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Thomas Lang | Superhuman drumming

Thomas Lang drummer

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If you have been a drummer for a couple of years you have likely come across the name Thomas Lang. He is a household name in the drumming community. That is for good reason. 

Thomas Lang is a prime example of how dedication and hard work can lead to you becoming a master of your craft.

Let’s find out more about Thomas Lang and what makes him such a great player.

Who is Thomas Lang?

Thomas Lang is a professional drummer from Vienna, Austria born on 5th August 1967. Thomas started playing the drums at the age of five he took a combination of lessons at his school and private tuition. Thomas later went on to study at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. 

From then it was time to go from studying to creating a career. Thomas began working with various artists in Europe in the 1980s recording and touring. He later moved his base of operations to London, UK as his career grew and became global.  

Thomas is still touring and recording with musicians internationally as is currently based in California, USA. 

Artists Thomas Lang has played for

Thomas Lang has worked with an astonishing amount of artists over his career. Here is a list of people he has worked with. 

  • Paul Gilbert (Racer X/Mr. Big)
  • John Wetton (Asia/King Crimson)
  • Robert Fripp
  • Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple)
  • UK
  • Eddie Jobson
  • Robbie Williams
  • Kelly Clarkson
  • Sugababes
  • Geri Halliwell
  • Emma Burton (“Baby Spice”)
  • Victoria Beckham (“Posh Spice”)
  • Ronan Keating
  • Steve Hackett (Genesis)
  • Boyzone
  • 911
  • Falco
  • Nina Hagen
  • Steve Jones
  • Mick Jones (The Clash)
  • The Commodores
  • George Michael
  • Doogie White (Rainbow)
  • Bill Liesegang
  • The Blockheads
  • Gianna Nannini
  • Sertab Erener
  • Jens Lindemann
  • Vienna Art Orchestra
  • Bonnie Tyler
  • Save The Robots
  • StOrk
  • Terabite
  • Schwarzenator
  • Vinnie Valentino
  • Gregg Howe
  • Page Hamilton (Helmet)
  • Mark Bonilla (Montrose)
  • Many many more

Music releases

As well as working with an impressive amount of artists, Thomas Lang has also released several solo albums and collaborations. 

Solo releases:

  • Mediator (1995)
  • Something Along The Lines (2002)
  • Progpop (2019)

Collaborations:

  • Thomas Lang & Conrad Schenk – Yumaflex (2008)
  • StOrk – Self Titled (2009)
  • StOrk – Broken Pieces (2013)
  • Terabite (2010)
  • Robo Sapiens (2018)

Thomas Langs latest solo release, Progpop, shows some of some his incredibly creative playing. The album combines intricate drum patterns combined with many different genres covering and not limited to pop, rock, prog and fusion.

As well as listening to this album I also suggest watching some of Thomas’s playthrough videos. You don’t quite realize the complexity of the parts until you see them.

Here is the playthrough of Time from Progpop.

Awards 

Thomas Lang has been winning drum awards since the 1990s. He has won them from the largest global drum magazines including Drum Magazine, Rhythm magazine, Modern Drummer Magazine and many many more. 

Here are some of the awards he has won. 

  • 1999, 2001: Best Studio Drummer (Rhythm magazine)
  • 2002: Best Pop Drummer, Best All-Around Drummer (Rhythm Magazine) 
  • 2002: Best Drummer (Drums And Percussion Magazine)
  • 2003: Best Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine)
  • 2004: best DVD, Best Clinician runner Up, best Drummer runner up (Modern Drummer Magazine)
  • 2004: Best DVD, Best signature product, Best Drummer (Drummer Magazine) Best Studio Drummer (Rhythm Magazine), Best Recorded Drum Performance (Sticks Magazine),
  • 2005: Best Pop Drummer, Best Clinician, Best Solo SDrum performance (Rhythm magician), Best DVD, best All-Around Drummer, Best Drum Event (Drummer magazine), Best Drum Clinician (DRUM Magazine), Best Drumming Video/DVD (DRUM Magazine)
  • 2006: Best DVD, Best Drummer (Rhythm Magazine)
  • 2007: best DVD, Best Drummer (Rhythm Magazine, Modern Drummer Magazine) Aurora Gold Award
  • 2007 (Best Video Production), Best Clinician 2007 (Modern Drummer Magazine).
  • 2008: Best Educator/Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine), Best Clinician (DRUM Magazine)
  • 2015: Best Educator/Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine)
  • 2016: Best Educator/Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine)
  • 2017: Best Educator/Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine, Rhythm magazine)
  • 2018: Best Educator/Clinician (Modern Drummer Magazine)

What is unique about Thomas Langs playing?

I remember the first time I saw Thomas Lang perform a clinic back in the early 2000s. I was blown away by his playing. Immense power, speed, dynamics and limb independence. It is hard to take it all in and without seeing it you would struggle to believe it is one person behind the kit.

Thomas Lang is an advocate for being able to play everything he can with his hands with his feet. This is no easy job and has taken many hours, day and years to get to his level. This does put Thomas in a league of his own when it comes to the variety of things he can do behind the kit. He has more limbs and sound choices than most professional drummers.

Thomas Lang bass drum pedal setup

From this image here you can see there are a lot of pedals compared to the average drum kit. On the left side he will typically have a snare sound, a crasher sound, hi hat and bass drum.

Having all the chops doesn’t mean Thomas doesn’t have the groove. Like all pro drummers, Thomas knows the groove pays the bills. That is a drummer’s key job and he certainly delivers. 

Learn how to play the drums like Thomas Lang

Thomas Lang has a collection of learning resources that are worth looking into. As Thomas is a very advanced player, his DVDs are pretty intimidating at first. The DVDs are broken up nicely to not overwhelm you though. They are broken up into music performances, drum solos and interviews. It is unlikely you will learn everything on these resources but there are some great nuggets to take away.

They helped me immensely in my earlier days of double bass playing and they are very inspiring to see where you can get if you put in the hard work.

Thomas Lang DVDs

  • Ultimatives Schlagzeug Part I and II (1995)
  • Creative Control (2003) See on Amazon
  • Creative Coordination And Advanced Foot Techniques (2006) See on Amazon

Thomas also has a dedicated online school at www.thomaslangsdrumuniverse.com and often appears on other online drum tuition websites. Check out this lesson he did for Drumeo. In this 1 hour lesson, you will pick up days of things to work on to improve your drumming.

Drumming Bootcamps & The Big Drum Bonanza

In 2007 Thomas introduced the “Drumming Bootcamps” which were the first of his kind. At these events, you attend a camp hosted by Thomas were you would learn from him and guest drummers. Over 120 of these in 35 different countries were hosted.

In 2011, Thomas launched The Big Drum Bonanza. This event happens once a year in Los Angeles and each year some of the worlds best drummers appear alongside Thomas to teach you. 

Thomas Langs drumkit

If you have watched any of Thomas’s DVDs you will know that he has some monstrous drum kits. Although he doesn’t always play a kit this size, his endorsed brands are consistent. 

Thomas Lang drum kit

Endorsements

Wow. What a list!

Thomas Lang signature products

Thomas Lang has a range of signature products including sticks and a selection of Meinl cymbals. I don’t know any drummers that have released as many signature cymbals as Thomas. It is a real testament to his innovation with the instrument and drive to find his unique sound.

Meinl Filter Chinas

These are very fast chinas made out of a custom alloy. They are perfect for accents in fast fills and grooves.

Available in 8″, 10″, 12″, 14″, 16″ or as 10″, 12″, 14″ with jingles.

Meinl 18″ Super Stack

This is a fast cutting stack made with two B10 Classic Custom cymbals. It is made up of a china and a crash both with holes cut into the cymbals. It has a deeper sound as far as stacks go.

Meinl Byzance Brilliant Fast Hi-Hats

These are a great sounding pair of hi-hats. As mentioned in the title and like most of the Thomas Lang signature cymbals, these have a fast sound. They also have a nice clear stick definition. The hats are made of two different finish cymbals. A brilliant on the top and a dark finish on the bottom. Both the top and bottom cymbals also feature eight small holes around the edge of the cymbals. These are available as either 13″ or 14″.

Vic Firth Thomas Lang Signature Sticks

If you are looking for a fat and heavy stick, look no further. These signature sticks are fatter and heavier than the average stick. Almost a 2B on steroids. They also feature an overside tear drop tip for extra stick definition. The white finish also gives these sticks a great aesthetic. These sticks aren’t for the faint-hearted.

Meinl Thomas Lang Practice Pad

This is a great pad for on the road or for at home. It is the same as other practice pads offered by Meinl but it comes with the Thomas Lang graphics. The pad has a rubber bottom to stop it from moving on a flat surface or it can be mounted to any standard size cymbal stand. 

If you like this pad but are looking for an option with different graphics, we recommend checking out the Benny Greb practice pad from Meinl.

Where can I find more

Thomas is available all over the web! Make sure you check out more from him on the links below.

Final thoughts

Thomas Lang is a superhuman drummer. He seems to have it all and it is a sight to behold when you see him perform. The scary thing is that he still seems to be getting better. Can he not give us a chance to catch up? 😛

He has been a huge inspiration to me and thousands of drummers around the globe. A true ambassador for drumming and drummers. 

The author

I’ve been playing the drums for over 15 years and I still love them! I am mostly a metal drummer but I am currently working on groove and applying rudiments to the kit!

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