Over the last few episodes of SiriusXM's The Howard Stern Show, there has been a debate about who the greatest drummer of all time was. For Howard Stern's money, the answer is Led Zeppelin's John Bonham. Stern regular and Charred Walls of the Damned drummer Richard Christy agreed about Stern's assessment of Bonham, but argued that he "would put [Rush drummer] Neil Peart right next to him." This is when the great debate began. Ginger Baker (Cream) and Keith Moon (The Who) were also a part of the conversation, but the debate ended going with either Bonzo or Peart.
A caller ended up betting Howard that Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich would pick Peart over Bonham, and Howard took that bet. Stern got Lars on the phone, and before making his decision, Lars wanted to nominate two more drummers.
“Deep Purple’s Ian Paice is an incredibly technically gifted drummer.” Lars said, “And Phil Rudd is what gives AC/DC that incredible bounce and swing.”
Lars had great things to say about Bonham “You mentioned ‘When the Levee Breaks.’ I mean that’s classic Bonham. The drums are big thunderous and ambient, he’s a little bit behind on the snare, and it’s got that groove… he’s in a pocket.”
Meanwhile, Lars also had a great anecdote about Peart. “The first time I ever met Neil it was 1984. Our manager, Cliff [Burnstein], signed Rush. I had drum questions about gear and this and that. [Burnstein] goes, ‘Neil loves to talk to younger drummers… call Neil, he wants to hear from you.” And it was like, ‘Huh?’ I was 20 years old with not a pot to piss in.
“And I called [Peart] and we spoke for 30, 45 minutes and we’re geeking out on drums and the whole thing was like a fairy tale. You can’t play drums and not love Neil, and you can’t not be appreciative and respectful [of his playing]."
You can watch the entire video below to hear the whole debate. Ultimately, Lars went with spoiler alert John Bonham.