For the last two days your nominations have been rolling in for the singer and guitarist in NME’s Ultimate Band. We’ve had some great contributions so far, but today we turn our attention away from such front-of-stage fripperies and get down to brass tacks: who would you choose to form the ultimate rhythm section?
That’s right, today is all about Drum & Bass. Some of rock’s driving partnerships have made this instrument their own: think Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham and John Paul Jones, The Beatles’ McCartney and Starr or The Who’s Keith Moon and John Entwistle.
The chance to form a new dream has already led to some heated debate here in the NME tower. Features Editor Jamie Fullerton is adamant it should be Arctic Monkeys man Matt Helders on sticks: “He’s the chav-sticksman-turned-desert-stalker. Still criminally underrated, but the Monkeys' decreasingly secret ingredient. More 'Brianstorm' thunder drum intros for the next album please, Matt.”
Writer Matthew Horton puts his money on the quiet man of Radiohead, Phil Selway: “He’s the ultimate unassuming background man, studiously capable of fuelling straightforward rock anthems and whatever madcap glitch experiment Thom Yorke chucks his way.” While Deputy News Editor Jenny Stevens nominates Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss and if he’s good enough for Steve Albini’s Shellac, he’s good enough for Features Editor Tom Howard: “It’s Todd Trainer, obvs.” Wait, isn’t anybody going to mention Grohl?
On bass, Horton nominates Mani: “It's no accident he got to play bass with two of the greatest bands of the last 25 years. He's got the funk, the fingers and the wide-mouthed-frog grin.” The subject of funk keeps coming up in the bassist debate, whether it’s the legendary Bootsy Collins or Flea’s Californian version. Others prefer the low-slung cool of Peter Hook or Nicky Wire, while the punk contingent may feel Sid Vicious’ attitude more than makes up for his lack of musical chops.
If it were up to me? On drums I’d pick ?uestlove, simply the coolest man in music. Anyone who’s heard him play on The Roots’ records will know how effortless his drumming style is, while he’s proved his rock chops by playing live with Springsteen and his musical instincts by producing everyone from Jay-Z to Amy Winehouse. Oh yeah, and his ‘fro is a joy to behold.
On bass, I’d just want a girl as cool as Kim Deal. Yeah, so the Dandy Warhols wrote her an awesome tribute song, but she’s in my band because I’d want all their songs to be anchored by the musical brain that gave us the basslines to ‘Gigantic’, ‘Debaser’… that lorryload of Pixies classics. She’s not a bad backing vocalist either, but most of all I just can't wait to see her hang out with my guitarist Keef.
But it’s not up to me. It’s up to YOU. Leave your nominations for Ultimate Drummer and Bassist below, along with a couple of lines about why they should make the grade. The best submissions will be included in our very special NME Ultimate Band issue, out 14 November.