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Debbie C.B.'s PRO 12:35am, 23 July 2008
this is great and the results do not surprise me at all


Debbie C.B.'s says:
Bang the drum for rock’n’ roll heroes

Will Pavia
They have been the butt of jokes, and even the most agile of their number have seldom been regarded as paragons of physical virtue.

For all John Bonham’s thunderous half-hour solos behind Led Zeppelin, and Keith Moon’s frenzied skin-bashing with The Who, neither man - nor the generations of drummers who followed them - was ever recognised as a finely tuned athlete.

But all that is about to change. After an eight-year study of Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer, sports scientists have concluded that drummers are comparable in their physical prowess to world-class sportsmen.

Marcus Smith, of the University of Chichester, told The Times: “For me, as a sports scientist, he is no different to the Olympic athletes I have worked with.”


Led Zeppelin, Isle of Wight, 1973
Drummer Jon Bonham gives the rest of the group a 20-minute interval while he plays solo

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‘It’s physical. I warm up, I diet, I go to the gym’
Dr Smith and Steve Draper, of the University of Gloucestershire, monitored Burke’s oxygen uptake, blood lactate and heart rate in rehearsals and live performances.

“He loses up to two litres of fluid in a performance, which is similar to a runner going out and doing 10,000 metres,” Dr Smith said.

Burke burnt 400-600 calories per hour. His heart rate averaged 140 to 150 beats a minute, though it could rise as high as 190 beats - equalling that of Cristiano Ronaldo in a Premier League football match.

Restoring the honour of the rock drummer has been a labour of love for Dr Smith, a lifelong Blondie fan. In 1998, as he was finishing his PhD, there were rumours that the band was about to reform.

He wrote to Burke that summer as a fan and as a sports scientist who had worked with professional football players and British Olympic boxers. They met at Wembley Arena, where Burke agreed to let Dr Smith follow him around on tour.

“There is a lot more to it than having a beer and walking on stage for two hours,” Burke told The Times. Even if that was how he used to do business, “at this point in my career I’m conscious of needing to be prepared”.

He does not think, however, that he is the only one who requires the services of a sports scientist. “Rock’n’roll music is in middle age now,” he added.

Burke needs to stay in peak physical condition and can sometimes suffer from joint pain. “Jacuzzis, saunas, massages, all that is incorporated into the life of the modern drummer,” he said. The late Keith Moon, whose manic performances seemed to create enough energy to power the national grid, was once his idol.

“These days, I say he taught me what not to do. He was very physical but he basically killed himself with excessiveness,” said Burke
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