John Stanier (born 2 August 1968 in Baltimore, Maryland) first came into the spotlight in 1989 as the drummer for the band Helmet. He is known for his speed, endurance, and precision as a performer.
Stanier grew up in Florida and is a veteran of the local hardcore music scene. He is known for having a drum corps background, but never actually marched a summer season. He played tenor drums for the Florida Wave Drum and Bugle Corps through a few years of their winter/spring camps. He studied orchestral percussion at the University of South Florida, but never took formal drumset lessons. Stanier cites Neil Peart as his biggest influence, though he hates double bass drumming. He has also been influenced by drummers such as John Bonham, Billy Cobham, Bill Bruford, Terry Bozzio, Carl Palmer, and Lenny White. Stanier's drumming with Helmet has been cited as a big influence on a new generation of rock drummers. He endorses Tama drums, and is also well known for his ZildjianK ride cymbal perched as high as it can go when playing with Battles.
The breakup of Helmet in 1998 was supposedly amicable, though Stanier offers few details beyond: "There's no big story or anything. It was just... time to call it a day. We'd been around for 10 years... no drama or fights or anything like that." Stanier has not kept in contact with former band mates Page Hamilton and Henry Bogdan, and Hamilton has commented that Stanier ignored attempts to communicate. With Helmet firmly in the past, Stanier wanted to get involved with other projects after taking some time off. A big fan of hip-hop music, he "accidentally" became a professional DJ for a year and a half. The length of his drumming inactivity was in part due to a broken wrist, as well as the fact that he simply could not find a band he wanted to play with. Since 2000, Stanier has been much more active with drumming. He is currently a member of three bands: Battles, Tomahawk, and The Mark of Cain.