Best Drummer

Ken McCray

It's difficult for drummers to distinguish themselves in the hard-rock genre. Sure, they get loud sixteenth-note fills, but it's all too easy for them to either plug along with a boring basic beat or to overwhelm the song by overplaying. That's why Ken McCray of '70s cover group Superjam and '70s-inspired hard-rock quartet Tilts is so good. The veteran musician strikes the all-important balance of playing interesting but never distracting patterns, and he makes sure to hammer the hell out of them with military precision and volume. Little touches in Tilts tunes — like the syncopated intro to "Strongbow" and the minimalist cadence of "Touchdowns" — shape and give character to the songs while still letting the guitars take center stage. McCray supplements his technique with superb tuning and taste in drums that ensure his kit sounds as menacingly heavy as his playing. A perfect team player, McCray is the ideal hard-rock drummer.

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