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Kick It


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About the Author

Matt Brennan is Reader in Popular Music at the University of Glasgow. He has served as Chair of the UK and Ireland branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) and published several books in the field of popular music studies. His previous monograph, When Genres Collide, was named as one of Pitchfork's "Favourite Music Books of 2017."


Brennan pulls off something remarkable: he makes a deeply investigated and well-sourced history of musicians and drum manufacturers a page-turner. Don't be afraid of the Oxford University Press imprint - the book is short on jargon and blather. Like the geniuses who manage to make limb independence look easy, Kick It consolidates the myriad threads that contributed to the creation of the modern drumkit and makes it swing. * Modern Drummer *
The author's affection for the drums, the people who play them and who produce them, infuses an abundance of ideas and makes a virtual avalanche of details easier to process ... Brennan captures the essence of significant styles of jazz, pop and rock without playing favorites or bogging down the narrative ... [and his] desire to leave no stone unturned makes for an exhilarating journey. * All About Jazz *
Essential reading for every drummer, and every other musician who fancies himself one ... well-researched, entertainingly written, and greatly enjoyable. * JazzTimes *
Brennan's well-researched narrative gives drumming and drummers the respectful attention they deserve. * Fiona McQuarrie *
An utterly fascinating book. Brennan illuminates how drums and drumming have evolved in response to a wide range of societal influences, including trade, migration, and artistic innovation ... and his writing is crisp and engaging. Fear not, non-drummers; you definitely don't have to be a drummer to enjoy Kick It. Anyone who loves music will come away from the book with an enhanced appreciation for how drums and drummers contribute to shaping our favourite songs. Four stars. * Shindig! *
An inspiring reminder of how the drums (and drummers) have helped shape creative culture over the last hundred or so years. * Mark Guiliana, bandleader and drummer (David Bowie, Brad Mehldau) *
An absolutely brilliant book. Kick It is not only a welcome addition to the existing references on our instrument but is so incredibly well researched, thought out and balanced - it brings an entirely new and fresh perspective to the story of the drum kit. It will undoubtedly be an indispensable asset for anyone interested in this fascinating story, and for any curious drummer who wants to know where our instrument and our kind are headed - by knowing where we've been. * Glenn Kotche, drummer for Wilco *
A compelling exploration of the place of the drums in popular music. Four stars. * Record Collector *
Kick It is an amazing piece of drumming literature that helps us all understand the origins of our amazing instrument! * Bart van der Zee, host of Drum History Podcast *
A delight ... Brennan illuminates the undeniable: to talk about the history of contemporary music is to talk about the history of the drum kit. * The Wire *
A remarkable book. Every drummer with a sense of self will enjoy the cultural context this book provides, and every drummer with a collection of books should add this invaluable reference tool. * Rob Cook, author of The Ludwig Book and The Slingerland Book and founder of the Chicago Drum Show *
With a winning mix of erudition and enthusiasm Brennan argues convincingly that drummers are the dynamic core of music history. And in offering an exemplary case study of the drum kit, Brennan shows that musical instrument research should be the dynamic core of music scholarship. Kick It is an enthralling read. * Simon Frith, Emeritus Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh *
Unpitched musical instruments have long been segregated from their pitched cousins. Brennan's exhaustively researched social history explains why this is so and goes a long way to the reinstatement of parity. Compulsory reading for the inquisitive drummer. * Bill Bruford *

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