Photographer Deirdre O Callaghan captures Dave Grohl, Questlove and others doing ‘The Drum Thing’


Drummers are notoriously the most overlooked members of the band. They sit in the back onstage, hidden behind their kits, seemingly interchangeable.

Musicians know, however, that drumming is the essential backbone of great music. This is why Irish photographer Deirdre O Callaghan chose drummers as the subject of her latest book, “The Drum Thing,” recently released by Prestel.

The project, which was five years in the making, contains more than 100 images with interviews of the world’s finest including easily recognizable drummers like Dave Grohl and Jack White along with behind-the-scenes session wizards like Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner, and sprinkled through with rising stars like Julie Edwards from the L.A. duo Deap Vally.

“I love watching drummers perform, it’s like a dance,” said the photographer, who forged her career after getting her start with the edgy London-based pop culture magazine Dazed & Confused. “Just the dedication and the physicality of it.”

Those traits are on full display in the muscular images, most of which were taken in private homes or studios. That provides viewers with a rare look at both personal style and the rhythm of daily life.


A portrait of drummer, percussionist, DJ and record producer Questlove from the Roots is in Deirdre O Callaghan’s new book, “The Drum Thing.” (Deirdre O Callaghan)
Julie Edwards, the drummer of L.A. rock duo Deap Vally, is pictured in her studio in “The Drum Thing.” (Deirdre O Callaghan)
Zach Hill, drummer of Sacramento-based Death Grips and the math rock band Hella, is pictured at home. (Deirdre O Callaghan)
Drummer Mark Guiliana from Beat Music is pictured in his studio. (Deirdre O Callaghan)
Jazz drummer Harvey Mason, also featured in “The Drum Thing,” has played with greats including Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and George Benson. (Deirdre O Callaghan)


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