The 10 Most Famous Bands with 2 Drummers

If you thought having one drum kit in a band was enough, then think again! These popular bands have been rocking with 2 drummers in style.

One thing to note is that many bands on the list don’t actually play two drums for the whole live set. They would sometimes switch it up and play percussions and drums, but most of the time, they are rocking the double drumming, and it sounds awesome.

1. King Crimson

You can’t make a list of bands with multiple drummers and not have King Crimson at the top of the list. One of the best prog rock bands in the world, with a very rich history and discography that is worth listening to every second of it, carefully.

Formed in London in 1968, King Crimson has had nine drummers, three of which are currently touring and recording with the band. Pat Mastelotto, Gavin Harrison, and Bill Rieflin bring their brilliance to King Crimson and push the music further.

On the first albums, King Crimson had two drummers, but since 2013 they are going hard with three drummers, and oh boy is it worth it. If you’ve never listened to a band with more than one drummer, watching King Crimson live and analyzing the drum parts is something so unique.

2. The Allman Brothers Band

One of the most famous bands with two drummers is The Allman Brothers Band. Formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969, they are considered to be one of the pioneers of Southern Rock. With seven gold and four platinum albums, The Allman Brothers Band recorded and played live with two drummers their whole career.

Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson are the two drummers that played and toured with the band. Their great orchestrations, along with amazing drum arrangements are what made the Allman Brothers Band one of the most creative and interesting rock bands at the time.

3. Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire is one the most famous bands in the world, with more than 90 million records sold worldwide. The group was founded in Chicago in 1969 by Maurice White who was the band’s main songwriter, producer, and leader.

While their genre is universal, they produce R&B, soul, funk, disco, dance, and jazz music. Since their beginnings, they have had two drummers and a percussionist in their line-up, which really gave a lot of soul to their music.

4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

One of the most famous post-rock bands in the world, Goodspeed You! Black Emperor is a Canadian post-rock band founded in Montreal, Quebec in 1994. Their music is pushed forward with amazing ambient soundscapes as well as chaotic crescendos.

Throughout their career, Godspeed You! Black Emperor have had a lot of band members and different musicians playing live with them for a couple of live shows, but they have always played with two drummers, and sometimes a percussionist.

5. Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead is an American rock band formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, California. The band is mostly known for its music style which included a lot of elements from folk, jazz, blues, country, as well as rock n’ roll.

Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann were the two drummers that played with Grateful Dead, while Bill was also a founding member of the band. They are one of the few rock bands that made amazing arrangements for their songs, so the two drums sounded very much in sync and sometimes hard to notice. But once you do, you realize how good it is.

6. Snarky Puppy

Founded in 2004 in Texas, Snarky Puppy is an American instrumental fusion jazz ensemble. A band that won countless awards including a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance, has two drummers in their line-up, as well as three percussionists.

One of the most technical bands on the list, listening to them really makes you appreciate the great song arrangements they do, especially songs that include two drums.

7. The Doobie Brothers

The Doobie Brothers is an American rock band formed in San Jose, California in 1970. While most of the time they play with one drummer and a percussionist, they are known to play some songs with two drummers, and as with everything this band does, it sounds amazing.

With many different instruments in their arsenal, The Doobie Brothers also have some song arrangements that require two drums. The amazing arrangement, together with the great dynamic drum playing is just a joy to listen to.

8. Tortoise

The second post-rock band on the list of bands with two drummers is Tortoise. Founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1990, Tortoise is one of the most famous and achieved post-rock bands in the world. 

Their rich history and discography are amazing to listen to, especially their live performances. Utilizing a lot of instruments, percussions, as well as two sets of drums, they sound amazing.

9. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Formed in 2010 in Melbourne, Australia, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard is one of the most creative bands on the list utilizing two drums, both on recording and live performances. Psychedelic, progressive rock that sounds amazing to anyone’s ear.

So far, among their live albums, EPs, and compilations, they have released 23 studio albums. One thing is for sure, and that is when you hear that many genres in one band, you can’t help but wonder how they pulled it off and made it sound so good.

10. Melvins

And finally, I can’t finish the list of the most famous bands with two drummers without mentioning The Melvins. The American rock band from Montesano, Washington, formed in 1983, is considered to be one of the pioneering bands of both sludge metal and grunge music.

The Melvins set the tone for what sludge metal should sound like, and while doing so, playing with two drums really inspired a lot of sludge metal bands to rise and create amazing music.

Conclusion

Many different bands play with two drummers, and if done correctly, all of them sound amazing. Especially if you are lucky enough to have caught one playing live. Nevertheless, one thing we can all agree on is that the energy that two drummers (in some cases three) bring to live performances is unmatchable by anything else.

King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Featured Image (Top-Left) by: Vladimir Vladimir from New York, NY, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
King Crimson Featured Image (Top-Right) by: Masahiro TAKAGI, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Tortoise Featured Image (Bottom-Left) by: Levi Manchak, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Featured Image (Bottom-Right) by: Grywnn, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Mike O'Connor

Drumming has been my passion for over 18 years. I play quite a few different genres and I really enjoy experimenting with hybrid kits that blend acoustic and electronic drums. I love all things drumming!

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