The 2013 MTV Video Music Awards are just two days away! The emphasis is never on the drummer or the percussion section, and there are times when the camera seems to avoid the two as if there was some conspiracy against us. The biggest names in pop music this year will be performing. Even Daft Punk is rumored to be performing. This should be especially interesting given their recent penchant for live drums instead of everything digital leading up to Random Access Memories. On that record only two drummers were used, John Robinson Jr. and Omar Hakim, each having played with Michael Jackson or Stevie Wonder. While Daft Punk might have shifted their recent focus to using live musicians to accomplish what they used to using their synthesizers, you can still hear plenty of manufactured beats, heavy on the bass with the performance by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
It will be interesting to see who appears with drummers from recent or current tours or who uses a drummer from their recent releases. It's becoming more rare for acts where the primary focus is on the voice, to keep the same band in and out of the studio or for any length of time. While not completely illustrating the point, George “Spanky” McCurdy was most recently with Lady Gaga but has performed with a long list of A- and B-list groups but has also drummed for Justin Timberlake.
The drummers you'll see in this year's MTV Video Music Awards are in demand and versatile, despite some of the acts that they accompany from time to time. Dylan Wissing, for example, who appeared on Kanye West's Yeezus but has also played with or recorded drum tracks for Alicia Keys, Drake, Jay Z, and Common.
The other drummers you might see are John Blackwell with Justin Timberlake, Stacy Jones with Miley Cyrus, Adrian Bent with Drake, and Eric Hernandez with Bruno Mars. Some using an acoustic set and others using electronics or even a combination set. With the demand for versatility from rhythm sections and and, often times, demanding a drum machine sound from a live human musician, we are bound to see a wide variety of setups, speaking of the drums themselves, but also just as many ways to engineer the sound or hide the drums behind a shield, or even using the individual walls for cymbals.
The MTV Video Music Awards have the potential to showcase a wide variety of musicians, if they'd only take the time to let people see the drummer, not just the pretty face screaming into the microphone. It's a shame that more diverse acts aren't included, we know they're popular, and it's hard to say if it's an improvement having someone like Green Day in the 2012 VMA and then nothing like them in 2013, but there's no host, so there should be no constant annoyance. As MTV stated, “For this year's show we've decided to go in a different direction than the tradition 'host' route – like we have done on multiple occasions throughout the years. Instead, we're focusing on more musical performances and surprise moments for this year's VMAs”