Dave Grohl- Nirvana, Foo Fighters: When I first started playing, I was waaaay into Nirvana. This guy's monsterous playing influenced me big time. Every time I watched live videos of Nirvana, I couldn't believe the power he had behind the kit and the way he never overplayed.
John Bonham - Led Zep: Again, his power, his unbelievable right foot, and his unmistakeable feel and groove on all the Zeppelin tunes influenced me big time. I love his fills, his bass drum work, and just how heavy his groove was. Not to mention the sound he got from his drums. He made me want big drums.
Bill Bruford - Yes, King Crimson: Love everything I've heard him on. Yes's "Fragile" and "Close to the Edge" are two of my favorite albums. He has a distinct voice behind the kit that I really dig. Mostly, though, it was his work in King Crimson that inspired me the most; especially the 80's lineup of the band. The way he changed his setup during that period and the way it changed his playing is amazing. Doing things like taking away his hi-hat and playing time on Octabons instead, using Roto-Toms and gong drums, and the way he incorporated electronic elements still inspire me today.
Dave Lombardo - Slayer, Fantomas: My first metal drumming hero. The king of thrash metal drumming and an unrelenting beast with his double bass drumming. It's not that the man plays so fast, because there's guys that can play a lot faster, but it's how hard he hits while maintaining those tempos.
Gene Hoglan - Strapping Young Lad, Death, Dark Angel, etc.: Probably my favorite metal drummer out there right now. He has lightning fast feet AND hands, and is the most creative metal drummer today, in my opinion. His use of the dual ride cymbals, the way he splits up his double bass patterns, and just how heavy and solid his timing is inspires me big time. Check out his playing on Death's "Symbolic" album and Strapping Young Lad's "Alien", and tell me the man isn't incredible.
Dale Crover - The Melvins: This guy obviously has no ego. He plays from the soul and pure creativity just flows out of this character. His use of exotic percussive sounds like the ribbon crasher, trash hats, saw blades, bells, and random other noises that pop up on Melvins albums really influenced me to seek out alternative sound sources. Also, he has a MASSIVE sound and huge drums.
Danny Carey - Tool: Perfect. His playing is so technically proficient, creative and downright challenging and, well, perfect for Tool. He makes no mistakes live, and the way uses his electronic pads really makes me wish I could learn to be that proficient with them.
Nicko McBrain - Iron Maiden
Tony Williams - Miles Davis, solo
Mitch Mitchell - Jimi Hendrix Experience
Philly Joe Jones - Miles Davis, John Coltrane
Ben Koller - Converge
Chris Pennie - Dillinger Escape Plan
Brann Dailor - Mastodon
and probably about 50,000 more. No, really.