When John Lennon was asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world he quipped " He wasn't even the best drummer in the Beatles". Lennon's natural put-down is typical of the way drummers are belittled within music circles.
Presenter Phill Jupitus challenges this notion with the help of a cross-section of musicians to discover how they have gained this reputation?
We hear from Clem Burke (drummer with Blondie) and Dr. Marcus Smith who together have proven scientifically that Clem burns a similar amount of calories during a concert as a premiership footballer. Phil Collins (Genesis) and Stewart Copeland (The Police), explain how they cope with the physical demands of performing and how these veterans react to the negative image of the drummer.
Having established the physical demands made on drummers does this exclude women? Dame Evelyn Glennie thinks not as she believes the physicality is not an obstacle. The programme also hears from Kenny Jones (The Small Faces, The Faces and The Who) who still features a drum solo in his set but has the drum solo had its day? Has the modern drummer discarded this indulgence and settled for keeping time at the back? If so why?
For many, the drummer is the joker in the group, Phil Selway of Radiohead explains within the ranks of Britain's moodiest band, there is not too much light hearted banter but he does see his role as a supporting one for the others to be creative.
This whimsical programme hears its fair share of drummer jokes which happily filter through this engaging half hour and yes we discover what Phil Collins thought of the gorilla crashing his way through 'In The Air Tonight" for that famous chocolate TV commercial.
Beat It - The World Of the Modern Drummer an exhaustive and fun exploration of life at the back.
Producer: John Sugar
A Sugar Production for BBC Radio 4.