Barry “Frosty” Smith died unexpectedly last night at home, but he’ll live on forever when locals discuss Austin’s greatest drummers. In truth, there’s little debate of Smith’s placement on that list. Smith experienced a fatal episode in his backyard on Wednesday evening, according to friends. He’d suffered a stroke and a heart attack in 2015, which limited his ability to perform.
It was not until the mid-2000s that while surfing online I saw a pic of Vince Treanor (Former Doors road manager) pictured with the 14” floor tom that I knew was John’s. It was sometime in early 2016 when I learned that the drum had changed hands and was now in the hands of a new owner. I was able to contact that owner and was happy to find that he was very friendly and even happier when I realized that the drum was not terribly far from me and that I could go see it. Along with the owner, we were able to look at close up pics of John using the drum in the 60s and match up the color striations to authenticate it as the original drum.
Not So Modern Drummer continues to celebrate the legendary Buddy Rich in 2017. Recognizing the 100th anniversary of his birth… Providing their personal commentary on Buddy are Bob Girouard, Rob Gottfried, Jack Scarangella, and Gary Stevens.
The kickoff for a full year of celebratory dates and festivities takes place on April 7 and 8 at Lincoln Center for special performances titled, "Buddy Rich Centennial: Celebrating the Jazz Drum." The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, will perform a musical tribute to the legendary drummer featuring Ali Jackson on the drums in a virtuosic display of big band drums and rhythm, with arrangements he has created to honor the music of Buddy Rich.
I know a guy who said for $75.00 dollars, I won't trade fours, or solo. But for a $100.00 dollars- I will. The gig paid $75.00 - So when they gave him fours there was silence. The leader forgot and gave him a chorus.... Silence for 32 bars then he came back in at the top.
There are twenty six very famous drummers profiled in this book who span the twentieth century and the entire history of modern drum set drumming: Chico Hamilton, Phil Seamen, Kenny Clark, Davey Tough, Big Sid Catlett, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, Art Blakey, shelly Manne, Jake Hanna, Mickey Roker, Billy Higgins, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, Joe Morello, Paul Motion, Dannie Richmond, Philly Joe Jones, Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Ginger Baker, Jerry Allison, Earl Phillips, Al Jackson JR. and Jim Keltner. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive, educational and very entertaining book, Chet.
In the time before YouTube and VHS/DVD concert and instructional videos, it was very difficult to find any music to watch. If you couldn’t go see concerts, there were only a handful of TV shows that had bands, especially during the daytime when kids could watch. The Muppet Show with Buddy was the first real chance I had to watch a drummer and to understand how it is possible to make the sounds you hear on a record. This was monumental at that age—Buddy on The Muppet Show basically connected the dots for me about how to potentially achieve these sounds from hitting drums and what it LOOKED like to play drums.
Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown's one-time drummer and the creator of one of hip-hop's most popular samples, has died at the age of 73. Stubblefield's wife, Jody Hannon, confirmed the drummer's death to Rolling Stone. The cause of death was kidney failure.
The first Methods and Mechanics for useful and musical drumming was meant to be a galvanizing voice of reason to hopefully direct the next generation to the notion of employability. There was a lot of sensationalism with chops so it was important for me to direct useful musical ideas. Conceptual ideas about playing for the song – listening to the music – trying to get the song across - knowing what the lyrics are. You have to get into the song and become part of the storytelling process and I think those that do will have an easier time finding employment than others who look at it like mathematics or playing things just to impress other musicians.
Not So Modern Drummer continues to celebrate the legendary Buddy Rich in 2017. Recognizing the 100th anniversary of his birth. Providing their personal commentary on Buddy are Pete Cater, Greg Estabrooks, Gordy Knudtson, and Ted Mackenzie
Message: Hey, Long time....if you have any insight into locating my original snare form my 1940 Ludwig Duco set would be great. I would also love to find toms but I believe they didn't exist until the early 60's. Email me and I'll sen you the pics I have. Best, JR
I was asked the other day who I liked out of the new modern type drummers. For me, Lenny White and Billy Hart are totally "modern" as they are master improvisers that don't sound like anyone but themselves. I never know what they are going to play.
Peter Magadini - "You know, I used to hear Shelly play a fair amount in LA. He had a great ride feel (and sound) and a very unique way of playing the ride (different) say from Max Roach and Philly Joe Jones. He had the same style and motion as those guys (my heroes as well) but he had the fingers involved and when it got blistering fast it was only the fingers involved. That part I kept for myself too because it works great and you can keep very fast tempos going for a long time."
Here’s one for ya’ - Did Elvin Jones play behind the beat? I have talked to a few of the bass players who were on the gig for a long time and it was interesting to hear what they had to say...What do you think?
When I listen to Chris Layton, I hear the voice of Austin,Texas. Chris plays a shuffle in what I think is a similar place culturally speaking as Johnny Vidocavich, but instead of the NOLA music language, when Chris plays it's Austin drum-speak. Chris became the heartbeat of Austin music in the late 80s with a good variety of deep shuffles and solid funk beats. He wrote the book on it. If I were to try and pick out a drum style that most closely defines the Austin style of drumming during, this time, it would be his work. As the drummer for Stevie Ray Vaughn, Chris reached a national audience and joined the pantheon of Austin music gods in the late 80s.
Claire was on fire that night… Playing with an impassioned determination that reached the farthest rows, and beyond. Her finesse and sensitivity showed through on every tune. Whether using sticks or brushes, playing fast or slow - stylistically, it didn’t matter…
"Nashville, TN – Giving 100+ drummers a chance to test high-end drums, mingle with marquis artists, and enjoy great food in the heart of America’s most active live music scene, Pearl Corporation recently hosted members of the Nashville Drummer’s Facebook group at the Hard Rock Café’s Reverb Room in Nashville, TN. This unique event showcased six distinct Pearl kits, including their Nashville-assembled Music City Custom drums, as well as a variety of premium snares and hardware to players in attendance.
Notice, if you’re out for the night, and hit up a nearby club…they’ll usually have a “house kit” that the bands of the night are using. Spend that night listening to the two, three, or four bands (if you have that time and patience to spare) and notice how each drummer sounds completely different…even though they’re using the same gear. Call it a social experiment.
Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz has been drumming now for fifty-one years, thirty-six of them with Weird Al Yankovic. Jon has a passion for vintage instruments and is quite a collector, with a lot of rare drums and cymbals in his collection. Those who know Jon also recognize his particular fondness for Ludwig drums. Among them are Vistalites, huge concert-tom kits, and wooden kits in multiple configurations. He’s also a Ludwig artist whose real-world input is highly-prized at the factory. I caught up with Jon currently on tour with Weird Al in the states.
A ride beat moves itself ever forward, like a bicycle rolling along. And this part of the phrase, like the circle compared to the line, is where both the "hardest" and "easiest" parts lie. When played with fluidity it is rolling; a beautiful study of motion, grace and power. When played stiffly, it's like a mechanical device. Boring. Metallic. Uninteresting.
Nic Marcy is a world class player and educator. He started a new publication in 2016 called Austin Drummer which is about and for the drummers and drumming and music scene in Austin and beyond. There are some really hip articles to enjoy so we decided to make Nic's Austin Drummer magazine a column here at NSMD.
" I love jazz drummers… Can't think of one I don't like. Some of them hold their sticks weird, and don't care about the latest drumming fads. They love the tradition, and the language. They just...Swing! "
Sean, for all his successes is a humble, soft-spoken gentleman who knows the importance of family and friends. Sean embraces the down time between tours, spending it with his wife and daughter. He said, “there is more to life than just playing the drums”.