Coolest drummer you ever met?

DaveA

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So many, but the first ones who come to mind are Larrie Londin, Levon Helm, DJ Fontana, Bun E Carlos, Buddy Harman and Tommy Wells.
 

Bandit

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My local music store regularly has big name players in for clinics. The staff said GH was the most snobbiest and closed off of any drummer they had.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've met MANY famous drummers and all have been cool in one way or the other. Gregg Bisonette stands out as someone who was really warm and friendly.

Todd Suchermann's coolness and down-to-earthness is well known.
Well he does have a big head. I thought I had a large pumpkin until I got this pic with him. :)

 

drummerbill

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Gene Krupa, less than a year from his passing. My Pop pushed me under the curtain at the end of the show and someone grabbed me and set me next to a backstage area where he would greet folks. He asked me whom I studied with and he mentioned he knew whom Sal Larrocca was and that he was a great teacher. Gave me some sticks and asked me to play on a pad. Coached for a minute, adjusted my wrist, signed some stuff and shook my hand. (Floored me, was around 13 yo then !!)

I bumped into Billy Hart at Vic Juris's funeral recently . I went to high school with Vic's wife. Billy was modest and talked with me for a while, sweet gentleman !!

Took my much younger son to a few drum clinics, Gregg Bissonette, and Dave Weckle both got him to deliver goodies to fans and let him sit on floor up front. He has autographed heads and cd's from both !!

Met Louis Bellson a few times, once for his 70th after the first atempted bombing of the WTC. He remembered rescuing me and my drumming buddy Vince Maccaro from an aggressive Buddy Rich @ The Theater @ Madison Square Garden @ The Gene Krupa tribute !! (Buddy wanted to know "what us little pricks where doing backstage" !! ) Louis and Roy Burns walked us to their kits with Lionel Hampton, another gent, whom demo'd his Ludwig Octa-Plus red acrylic kit !! Still have one Louis stick from the pair he gifted us !!

Lots of memories, those are my quick good guy inspirational favorites !!!!

P.S. I play summer park concerts and always carry low cost 2nd sticks which I gift youngsters with a positive vibe, when greeted by mom n dad. I feel as drummers, we should encourage potential "carriers of the flame " !!!
 
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drummertom

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I usually don’t meet famous drummers. However I recently met Ron Howden of Nektar, and he is just the nicest, coolest, most humble people I’ve met.

Oh, and our own Johnny D is a pretty cool guy. He knows everyone and has a bunch of great stories. I always enjoy hanging with him.
 

BennyK

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Benny K - I would love to hear more about your Levon stories!

For me, Brian Blade.
First time with the Cate Brothers , at Rick's Place Bar , Bank and Sunnyside here in Ottawa . I struck up a conversation with him before they started and my sit down was no more than 12 feet from him - he sets up sideways up front , so I could see the whole funk machine operating . He'd do something real slick and turn to me and grin . Autographed a drumstick for me too . He was using the Gretsch/Ludwig BDP combo-kit and Gretsch snare with a big pad on it . Old school chain connecting the bass drum and stool , two cowbells etc. A very generous natured individual with a deep love for Canada and pretty deep humorous wisdom .

Second time in New Orleans at his Classic American blues club . He was playing an oversized maple Yamaha kit 24 14 18 by the looks of it , but the same two littler cymbals which were his favourite . Autographed a table napkin with " keep playin dem blues bubba , Levon Helm " . He didn't look well, may have been the cancer coming on, I don't know, but the guy is certainly one of your national treasures .

I also saw him and the new " Band " at Centerpointe Theatre @ 92 with Danko and Hudson and the Cate Bros. but was in the nosebleed section and didn't followup . His kit on that one was a blue sheer Ludwig 3-piece with power depths and the snare was the matching Classic 5" , though from that distance I may be wrong .
 

Johnny D

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I usually don’t meet famous drummers. However I recently met Ron Howden of Nektar, and he is just the nicest, coolest, most humble people I’ve met.

Oh, and our own Johnny D is a pretty cool guy. He knows everyone and has a bunch of great stories. I always enjoy hanging with him.
Thanks Tom. I am not worthy. Nice to hear so many cool stories from DFO members. We drummers are a lucky bunch.
 

Myetkt

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Like others I met Buddy Rich after a Disneyland set. For all of Buddy’s bad rap to band members he was nice to a kid who was in awe of him. David Garibaldi also was nice. On the other hand, I met John Guerin recording a track for a commercial when I was in high school. A hero of mine at the time, and I couldnt have been more excited. Guess he was having a bad day.
 

Polska

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With a prog drummer that is considered one of the best in the world?
In fairness, he has said in interviews that he doesnt listen to prog and never really has. He had only heard one King Crimson album before getting the gig.
 

dcrigger

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With a prog drummer that is considered one of the best in the world?
Well yes, obviously... I think this may be an age thing - a when a player "came of age" sort of thing - but as surprising as it may seem to some but to those that fully immersed themselves of the progressive rock and more importantly the jazz fusion that predated Rush by a handful of years (Mahavishnu, Return To Forever, Weather Report, Yes, King Crimson, etc.) Rush was never that influential because their use of long form composition, odd meters, synthesizers, artistic lyrics in a rock rhythmic idiom is all stuff we had already experienced. And quite throughly.

I'm not wanting to water anyone off. As I totally get that a musician's entry point is a totally sacred thing. Our world starts and grows from that point. And for those that first experienced exciting music containing all of those elements through the music of Rush, I think that's wonderful. And there's no questioning that Rush was hugely influential. But there is also no questioning that the origin point for any of these kinds of elements - I have the record collection with dates on them that proves this. So I can totally get a prog drummer as great as Harrison not having Peart as an influence - as there is just too much more challenging source material to learn from that's only a few years younger.

As for "best in the world" - the popularity contest aspect means little to me - the crowd is often wrong about what's "best" IMO. To a great degree, it seems more a reflection of what or whom someone loves the most. Which again often times amounts to who they fell in love with first. Or maybe it's who they fell in love with last - I don't know.

I just know - I've always found Rush's stuff enjoyable, but I also never fell in love with it... nor Neil's playing. Just didn't... was already in love with other stuff that it honestly just sounded like a sub-set of.

But again - it might just be the center of someone else's musical universe.
 

Obiwandrumobe

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Ginger Baker - He silently eyeballed me suspiciously when I asked to shake his hand after the last set as he sipped an oddly tiny cup of tea in his dressing room at Iridium NYC circa 1997 when he was appearing there with DJQ. Nonetheless, he slowly extended his hand the texture of which felt like a brick. Then I said it was a thrill to see him play since I had not seen him since Blind Faith at which point he abruptly interrupted me with a low growl saying "I never stopped". I then backpedaled, clumsily clarifying that "no", it was me that had not seen him and not that I was implying anything. More suspicious silent sideward eyeballing. Then I made the mistake of inquiring about the absent Ludwigs, oblivious that this was his first gig backed by DW which stepped in when Ludwig abandoned its long-time support of him. More suspicious silent eyeballing. Then I made the further mistake of asking if he tried other brands such as GMS at which point he launched into an angry and loud tirade about Ludwig who he collectively referred to as "wankers" which became so intense and vehement that I sensed he was about to get physical with me and not romantically. Fearing for my safety, I began to slowly move backward towards the door of the small fan-packed dressing room when suddenly Ginger's voice did a 180, turning into adulation as he repeatedly exclaimed "Here's the man! Here's the man!!" I turned to see Max Roach standing directly in back of me blocking the doorway that I was trying to escape through. Making fast work of the opportunity to get the hell out of there, I slipped past Max and out the door.

That was when I realized that Max was the intimidating man sitting alone during the sets at a table in back of me to whom I had earlier turned and noticed was staring/glaring at me stone-faced as I subtly kept time with my hands and feet during Ginger's sets.

Tony Williams circa '76 with Lifetime (Allan Holdsworth, Alan Pasqua and Tony Newton) at the Quiet Knight on a cold deserted night in Chicago is another story for another day.
 
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Bandit

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Well yes, obviously... I think this may be an age thing - a when a player "came of age" sort of thing - but as surprising as it may seem to some but to those that fully immersed themselves of the progressive rock and more importantly the jazz fusion that predated Rush by a handful of years (Mahavishnu, Return To Forever, Weather Report, Yes, King Crimson, etc.) Rush was never that influential because their use of long form composition, odd meters, synthesizers, artistic lyrics in a rock rhythmic idiom is all stuff we had already experienced. And quite throughly.

I'm not wanting to water anyone off. As I totally get that a musician's entry point is a totally sacred thing. Our world starts and grows from that point. And for those that first experienced exciting music containing all of those elements through the music of Rush, I think that's wonderful. And there's no questioning that Rush was hugely influential. But there is also no questioning that the origin point for any of these kinds of elements - I have the record collection with dates on them that proves this. So I can totally get a prog drummer as great as Harrison not having Peart as an influence - as there is just too much more challenging source material to learn from that's only a few years younger.

As for "best in the world" - the popularity contest aspect means little to me - the crowd is often wrong about what's "best" IMO. To a great degree, it seems more a reflection of what or whom someone loves the most. Which again often times amounts to who they fell in love with first. Or maybe it's who they fell in love with last - I don't know.

I just know - I've always found Rush's stuff enjoyable, but I also never fell in love with it... nor Neil's playing. Just didn't... was already in love with other stuff that it honestly just sounded like a sub-set of.

But again - it might just be the center of someone else's musical universe.
Well yes, obviously... I think this may be an age thing - a when a player "came of age" sort of thing - but as surprising as it may seem to some but to those that fully immersed themselves of the progressive rock and more importantly the jazz fusion that predated Rush by a handful of years (Mahavishnu, Return To Forever, Weather Report, Yes, King Crimson, etc.) Rush was never that influential because their use of long form composition, odd meters, synthesizers, artistic lyrics in a rock rhythmic idiom is all stuff we had already experienced. And quite throughly.

I'm not wanting to water anyone off. As I totally get that a musician's entry point is a totally sacred thing. Our world starts and grows from that point. And for those that first experienced exciting music containing all of those elements through the music of Rush, I think that's wonderful. And there's no questioning that Rush was hugely influential. But there is also no questioning that the origin point for any of these kinds of elements - I have the record collection with dates on them that proves this. So I can totally get a prog drummer as great as Harrison not having Peart as an influence - as there is just too much more challenging source material to learn from that's only a few years younger.

As for "best in the world" - the popularity contest aspect means little to me - the crowd is often wrong about what's "best" IMO. To a great degree, it seems more a reflection of what or whom someone loves the most. Which again often times amounts to who they fell in love with first. Or maybe it's who they fell in love with last - I don't know.

I just know - I've always found Rush's stuff enjoyable, but I also never fell in love with it... nor Neil's playing. Just didn't... was already in love with other stuff that it honestly just sounded like a sub-set of.

But again - it might just be the center of someone else's musical universe.
Lots of drummers don't listen to Rush. :cool:
Even less if any listen to your stuff. :dontknow:
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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Al Foster was the coolest drummer I’ve met. Really took time to hang out after a show. Awesome drummer and person. The other guys I really liked meeting were Jimmy Cobb and Jeff Hamilton. It’s been the jazz guys that are always the coolest and most down to earth.

Also, I once got to meet the late Ndugu Chancler in LA at Catalinas club, and he was so great. Really supportive and encouraging.
 
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Drum Kat

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I've met a lot of drummers. Famous and some not so famous. Only a smattering of those I have encountered were not very personable. I hate to just toss names out. Some of our own Forum members are the coolest dudes to ever swing a stick. If I had to pick my top fave coolest....Bun Carlos. No explanation needed. ☮
 

TheMattJones88

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I worked a session with Josh Freese, and not only was he mindbogglingly good while tracking, but he was a super nice guy.
 

Ang

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I’ve never met an accomplished drummer that wasn’t a nice guy, at least in the moment. Zoro, Bernard Purdie, Ricky Lawson and I studied a bit with Joe Morello.
The best interaction I had was a one day about three hour long lesson/clinic with Adam Deitch at his apartment in NYC.
 

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