Philthy ‘Animal’ Taylor, The Animal Behind The Kit

Phil’ Philthy’ Animal Taylor is one of the greatest drumming influences in the development of metal. If you need proof, visit YouTube and look for a 2011 video titled “the big four.”

It shows just how important of a drummer he is to the style. It is a video of the four founding bands of thrash metal, Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, and Megadeth, all jamming as a team. They play a song they would never have played fast, “Motorhead’s Overkill.”

Phil Taylor
phil taylor

In this union, James Hetfield from Metallica gives the song as a dedication to Lemmy. However, Lemmy was not the creator of the song; it was Phil Taylor. The bands were excited to play this piece from the great musician who passed away at age 61.

Particularly, Taylor’s double-time kick-drum pattern blew many away. This piece was released in 1979, coming out as a single. It was a great moment for young drummers. Those who thought Communication Breakdown was fast had to re-think their conclusions.

Taylor was one of the most talented drummers in the metal scene. He seems to understand what is required to make every piece of music unique, and he wouldn’t stop at anything to make it happen.

This song’s intensity came from the double kick drum. And its relentlessness made the thrash sound like the world was ending. It contained something more than just the average chaotic feel like many drummers performed during that era.

When Slayer’s drummer was asked what he thought about Motorhead, he said it “was the first time I heard double bass done at that pattern.” These are Dave Lombardo’s words, another decorated hard rock metal drummer who has left a mark on the industry: “I had heard of other double bass drummers, but I didn’t think they did anything like that, at that tempo, and that beat.”

Taylor was one of the fastest drummers in the world. It seemed as though he had a metronome and a timekeeper in his own two hands. He utilized that same gift in every piece he worked on.

Motorhead is a good example of Taylor’s energy. He has so much power it sounds as though the drums might explode. They seemed to read his mind and do exactly what he wanted them to.

Phil Taylor Performing
phil taylor performing

Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, another very reputable drummer, says, “The drummer who introduced me to that type of double bass thing was Phil Taylor. When I first heard Overkill in early 1979, that was what blew my beard off.”

Taylor has remained a great influence to many drummers across the world. He was given the name “Philthy Animal” by his bandmates at Motorhead due to the way he handled the sticks. He turned wild and aggressive with every strike, making the music come out articulately and loudly.

It is amazing how Taylor would become such a remarkable figure, only having picked up drumsticks by seven years old. He soon joined the iconic power trio, close to his first attempt at greatness. It was his pile-riding style that took Motorhead to great heights. 

What do you think?

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Written by Andrea

Andrea is a music lover and an experienced drummer with more than 15 years of drumming with different bands and music projects, such as Seditius and Hermano & the Marines.

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