For the past few years, I travel the many countries performing, meeting, experiencing, teaching, learning and enjoying everyone that I am fortunate enough to encounter in this journey called life.
I hope you enjoy my new website. I am extremely excited about this new tool and great medium that allows us to communicate. For me, I get to meet more of you. And you now have the opportunity to experience my world of Global “DOM”ination.
For the last 5 years, I have traveled to at least 10 countries per year . My passion for drumming and teaching has directed me to great places all throughout North America, the Far East, Australia and to almost every county in Europe. Every place has given me more knowledge and experience to become a much better artist, as well as a person.
I began playing as a professional at the age of 12 along with my 2 older brothers and my younger sister. Eventually, I graduated to other bands and different performing situations. At seventeen years old my desire to commit to a career in drumming led me to many great teachers and mentors.
My first serious and focused teacher was Ronnie Benedict. He is a great motivator and educator. I studied the basics of rudiments, reading, and understanding different musical styles. Ronnie offered me an absolutely perfect way to begin the fundamentals of drumming. Ronnie has taught many great players; Dennis McDermott, Bill Messinetti, and Neil Grover to name a few. Ronnie passed away in 1999 and I continue to use his knowledge everyday.
My next teacher was Al Miller. Al is a tremendous resource for many players. He has taught such great drummers as Tom Brechtlein, Rod Morgenstein and numerous other great drummers. Al focused me on more intense reading, big band playing, drum set independence and a variety of drumming skills. Al also was a very good friend of Buddy Rich. It was through Al, I was able to meet and have many hangout sessions with Buddy. Al passed away in the year 2000 and I continue to be inspired by Al in every lesson.
My studies continued with Joe Morello. Joe was the top student of Georges Lauwrence Stone, author of stick control. My first lesson was February 27, 1975. I remember that day vividly because he had influenced me greatly through his recordings. Joe taught me the fundamentals of technique and how it is used musically. Joe’s list of former students are a “who’s who” in drumming. The legendary Joe Morello is currently teaching in New Jersey and still influencing many drummers.
Next, on to Jim Chapin. Jim Chapin was born in 1920 and continued to actively perform and teach. Jim was truly one of a kind and was one of the percussion industry’s treasures. He provided my main guidance in learning the Moeller technique. Jim was a student of Sanford Moeller. It was because of this technique that doors were opened for my hands and feet to break barriers of speed, control, power and endurance.
In 1976, I attended the Dick Grove music school in California. I took 3 different courses under the direction of Louis Bellson, Joe Porcaro, Shelly Manne, Johnny Guerin, Jim Keltner, Roy Burns, Colin Bailey, David Gariblady and Ralph Humphrey. Each of them gave me inspiration and knowledge, adding another piece to my puzzle. While in California, I took private lessons with Les DeMerle at his school “The Cellar”. His high-powered playing and years of experience opened different doors for me. I enjoyed his intense drumming energy.
Moving back to New York in the late 70′s, I encountered Charlie Perry, with whom many meetings helped me focus and understand small group Jazz conceptualization. Charlie’s influence reached artists Jack DeJohnette, Mickey Hart , Tony Williams, and Joe Ascione to name a few. The percussion industry lost a great educator when Charlie passed away in 1998.
During the late 70′s and throughout the 80′s I performed in many different situations in New York. I had the chance to play with B.B. King, Lionel Hampton, Barney Kessel, Chuck Leavel and many other great musicians. I also maintained a very active private teaching schedule of 40 to 50 students a week. I have always enjoyed sharing the knowledge I have learned, and I am still developing along with my students. It is very rewarding to see many of my students become strong players and excellent educators.
At this time, the president of Tama Drums, Ken Hoshino, signed me on as Education Director. I began performing clinics throughout the nation opening for artists Simon Phillips, Billy Cobham, Lenny White, Denny Carmassi, Kenny Aronoff and many others.
This led me to Sabian Cymbals. I had heard the cymbals during my travels and was highly impressed by the quality and sound. As their Education Director since 1989, I travel internationally, circling the globe for various events. Sabian continues to be a leader in developing educational programs. It is always exciting synergizing with Bob Zildjian and the Sabian team.
I have been playing Vic Firth sticks since 1979. I have always been impressed by the high quality and variety of their sticks. In the early 90′s, I became their Education Consultant, assisting with the development of programs and events globally. To work with Vic Firth and his team has been, and continues to be, an amazing learning experience.
I currently endorse Mapex Drums. I have had the chance to play a variety of drums, and was very impressed by the quality and sound of Mapex. I am now International Education Executive traveling as a performer, educator and developer of education programs worldwide.
Quotes From Dom:
“I have studied with the Masters, and what they passed on to me was an enthusiasm for self-expression. The fun in my life has been in challenging myself to be the best I can be. But rather than limit myself to just playing in a band, I want to share my talent to pass on the musical and philosophical values I’ve developed, so others can find and enjoy themselves the way I have.”
“Ultimately I want today’s generation to enjoy the fun of the challenge of drumming. I want to serve as their inspiration, to give people everywhere the opportunity to find their path of self-expression. Music is one of the most viable and enjoyable means of finding oneself. I am an Artist of Life and Art, which are both synonomous. How I live my life is how I live my art… and I enjoy them both together.”
“Laughter is a key component to communicating. Not everyone can play drums, but everyone can laugh. So laughter provides the common ground from which I can inspire and motivate people to play drums.”
“My goal is to entertain and motivate. There is a tremendous freedom that comes with playing drums, and I want to inspire as many people as possible to discover the exciting opportunity for personal development and satisfaction that comes with playing such an enjoyable instrument.”
For this drum club edition I wanted to do an article about the "GREAT " EARL PALMER.
The first rock 'n' roll drummer. Played with the greatest rock acts ever like Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ritchie Valens and so many others.
I found an article from The Guardian a few years ago. This was written by the time when Earl Palmer past away but it's a nice article about the most recorded drummer.
Try to find his book BACKBEAT.
Musician praised by Little Richard as 'the greatest session drummer of all time'
In the 1990s, an eager Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame researcher tele- phoned drummer Earl Palmer, who has died in Los Angeles aged 83, to ask if he had anything he could donate to the museum in Cleveland, Ohio. "Me," deadpanned the session musician. Palmer was only half joking, since his list of credits read like a Who's Who of American popular music of the last 60 years.
Between 1949 and 1956, he played on classic rhythm'n'blues and rock'n'roll records by Fats Domino (The Fat Man), Lloyd Price (Lawdy Miss Clawdy), Smiley Lewis (I Hear You Knocking) and Little Richard (Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally) in his native New Orleans before moving to Los Angeles and putting his distinctive backbeat behind Eddie Cochran (Summertime Blues, Something Else), Ritchie Valens (La Bamba) and B Bumble and the Stingers. Their Nut Rocker, the instrumental, based on Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, which topped the British charts in 1962, showcases Palmer's drumming to great effect.
Palmer became a mainstay of the Wrecking Crew, the group of Los Angeles session musicians favoured by the producer Phil Spector and arranger Jack Nitzsche, and, in the 1960s, he played on records by the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Mamas and the Papas, Frank Sinatra and the Supremes, as well as two wall of sound classics: the Righteous Brothers' Transatlantic chart-topper You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin, and Ike & Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High.
By turns powerful and subtle, the inventive and versatile Palmer was also in great demand for TV and film scores, notably drumming on the Mission Impossible theme, driving the punchy intro to The Flintstones and playing on the opening credits for I Dream of Jeanie, Ironside, The Odd Couple and Mash. His film work included playing on the soundtracks to In the Heat of the Night (1967), Lady Sings the Blues (1972) and The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989).
In 2000, Palmer became one of the first session musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame alongside fellow Wrecking Crew member Hal Blaine, the drummer he had mentored in the late 50s and with whom he occasionally doubled up on sessions. Blaine, Palmer and the Nashville-based Buddy Harman (who died last month) remain the three most recorded drummers of all time, with tens of thousands of tracks to their name. Palmer owed his uncanny sense of rhythm to a childhood spent tap-dancing for dimes in New Orleans, as Baby Earl Palmer, and then touring alongside his mother and his aunt, who were part of Ida Cox's Darktown Scandals Revue on the vaudeville circuit. His father was thought to be local pianist and bandleader Walter "Fats" Pichon.
After serving with the US army in Europe during the second world war, he studied piano and percussion at the Gruenwald School of Music in New Orleans, where he also learned to read music. This combination of natural rhythmic ability and formal training would stand Palmer in good stead as he started drumming with the Dave Bartholomew Band in the late 1940s.
At Cosimo Matassa's J&M studio, the ensemble played on a succession of records that turned jazz, blues, rhythm'n'blues and country into rock'n'roll. Palmer provided the pulse helping the different styles coalesce, and was the first musician to use the expression "funky" to explain to his fellow musicians that they could make the result more syncopated and therefore danceable.
Domino's The Fat Man, cut for Lew Chudd's Imperial Records in 1949, was the first record to feature Palmer's continuous trademark backbeat, which became a rock'n'roll constant. "That song required a strong afterbeat throughout the whole piece," said the drummer. "With Dixieland, you had a strong afterbeat only after you got to the last chorus. It was sort of a new approach to rhythm music."
By the mid-1950s, Palmer was growing tired of segregation laws in the south and decided to move to California. "The best thing I ever did," he later reflected, despite the fact that he left his first wife and four children behind, taking with him the girlfriend whom he subsequently married. In 1957, he settled in Los Angeles, ostensibly as A&R man for the independent Aladdin Records, but soon found himself in demand as a first-call drummer at places like Gold Star Recording Studios. In the 1960s, he recorded with Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Glen Campbell, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Paul Anka, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, the Ronettes, the Everly Brothers, Willie Nelson, Sonny & Cher and Neil Young.
Nicknamed "the metronome" because of the steady beat he kept, Palmer stressed that "the drums is an accompanying instrument, really. If you don't know how to accompany then you're not a good drummer, you're just a soloist." Still, he found time to make a few records under his own name, the instrumental Johnny's House Party, and a couple of albums - Drumsville and Percolator Twist - for the Liberty label in the early 1960s being the most notable.
Always immaculately turned out, Palmer remained in demand throughout the 1970s and into the 80s, playing on albums by Randy Newman, Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Buckley, Little Feat and Elvis Costello. He also spent time running the local branch of the American Federation of Musicians. His biography, Backbeat: the Earl Palmer Story, written by Tony Scherman, was published in 1999, along with a CD of 30 tracks he had played on. In recent years, he played with a jazz trio in Los Angeles.
Acknowledged as an influence by Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts and Max Weinberg of the E Street Band, Palmer was, according to Little Richard "probably the greatest session drummer of all time". He is survived by his fourth wife, Jeline, and seven children from earlier marriages.
· Earl Cyril Palmer, drummer, born October 25 1924; died September 19 2008
Robert (Bob) Zildjian was the descendant of 10 generations of Armenian cymbal makers. His father Avedis Zildjian emigrated to Boston from Turkey in the early 1900's. In 1928, his great-uncle Aram also came to Boston, bringing with him the family process and trade secrets in metalworking and cymbal-making. Together, they set up the Avedis Zildjian Company, where they began manufacturing cymbals for the rest of the world.
But the story is not quite so simple as that — it never really is. To know Bob Zildjian, it is important to understand the centuries-long journey taken by his family from the Ottoman Empire to New Brunswick, Canada. The history of the Ottoman Empire was marked by intense political upheaval – among other reasons, this is why precise dates and facts concerning the Zildjian family succession are not always clear. Records of birthdates and deaths, when kept at all, were stored in churches, which in many cases were burned to the ground.
But this much we know. For generations, the ancient family secret of cymbal-making passed from father to eldest son. However, at the turn of the twentieth century Bob’s grandfather Haroutian Zildjian rejected tradition by choosing to become the Attorney-General of Constantinople. And so his eldest son Avedis — Bob’s father — decided to seek opportunity in the land of America. Born December 6, 1888, Avedis had apprenticed in cymbal-making as a boy, but the business held little interest for him. And given his father’s decision, it seemed highly unlikely that the succession would ever pass to him, so he pursued other interests.
“Like so many young Armenians of the time,” Bob would later point out, “my father didn’t want to go into the army. The political climate in Turkey had always been hostile to Armenians, so when he got a chance to chaperone a rich Armenian family’s son to American in 1908, he jumped at the opportunity.”
Eventually Avedis Zildjian settled in the Boston area, set up a successful candy business, and married Alice Goodale, a descendant of solid Yankee stock. Alice bore him two sons, Armand, and then Bob, who loved to point out proudly he was born on July 14, Bastille Day, in 1923. In 1927, Avedis was surprised to receive a letter from his Uncle Aram announcing that the time had come to return to his homeland to claim his birthright. After much thought and consultation with Alice, Avedis wrote back to inform his uncle of the potential for a tremendous market in cymbals in the USA, and that Aram should instead come to Boston. Aram agreed, and for the first time, traditional Turkish cymbal making came to the new world under the name of A. Zildjian. For the next five decades, K. Zildjian in Istanbul and A. Zildjian in Boston would serve musicians around the globe both competitively and cooperatively.
As his father’s company grew, so did Bob, and it wasn`t long before he began working as a sweeper at the Zildjian Company during the summer. “My father paid me $2 a week, but he put $1.50 into a savings account in my name and only gave me fifty cents. But that wasn’t enough for me, and so I quit.” said Zildjian in an early interview. Demonstrating a head for business even at this young age, Bob went out and got a paper route that paid four times what he was making working for his father, keeping it all for himself. Though he may have avoided it, Bob couldn’t stay away from the cymbal business for long — it was in his blood.
At the age of 14 Bob, along with his older brother Armand, returned to apprentice at his father’s company and learned the secret manufacturing process. For a time, the two brothers got along very well. “We were under one despot — and that despot was my father”, Bob would claim later. Working under the heavy hand of their father served to unite the two brothers, but it would not always be this way.
Then along came the Second World War, and the impact it had on the production of cymbals was drastic. Copper and tin, essential to the cymbal making process, were also prime ingredients in the manufacture of shells and bullet casings. As a result, metal rationing almost resulted in the closing of the still fledgling A. Zildjian Company. Ironically, the only thing that kept them going was serving the military. They would provide cymbals for many Army, Navy and Marine bands.
The impact of the War on the family went beyond the business. Bob enlisted in the U.S. Army and served as an infantryman in Europe. After the horrors of the second Great War, Bob’s homecoming was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. As was the case with so many other returning soldiers, the war had long-lasting effects. Unsure and tentative about his mental state at the time, Bob sought advice from family and friends. Eventually a neighbor suggested that Bob join his deer hunting expedition to the quiet, scenic province of New Brunswick, as a chance to relax and reassess. “Any problems I had psychologically post-war went away once we got into these gorgeous woods”, he would later claim. This was Bob’s first encounter with Meductic – little did anyone know then how much that trip would eventually change the face of the drum industry around the globe.
Back in Boston at the Zildjian Company, Bob was an unstoppable force. Wearing many hats – accountant, advertising executive, artist relations, and sales — he quickly built a valuable list of personal contacts among dealers throughout the United States and the rest of the world. In 1958, Bob, with his wife Willi at his side, was the first American to display at the annual Frankfurt Musik Messe trade show. “My wife Willi and I used to go to trade show meetings and stand out in front of the booth for four or five days in a row,” he recalled. Bob spent the 1950’s and early 1960’s developing company sales outside the USA, primarily in Europe.
In 1960, Bob and Willi also traveled to Istanbul, where they finalized the purchase of the K. Zildjian Company. It was a pivotal trip in Bob’s career – eventually he would bring his cousins Michael and Gabe Zilcan, their father Kerope, and the ancient formula and hand hammering technique behind K. Zildjians to the Azco plant in Canada. “Those guys (his cousins) wanted to get out of Turkey. So in 1975 we brought over brothers Michael and Gabriel (Gabe) Zilcan, as well as their father Kerope. Gabe still works for us”, commented Bob shortly after founding SABIAN.
Although by this time the Jazz Age had already opened up previously unheard-of markets for their product, even that paled when the primal beat of rock’n’roll swept the continent. Fueled by television, boom-time affluence and millions of teenagers who all wanted to be rock stars, the demand for the company’s cymbals soared.
As a result, the production capacity of the Massachusetts plant was outstripped, and in 1967 Avedis Zildjian charged his son Bob with setting up a subsidiary operation to serve their rapidly expanding market. “We could have located to New England,” said Bob Zildjian at the time. “But there was one area that I knew well and believed in — southwest New Brunswick. I had been going there since 1946, and for 20 years since I had gone fishing with a local outfitter named Willard Way. I knew he was a dependable, hardworking guy who could manage men, so I got together with him, and we went looking for a location.
“I chose Meductic for two reasons. One was that the view up and down the river was simply beautiful. The other was that I wanted a rural place where the people who came to work for us would be self-sufficient, could be trained to our standards and would have no preconceptions about factory work. I told Willard to secure the land, and I put him in charge of building the factory and running the operation. And that’s how we started making AZCO cymbals in Meductic.”And so in 1968, 22 years after Bob’s post-war trip to the area, the Azco plant was opened in Meductic, NB.
In 1975, Bob closed the K. Zildjian factory in Turkey and brought his uncle Kerope and Kerope’s two sons Gabe and Michael to AZCO in Canada. “And we started making K. Zildjians,” Bob claimed. “Handmade cymbals exactly the same way they were made in Istanbul.”
In 1979, at the age of 90, Bob’s father died. In keeping with family tradition, Avedis left the entire business to his two sons, Bob and Armand. As the eldest son, Armand inherited the controlling share. Unfortunately, it was a partnership that would not last. The brothers quarreled, and two years of bitter litigation in Massachusetts courts resulted in a settlement under which Armand kept the A. Zildjian Company and Bob received the AZCO subsidiary.
“I was running 80% of that business and I was told at the death of my father that I was no longer in power and I was out. That was a terrible blow”, Bob recollected about that difficult period. So as it had many years before, Meductic again became a refuge for the turmoil in Bob’s life. On his own, but even more determined, Bob opened a brand new cymbal company in 1981, SABIAN – an acronym formed from the first two letters of the names of his children: Sally, Bill and Andy.
It was a huge challenge, not one that many men would have chosen to take on. At the age of 57, Bob was faced with having to build a brand new cymbal company and pit it against a cymbal company that was 350 years old. “It was not the easiest thing in the world, but I had an awful lot of good friends in the business.” SABIAN thrived under his direction. Bob Zildjian had the ability to bring out the best in people. Employees, dealers and musicians alike were honored to be associated with him.
“He makes the artists feel they’re really a part of the family, and that’s what Bob Zildjian instilled in every one of us at SABIAN”, comments Master Product Specialist Mark Love, who has been with the company since 1980. Indeed, to say that family was important to Bob would be an understatement. “This is a family business,” he would insist. “And if you have a family business, you can’t help having the people that work with you become part of the family too.”
“Bob Zildjian has taken us all on a trip that we would never have realized — many of us never even realized what we were good at in life, until Bob took us and found it in us”, comments Nort Hargrove, who began his career at the Azco factory factory in 1973, and is currently Sabian VP of Manufacturing — a true-life testament that Bob’s philosophy of family was much more than just words.
This philosophy would extend to musicians as well, especially young musicians and percussion students. Bob believed strongly that he could play an important role in helping young people’s dreams come true. “I think the music business is one I would encourage young people to take very seriously. It’s a great medium in which to work.” And so he funded the SABIAN PASIC Scholarship, awarded to a Canadian student of percussion each year.
Bob also believed it was important to honor the achievement of gifted percussionists — those whose performances had shaped the future of sound. He would set up a Sabian Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded each year at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). Past winners include musical luminaries such as Jack DeJohnette and Vic Firth.
Bob would also be on the receiving end of many an award throughout his illustrious life, but he was most proud of the two bestowed by his adopted province of New Brunswick, the place he had sought refuge and the place he chose to build his legacy. First was the 2009 New Brunswick Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame Award, which honored the brightest business minds in the province while raising money for Junior Achievement programs. And second was the honorary degree he received from the University of New Brunswick in 2010. The Citation read: “An advocate of ‘thinking the unthinkable’…he has led his family of artisans and workers with what his friends call a supreme passion for the music and the people in the music industry…and for moving the art form forward in as many ways as possible with modern vision and creative innovation.”
“I’d like to be the best cymbal company in the world,” said Bob Zildjian in an early SABIAN interview. “I’m not that worried about being the biggest. But if we are the biggest, that’s good too. But being the best is primary…that’s my motivation.”
I found this article on moderndrummer.com and I have to share this with you cause it's wriiten very well.
This a brief story of KENNEY JONES who still is playing these days as a member of THE FACES. Not the original line up cause Rod Stewart isn't making part of it.
His style is so unique and it's still up to date today, bands like THE RACONTEURS or JACK WHITE himself definite found inspiration through THE SMALL FACES.
Check out the records they talk about in the article. Great stuff !!!!!
by Adam Budofsky
Among the most dynamic of all the groups who came out of England in the mid-’60s was the Small Faces, featuring singer/guitarist Steve Marriott, bassist Ronnie Lane, keyboardist Ian McLagan, and drummer Kenney Jones. After a number of popular R&B-influenced singles, the Small Faces developed a distinct sound on the 1968 albumOgden’s Nut Gone Flake, which many rock scholarsrank alongside the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper, the Who’s Tommy, and the Zombies’ Odessey And Oracle on the list of great art-pop records.
Kenney Jones’ warm but tough drumming approach supported the band through all their great musical advances, including their post-Marriott incarnation as the Faces, featuring vocalist Rod Stewart and guitarist Ron Wood. Eventually Stewart’s ascending solo career overshadowed the band’s albums, and the Faces ground to a halt in the early ’70s. Kenney, however, would be back on the map by the end of the decade, replacing the late Keith Moon in the Who, successfully touring with the band through a difficult time and recording the albums Face Dancesand It’s Hard.
Jones’ drumming career doesn’t stop with the Faces and the Who, though. He’s racked up an impressive list of other credits, with artists as diverse as ’80s pop chanteuse Sheena Easton, the Moody Blues’ John Lodge, early rock heroes like Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis, and his own band, the Jones Gang, who released a self-titled album and toured the States in 2005. That year Modern Drummer talked with Jones about many of the great recordings he’s made during his illustrious career. We began by asking Kenney about the self-titled 1966 debut by the Small Faces.
The Small Faces The Small Faces (1966)
Glyn Johns was our engineer right from the word go. I was very fortunate, because at that time Glyn was known as the best engineer in England, if not the world. He was an expert at getting great drum sounds. Basically it was a very simple setup: just a couple of overheads and a snare mic’. You really get the ambient sound of the drums that way. Glyn would experiment with sound as well—echoes and sustains and stuff.
Also, I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got a completely different sound from most other drummers. For rock gigs I play with my left stick turned around the other way [butt end]. I also hit the drums a lot harder than most players—or so I’m told—and my tuning is completely different from most drummers’.
The Small Faces Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake (1968)
That was a fantastic album to record. People say it took us a year to make it, but it didn’t. The actual recording didn’t take long at all. But by that time we were doing lots of gigs, and we had to fit recording in between. Ogden’s was the first concept album of its type. It was innovative, and it took us somewhere else. One of the things that was probably in the back of Steve Marriott’s mind at the time—which made him decide to form Humble Pie—was the fact that we were all feeling the same: “How do we follow this?” We were all young, and we shouldn’t have been so impatient. But I’m reworking it into a full-length animated film, redoing the soundtrack as well. Pete Townshend is involved in the writing.
The Small Faces First Step (1970)
After Steve Marriott left, we were all desperate to get rid of our pop image. We were a completely new band, with Rod Stewart and Ron Wood on board. We were much more blues-oriented now, and a lot heavier, and we could go into a different musical atmosphere. We were quite excited about that. We hadn’t played a lot together, though, other than jamming and stuff like that, and we didn’t have a lot of songs. So we had to literally write songs on the spot. So that album was when we first started discovering each other.
My drumming approach did have to change, as did everyone’s. It was very loose one minute, very tight the next, and very blues-oriented the next. It was quite strange, and I only realized that recently, when we did a tribute to Ronnie Lane at the Albert Hall. Pete Townshend came on and did a song, and so did Ron Wood. One of the songs we did in rehearsal was “Flying,” though Woody wasn’t there for that one. As we started it, I realized it didn’t feel the same. It was quite strange. I said this to Woody last week, and he said, “Ah, that’s because you needed me there, you needed the Faces to do that.” That song is something only the Faces could do. It sounds incredibly simple on record, but the minute you go and play it with someone else, it doesn’t happen.The Faces are unique in playing so laid back.
Rod Stewart Every Picture Tells A Story (1971)
We used to do some of Rod’s songs live with the Faces, and “I Know I’m Losing You” was one of them. I’ll never forget when we recorded the studio version of that. I was watching a film at home and Rod called up and said, “We’re in the studio, can you come and do ‘Losing You’ for me?” Luckily it was only five minutes away. So I drove to the studio, got on the drumkit, did the track with the drum break in it, and finished. Then I went back to my house and watched the end of the film. That’s how quickly we did that one.
The song was never meant to have a drum solo, just a drum break that Rod would chant over. But in time the drum break got longer and longer, eventually turning into a bit of a solo. I never view it as a drum solo, though. If I were to choose to do a solo, it wouldn’t be that kind of rhythm, and it wouldn’t be that tempo, although I’ve gotten used to doing it by now. There’s lots of press rolls and triplets with the bass drum. Oddly enough, while I was doing it I kept thinking about “Let There Be Drums.”
The Faces A Nod Is As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse (1971)
“Stay With Me” from that album is actually difficult to play, as we found out when trying to do it in my band. It’s 16ths on the hi-hat all the way through, and in order to get the groove right you have to get the tempo bang-on. Tempos could be a nightmare in the Faces, because you didn’t know what everyone had been up to the night before!
Chuck Berry The London Sessions (1972)
Chuck was great to work with. He’s one of my heroes. I think that was the sessions where we did “My Ding-A-Ling.” A funny old song, that one. [The tune, a huge latter-day hit for Berry, is included on the album, but in a live version featuring Robbie McIntosh on drums.] Chuck loved playing with us British musicians. It’s funny, I remember he kept getting his fingers stuck in the strings. I thought, “Man, he’s got big fingers.”But he was as great to work with as I expected. You hear all these horror stories about Chuck Berry, and I know some of them are true, but we didn’t see any of that at that time.
Jerry Lee Lewis Sometimes A Memory Ain’t Enough (1973)
That was a similar thing to the Chuck Berry session. Jerry Lee came to London to record, which seemed to be the fashion at the time. He was great to work with too. It was lovely, because it’s nice having someone like that, one of your heroes, appreciate your drumming. But he did lose it one day in the studio when this young record exec came in and said, “Oh Jerry, you’re fantastic. Love to have you here, here’s a bottle of champagne….” “Well then we better drink that straight away!” Apparently he wasn’t supposed to drink at that time. He had one glass and it was like someone turned a switch on. He just kept picking on this young guy, “I can whip you around the block!” and all this crap.
It was never difficult playing with guys like that, though, because a lot of them were my influences anyway, so I played in their style naturally. Booker T. & the MG’s was always on my record player, for instance. Al Jackson will remain my hero till the day I’m gone. He’s definitely the man who knew his place as a drummer. Alongside all that was the Shadows, Gene Vincent—but Chuck Berry especially, because I loved his lyrics. And he had great beats to play as a drummer. I also loved Ray Charles, Jimmy McGriff, Mingus, and all that. Before anything else, I was very much influenced by jazz. People don’t realize it, but I play jazz quite a bit. From a drummer’s point of view it’s the only way to get your rocks off.And to be honest, in order to play proper rock ’n’ roll beats, you must have a swing to it. Rock ’n’ roll beats come from the jazz, really.
Kenney Jones“Ready Or Not” single (1974)
I did that just because I needed to know if there was another side to me, that I could do it if I wanted to. And I found that once I did it and got it out of my system, I didn’t need to do it anymore.
The Rolling StonesIt’s Only Rock ’N Roll (1974)
You have gates in London leaving Richmond Park to different parts of the city: I lived on Kingston Gate, Mac lived on Sheen Gate, Woody lived on Richmond Gate. The park is massive, there are thousands of acres. And you had to drive all the way around it at night if it was closed. Woody would always call up just as I was getting into bed at about midnight or something and say, “Kenney, we haven’t got a drummer.” In those days you never know who was going to be in the studio. One day Bob Dylan was there, so we just had a play; another time I go there and Clapton was there. This time it was just Woody and Mick Jagger.
Woody had just got all this new equipment for the studio, so he was in there twiddling knobs and pissing about, and he left me and Jagger sort of playing together. Mick was playing guitar and singing a bit. I just played along and he said to me, “That’s nice, do that.” And I said, “It’s only rock ’n’ roll,” and he said, “Yeah, but I like it.” And then we started to sing it. We just played that riff and it kept going. Then Woody recorded it and put guitar on it. Now, it was only supposed to be a demo. Later I found out that they went in to try to record it properly but couldn’t capture the feel, even with Charlie, which I found strange. So they put it out the way it was. I felt so guilty, so when I saw Charlie I said, “Charlie, I’m told they kept my drumming. I’m really sorry, it’s not the way I wanted things to work out.” He said, “Ah, it sounds like me anyway.” He’s great, brilliant!
Tommy original motion picture soundtrack (1975)
I was on a lot of Tommy. One of the funniest things that happened during the recording was when Moony came to see me record. He was a friend anyway. Tony Newman did a couple things on there as well. So one time when the three of us were in the studio Moony just locked all three of us inside—and no one could get in. There was a bar up inside the studio, and we were drinking in front of the control room window, just getting pissed in front of everyone else for an hour or so, which was driving them nuts. They were two nutty drummers, I’ve got to tell you. Tony Newman was worse than Moony!
Joan Armatrading Show Me Some Emotion (1977)
That’s another one Glyn Johns engineered. The first time I met Joan she couldn’t remember any of the musicians’ names, so she’d talk through Glyn: “If you could tell the bass player…and tell the drummer….” Eventually Glyn turned around to her: “Do you realize who all these people are? They’ve all come to help you out here, and you don’t even know their names!” Later I realized that she was just incredibly nervous, and once she broke through that, she was great. I adore her. She knew exactly what she was on about—very dynamic in her way of playing, and very positive in her voice.
Pete Townshend Empty Glass (1980)
When I joined the Who, Pete was doing his solo album Empty Glass as well. “Rough Boys” was one of the tracks we did. I said to Pete, “Ah, this should really be a Who song.” There’s actually a couple of songs on there that I think should have been Who songs. But he kind of went, “Ooh, I don’t know.” I think I said the wrong thing, but I meant it.
They got a nice drum sound, too, but it wasn’t like the Who stuff, which is the sound I would have preferred. But then again, I had just joined the Who and I didn’t know quite how the band was thinking about their sound then. Pete said to me when I first joined the band, “Now we have an opportunity to be completely different.” So I thought, Okay, maybe that’s the way they want to go. But it was kind of weird.
The WhoFace Dances (1981)
Playing with the Who…you can call it unique. The bass player was my foot, and I was playing in the middle of two lead guitarists. One “guitarist” had the bass end of it and one had the high end to it, and I had to fit in somewhere in the middle.That’s when I started to learn different bass drum techniques and ended up having the fastest foot in the industry at one point, without using two bass drums. I also started to deliver a punchier feel; I got fitter and my arms got bigger. You had to be 110% fit to play with the Who, because it was like three and a half hours of non-stop drumming. The only rest I got, really, was on “Behind Blue Eyes.”
Playing live with the Who was probably the best part of being in the band for me. We toured quite a lot, and I got stronger and more with it. “You Better You Bet” in particular was a good recording. Changing the backbeat between the snare and the tom was just my handle on it.
The Who It’s Hard (1982)
I liked playing “Athena” mainly because when it got to the middle there was that “rababababa” part. I like those types of things that were different. “Eminence Front” I quite liked as well because that was different for them. There are some tricky bits on there on the bass drum. At that time there was a fad of that kind of beat going around. I just had to do it slightly different from everybody else.
Warren "Baby" Dodds...
Warren ‘Baby’ Dodds, born in 1897. Baby was the younger brother of clarinettist, Johnny Dodds, one of most original and influential reedmen of those early years.
Baby was a schooled drummer, which meant he had a thorough knowledge of the military rudiments of drumming. The difference, however, between Dodds and a conventional straight, parade drummer was his heritage. Dodds had Africa in his blood. His ancestors had been slaves and the rhythms of that exciting continent were, to a great degree, carried to new world. This tradition, mingled with European music, became what we know as Jazz.
Dodds was playing in parades as early as the 1910s, often with Bunk Johnson as well as with "Frankie Dusen's Eagle Band". He played non parade gigs in the famous "Fewclothes Cabaret". A short spell with cornetist "Oscar Papa Celestin's Band" followed, before the young drummer joined Fate Marable's band on the SS Sydney.
In 1921 he joined "Joe 'King' Oliver's Creole Jazz Band", with whom he made his first recordings in 1923. Featured in this all-star line-up was the 22 year-old cornet genius, Louis Armstrong.
The sound of the Oliver band is merely hinted at on these acoustic recordings. Baby is hampered by the lack of a full drum kit, being restricted, for the most part, to playing the woodblock and a choke cymbal. Musicians who heard the band were struck by the big sound, attributable in no small measure to the Dodds rhythm.
By 1927, Baby was playing in brother Johnny's band and can be heard with a full drum kit on recordings made by "Johnny Dodds his Black Bottom Stompers." "Come on and Stomp Stomp Stomp." These sessions from October 1927 were among the first recordings to feature a bass drum, which Baby plays in two-beat time. The two cornet line-up of this band was exactly the same as Oliver's, so it is not unreasonable to assume that this rhythm section sound was close to the real sound of Joe Oliver's band.
Baby gets an early drum break in the middle of the trombone solo on "After You've Gone" Also at this time he found regular employment in the various Washboard bands.
Baby's technique deserves some scrutiny. For the most part, the bass drum is playing two beats to the bar. Press rolls are played on the snare drum. This involves the left stick rolling across the drum with beats two and four accented. The right stick in most cases plays a steady four beats.Tthe roll starts on beat two and again on beat four. The tom toms are used for accents, as are the woodblocks, rims and cymbals. This is an oversimplification, because there was much more to Baby Dodds than this and I advise a close study of the CDs recommended below.
On blocks, Baby would play a wide variety of beats incorporating flams, triplets, double stroke rolls, parradiddles and combinations of all these. The beat was a constantly moving thing and was generous in its width. White drummers such as Gene Krupa, and George Wettling, both Dodds disciples, were ‘on the beat’ players, whereas Dodds often played around the time, placing accents where they were least expected.
Baby's blocks can be heard on Jelly Roll Morton's recording of "Billy Goat Stomp", which also has an early Dodds solo, played across a series of breaks. With Jelly, Dodds was required to play wire brushes and he is one of the first jazz drummers to be recorded with this lighter alternative to sticks. "Mr.Jelly Lord" provides a good example of Baby's brush style, which is merely and adaptation of his press roll, except that the brush is dragged across the snare drum, rather than rolled, with the other brush playing a steady four beats. A comparison to the work of Gene Krupa with the "Benny Goodman Trio" in the mid 30s indicates that Krupa got more than his stick technique from Dodds.
The Depression years found the Dodds brothers struggling to earn a living from music with Baby forced to help his brother Bill run a taxi business. With the revival of interest in early New Orleans Jazz around 1940, Baby recorded for Decca as part of a New Orleans Album. Victor Records also took the opportunity of pairing him with the great New Orleans soprano saxophonist, Sidney Bechet for some memorable sides in 1941 This was a truly all-star lineup, completed by Earl Hines, piano, Rex Stewart, cornet and Welman Braud (another New Orleanian). Dodds can be head employing a wide variety of strokes and rolls, both in the ensembles and during his solo, which is played on the blocks, rims and cowbell.
When Bill Russell rediscovered Bunk Johnson and recorded him in 1944, Baby was his chosen drummer. It is on these American Music recordings, made on less than perfect equipment by the devoted and enthusiastic Russell, that we hear Baby in all his glory.
Baby Dodds is often regarded as being old fashioned and out of date, yet the late Art Blakey, one of the greats of modern Jazz drumming, often played Dodds fills with his forward looking hard bop group, the Jazz Messengers.
Dodds remains one of the most creative and colourful drummers in the history of traditional Jazz and his paralysis from a stroke in the early 50s robbed the Jazz world of one of its great innovators. He died in 1959.