The Net Worth of Some of the Best Drummers of All Time
Drummers typically don't share the same wealth and fame as a band's lead singer or guitarist, but their contributions are nonetheless essential.
The men on this list not only keep the beat, but they've also influenced generations of musicians behind them, selling a few million albums in the process. This, of course, only adds to their massive net worths.
But exactly how much are the best drummers of all time worth? We've ranked them based on their earnings.
15. Travis Barker
Band: Blink 182
Net worth: $50 million
Bottom Line: Travis Barker
Rolling Stone magazine included Travis Barker on its 2016 "100 Greatest Drummers of All Time" list, but the Blink 182 drummer does much more than that. He also appeared in his own MTV reality series, "Meet the Barkers," founded a fashion company and record label, and even published a memoir, "Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums." And let's not forget that he recently married Kourtney Kardashian, who has a separate net worth of $35 million.
Blink 182 has sold over 50 million albums worldwide and is set to launch a 2023 world tour. Tickets sold out in the first few minutes they came online.
14. Bill Ward
Band: Black Sabbath
Net worth: $65 million
Bottom Line: Bill Ward
Bill Ward, along with Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, formed Black Sabbath in 1969. They and Led Zeppelin ushered in a whole new genre known as heavy metal. Ward played on Sabbath's earliest and most influential albums, including "Paranoid," "Master of Reality" and "Vol. 4."
Due to substance abuse, he quit the band in 1980. He did rejoin in the 1990s and played with the band (as his health permitted) throughout the 2000s.
13. Tommy Lee
Band: Motley Crue
Net worth: $70 million
Bottom Line: Tommy Lee
Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx formed Motley Crue in 1981, and their 1983 album, "Shout at the Devil," is considered a metal classic.
Lee has also released several solo albums and has appeared in reality TV. He is equally as well known for his offstage antics as he is for drumming with the Crue. He was also briefly married to actress Pamela Anderson, and their relationship received significant media attention.
11. Alex Van Halen (Tie)
Band: Van Halen
Net worth: $80 million
Bottom Line: Alex Van Halen
Alex Van Halen and younger brother Eddie Van Halen formed Van Halen in 1972. With the addition of David Lee Roth as the charismatic frontman, Van Halen turned the hard rock world on its ear. When Roth left, the band saw even more success with singer Eddie Van Halen.
Alex Van Halen is known for his powerful, hard-hitting drumming style, and he's influenced drummers in a wide variety of genres. He hasn't recorded any music without his brother's involvement.
11. Stewart Copeland (Tie)
Band: The Police
Net worth: $80 million
Bottom Line: Stewart Copeland
Steward Copeland formed the legendary Police in 1977 with Sting and Andy Summers. Together, they became one of the most well-loved and influential bands of the 1980s.
Today, Copeland continues to compose music for films, TV and video games. He also released several solo LPs and remains one of the most innovative drummers around. Most recently, he won a Best Immersive Audio Album Grammy in 2023 for his recent collaboration with Indian musician Ricky Kej.
10. Chad Smith
Band: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Net worth: $90 million
Bottom Line: Chad Smith
Chad Smith is not the original drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP), but he's been with the band the longest.
He first joined in 1988, which is when the band began breaking into the mainstream. "Mother's Milk," released in 1989, was the RHCP's first real success, but it was their follow-up "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" that exploded, selling more than 13 million copies worldwide.
Overall, the band has sold 120 million albums and continues to record and tour. The Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2022.
9. Joey Kramer
Net worth: $100 million
Bottom Line: Joey Kramer
Joey Kramer has been the beat of Aerosmith since its humble beginnings in 1970. His influence is such that he came up with the band's name by playing off of the words in Harry Nilsson's "Aerial Ballet" album.
He's been with Aerosmith consistently until the last two years when he took time off to deal with health and family issues. Aerosmith is one of the most successful American bands in history, selling well over 150 million albums worldwide.
8. Nick Mason
Band: Pink Floyd
Net worth: $180 million
Bottom Line: Nick Mason
Nick Mason has been holding down the beat for Pink Floyd since 1965! In fact, he is the only member who has been been with the band since its humble beginnings in psychedelia and the only band member featured on every album. He co-wrote the Pink Floyd classics "Echoes," "Time," "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" and "One of These Days."
In 2018, he formed Nick Mason's Saucerful of Secrets to perform the band's music from its early years when Syd Barrett was its de facto leader.
6. Roger Taylor (Tie)
Net worth: $200 million
Bottom Line: Roger Taylor
When a band's singer dies, it typically spells doom for the rest of the members, but that was not the case for Queen, who, with the help of drummer Roger Taylor, reinvented itself in the wake of Freddie Mercury's 1991 death.
Even though they haven't recorded anything new in decades, they consistently perform sellout shows (with American Idol alum Adam Lambert currently handling vocals.) Taylor and May were also consultants on the highly successful Freddie Mercury biopic, "Bohemian Rhapsody."
Taylor was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2020 — he has since dedicated his OBE to deceased Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins.
6. Don Henley (Tie)
Band: Eagles, solo
Net worth: $200 million
Bottom Line: Don Henley
Because Don Henley has been a frontman and solo artist for so long, it's easy to forget he's one of the most successful drummers in one of the biggest bands of all time.
The Eagles' "Hotel California" (the album) sold 32 million copies worldwide with their "Greatest Hits (1971-1975)" album selling another 32 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Plus, the “An Evening With the Eagles” tour grossed $73.4 million in 2019 over only 29 shows. As one of the Eagles' main songwriters, Henley is the richest member of the band.
5. Phil Collins
Band: Genesis, solo
Net worth: $300 million
Bottom Line: Phil Collins
Phil Collins has a storied and successful career — both as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist. The initial band formed in 1967 while its members (Collins among them) were still in school. By the early 1970s, Genesis was one of the prog-rock pioneers.
After singer Peter Gabriel and guitarist Steve Hackett left, Collins, who sang backup on early recordings, became the band's frontman (while still playing the drums) and led Genesis to its greatest chart success.
In the 1980s, while still with Genesis, Collins' solo career took off with an endless string of hits, including "In the Air Tonight," "Easy Lover" and "Sussudio."
4. Dave Grohl
Bands: Nirvana,Foo Fighters
Net worth: $320 million
Bottom Line: Dave Grohl
Dave Grohl has done the unthinkable — he's been in two extraordinary bands as both a drummer and a frontman.
Of course, Nirvana became a success overnight in the 1990s, introducing the grunge genre to music. After leader Kurt Cobain died in 1994, Grohl reinvented himself as the frontman for the Foo Fighters, which has also seen chart success with songs like "Everlong," "The Best of You" and "My Hero," among others. The unexpected death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins has left the future of the band up in the air, but it is believed they will return in 2023.
1. Larry Mullen Jr. (Tie)
Net worth: $350 million
Bottom Line: Larry Mullen Jr.
Tied with two other amazing drummers in the first place spot, Larry Mullen Jr. has been an integral part of U2 since the band's 1980 post-punk beginnings. U2 is one of the biggest bands in history and has sold nearly 200 million records worldwide.
Each of its members, including Mullen, just received Kennedy Center Honors. However, if the band tours in 2023, Mullen may not be part of the reunion, opting instead to take a break due to injuries he's incurred from playing.
1. Lars Ulrich (Tie)
Net worth: $350 million
Bottom Line: Lars Ulrich
Lars Ulrich is a founding member of Metallica and also happens to be its richest. Aside from his success with the group (over 125 million albums sold thus far worldwide), he owns plenty of real estate in California's San Francisco Bay Area.
Ulrich is also a high-end art collector — he sold two Jean Michel Basquiat paintings for nearly $20 million in the early 2000s.
1. Ringo Starr (Tie)
Bands: The Beatles, Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band
Net worth: $350 million
Bottom Line: Ringo Starr
The Beatles are still a money-making machine nearly six decades after the band's debut. Like the remaining members of Queen, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney keep the spirit of the Beatles very much alive. (Not that they need to, as the band's popularity has never waned.)
Starr's drumming has influenced just about every drummer that's come after, as his techniques, which were new then, are fairly commonplace among musicians now.
He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1999, and a little over a decade later, he was named the fifth-greatest drummer of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.