By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 29, 2008 at 9:08 AM

It was bound to happen. If you're going to give me a pedestal upon which to perch and spout off about rock and roll, sooner or later, I'd find myself listening to Elvis Costello and the Attractions and I'd feel the need to remind you all that Pete Thomas is rock and roll's greatest living drummer.

 There, I've said it. 

You can hear it on the records, of course. That snare drum snap, that spark plug energy, that urgency, that unfailing ability to keep things interesting and to adapt to anything Elvis and company can hurl his way.

Keep your flashy, show-offs with their 132th notes on the hi-hat. They'll never impress anyone but other musos. Pete's a guy that can kick butt while never forgetting that he's playing a SONG. We're never forced to listen to him practice his paradiddles. Although, he's clearly got "chops," if that matters to you.

You really wanna hear Pete shine? Check out the many live gigs that are floating around there on tape, on CD, on the 'net. His power and his fire are especially apparent on the Attractions' versions of the songs Elvis recorded with Clover on his debut disc, "My Aim Is True."

The record has a loose, easy-going bar band gait, but on the live versions from '78 or '79 Pete Thomas is kicking the living crap out of those songs. Add Bruce Thomas' (no relation) spider web bass lines and the material reaches new heights. 

Compare the sizzle of "This Year's Model" with the lope of "My Aim Is True" and you'll see just what Thomas brought to the table. You'll notice that even when Elvis is recording with Bruce Thomas and Steve Nieve, Pete is usually by his side, behind the kit.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.