Thomas Lang – To play the unplayed



Thomas Lang 1 - DrumsCult


Thomas Lang’s ability and talent are extreme, but his major contribution to the drumming world is his will to help thousands of drummers to understand concepts and techniques that can take them to another level. And he is also one of the few elite members that has no problem with explaining all his tricks and the very same learning method he once undertook to get where he is now.


In a top-ten drummers list of all times, Thomas Lang would probably be in one of the first positions. But we probably should build two lists: the classic and the new. In the first one, there would be names like Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson and Joe Morello. Giants from a golden age that showed for the first time what could be done with our instrument. Without their influence, drummers would never had gone this far. However, our actual enviroment is very different from those times ruled by jazz and swing. The actual world knows a sea of styles and fusions, some of them really extreme or particular. Moreover, the instruments themselves have evolved into a variety of new toys with new sounds that can be added to our set.

With the turn of the century, a new generation of drumming monsters have pushed all the limits of what seemed to be technically possible. These are people that have grown in a very different world we can’t compare with the jazz and swing era. Today’s drummers play very much with their feet and use snare drums, cymbals and other instruments with shapes, sizes and sounds that didn’t exist then. Thanks to the media, the new modern drummers can learn a lot from others with ease and take things further. The times change and there’s more options, so the extreme abilities go beyond speed or dynamics.Thomas Lang 5 - DrumsCult

Thomas Lang is one of the leaders of this new generation of drummers. He was the youngest person ever to be admitted into a Conservatory in Austria and has also a complete jazz formation, but he soon realized that in today’s world this is not enough. So he did some research trying to find a method that would allow him to play any style and all the rhythmic possibilities with both hands and feet. Then he started wondering about the actual drumset and its possibilities. Thomas has expanded his drum kit adding many different elements to it: hi-hats made of bells and splashes on the right and left sides, pedals with two beaters played by one foot, snare drums that are placed as if they were bass drums, percussion instruments… and he has also developed a lot of his playing in electronic drums. On top of all that, Lang has helped Meinl with the design of an entire new line of cymbals.

“To play the unplayed” is his aspiration in life, according to him. This sentence sums up years of methodology and research. Lang’s greatest goal has been to create a “route” that encompasses every rhythmic aspect through combinations, layers and note groupings. But curiously, Thomas Lang often plays a “four on the floor” pulse underneath the layers of rhythms and patterns he plays. Many of his ideas are directly applicable to “normal” music and offer a very open field for younger musicians. Foot combinations with different pedals, note-groupings and overlapping patterns are concepts that remain to be exploited in the real world.

Another great thing about Thomas Lang is his courage when explaining his playing. He has no problem with deconstruct his intrincate rhythmic ideas to the most basic level. This is also an exception to the rule: there are many videos and performances from great drummers that explain things up to a certain level, and then they play an impossible light-speed exhibition that generates more questions with no answers, just because they have added elements to the performance that they didn’t explain before. Lang often explains every part and demonstrates it as it is.
Thomas Lang 2 - DrumsCult


Next, this is Thomas Lang biography taken from his official website


Thomas Lang, a native of Vienna/Austria, took up drumming at the early age of 5. In addition to lessons at local music schools and years of private tuition, Thomas was formally educated at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. After leaving Vienna for London/England in 1990, Thomas started working his way through the global music scene.



Thomas has played with Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big/Racer X), John Wetton (UK, King Crimson), Robert Fripp, Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple), Tina Turner, Robbie Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Sugababes, Geri Halliwell (Spice girls), Emma Bunton (“baby spice”), Victoria Beckham (“Posh Spice”), Ronan Keating, Steve Hackett, 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, the Vienna Art Orchestra, Save the Robots, Stork, Terabite, Schwarzenator, Vinnie Valentino and many more.


Solo artist

Lang’s 1995 solo release, “Mediator” topped the charts in Europe and garnered rave reviews for its innovative Jazz/Dance/ProgRock sound.

He has since released multiple solo albums and collaborations (“Something Along Those Lines”, “Yumaflex”, “StOrk”, “Terabite”, “Chumash”) and continues to produce and release music on his own label Muso Entertainment (


Drumming solo performances and clinics

Thomas has headlined at every major international drum festival and has toured the world many times over as a solo performer.

In 2004, Lang completed the largest drum clinic tour the world had ever seen (220 clinics in 48 countries). Lang appeared multiple times at the most prestigeous drum festivals on the planet over the past 15 years including the Modern Drummer Festival, Australia’s Ultimate Drummer’s Weekend, PASIC, DRUM! night, Laguna Drum Fest, La Rioja Drum Festival, The Meinl Drum Festival, The Ultimate Drum Experience, Superdrumming, Opole Drum Fest and dozens more.

Used with permission of

Used with permission of


Composer, writer, producer

Thomas Lang has written and produced a string of solo albums but he is also very active as a writer and producer on other artists albums. Lang shows his stylistic bandwidth on releases of all genres including the multi-platinum selling Pop artist “Falco”, as well as international artists like Italian Rock band The Lure, R&B singer Nadine Beiler and L.A-based math-metal monsters StOrk.


Author, educator, clinician

Lang’s original practice regime eventually became the basis for his 2-part series of instructional videos, “Ultimatives Schlagzeug I & II” which were originally released in 1995. Due to overwhelming demand, these videos were re-released on DVD in 2004 by Hudson Music (

In 2003 Lang released the multi award-winning instructional DVD and book “Creative Control” which was an instant hit with drummers and drum teachers around the world. In November 2006 Thomas released the multi award-winning DVD and book “Creative Coordination And Advanced Foot Technique” ( which has set a new standard in contemporary drumming techniques. This work is considered to be a milestone achievement in the worldwide drumming community. Thomas’ multi-pedal orchestrations, incredible independence, sheer power and his incredible foot-technique have inspired legions of young drummers around the globe.

Lang’s instructional DVD’s topped the instructional DVD charts for years between 2003 and 2009 and his method books and DVD’s remain Best-sellers to this day. In 2007 Lang officially launched his “Drumming Bootcamps” which were an instant success with students worldwide. Lang has since taken his award-winning drum camps to 15 countries and has hosted more than 40 camps worldwide (

In 2011 Lang launched the Los Angeles based annual drum camp “The Big Drum Bonanza”. The 2013 camp was filmed by Drum Channel ( and DVD’s of the camp will be available in 2014. Thomas is a frequent guest tutor at universities, drum seminars and drum camps all over the world. Lang also owns an exclusive drum school in Los Angeles where he teaches 1-year ultra-intense courses to a select group of young drummers in “Thomas Lang’s Los Angeles Private Drum Academy” (

All of Thomas Lang’s DVD’s and books are also available through his offical merchandise site:

Thomas Lang 4 - DrumsCult


Sponsors and signature products

In his quest to “play the unplayed”, Thomas has worked cooperatively with the research and development team at Meinl Cymbals to create, “Tom’s Becken” – a pitch-matched range of contemporary crash cymbals that provide acoustic and electronic drummers with modern sounds that resemble artificially engineered cymbal samples. Launched in 2002, “Tom’s Becken” were so well received that in 2004 Thomas Lang worked with Meinl once again to design the “Fast Hats” , and a whole series of “Filter Chinas” ( Other Thomas Lang signature products are Vic Firth’s “Thomas Lang Signature” model stick ( and the “Thomas Lang Signature Bigfoot Bassdrum Beaters” and Meinl’s “Thomas Lang Signature” practice pads. All of Lang’s signature products are also available on Thomas Lang endorses DW drums and hardware, Meinl cymbals and percussion instruments, Vic Firth drum sticks, Remo drum heads, Roland V-drums and electronics, Ahead Armor cases, Puresound snare wires, Bigfoot beaters, Hansenfutz practice pedals, and Audix microphones.


Awards include:

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 new 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 Drum performance (Rhythm magazine). 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)

Best Clinician 2008 (Modern Drummer Magazine)

Best Clinician 2008 (Drum! Magazine)

and many more.”

This post is also available in Versión en Español.

Carles Goodvalley (200 Posts)

My name is Carles and I am from Barcelona. I play drums since I was 14 but no continuosly or as a professional. For several years, I have been trying to acquire knowledge not only about "how to play" but in various aspects of the drumming world such as materials, techniques, styles, influences, characters and important records, drummers that have left their mark and all kinds of data regarding our instrument. I've played with differents bands and styles, mainly Pop/Rock and Progressive Metal.


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