Whilst on tour this last run and with my now GREAT friends in Future of the Left, an observation was made by Andy their lead singer. . ."I've found that in my experience drummers are VORACIOUS LISTENERS." Andy went on to say that he himself (a guitarist, keyboardist and singer) didn't really listen to that much music anymore. I assume he meant that he spends a great deal more time writing his own music as evidenced by the amazing body of work he's amassed. . .but what he said did stick with me. . .ARE drummers more voracious listeners? I know that I sure do listen to A LOT of music and try to gain inspiration from ALL of it. . .usually I have little to no idea how/when that inspiration is gonna find its way into my playing or how its gonna shake itself out into what I'm doing at that exact moment but rest assured it ALL improves my ability to "move" within the musical situations I find myself in. . .
There are definite moments when I rather sullenly withdraw from listening to much music. . .I kinda consider these moments "digestive" moments where my brain and even my body is REALLY trying to absorb what my ears have been fed (and that usually goes something like this: Herbie Hancock>Drive Like Jehu>COMMON>F.Y.C>George Strait>Willie Nelson>Superchunk>Funkadelic>SLAYER>Peabo Bryson etc. etc.) its a lot for this brain/body duo to take on and make sense of but it slowly happens. I've also noticed that it's these moments that make me feel the most "out-of-whack" and not really "with myself". I think there's something in my DNA that longs to hear notes played and melodies working together and a rhythm section REALLY holding it all down. . .it just makes me feel better.
I'm saying all this to say that I DO voraciously listen to music and I do so ACTIVELY trying to glean as much from each song/album as I possibly can. . .and I must say that I think this makes me better with every passing year. I feel more in control of all the inspirations and aspirations I have for my abilities whether its songwriting or composing a drum/percussion part for a song I'm about to record. . .
I think usually the natural inclination for a songwriter is to try and listen to as little music as possible to try and steer his/herself from overtly ripping off someone else's jams. . .and I guess that what I'm trying to say in some way is that from hearing how others have done it I feel like I'm gaining a glimpse into how I want to go about doing what I'm trying to do/say. . .and add to the overall "conversation", hopefully in an interesting and musical way. . .
So I guess my own answer to the question posed earlier would be a YES. Most every drummer I know, myself included, is a voracious listener and hopefully a better, more understanding musician because of it. . .