Bonham-esque Style Drum Fill

Sep 23, 2022

Any drummer who has studied the great rock drummers of the past will have undoubtedly heard this fill or similar variations countless times. But, I distinctly remember the first time I heard this in a way that really stood out, and that was on the song 'Guilty' from Jason Bonham's debut release 'The Disregard of Timekeeping' in 1989.

These days, a lick like this is pretty easy to pick up, you just load up a YouTube video of the song and slow it down to 75% or even 50%. But 'back in the day' we didn't have that option. I didn't even have the CD yet, I picked this up watching the video on MTV. (Yes, children - a long time ago in a universe far, far away MTV stood for "Music TeleVision" and actually played music videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week!) Watching the video, it looks like he's playing this lick all with the hands — snare, rack tom and floor tom. But, to me it sounds like a bass drum instead of a floor tom, so that's how I went about trying to replicate it. It was fairly easy to pick up the basic pattern of the triplet phrase - snare, rack tom and 2 bass drum notes, but the specific rhythm eluded me. I tried various combinations that sounded close, but not perfect. I initially thought the bass drum notes were 16ths starting on the 3rd beat of the triplet. It wasn't until I slowed it down and really counted it out while practicing that I figured out that the 16th notes are actually the rack tom and first bass drum, with the second bass drum landing squarely on the 3rd beat of the triplet.

Separate Ways Fill - A

Here's a clip where I use this fill in a break in TGL's Led Zepplin medley combined with my version of the John Bonham 'Whole Lotta Love' lick.



Regardless of whether you play this with a floor tom or bass drum, this is an awesome sounding fill. And, just in case you haven't seen the official, classic 80's video for this song in a while, enjoy! (The fill is around the 22 second mark.)