Bruce, often on-stage.
  • Tribal drums aside, Gene Krupa could quite possibly be the Trope Maker, or at least the Trope Codifier. The man literally invented the drum solo in this song. Before him, drums were used to keep the beat and occasionally throw in a quick lick or two to punctuate things.
  • Buddy Rich embodied this trope on-and off stage. A beast on the drums, and a monster to his band (audio is NSFW).
  • Tommy Lee from Motley Crue, probably best known for his wild sexual activities with groupies and even Pamela Anderson. He is also a crazy party animal, possibly the rowdiest of the entire band.
  • The Ferals. In the occasional music thing, Derren the dog was the drummer. It became more prevalent with Feral TV.
  • Kita, the drummer of Lordi, is portrayed as being a Mi-Go from the Cthulhu Mythos, which would make him a literal application of the trope.
  • Liberty DeVitto, drummer for Billy Joel. Billy tells this anecdote that helps illustrate Liberty's personality.
  • Dave Grohl is an odd case. His drumming style actually looks a lot like Animal from The Muppets (and Grohl in fact played the stand-in for Animal in the 2011 film as something of a Lampshade Hanging) and the music styles that he's most famous for are hard rock, punk, metal and grunge, but he is also a subversion of the trope, being so famous for his off-stage affability that the title "Nicest Man in Rock Music" follows him around. And then again his oddball sense of humour has him often majorly playing up to this trope especially in Fresh Pots.
    • Another good example is the drummer of Grohl's band, Taylor Hawkins.
  • Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys, to a T. At the T.A.M.I Show, while performing "I Get Around", he actually shattered a drumstick mid-song.
  • Stewart Copeland of The Police has been known to bust a snare open in the middle of a number.
  • Rick Allen can work up a sweat behind his kit (and apparently, commit domestic abuse) with only one arm.
  • Darren King of Mute Math comes off less as an animal and more as a robot, combining computer-like precision with raw mechanical power. He's been known to drop a stick in mid-performance and complete the rest of the section with one hand with no noticeable difference. Every fan who sees the band live for the first time will eventually have that moment where they realize, "Wait a minute — that part of the song WASN'T an electronic loop?" As David Letterman once remarked: "How 'bout that drummer? Lookit that guy!"
  • In a funny subversion, Max Weinberg, long-time drummer for Bruce Springsteen seemed more straight laced and less colorful than the rest of the E Street Band. Then he became the bandleader for Late Night With Conan O'Brien where they developed a comic persona for him which was more perverse and disturbing as this fake PSA and this skit demonstrate.
  • Ian Paice of Deep Purple is known for his explosive drumming style (see intro to the title track of "Fireball", all of the title track of "Burn" and the second half of "Space Truckin'" from the drum solo onwards) but is known for almost never talking during interviews and being generally very reserved. Given that much of Deep Purple's lineup problems were due to the presence of huge egos in the group (Vocalists David Coverdale and Ian Gillan, and most notably guitarist Ritchie Blackmore), it is perhaps not a surprise that he is the only remaining founding member of the band.
  • Mike Wengren of Disturbed is a completely straight example. He's not just the craziest member of the band, his style often plays with booming tribal-beats and he's well-known for his bass-kick speed and polyrhythm. He's not just an animal himself, he invites you to become one.
  • Somewhat of a subversion; Nick Mason has always been the quiet one of the group, but his drumming style could be considered wild at times. Also, the one song he sang on in the band's whole career, "One Of These Days", had one line, not so much sung as growled; "One of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces!"
  • Kiss takes this literally with the Cat (Peter Criss, then Eric Singer). Eric Carr never wore the Cat make-up; he was the Fox.
  • Aerosmith's Joey Kramer is both an example and a subversion. Onstage, he pulls all the funny faces and during his solos he tends to abandon his sticks and use his hands, forearms, elbows, and head to drum. Then you read his book and his Twitter and discover he's a quiet, shy gentleman who mostly tweets about his wife and Labrador puppy.
  • Dan Konopka of OK Go is a notable subversion: his nickname is "Danimal" and he's gone face to face in a hardcore staring contest with the Muppet Animal, but he's actually a pretty quiet and easygoing guy.
  • Dream Theater have had two; original drummer Mike Portnoy and current drummer Mike Mangini both play with considerable energy and tremendous skill. Mangini currently holds the world record for the most strokes in 60 seconds.
  • Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden (he even invented a technique where he kicks the snare drum instead of using a pedal!), helped by the fact that he's Crazy Awesome.
  • Current drummer of The Mars Volta Deantoni Parks is known to pull some very primal facial expressions.
  • Zach Hill, drummer of Hella, El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and Death Grips, plays so hard he wears out drums faster than usual. He also injures himself a lot playing, even once having to take a hiatus because of a drumming related wound.
  • Matt Morley of Everything Else.
  • Terry Bozzio, Frank Zappa's most famous drummer.
  • Absu's Proscriptor McGovern. Also the lead vocalist, he combines this trope with Large Ham, best exemplified here.
  • Mimi Parker of Low averts this, largely because her role as a vocalist is sometimes more important than her role as a drummer.
  • John Weathers of Gentle Giant is an interesting case; he thrashes about wildly whenever he drums, but given the rhythmic complexity of the material he performs, this belies his ability.
  • Just guess what instrument GG Allin got his start by playing.

Newspaper Comics

  • Jeremy in Zits tries to get Pierce to be in his band as a drummer because he says "All drummers are jerks". (This was before Pierce's Flanderization) To his credit though, Pierce is quite hyperactive while drumming.


  • There are several jokes involving drummers:

 Question: What does it mean when a drummer is drooling from both corners of his mouth?

Answer: The stage is level.

Question: What should you do when there's a drummer at your door?

Answer: Pay him for the pizza.

Question: What do you call a drummer who broke up with his girlfriend?

Answer: Homeless

Question: What's got three legs and a twat at the top?

Answer: A drum stool.

Question: What do you call a person who hangs around musicians?

Answer: A drummer.

Question: What's the difference between a drummer and an extra-large pizza?

Answer: The pizza can feed a family of 4.

Question: What did the drummer say just before he got fired?

Answer: Hey guys, let's try one of my songs now!


Video Games

  • In Guitar Hero, the band's drummer is a big, brutish-looking lunk.
    • The loading screens take quite a few shots at drummers as well. (As well as singers, but drummers seem to get it worse.)
      • "Don't let your drummer handle the money."
      • "Don't give your drummer a microphone. It'll only end in tears."
      • "Well, maybe a drum machine will show up to practice on time."
  • In Primal, after watching one Undine brutally attacking the corpse of another, Jen says, "Lewis's drummer gets like that after his fifth shot of jack."
  • Viewtiful Joe has a music video after the end of the game that extends this trope to the drummer and lead guitarist.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, the drums are given to Link's Goron form, which is essentially The Big Guy of Link's personal One Man Band.
    • As well in the band of Zoras, the biggest one is.. Dun dun dun, der Drummer.
  • In-universe, Blizzard's Heavy Mithril band Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain has a Tauren (bull-man) as their drummer.
  • Subverted in Grand Theft Auto Vice City where Love Fist's drummer is, by far, the smartest member of the band (and the only one capable of defusing a bomb that was planted in the band's limo.
  • Donkey Kong plays Bongo.
  • It's a pinball machine, but close enough: Williams' Monster Bash, with a theme of the Universal Horror monsters having formed a rock band, makes The Wolf Man the drummer.

Visual Novels

Web Comics

  • Tailsteak's comic Band is about a band named Band who, after losing their drummer, find a squid-like being in one of their houses, name it Tyler, find it has a perfect rhythm sense, and put it in their band. Of course, it's probably more complicated than that.
  • Taz MaDara from Dominic Deegan is a pretty good example.
  • Subverted with Hannelore from Questionable Content. She's quite sweet, and likes drumming because appeals to her OCD. To quote her, it's "like counting with your whole body".

Web Original

  • In the Homestar Runner universe, The Cheat plays drums for the band Cool Tapes. He also DJs and plays keyboards.
    • Actually arguably a subversion, depending on how you look at it: The Cheat is the literal animal of the band, but Strong Mad (who plays bass guitar) is the Big Guy and the most primal one.
  • Survival of the Fittest's Maria "Animal" Graham, certified Cloudcuckoolander, plays the drums for Blank Nation.

Western Animation

  • SpongeBob SquarePants' band, Spongebob and the Hi-Seas, has the village-idiot character Patrick as its drummer.
    • Wasn't he also drummer in the Band Geeks episode's band?
  • Jabberjaw was the drummer in the Neptunes.
  • In the Scooby Doo movie Legend of the Vampire, the gang decides to go undercover as the band "The Meddling Kids". Out of five mostly human candidates, it's the dog that drums.
  • Subverted in Metalocalypse, where Pickles the drummer is the only member of Dethklok to be even close to totally civilized and marginally intelligent. Of course, he's also been a singer and a guitarist in his time.
    • Ironically, he came closest to living out this trope back during his stint as lead singer for Snakes 'N Barrels.
  • Darkwing Duck featured a very short-term attempt at a 'rock' band from Gosalyn, a rambunctious Tomboy on vocals; Honker, her nerdy best friend on guitar (whose music teacher considered form superior to function); and Honker's bigger Jerkass brother Tank on drums. Gosalyn's justification? "You were born to hit stuff!".
  • Foxxy's musical number in Drawn Together featured Ling-Ling, a Pokémon-Expy, on drums.
  • An episode of Family Guy had the family play as a band for a little while. Brian, the dog, was the drummer.
    • Something of a subversion, as Brian is one of the calmest and most sensible characters on the show.
      • During THAT time period, anyway...
  • Generation O's drummer was a kangaroo.
  • The Bremen Avenue Experience stars a Garage Band made of Funny Animals. The drummer is a rooster named Tanner.
  • Subverted like hell in the Galaxy Rangers episode "Battle of the Bandits," where the crew had to infiltrate a galactic rock show (it was The Eighties, that's the only excuse that can be given). It's Zachary that gets shoved on drums.
  • Also subverted on The Amazing Chan and The Chan Clan; the band's drummer is the mature, responsible Henry and in one episode the mild-mannered Tom had a short turn at the drums.