5 Drummerszone artists - Lee Kerslake

Lee Kerslake
* April 16, 1947
United Kingdom
Lee Kerslake plays drums in Living Loud. Previously he worked with rock icons like Uriah Heep and Ozzy Osbourne.

Lee Kerslake is a body drummer. He doesn't play his kit from the wrist or from his strong fore-arms. No, the powerhouse of Uriah Heep puts the full weight of his shoulders - of his whole torso - behind each crushing baet. It means that his playing is simplistic and terse but the all-important drive is monumentally stunning.

Lee Kerslake's body drumming can best be seen during a number like "Circle Of Hands". It's on this album, and it's easy to picture him rocking from side to side. He rolls to the right on the downbeat throwing his whole frame's weight behind the bass drum beat and cymbal crash then he sways back over to the left on the up-beat heaving his weight behind the snare-drums off-beat. It needs that sort of muscular, physical power to work the engine room of a band like Heep.

The rest of the band is only too aware that it was the immediate musical empathy between Lee and bassist Gary Thain that turned Uriah into a compact, weighty unit that's able to sell albums and fill concert halls.

Lee Kerslake has always been something of a Jekyll and Hyde character. Off-stage on American tours, he's been known to go missing for several days always turning up in time for the next gig with the barest of explanations - often bizarre but somehow believable. The Lost Weekend just isn't in it. It's that his Hyde manifestations, his Jekyll is equally surprising. Lee Keslake - Family Man.

Backstage at a London gig: Lee Kerslake staggers off after the encores, towels himself down and is immediately engrossed in playing with his young son, jutting out his chin for the toddler that he's cradling in his arms to punch. The little 'un is developing a very fair left hook.

But sit Lee Kerslake behind a kit - either in a studio or in a concert hall - and he's transformed. He concentrates with an intensity unusual for a drummer who plays fairly simple fills. It's a concentration of power rather than technically flash. Well, you need to be a mite beefy to propel a band as thunderously loud as Heep. And Lee Kerslake's as beefy as Brovil.
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