James Woolley, Former Keyboardist for Nine Inch Nails

“Closer”–Official Video from Woodstock ’94

James Woolley toured with Nine Inch Nails for four years, appearing with them at Woodstock ’94 and recording on their Broken EP and 1994’s The Downward Spiral (although he was not credited on either). He received a Best Metal Performance Grammy for “Happiness in Slavery” off the Woodstock ’94 compilation.

Before NIN, he was a contributor to the Chicago industrial band Die Warzau. Later he returned to join Die Warzau on their album Convenience and to play in 2wo (formed by Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford) and his own project, VOID.

Writing about him following his death, his ex-wife Kate Van Buren said he “brought coolness to playing keyboards, which isn’t as easy to do as playing guitar or drums.”

“Hurt” from The Downward Spiral on Spotify

Phil Taylor, Early Drummer for Motörhead

“Overkill” Live, 1979

One of my motivations in starting this blog was to challenge myself to listen to music I wouldn’t normally listen to, and metal definitely fits that category. I’m aware of some band names and musicians, but only in a gossipy, “Behind The Music” kind of way.

“Ace of Spades” Live, 1981

So now I am listening to metal in appreciation of the drumming of Phil Taylor of Motörhead. Watching him play in the video of “Overkill,” I can appreciate the appeal, especially when I channel my inner-teenager. All the pent-up anger, frustration, rebellion and energy I felt at that age gets released in a fury of double-bass kick-pounding and drumhead bashing.

“Philthy Animal” Taylor

Taylor (September 21, 1954-November 11, 2015) was an on-again, off-again drummer for the band, playing from 1975 to 1984 and returning from 1987-1992. He influenced metal drummers to come, including Lars Ulrich of Metallica, and helped lay the foundation for the subgenre thrash metal through his hyper-fast playing.