Classic Rock Junkie wrote:
skill is gavin by a very good amount and creativity is definitely gavin. What don't you find creative about his playing? I'm not getting this....rhythmically he approaches songs in ways no other drummer would possibly think of
I would give Portnoy creativity over Gavin without too much hesitation. Portnoy has a very distinctive style, even if it's limited and he tends to repeat himself and hasn't really grown at all in his style in like 10-15 years. Gavin's a really cool drummer in terms of his approach but again, that fits more within innovation and originality than creativity imo.
Tier 1 creative drummers (rock of course):
Bruford, Carey, Beauford, Moon, Lombardo
Bonham goes either here or Tier 1; maybe (probably) Portnoy; MAYBE Collins; Starr either goes here or Tier 1, same with Alexander; probably McBrain; Baker goes either here or Tier 1 probably; Palmer probably goes here; etc.
Peak Ulrich PROBABLY goes here; Benante probably goes here; Jimmy DeGrasso maybe?; Brad Wilk PROBABLY goes here; Charlie Watts may well go here; I'd say Paice probably is a really strong Tier 3 guy (i.e. about as good as Tier 3 gets without crossing over into Tier 2); Collins might go here; peak Gene Hoglan might well be here; Vinnie Paul; etc.
Now my tiers with drummers aren't as solid as with bassists (since I know bassists better), but you get the point. I think with any instrument there are 'tiers' like this. Tiers 1 and 2, taken together, are the people that you'd indisputably call musical geniuses on their instruments. Tier 3 is definitively not genius, but very very good. (Think John Paul Jones on bass.)
I regard Gavin as a really strong tier 3 guy in terms of CREATIVITY. I do not think he is in the same universe as Bruford, Carey or Moon. I also do not think he is really in the same space as Bonham or even Peart, or Alexander, or Starr (who, like Alexander, might actually be tier 1). I don't think he's in the same space as McBrain either. Take away innovation and the fact that he has a new approach and listen to his actual drum lines themselves. Gavin doesn't cut it on the level of a Portnoy IMO. For as much as I whine about Portnoy being overrated to hell, his work in the mid 90s was exceptionally creative, like all-time great level creative maybe. Erotomania and the whole Awake album. A Change of Seasons. Oh, and throw in some later stuff like Stream of Consciousness and Dance of Eternity for good measure. These are all-time-great level drum performances in the pantheon of rock I'd say. What's a Gavin performance you'd say that about?