100 Interesting Facts about Musical Instruments

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1Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase

Chevy Chase played drums in college for a band called The Leather Canary, which he referred to as a "bad jazz band". After he left, the two remaining band members went on to establish the successful group Steely Dan.

2. Talking drums were used in Africa for centuries to transmit messages over long distances by mimicking speech. When these were brought to America during the slave trade, they were banned because they were being used by the slaves to communicate over long distances in a code unknown to their enslavers.

3. Keith Moon hated drum solos and refused to play them in concerts. In one show, Townshend and Entwistle decided to spontaneously stop playing to hear Moon's drum solo. Moon stopped too, shouting "Drum solos are boring!"

4. In almost all of his albums, Lenny Kravitz not only sang his songs but did everything else: played the guitar, bass, drums, percussions and produced them all himself.

5. There exists a drum-solo loop known as the "Amen Break", considered to be one of the most used samples of digital history. You can hear it in the theme song of Futurama and it is the basis of a whole musical genre called Drum and Bass.

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6Gravity Blast

Gravity Blast

There is a one-handed drum roll technique known as a "Gravity Roll" or a "Gravity Blast" in which a drummer strikes the drum, rests the stick on the rim of the drum, bringing the back of the stick down in a seesaw motion, then quickly brings the stick back up, striking the drum again.

7. When John Williams first played the theme song of the film "Jaws" by playing just two notes on a piano, Steven Spielberg laughed and thought it was a joke.

8. Shakira has been making music for more than 23 years and can play the guitar, drums, percussion and harmonica. She also speaks 7 different languages and is the founder of a charity called Pies Descalzos and is a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF.

9. Eddie Van Halen actually started out playing the drums. He bought a drum set and his brother bought a guitar. When his brother got better at the drums than him, Eddie said: "OK, fu*k you, I'll play your guitar."

10. David Grohl was the only band member of Foo Fighters when recording the first album. He wrote and recorded all vocal, guitar, bass, and drum tracks himself.

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11Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr

Ringo Starr is a left-handed drummer who plays a right-handed drum kit, leading to his peculiar and uncharacteristic drumming style.

12. The legend of Sir Francis Drake's drum: On his deathbed, Sir Francis Drake requested that his drum be returned to England, and if they ever came under attack, one was to beat the drum and he would return to protect the country.

13. Flavor Flav (William Jonathan Drayton Jr.) is a musical prodigy. By the time he started performing with Public Enemy, he was proficient in 15 different instruments, from drums to oboe.

14. Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, lost his arm after a car accident in 1984. He thought he could never play in the band again and became very depressed until a fellow drummer helped him design an electronic drum kit that could be played with only one arm. He returned to the band in 1986.

15. An aluminum grand piano was built in the lounge of the airship Hindenburg. It weighed only 356 pounds.

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As part of a marketing campaign in 2012, Nestle posted a photo on Instagram of a person in a bear costume playing drums, using Kit Kats as drum sticks. Nestle removed the photo shortly afterward amid controversy that it looked like "Pedobear".

17. A mysterious mute man named Andreas Grassl was found wandering the streets of England in 2005. He could only communicate via piano.

18. Ray Charles, not only played the piano blind but was also a keen chess player. His white and black squares had different elevation, and the pieces were shaped differently depending on the color.

19. Sir Richard Branson's only attempt as a music producer was a novelty record called "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" that consisted of sheep baa-ing over a drum machine track. It reached #42 on the UK charts in 1982.

20. David Bowie played guitar, piano, saxophone, harmonica, synthesizers, vibraphone, xylophone, koto, drums, viola and cello.

21Drum beat

Drum beat

The drumbeat played during the invasion sequence in Independence Day (1996) spells out "D-I-E" in Morse Code.

22. The Cat Organ was a 16th-century piano-type contraption which was played by a trained bear by yanking the tails of cats in order to create music.

23. John Bonham's live drum solo on "Moby Dick" would get so intense his sticks would break and he'd continue playing with his hands, occasionally drawing blood.

24. During the Chinese Sparrow extermination campaign, the Polish Embassy refused to allow Chinese to kill the Sparrows hiding in their complex, so the Chinese waited outside hitting drums for two days straight until all the sparrows died of exhaustion.

25. Leon Theremin invented the Rhythmicon, the world's first drum-machine in 1931.

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