Drummer “Name Association” with Todd Nance

During our recent conversation with Widespread Panic drummer Todd Nance — a drummer who rarely shows off and clearly understands the importance of time and sticking to a downbeat — he agreed to answer a few quick questions for the City Paper.

Widespread Panic shares the bill with DJ Logic on Oct. 24-25 at the North Charleston Coliseum.

Demonstrating good sportsmanship, Nance stayed on the phone with us long enough to play a quick game of “name/word association.” In an effort to illustrate how some of his deep musical influences, we stated a famous drummer’s name and he blurted out the first thing that popped into his mind and mouth. It went something like this:

1. Buddy Rich (big band legend): “The day before he died, he played better than anything I could ever come up with in my brain. Seriously.”

2. Levon Helm (The Band): “Great Voice. Great feel.”

3. Ringo Starr (The Beatles): “Totally under-appreciated.”

4. Earl Palmer (New Orleans studio legend): “He had the signature lick so you could tell who it was!”

5. Billy Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead): “I’m not a Deadhead!”

6. Charlie Watts (The Rolling Stones): “Oh man, I love his style. He rushes on the high-hat and drags on foot pedal and is solid on the snare — how do you do that?”

7. Stewart Copeland (The Police): “ I got to meet him, man, and he blames me for the reason he has to play three hours a night. I loved it. Biggest compliment of my life.”

8. Keith Strickland (The B-52’s): “I love the energy of The B-52’s. He made a great transition from drums to guitar.”

9. Jim Keltner (L.A. studio legend, Tom Petty): “Oh, awesome. I know that word’s overused, but I mean it for him.”

10. Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac): “What a character. I love his drumming, too,”

11. Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello & The Attractions): “You got me on that one, bro … oh, oh, okay — the Attractions? I dig the music.”

12. John Bonham (Led Zeppelin): “My hero!”

13. Billy Cobham (fusion/fazz/funk legend): “Oh God, I got to meet him once and it was one of the best experiences I ever had.”

14. Derek Bostrom (Meat Puppets): “You got me on that one … Oh! I love the Meat Puppets! Yeah, that guy, yeah…”

15. Cindy Blakmon (Lenny Kravitz): “I hope she hits them as hard as she looks like she does.”

16. Mickey Dolenz (The Monkees): “I have a limited experience with him as a drummer … but I know who Hal Blaine is!”

17. Ginger Baker (Cream): “I love him — love him to death.”

18. Gene Krupa (big band legend): “Gene wished he was Buddy Rich [laughs]. He had some flash. He was a showman.”

19. Stan Lynch (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers): “Who left Tom Petty? What a dumbass. Now they have the guy from the Average White Band, Steve Ferrone, who’s one of my favorites.”

20. Anton Fig (Late Night with David Letterman band): “From the Letterman show? He and the band were very nice to us.”

21. Art Blakey (jazz/be-bop legend): “I’m just not in the mix on him, but I know I’ve heard him a lot.”

22. Buddy Miles (Jimi Hendrix, The Band of Gypsies, Santana): “Wicked.”

23. Bill Bruford (Yes, King Crimson): “Wickeder.”

24. Don Henley (The Eagles): “Not so wicked [laughs]. His singing impressed me more than his drumming did.”

25. Artimus Pyle (Lynyrd Skynyrd): “I listened to Artimus more than any other drummer in the ’70s. I guarantee you. I’ve ripped off a few of his licks — especially that little double hit off the floor tom to the cymbal. Buh-buh-pow!”

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