Jerry Fuchs was that totally fucking amazing monster drummer you saw play in at least one show in the last 10 years–it could have been with Maserati, Turing Machine, !!!, or the Juan MacLean, as he completely decimated his hapless kit and mesmerized everyone no matter what band he was in. He died early Sunday morning after falling down an elevator shaft at a Williamsburg loft party. He was 34. Jerry was a friend, an inspiration, and one hell of a drummer. I say this with no exaggeration: New York will never sound the same.
Jerry was a relentlessly amicable dude who could never hide the smile behind that mustache; he had the enviable ability to instantly shrug it off if he found out your website gave him a bad review (sorry about that, man). He was completely humble about the fact that he seemed to have life totally figured out. To anyone playing drums in New York, Jerry was more than a behemoth, he was a mythical figure: that completely unattainable combination of a total badass player who’s constantly in demand, constantly recording an amazing project, and practically living on the road.
There’s a video currently going around of Jerry completely nailing an eye-popping, earth-shattering, Keith Moon-sized fill with just one arm. And as if his clearly inhuman abilities weren’t impressive enough, the clip shows him doing it at five different shows–note-perfect, effortless photocopies. He wasn’t just the most wanted drummer in Brooklyn because he was a beast; he was also reliable, an immovable rock you could use to build a tower of monolithic krautrock or swoon-worthy disco. He combined the clockwork dependability of a metronome with an insane amount of heart, muscle, and the occasional completely sick fill.
Bands wanted him, drummers wanted to be him. Drummers fortunate enough to see him play were inspired. Drummers fortunate enough to open for him–which happened to me twice in 2005–started questioning the decisions they’ve made in life.
When any Brooklyn band tried to replace their drummer, it was never uncommon to hear someone say, “Shit, if only we could get Jerry Fuchs.” We’ll all be saying that for a long time.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on November 9, 2009