Thoughtcrimes' Billy Rymer: My Top 5 Drum Heroes | Revolver

Thoughtcrimes' Billy Rymer: My Top 5 Drum Heroes

From Tool to Deftones, ex–Dillinger Escape Plan drummer shares stories behind percussion inspirations
thoughtcrimes-billy-rymer-by-stephen_odom-web-crop.jpeg, Stephen Odom
photograph by Stephen Odom

Revolver has teamed with Thoughtcrimes for an exclusive vinyl colorway of their debut LP, Altered Pasts. Only 150 made — order yours before they're gone!

During Billy Rymer's tenure behind the kit with Dillinger Escape Plan — from 2010's dizzying Option Paralysis to their sixth and final full-length 2016's Dissociation — the musician established himself as one of the most exciting drummers in hardcore.

Since the band said farewell in 2017, Rymer has kept busy: he's filled in live for Suicidal Tendencies (which also features his old Dillinger partner Ben Weinman on guitar), did a stint as Ho99o9's touring drummer and played on Glassjaw's 2017 album Material Control.

Rymer also launched his own hard rock–meets-hardcore outfit, Thoughtcrimes. The band — which is currently rounded out by vocalist Rick Pepa, guitarists Russ Savarese and Brian Sullivan and bassist Cody Hosza — dropped their ripping debut EP, Tap Night, in 2019 and are on track to release their inaugural full-length in 2022 via new label Pure Noise Records.

To celebrate the partnership, the label is reissuing Tap Night on October 8th (in several different formats plus a Revolver-exclusive vinyl variant) with a couple new songs — including the hardcore heavy-hitter "Misery's a Muse."

Ahead of the Tap Night reissue, we caught up with Rymer to discuss some of his personal drum heroes — from the prog-rock titan that inspired him to pick up the sticks and the Jersey killer that gave him the "road map to the universe" to the Texas experimental skinsmen that influenced his work in Dillinger and more. Read the stories behind Rymer's picks below.

Neil Peart, Rush

If you were to ask me once a year to list my top five favorite drummers, it would likely alter every time. It's almost an unfair question considering how much talent and innovation is out there. However, there are always the ones that raise you during the developmental stages. I got into the instrument because my parents took me to see Rush when I was six. It was the Roll the Bones tour at Nassau Coliseum in New York. I remember sitting in the nosebleed section. Primus opened the show and even at that age I can recall their set going over everyone's head. Rush came on, played their hits and Neil took a solo. That was the moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Danny Carey, Tool

Tool easily became one of my favorite bands starting around early middle school. I used to listen to Ænima on repeat for days on end, absorbing all the lyrics and polyrhythms. The dotted hi-hat beat in "Eulogy" alone is a perfect display of Danny's wealth of rhythm knowledge and creativity. I started a band in high school with my friends, one which still plays with me in Thoughtcrimes. We played "Forty Six & 2" and won the high school talent show. That same band saw them at MSG on the Lateralus tour in 2001. We somehow got backstage. I handed Danny our demo and told him to listen to track five.

Jon Theodore, Thomas Pridgen and Deantoni Parks, The Mars Volta

Can I umbrella every Mars Volta drummer? I mean seriously, between Jon Theodore, Thomas Pridgen and Deantoni Parks, the amazing drumming they all contributed to that band's discography can sum up the majority of influence to my playing. These were the guys I was listening to all the time around my start with the Dillinger Escape Plan. Thomas is a great guy and teacher. We've had conversations on tour that I will never forget. I used to bust my hands open playing the Dillinger sets. He changed my life with the simple tip of raising my cymbals. I have not had a blister since.

Mark Guiliana

I first heard Mark when Dillinger was tracking Option Paralysis in the fall of 2009. [Bassist] Liam [Wilson] played me "Pinzen Kinzen" and "The Ever Evolving Etude" off of Avishai Cohen's Gently Disturbed. I was immediately freaked out by his sense of phrasing and dynamics. Turns out he was a Jersey guy. I wrote him online asking for a lesson. He invited me down to his space and within an hour gave me the road map to the universe. It's incredible to see how far he's come in his career. I used to see him all the time at small jazz venues in the city and Brooklyn.

Abe Cunningham, Deftones

There's probably a nod to this gentleman on just about every record I have ever played on. The man is just a groove machine and powerhouse of a drummer. In a world full of chops and speed there are only a few that can unveil their unmistakable identity within a few notes. I've heard many attempts to play the "Digital Bath" beat but no one ever does it like him. Touring with Deftones during the Diamond Eyes cycle was an absolute dream come true.