The better drummer?

Clive Burr or Nicko Brain

  • Clive Burr

    Votes: 24 26.7%
  • Nicko Brain

    Votes: 66 73.3%

  • Total voters


Winner of the 2020 Dumbest Comment Ever Award
Staff member
And although I think Nicko is a fun and incredibly talented drummer, I would never call his playing "cerebral" and I definitely could not put him in the same category as Neil Peart.
Or even more so, Terry Bozzio.
No idea where that comparison comes from.


I like both drummers but Nicko i think is more stronger drummer and there is some songs i couldn't imagine Clive doing, So it's Nicko!
Nicko isn't really a flashy drummer and doesn't have the same creativity as Clive in the beats he comes up with (Gangland, 22 Acacia Avenue, and Transylvania come to mind for me), but is still more consistent and skilled. Nicko is a much stronger drummer overall in my mind, with better breaks, fills, and technical prowess.

Hallowed be thy Brain

Infinite Dreamer
It's as simple as this: Clive had better feel, whenever that guy played you could just hear the emotion and see how much fun he was having during live performances. Nicko on the other hand, while still having some feel he's much more technical in his playing and wants perfection every time. (Hence the reason why he got so mad when he "fucking missed it")


Educated Fool
As above, both awesome for their times. But I just loved Clive's sharpness and precision, and the swing he brought to those three albums. He was solid and tight, but the swing was something that, for me, no other metal band has had. Ghengis Khan FFS!

I love Nicko, his creativity (Eagles Dare) and some of his fills (across the Powerslave album) are immense. But he's never been the best at keeping a tight rhythm going. He could race away with a song 25 years ago, and can get left a touch behind the rest of the band these days.

R.I.P. Clive.


The band was definitely more steady with Clive, but I think Nicko is the right drummer for the band. The interplay between his drumming and Steve's driving basslines have been the foundation of their signature sound ever since. It's just so much more exciting to listen to, even though most musicians would argue that it is not exactly considered good musicianship to let the tempos fluctuate by the amounts that they do.


General of the Dark Army
Staff member
They both work equally well for their respective tenures with Maiden. Clive sounds great on the early stuff, Nicko has definitely been the man for the job on everything after that. I would lean towards Nicko on this, but maybe that's because he's such a central feature of the biggest body of their work, including what most of us probably consider their best.


This is a difficult question??
Went for Nicko as he is a great player although Clive had great feel and groove.


The resident reactionary
I prefer Nicko, who's just awesome... however there are places (like the whole Hallowed Be Thy Name song) where I actually prefer Clive... yes, I think Clive did Hallowed better, so what?

However, much as I love Nicko, this question really reminds me of the Theater's "Mike Portnoy x Mike Mangini" or Tull's "Clive Bunker x Barriemore Barlow" dilemma ... that is, I really like them both and the choice is difficult.

Nicko has the advantage of having played on much more material than Clive, though. That's definitely important, too.

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
I also prefer Clive on the songs he originally played on, except for Running Free. But overall Nicko is a better drummer, way more inventive. Clive mostly followed the other instruments.

Dityn DJ James

A coma stole my name.
Looking back, I agree. And yes what I'm saying is contradicting 13-year-old me :p. Clive's work on the first three albums is monstrous, though.

Niall Kielt

Ancient Mariner
Such a hard comparison considering the difference in time served. What could Clive have done? Who knows but its hard to argue with Nickos legacy and them tom rolls and that Right Foot. That said, I love Clives performances live and recorded, he has such a swing that fits the Maiden of his time. So, overall, Terry Bozzio shades it by a hair lip. Just.


A hollow universe in space
Had to go with Nicko. Clive had an amazing feel and groove going on, but overall Nicko is better and more "balanced"