I’m always fascinated by origin stories, especially ones pertaining to parts of music that are so ubiquitous we rarely take the time to stop and think where it came from. Recently Chris D. at Decibel Magazine decided to tackle the age old question in metal, who started the blast beat?
Although I’m not the least bit surprised the blast beat can be found before metal began, I was shocked to see Decibel’s brutal discovery in the most unlikely of places. If you’re a Billy Joel fan then you’ve probably heard his side project Atilla, featuring drummer Jon Small, at some point in your life. What you probably haven’t picked up on was what drummers today refer to as the “Bomb Blast” at the 2:00 mark of the song Brain Invasion.
Pretty neat huh? It should be noted this is being pointed out as the first possible blast beat in rock music, not all music. I’m almost positive if anyone had the patience to sift through days worth of recordings by drum legends like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, or even Chick Webb you’ll probably find a version of blast beat somewhere from the early 1900’s.