Drummers have been traditionally underated by indy rock, the gorilla at the back of the band – but as Steve Albini once said you can fake just about anything else but you have got to have a good drummer (take that for what you will, coming from Big Black).
The drummer is the propulsion unit, the pulse. A fact understood by a generation who appreciate disco as well as metal, punk as much as funk. Their loss last week of Gerhard Fuchs is a genuine tragedy.
A man loved by many in the Brooklyn scene, to which he had made his way from Athens, Georgia via a succession of bands, Gerhard “Jerry” Fuchs was an incredibly talented musician who leant not just his sticks but inspiration and warmth to those who were privileged to collaborate with him.
Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost, who was amongst the first to find Jerry shortly after his fatal fall in a Williamsburg lift shaft, described him as “relentlessly polite in a world in which manners have largely been replaced by irony and sarcasm. Of course you wouldn’t assume any of this from watching him play drums…. He was terrifying. A machine. A beast. Uncivilized. Rude. A savant. When he got MIDI IN and MIDI OUT tattooed on his forearms I wasn’t surprised in the least. In fact, I remember thinking, “Oh, so there they are!” – – as if Jerry had finally revealed the secret to his precision and syncopation.”
Writing in his blog , his band mate Juan Mc Clean described him as both the greatest drummer in the world as well as the best friend you could have. The tributes also poured in from the many bands with which he had worked, Maserati, Turing Machine, MSTRKRFT, !!!, LCD Soundsystem and Jonathan Galkin of DFA Records (for which he was something of a house drummer).
Despite his prodigious talent Jerry was known for his humility and self deprecating sense of humour, a sincerity rare enough in music as in the world. As his “about me” blurb on his myspace page has it, “ glug glug glug. Louder is better. Space is cool. Hitting things with sticks.”