RIP: Alan Myers, Devo drummer

RIP: Alan Myers, Devo drummer

From the Los Angeles Times:

Chances are in coming days when you’re reading about percussionist Alan Myers, who died Monday after a battle with brain cancer, the words “human metronome” will be used. Myers’ drumming for punk band Devo came to define the band’s off-kilter sound.

Musician Ralph Carney, who was friends with Myers, announced the death of the Devo drummer on his Facebook page: “Alan Myers passed yesterday from cancer. he was Devo’s best drummer and one of the first people to teach me about jazz. i cry…”

To call Myers a human metronome, though, is to suggest a drummer focused on keeping a steady, consistent beat. Myers could do that and more, but his internal metronome contained secret compartments, switches that could drive odd time signatures, weird breakbeats, perfectly timed chaotic bursts.

Like one of his admitted inspirations, John “Drumbo” French of Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band, Myers understood rhythm so well that he worked as much silence and absence into his sound as he did crazy fills.

Myers was Devo’s third drummer, joining in 1976 before the band released its Brian Eno-produced debut, “Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!” and remained in the band until the mid-’80s. He played on all the Akron, Ohio-born, Los Angeles-based Devo’s most mind-bending material, including the deconstructed version of “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” that first propelled them onto the national stage, “Whip It” and “Girl U Want.”

• Devo: http://www.clubdevo.com

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