danny careymike portnoy

Why is it that drummers have a habit of wearing basketball jerseys on stage? Tool’s Daney Carey constantly rocks his Lakers jersey (though dude, whatup with the t-shirt underneath? that’s like wearing socks with sandals.), and Dream Theater’s Mike Portnoy is rarely seen on stage without a jersey of some kind (though to be fair, he also sports baseball and hockey jerseys). But it was actually this video of Vince Neil’s solo band drummer Zoltan Chaney doing his usual crazy routine that got me thinking.

Think about the utter ridiculousness of a guitarist or bass player wearing a basketball jersey as their stage outfit… they’d be laughed off the stage. Or the frat-boy posturing of someone like Fred Durst or the guy from Hed(p.e.) jumping around the front of the stage in his Celtics get-up… they’re proverbial laughing stocks anyway. Of course, there’s UYI-era Axl Rose at the height of high fashion in his famous red football jersey and high-tops outfit. Yet it’s completely common, normal and acceptable for drummers to wear basketball jerseys on stage. Why?

Is it the comfort? The pure athleticism of being a metal drummer is certainly demanding, and I’ve known drummers to be completely soaked in sweat from head to toe after a performance. But I’d think a plain old cotton t-shirt with the sleeves cut off would absorb the sweat way better than the mesh of a jersey, and I’d think it would be more comfortable / less itchy to boot. And it would be no more restricting in terms of freedom of movement. Or what about one of those wetsuit thingies Morgan Rose wears? At least that’s somewhat practical.

So, why the basketball jerseys for drummers? Do drummers just love basketball more than your average guitar player? Someone please explain.


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