Buddy and Louie talk Gadd and Bonzo

dale w miller

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Whenever I read anything Buddy Rich said the first thing I think is his childhood must have been awful from both his parents and his peers. This dude had some serious issues.
 

JimmySticks

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Was Buddy Rich fighting to protect big band music when he quit playing drums in 1956 to launch a career as a singer?

C'mon now, the guy takes literally a few months, maybe a year, out of his drumming career to sing, which he was quite good at from his Vaudeville days, and you say he somehow gave up on his music? Please, he was playing drums on-stage since he was 2 years old and didn't stop until he was near death. The guy deserves to give the drums a break for a little bit to try something different. And it was still in music, not like he went onto become a doctor or something. As quick as he went into singing is as quick as he left it behind never looking back at it. I think it's a real reach to say his time singing meant he quit on his love of drums and swing.

Great article though. I love what the other drummers had to say about Rich.
 
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Pink69

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The fact that over 30 years after his passing BR still can produce such interest and discord is not just the sign of true celebrity but is also real rock and roll!!
 
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wflkurt

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I have seen an interview with Cathy talking about the Zeppelin show but she said it was 1977. Maybe she is mixing up the year they went? It wouldn't surprise me if Buddy also didn't like the vistalite set John had if they did in fact go in 1973. Seeme reasonable as I have never heard of Zeppelin doing the gong on fire thing before and this 1973 info proves it. I have always wondered what the MSG garden shows sound like in bootleg form as I have heard they did a lot of editing to The Song Remains The Same.

I have to admit that I don't seem to be that much bothered by Buddy's hard edge to driving the band. I think he was probably a lot harder on himself and as mentioned earlier, he had a great passion for the music he played and he certainly kept big band alive a lot longer than it probably would have been had he not kept pushing. I played a year of football when I was in the 9th grade. I probably had no business being out there as I was probably 100 pounds soaking wet and around 5'5" then. I stuck out the year and got totally banged up as I refused to quit. The coach we had was pretty much an a-hole but in retrospect, I pushed myself and was probably in the best shape I had ever been. I didn't want to be "that guy" that made everyone else run extra laps so I pushed myself further than ever. It may not have been a really fun experience but it taught me discipline and kept me pretty focused. I learned pretty quickly that if I did what I needed to do, didn't complain and gave it real honest effort then I was pretty much left alone.

I wouldn't know for sure about this but I am willing to bet that Buddy was probably pretty happy with someone if they did their job at top level every night and pretty much kept to themselves. I remember hearing a great story that Steve Marcus told where he said Buddy was yelling at him one night. In the middle of being yelled at, Steve told Buddy that he liked his shirt. Buddy said oh yeah? Buddy said that Marie (his wife) had given to him and then proceeded to take it off and give it to Steve telling him he could have it. After giving it to him Buddy continued to yell at Steve again, picking up where he left off. I think that is pretty classic and it shows the giving side of Buddy as well. I think it's also quite funny.
 

Vistalite Black

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C'mon now, the guy takes literally a few months, maybe a year, out of his drumming career to sing, which he was quite good at from his Vaudeville days, and you say he somehow gave up on his music? Please, he was playing drums on-stage since he was 2 years old and didn't stop until he was near death. The guy deserves to give the drums a break for a little bit to try something different. And it was still in music, not like he went onto become a doctor or something. As quick as he went into singing is as quick as he left it behind never looking back at it. I think it's a real reach to say his time singing meant he quit on his love of drums and swing.

Great article though. I love what the other drummers had to say about Rich.
He burned a pair of drum sticks at the press conference announcing his singing career!
 

wflkurt

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He burned a pair of drum sticks at the press conference announcing his singing career!
It's true he did that and I think he was always envious of guys like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis as they were big singing stars. As great as Buddy ws in those days and certainly well respected, it really wasn't until Ringo came along with the Beatles where people saw drummers differently than just some guy in the back of the band. Thankfully for us Buddy gave up on the singing idea pretty quickly and gave us some of the the best drumming of his life from 1966 on up until his death. I can honestly say that Buddy is probably one of the only drummers I can think of that actually got better as he got older. granted he passed away at 69 years of age but I would swear that every year he would just continue to improve if that's possible.
 

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It's notable that when Buddy Rich died, "hot-tempered" was the lead phrase in his New York Times obituary. The anger expressed in the Bus Tapes became a large part of the reputation of the guy almost all of us agree is at the top of the list of the first century of drummers.

NYTimes: Apr 03, 1987 · Buddy Rich, a hot-tempered musician who drummed his way through vaudeville shows and big bands, died yesterday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 69 years old.

BUDDY RICH, JAZZ DRUMMER WITH DISTINCTIVE SOUND, DIES - The New York Times (nytimes.com)
Thanks for the link that is a good article—I believe that a person should read the entire article and not just the first couple of sentences because there was a lot of good information in there—everybody already knows about his temper:

“He made his stage debut, in his parents' vaudeville act, before he was 2 years old. When his parents left him in the wings for their solo numbers, he would crawl into the orchestra pit, climb onto the drummer's lap and beg for the sticks.”
 

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Buddy Rich was a force of nature I get it .
I sure don’t understand how he’s miles better than everyone else .
You are delusional if you think he smoked Neil ...
They represented two totally different styles, but I don’t even think Neil would’ve said that he thought he was in the same ballpark as Buddy was in.
I know that Neil was very inspired by Buddy Rich, and his “Burning for Buddy” DVD was an incredible tribute to Buddy. It also was a humbling experience for Neil Peart, because Neil found out that he had some work to do to try to “swing” in the same manner as the other players who performed some of those Buddy tunes with the same authority.
 

JimmySticks

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They represented two totally different styles, but I don’t even think Neil would’ve said that he thought he was in the same ballpark as Buddy was in.
I know that Neil was very inspired by Buddy Rich, and his “Burning for Buddy” DVD was an incredible tribute to Buddy. It also was a humbling experience for Neil Peart, because Neil found out that he had some work to do to try to “swing” in the same manner as the other players who performed some of those Buddy tunes with the same authority.
I was going to bring that up, but I didn't want to pile on Neil because a lot of guys do love him. He was awkward and definitely out of his comfort zone when he did the Burning For Buddy tribute, but honestly, that actually endeared me to him! Just the thought that he would risk his reputation to do that big band stuff speaks volumes of the man's integrity. He certainly didn't have to do that, but he did and all due respect to him for that.

And in fairness to Neil, Rush's music didn't require much swing, so I think swing drumming was pretty foreign to him.
 

JimmySticks

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Whenever I read anything Buddy Rich said the first thing I think is his childhood must have been awful from both his parents and his peers. This dude had some serious issues.
Mel Torme', who was very close to Buddy and wrote his biography said that he thought his mood swings and temper were brought about through his constant cycle of pot smoking and junk food/sugar intake day in, day out. The extreme sugar rushes with the pot caused a terrible reaction at times.

I don't know if there is any truth to that, and neither does Torme', but it could explain a lot.
 

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Neil had a huge influence on lots of rock drummers and it is undeniable. Let’s talk about Neil for a minute since we are somehow derailing this whole topic:
Neil Peart wrote individual drum parts to every single of those amazing progressive rock tunes that Rush came out with. He also applied lyrics to most if not all of the songs that they played, in addition to being a published author. Rush had stylistic changes during their careers Rush had a long storied career. As far as Prog rock goes, Neil is the number one drummer there’s nobody else that even comes close, because of all the different things that he applied to to his art form in Rush (A true modern renaissance man) plus he was a great ambassador of drumming.

And that’s where both of them have a huge similarity, because Buddy was a huge ambassador of drumming as well, but he was more abrasive and cocky. Neil was more polite and a bit more introverted. There’s no way that Buddy could’ve even tried to play what Neil played or wrote, but he was of a totally different era.
It’s pretty awesome that we’ve have seen so much great drumming across the many decades of the 20th century; ALL of the drummers mentioned in this article deserve top 10 status if you’re going to have to rate them) Buddy Neil Steve Gadd Louis Bellson.

i’m not dismissing Buddy’s behavior on the bus, but let’s just ask ourselves how somebody in a rock band with only three other members has to even try to deal with people on that level versus a guy in a bus full of people that’s driving down the road several hours to the next gig—it would drive a lot of people crazy to have to deal with that stuff and then go out and play a show like that—nowadays you have technology, you don’t have to fire anybody or even scream at them, you just get rid of the device that you have and replace it with a different piece of technology, same band members, electronic drums, floorboard bass synthesizers etc.—versus trying to talk a kid into playing and putting their all into it every single night—are you supposed to be a motivational speaker? It is a crazy job Buddy had to deal with. Nobody would have to deal with that nowadays! But then, big bands aren’t the draw that they used to be. Look at the money situation! Buddy was borderline bankrupt since the early 50s. It’s hard to imagine that type of life.
 
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Freewill3

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Neil had a huge influence on lots of rock drummers and it is undeniable. Let’s talk about Neil for a minute since we are somehow derailing this whole topic:
Neil Peart wrote individual drum parts to every single of those amazing progressive rock tunes that Rush came out with. He also applied lyrics to most if not all of the songs that they played, in addition to being a published author. Rush had stylistic changes during their careers Rush had a long storied career. As far as Prog rock goes, Neil is the number one drummer there’s nobody else that even comes close, because of all the different things that he applied to to his art form in Rush (A true modern renaissance man) plus he was a great ambassador of drumming.

And that’s where both of them have a huge similarity, because Buddy was a huge ambassador of drumming as well, but he was more abrasive and cocky. Neil was more polite and a bit more introverted. There’s no way that Buddy could’ve even tried to play what Neil played or wrote, but he was of a totally different era.
It’s pretty awesome that we’ve have seen so much great drumming across the many decades of the 20th century; ALL of the drummers mentioned in this article deserve top 10 status if you’re going to have to rate them) Buddy Neil Steve Gadd Louis Bellson.

i’m not dismissing Buddy’s behavior on the bus, but let’s just ask ourselves how somebody in a rock band with only three other members has to even try to deal with people on that level versus a guy in a bus full of people that’s driving down the road several hours to the next gig—it would drive a lot of people crazy to have to deal with that stuff and then go out and play a show like that—nowadays you have technology, you don’t have to fire anybody or even scream at them, you just get rid of the device that you have and replace it with a different piece of technology, same band members, electronic drums, floorboard bass synthesizers etc.—versus trying to talk a kid into playing and putting their all into it every single night—are you supposed to be a motivational speaker? It is a crazy job Buddy had to deal with. Nobody would have to deal with that nowadays! But then, big bands aren’t the draw that they used to be. Look at the money situation! Buddy was borderline bankrupt since the early 50s. It’s hard to imagine that type of life.
Well said! Neil also worked closely with Hugh Syme for the majority of Rush's album artwork.
 

DavedrumsTX

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I was going to bring that up, but I didn't want to pile on Neil because a lot of guys do love him. He was awkward and definitely out of his comfort zone when he did the Burning For Buddy tribute, but honestly, that actually endeared me to him! Just the thought that he would risk his reputation to do that big band stuff speaks volumes of the man's integrity. He certainly didn't have to do that, but he did and all due respect to him for that.

And in fairness to Neil, Rush's music didn't require much swing, so I think swing drumming was pretty foreign to him.
I agree with you, but do listen to the drum & bass break in the middle of the La Villa Strangiato. Neil and Geddy Swing
 
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wflkurt

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I'm sorry to say this. I loved Neil and what he did in RUSH. Nobody else could have done what he accomplished and RUSH was a big part of my childhood. I just don't think Neil had much swing to his playing and on that Buddy Rich tribute CD, I think Neil sounds the most stiff and out of place. There is a video that Rick Beato did where he tried to quantize John Bonham. You can clearly see in the computer where John let the groove move around the time and it creates a beautiful human feel. I almost feel that Neil was so precise that if you tried to quantize him, it wouldn't change things all that much. That doesn't make me like him any differently or less than others. I just think he was perfect for RUSH but outside of that he playing did not move me all that much. I honestly feel more of a swing vibe from Ringo and chops wise, Neil could play circles around Ringo. To me it's never been about chops though. It's all in how something feels and Neil felt great when I listen to RUSH records.
 

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I don't have any problem with Buddy being a taskmaster. It's his name on the line and if you manage enough people you eventually realize a little fear is the only motivator some people respond to. What I didn't like about the quotes the op listed was the blatant stereotypical grumpy old man attitude. Every drummer of my generation had an identity but every drummer today sounds the same (wrong, so there were no boring copycat drummers in his time?). My type of music is the only real music and the only reason Steve Gadd is noteworthy is because he played on some jazz dates (nonsense). A drummer who uses any kind of showmanship is clearly covering up for a lack of skill (apparently he never saw Gene Krupa perform). Thankfully that attitude is on the way out.
 

DavedrumsTX

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I don't have any problem with Buddy being a taskmaster. It's his name on the line and if you manage enough people you eventually realize a little fear is the only motivator some people respond to. What I didn't like about the quotes the op listed was the blatant stereotypical grumpy old man attitude. Every drummer of my generation had an identity but every drummer today sounds the same (wrong, so there were no boring copycat drummers in his time?). My type of music is the only real music and the only reason Steve Gadd is noteworthy is because he played on some jazz dates (nonsense). A drummer who uses any kind of showmanship is clearly covering up for a lack of skill (apparently he never saw Gene Krupa perform). Thankfully that attitude is on the way out.
Just a side observation, Buddy passed away 34 years ago on April 2nd. Based on the spirited debate here, I believe he had an impact.
 

Sprice

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Just a side observation, Buddy passed away 34 years ago on April 2nd. Based on the spirited debate here, I believe he had an impact.
Absolutely! The guy with a beast on the drums and I bet he would really dig the fact that people are still arguing about him now, lol.
 


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