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Billy Cobham

Tarkus

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Took these images around 2.5 years ago during a fabulous concert. Not that easy, to catch his smile on stage.





More than 30 years ago, I was at Music Fair in Frankfurt/Germany (Musik Messe). They had these little sound tight boxes for testing drums and cymbals. I was testing some snares (don't remember exactly), when a quite muscular guy came in and behaved like a poser. As young and naive as I was, I played some tricky stuff with a serious face, just to keep this body builder guy down, and show that he had to wait until I'm done. After a while, he sat on a kit in this box (there were only the two of us inside) and started playing some simple stuff. I had to admit that he could certainly play drums well (what I didn't expect) and had a good groove. I still tried not to look impressed. Suddenly, he showed off some real great chops, my jaw dropped, and he was just smiling. OK, I thought by myself, he looks like a muscle poser, but plays in a different league than me, because he 'showed' me how to play.

Later, outside this box, when I heard others talking, I realized, this was Billy Cobham himself. I just had no clue how he looked like in person. Of course, I was a fan (who was not?), knew his drumming by heart and only knew older pictures of him. I just didn't get the connection.


Happy birthday, master.
 
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noreastbob

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Billy and the Mahavishnu Orchestra were a huge influence on me. I bought a double bass six tom clear Fibes kit in the early 70s out of respect for him and because I was in a group in which I was never miced up and I wanted the volume. I've met and spoken and corresponded with him since and as many have stated he is one of the nicest, open and accessible people you could hope for.
 

cribbon

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Mind totally blown '75 Mahavishnu opened for Jeff beck Dome Arena Henrietta NY.......Billy Cobham and Richard Bailey what an intense night of drumming. I put my sticks away for awhile.
Are you sure it wasn't Bernard Purdy? Richard Bailey did the Blow by Blow album, but I heard that he decided he didn't want to tour. I seem to recall that Jeff said something to the effect that they got off with a bit of a rough start with Purdy, but when the rest of the band came around to his way of playing, everything was smooth sailing after that.

PrettyPurdy016.jpg
 

RIDDIM

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Mind totally blown '75 Mahavishnu opened for Jeff beck Dome Arena Henrietta NY.......Billy Cobham and Richard Bailey what an intense night of drumming. I put my sticks away for awhile.
That was either Narada or Tony Smith. Billy left Mahavishnu at the end of 1973. Bernard Purdie toured with Jeff Beck.
 
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Steech

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The timeline gets a little fuzzy back then in Rochester the reefer was incredibly good
Plus, Narada was/is a force to be reckoned with and I would love to have seen/heard his interpretation of some of the earlier Cobham stuff. Narada with Jeff Beck was pretty insane, too. Forget which album though.
 

noreastbob

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The thing about Billy that has always blown my mind was that although he is perfectly capable of double stroke or closed rolls... he rarely employs them. He is so strong/fast/powerful (did I say strong?) that he does almost all that incredible stuff SINGLE STROKES!
Sorry for yelling.
 

BoomBoom

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Billy is my main man when it comes to drums. I first heard him in a record store where they were playing his new album, Total Eclipse. I bought it on the spot.

I have seen him 4 times and each one was killer.

He is really nice too as long as you don't just say "I'm a big fan. You're the best. I saw you in ..." Then he just says yeah OK, thanks, signs your CD, and moves on. But the last time I asked him how he got the sound out of the drums he does. Is it the heads? The sticks? He got real philosophical and said you don't make a sound by hitting a drum, you pull the sound out of it which makes it sound the way it does. Sweet.
 

langmick

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I sat behind him at Graffiti in Pittsburgh many years ago, he had a trio at the time. We were going so crazy he looke dover his shoulder and said "Ok, chill." Talked to him afterwards about drums and couldn't believe I was meeting a hero of mine and he was listening and talking.

This kills me every time I see it. Beats trying to catch Rockschool back in the mid-80s for a brief clip of MO.


This one was such an eye opener the first time I saw it.

 

Tubwompus

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I wore out 2 copies of the studio album of this in high school.
Louie told me the Billy read the whole thing down on the session.
No second takes. Now there’s a man!
 

NedPotterDrums

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I still remember hearing this Mahavishnu track for the first time. Was in my teens. Enjoying the guitar intro. I was thinking, I just don't get how Cobham can join here. I don't get what the beat is. What can he add to this? What can a drummer even do on this?

Then the drums came in and my brain fell out of my head.

 


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