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Why Do Drummers Move Their Mouths or Make Funny Faces?

If you’ve ever watched drummers play live shows, you may have wondered why some of them make incredibly funny faces when playing. It’s not something that is limited to drummers, as all musicians do it. However, drummers get the most attention from it

We’re going to break down exactly why drummers make faces. We’ll explain how the habits develop, whether it’s a good or bad thing, and give you a few examples of famous drummers that do it.

All Drummers Are Unique

Before we get to reasons why drummers make faces, it’s important to mention that all drummers are unique. Everyone develops quirks when learning the instrument, and that doesn’t mean that some are good and some are bad. 

Everyone is different, so you may see some drummers pulling the craziest faces you’ve ever seen while others look like they’re bored out of their minds while playing. 

The weird thing about drumming is that these faces don’t actually reflect what the drummer is feeling most of the time. It’s just what happens in the moment.

Keep that in mind as we take a deeper dive into why drummers are known to make more faces than other musicians.

Why Drummers Make Funny Faces


One of the biggest reasons for a drummer face is concentration. Everyone has their own way of expressing their facial features when they’re concentrating, and this seems to come out vividly for many drummers. 

A drummer who is playing a technical drum part that they’ve memorized may pull a strong face when making sure that they nail every cymbal strike and drum hit. 

Another drummer who is concentrating may just move their mouth in an odd way. It’s completely normal to do this, and we all pull concentration faces when doing other tasks

Getting Lost in the Music

Another reason for having a weird drumming face is when you feel the music. Another word for this is the “stank face,” and it is drummers and bassists that do it the most. 

Some drummers can’t help but alter their facial expressions when they feel that the music sounds good. They may lock tightly into a groove, and the way it fits the music will just force them to show it in their face. 

Other drummers close their eyes when they’re feeling the music, and they lose awareness of what’s happening with their faces. They can’t see people watching them, so they don’t even think about it. 

Developed Habits

The final reason that drummers pull funny faces is that they’ve trained themselves to do it. It’s very common for drummers to alter facial expressions when learning to play. The concentration face then sticks for years, and drummers will struggle to stop pulling a face when playing. 

It’s incredibly difficult to break habits that have been developed over time. A drummer would have been practicing the face just as long as they’ve been practicing drums. With it being so difficult to break, most drummers just accept and live with the habit.

Is it Bad to Make Funny Faces While Drumming?

It’s not bad at all to make funny faces while drumming. Drummers are known to do it, so you shouldn’t worry if you do it as well. 

Most other musicians do it as well, so you won’t feel isolated and alone when pulling faces at live gigs. 

Pulling a face while drumming is often regarded as an act of showmanship. It may sound surprising, but it’s more entertaining for a crowd to watch a drummer pulling faces than it is to watch one that doesn’t show any facial expressions.

When you play drums live, you have to put on an interesting show, and looking bored behind the kit is not something that people want to see. 

However, there are certain environments where pulling faces may seem a bit inappropriate. A good example would be when playing light music at a formal event. It will look very out of place.

Should You Train Yourself Not to Make Funny Faces While Drumming?

If you have a habit of pulling funny faces when playing the drums, you should only think about breaking the habit if it’s something that you’re self-conscious about.

You should first try to accept that it’s your unique way of playing, and many people may love the fact that you do it. 

If you still feel that it detracts from your enjoyment of the instrument, then you should take steps to break the habit.

The best way to do it is to put a mirror in front of your drum kit in the practice room (or garage if your family are sick of the noise). You’ll be able to watch yourself play, and then you can stop pulling a face when you see yourself do it. Over time, the habit will break.

Famous Drummers Who Make Funny Faces While Drumming

Rich Redmond

Rich Redmond is one of the most expressive drummers out there. He makes some crazy faces when drumming, and he also moves his body a lot more than most drummers. 

Even though he does all of that, he’s one of the most in-demand drummers in the industry. He’s played with huge pop and country acts, and he’s traveled the world while doing it. 

Rich Redmond - DW Collector's Series Maple/Mahogany Drums

Lars Ulrich

Lars Ulrich is the drummer for Metallica. He’s arguably one of the most well-known drummers in the world, and he always goes through a range of emotions when playing the drums. 

The Many Faces of Metallica's Lars Ulrich

Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood plays drums for Fleetwood Mac, and he’s been making crazy drumming faces for decades. The expressions that he makes have become an integral part of his drumming style, and a lot of people ended up going to Fleetwood Mac shows just to see them. 

Mick Fleetwood on Drums

Final Thoughts on Drummers Who Move Their Mouths or Make Funny Faces

To wrap everything up, drummers move their mouths and make funny faces because they’re concentrating, feeling the music, and demonstrating habits that they’ve formed over many years of playing. 

It’s not a bad thing for drummers to pull funny faces, as it often adds to the level of showmanship on stage. Some drummers have developed iconic faces that they’re known to pull. 

If you’re playing in a band with a drummer and they pull a face at you, it’s most likely a complimentary face to show you that they liked what you just played. 

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