True, by the time you finish this article many of these drummers will be dead or replaced. But as of this moment, all 50 are alive and double-kicking. Here’s how they’d stack up in an on-the-run survival marathon to nowhere. Cut the fingers off your batting gloves, shave your head, and shove that gong mallet in your teeth. This is the apocalypse, man. It’s time to choose your drummer.
50. Travis Barker
Fuck no. One, he’s vegan. Two, he’s way into drumming. Both would have you foraging for calorie deficits. Sure, he’s in good shape, and he’d probably outlast everyone in the woods somehow, but do you really want to spend your last two campfires debating the merits of Buddy Rich versus Dave Weckl versus . . . no.
49. Don Henley
Henley would try to write a breakup album about losing all his loved ones. He’d be constantly slowing you down, having totally forgotten about the one time he braved a dark desert highway with a cool wind in his hair. You’d want him to check out and leave.
48. Dave Grohl
Grohl would be on a rival gang, you just know it. Everything he says seems a little too sincere. Watch out for those teeth and those quarter-note flams. The guy can fight. He can foo-fight.
47. Rosie O’Donnell
Rosie O. on the skins? Hell yeah. Battle-ready after a cush retirement in Malibu? Hell no.
46. Chevy Chase
The drummer for an early iteration of Steely Dan, Chase also survived the desert on horseback in “The Three Amigos. “But we know from that film he’d be stingy with the canteen.
45. Mickey Dolenz
Dolenz would be one of the few drummers who’d want to step up and lead the group. But everybody else would want Davy Jones.
44. Your Brother’s Friend Rick
Rick was so cool when you were eleven and he was thirteen playing drums in your parents’ basement. But he’d cry like a baby when the campfire went out and it was time to get a little shut-eye–as he did at your brother’s party in 1993.
43. Chad Smith
Chad’s a lot bigger than Rick and a way better drummer. But he’d want everyone in the group to wear only one sock. And he’d eat your bean rations, which were supposed to last a year, in the first two days.
42. Bill Berry
R.E.M.’s drummer would get tired of hiking around the country and bow out early. It’s okay to admit defeat when the world around you is burning.
41. Justin Bieber
There really isn’t much Justin would offer you, he wouldn’t be a good protector, he’s no good at growing food, but if there was a group of cannibals descending on you chances are he would be their first choice.
40. Tommy Lee
Lee would want to record the time you shot an old man by accident because you thought he was wielding an ax and not, as it was, a soaking-wet cardboard box. Put the camera away, Tommy.
39. Steve Smith
Smith knows how to “journey,” and he wouldn’t stop believin’ even if you ran out of food. But he recently made a shift to jazz fusion. So no.
38. Carter Beauford
Ooh, what a tasty percussionist! Full of subtle knick-knacks like delicious high-hat rolls, Seuss-like temple blocks, and mystifying splash cymbals. He’d be the perfect accompaniment for your recon mission across uneven terrain. But when someone’s hacking at you with a makeshift ax, and he’s crescendoing a glorious, epic cymbal roll, it would be like, “No thanks.”
37. Larry Mullen Jr.
He’s A.I., right? He and his friends would be against you.
36. Lars Ulrich
Lars would have you up early, jogging, meditating, and making plans to outfox the competition. Yes, you’d survive with flying colors, but who’d want that insufferable pseudo-philosophical voice in your ear as you do it? And is that a fucking wine aerator, Lars?
35. John Stamos
Stamos would be good in a cramped space with a lot of people. Just have everybody hide their guitars when you’re out cooking squirrels. This isn’t that kind of campfire, Uncle Jesse.
34. Beto O’Rourke
He’d do okay pillaging New England and the coastal states. Just don’t let him near Texas.
33. Fred Armisen
Fred would be a lot of fun for the first few weeks. He’d have you in stitches doing impressions of the gang you just ran into (killed). But then you’d get down to the last Coke, and he’d sort of want it all for himself, wouldn’t he? And he wouldn’t say it. But you’d feel bad asking to split it.
32. Tré Cool
You’d be like, “Put that down! Pay attention! This is life or death!” But then you’d come to after a surprise attack and realize he’d saved your life, and you’d have to say thanks. Eh. No thanks.
31. Boris Williams
The Cure’s drummer would thrill you and all the woodland creatures of western North Carolina (or is this eastern Tennessee?) with endless wind chimes. But all those chimes and stands are a lot to carry, and word is he doesn’t even like to talk about Robert Smith.
30. Peter Criss
Con: The Kiss drummer would demand he reapply kitty-cat makeup for each battle.
Pro: He’d be heavily armored.