Legendary drummer Hal Blaine, who recently turned 90, will be celebrated in his hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts at Holyoke Community College’s Leslie Phillips Theater on Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.Read More
Drummer Nigel Olsson has been playing and recording with Elton John since 1970. He has performed in concert with Elton over 2,500 times. Nigel, the consummate showman, is always smiling. On stage, he is impeccably dressed with a shirt, tie and, trademark white gloves. Joining with Ray Cooper and John Mahon, they were a complete rhythmic force unlike any other. With a long and impressive resume… Nigel has played with The Spencer Davis Group, Uriah Heep, and as a first-call studio drummer. His credentials also include time with Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, and Kiki Dee.Read More
Chapter 20 in our ongoing series of conversations, quotes, commentary, and updates with jazz drumming legend Mike Clark. Mike’s keen observations provide numerous insights into “all things music”. Mike tells it like it is… The good, the bad, and everything else in between:Read More
I had already recognized Terry Bozzio as a ground - breaking musician, having seen him previously on three different occasions…In the 1970’s with Frank Zappa, the early 1980’s with Missing Persons, and at one of his drum clinics a few years later. Having no idea what to expect that night…It was a shock to the system to say the least. This one-man performance by Terry Bozzio was completely different than anything I had ever seen or heard before…Terry with his huge kit - and nothing else… Demonstrating a complete and total mastery of the instrument throughout the show. The audience loved it all, applauding loudly after every one of Terry’s original compositions.Read More
Dixon was one of the great organ jazz specialists. He was born in Gaffney, South Carolina and grew up in Washington D.C. and Buffalo, NY. Early in his career, Dixon played with Buck Hill, Shirley Horn and Webster Young. During Dixon’s three-year stint with the popular r&b singer Lloyd Price, Dixon met John Patton, whom he persuaded to take up the Hammond. Introduced by Lou Donaldson to Blue Note’s Alfred Lion, Dixon and Patton (plus guitarist Grant Green) went on to form a prolific tandem on many of the label’s now-classic soul jazz albums of the early and mid-sixties. HeRead More
On August 25th 2018, The Dropkick Murphys rocked out the brand new MGM Grand Casino in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts. The outdoor weekend performance was a benefit concert for the Thomas J. Sullivan Foundation. Gunnery Sergeant Sullivan was killed on July 16, 2015 in a domestic terror attack while stationed at the Naval Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Springfield native Sullivan was attempting to save his fellow Marines when he was fatally shot during the assault.Read More
In 1976 he moved to Los Angeles, California to play with bassist Glen Cornick of Jethro Tull…Later replaced by Foreigner’s Bruce Trien. He played with legendary session piano player Nicky Hopkins who had worked with the Rolling’s Stones, The Who, The Beatles and Jeff Beck. Ken also performed with ‘Badfinger’ - 1977 -1978, and Off-Broadway from 1978 to 1984. The original members of Off Broadway have since re-grouped, and are still playing to this day. Ken also enjoys sharing stories from his LA studio days, and his brushes with fame – Including: Tom Petty, Cher, Gregg Allman, and Keith Richards.Read More
“Antonio Sanchez remains one of the greatest drummers of this or any era. It is thrilling to get on the bandstand with Antonio every night. You just can't wait to play with him”. —Pet MethenyRead More
A little later Buddy comes over puts his arm around me and says; Jack would you play for me? Picture this: A fifteen-year old kid sitting behind Buddy Rich’s drums. I still don’t have the words to describe how incredible that felt.Read More
Bobby T Torello and Bill Ludwig III at Dynamic Percussion Drum ShopRead More
“Damn, gotta’ couple of really good students...The lesson is - I will charge them and steal their licks. If you are interested in me stealing your licks… Hit me up for a few lessons. “Read More
THE RECORDING ACADEMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS Will air on PBS - October 5, 2018Read More
FAT has some major gigs this weekend including the new MGM Grand Casino in Springfield, Mass. There is no doubt their huge fan club will be out in force. David Barsalou shares the history of their great drummers in this article.
Rick Smith presented another successful vintage and custom drum show at The Sphinx Shriners Center in Newington, Connecticut. This years’ featured clinician’s were Gregg Bissonette and Richie Morales. Once again, both the clinics and dealer booths were jammed with drumming enthusiasts of all ages. It was standing room only in the auditorium for Gregg and Richie. Both of their presentations were educational, inspirational, and entertainingRead More
Walking along with my friend John we saw drum cases emblazoned with “The Buddy Rich Orchestra” on their sides. Excited as always when anything ‘Buddy’ came into view. John, his voice filled with excitement said: You know Buddy…Lets go in. I said yeah, but this is a recording studio, we can’t just walk in there. John, ever persistent finally convinced me to enter the famed RCA building.Read More
“Man, I had beyond a blast playing with the Great Eddie Henderson…There were some fantastic drummers in who I really dig, Billy Drummond, Sylvia Cuenca, Steve Johns, and the all time master - my hero Billy Hart. You know all those folks can hear the entire picture and then some. How great is that? Such great artists all in one place and one town. Billy Harper was there as well…Damn, I Love New York !”Read More
A special story about drummer Rick Garvin. This is a heart felt tribute to a fellow drummer from one of his peers, and with glowing praise from many he played with. Every drummer would like to have an accomplished career like this and be remembered in this way.Read More
Reprinted from Rolling Stone-
"Super Bad," "Sex Machine" and other funky landmarks from half of the Godfather of Soul's legendary groove tandem
Starks' manager Kathie Williams confirmed his death. She said he'd been in hospice for about a week and was battling leukemia and myelodysplastic syndromes.
Starks played with Brown during the Sixties and Seventies, most notably as part of a percussion duo with Clyde Stubblefield, who died last year. Though Starks and Stubblefield had distinct playing styles, together they created a powerhouse rhythm section that defined funk, and later hip-hop. The duo are among the most sampled drummers of all time.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, one of Starks' many acolytes, Roots drummer Questlove, described the dynamic between Starks and Stubblefield, saying, "Starks was the Beatles to Clyde's Stones. A clean shuffle drummer to Clyde's free-jazz left hand."
Starks and Stubblefield played in Brown's live band and joined him in the studio. They worked on classic albums like I Got the Feelin', Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud and Cold Sweat, while Starks drummed on singles such as "The Payback," "Super Bad," "Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine."
Starks also played with other artists in Brown's orbit, including the JBs, Bobby Byrd and Lyn Collins. His drumming on Collins' 1972 single "Think (About It)" has been sampled by an array of artists, most notably Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock on their 1988 hit, "It Takes Two."
"John 'Jabo' Starks was that rock that I built my bass grooves on while with James Brown," Bootsy Collins, who played with Starks in Brown's band, tells Rolling Stone. "He was always steady and consistent never letting me leave the pocket. When you are so young as I was, full of energy & ideas, I would sometimes rush to get to the next One that I am hearing in my head. 'Jabo' held the time and you in synch. I will never forget him and what he's done for me, music & James Brown's Planet-Groove!"
In a tribute on Instagram, Questlove praised Starks' stunning skill and detailed his lasting influence. "It was Clyde that was James' prettiest rhythm master. But Starks was his most effective drummer. It was the 'Think (About It)' break that birthed New Jack Swing culture, B'more/Jersey house and Nineties R&B. It was 'Hot Pants (I'm Comin)' and 'I Know You Got Soul' that really cultivated the classic East Coast renaissance of 87 - 92… His eight on the floor style was so unique in his funk. A serious funk god."
Born in Jackson, Alabama in 1938, Starks taught himself how to drum using a makeshift kit comprising a bass and a snare drum tied to a chair, while the cymbals sat on a dinner stand. At a local club, he played with some of the biggest blues musicians of the era – John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Big Mama Thornton – eventually joining Bobby "Blue" Bland's band in 1959. He drummed on Bland's biggest hits, including "Turn On Your Love Light" and "I Pity the Fool," before joining Brown in 1965.
In the mid-Seventies, after splitting with Brown, Starks began to record and perform with B.B. King. Later, he reunited with Stubblefield, forming a duo called the Funkmasters that recorded music, instructional videos and even helped craft the music for the 2007 comedy, Superbad.
Even as he got older, Starks continued to perform live, holding down a regular gig at a bar in Grayton Beach, Florida. According to its owner, Starks last performed there in March.
"When I’m playing music, man, let me tell you one thing: There ain’t nobody in the world higher than I am," Starks said in 2015. "I get so high playing music, it scares me."
John Henry 'Jabo' Starks was born in Jackson, Alabama on Oct. 26, 1938. He taught himself to play with very little formal instruction. Upon high school graduation he began playing with blues artists - John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, and Big Mama Thornton. In 1959, he joined up with Bobby (Blue) Bland playing on his hits “Turn On Your Love Light,” “I Pity the Fool” and “That’s the Way Love Is.” ‘Jabo’ left the group for James Brown’s band in 1965, staying with him until the Mid-1970's. He later began touring and recording with B. B. King.
‘Jabo’ Starks is survived by his wife, two children, and two grandchildren.
This is Chapter 17 in an ongoing series of conversations, quotes, commentary, and updates with drumming legend Mike Clark. Mike’s keen observations provide numerous insights into ‘all things music’. I ask Mike to just tell it like it is…This includes the good, the bad, and everything else in between.Read More
Not So Modern Drummer features the true-life adventures of Jack Scarangella in our new ongoing series.