Drumforum Book Club: Buddy's Bus Tapes, Collins' Live Aid Disaster and 60s Jazz Drummers Talk About the Beatles

Vistalite Black

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Musicradar.com has helpfully changed the subject... since we're all tired of "The Tiger King" at this point ... by publishing a list of 12 Epic Reads for Drummers, featuring new and old books all aimed at drummers, despite the old joke that goes, 'What do you call a drummer with half a brain? Gifted!'

Rather than negatively focusing on the revelations in the new exhaustively researched Buddy Rich book "One of a Kind" about the period when he publicly burned his drum sticks and embarked on a less-than-fully-successful stint as a singer, I'll celebrate the many positives available here:

"Notes and Tones" by Arthur Taylor seems like a fascinating set of musician-on-musician interviews with some of the biggest jazz drummers focusing on topics like free jazz, drug use and the Beatles.

The Buddy Rich book apparently concludes that BR possessed humor, wit and warmth too.

There's no mention of personal warmth in the description of "Ginger Baker: Hellraiser," but I have to hope the book contains his reaction to first hearing the old joke, 'What do Ginger Baker and coffee have in common? They both suck without Cream!'

Keith Moon probably told that joke, but there's no record of it in "Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon," which should have been adapted for a movie starring Mike Meyers 30 years ago. Shame, it's too late now.

There's Neil Peart's "Ghost Rider" that, unfortunately, sheds no light on the brief career of Erwig Chuapchuaduah, who played steel drums on "Spirit of Radio" alongside The Professor.

Finally, "I'm Not Dead Yet" is the curious title of Phil Collins' autobiography. According to Musicradar, he addresses the disasterous Live Aid performance, but I guess we'll have to read it to learn what could have possibly possessed him to create, produce and actually show his own face in the trainwreck that is the "Illegal Alien" video or to re-marry the woman he paid the largest alimony settlement in history to a dozen years earlier.

Happy reading. Let us know if you've read any of these or if you know any good drummer jokes.

 

Polska

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"Ghost Rider" is a very well written account of Peart getting over personal tragedy by traveling Canada, U.S. and Mexico by motorcycle. Part travelogue, part therapy, it's simply about how he survived and moved on. Very little mention of his music career, so if you are looking for insight into drumming or Rush, this is not the book.

"I'm Not Dead Yet" was surprisingly enjoyable. I love Phil's playing, and any pre-90's Genesis, and he writes a very easy to read account of his career. the book probably could have been even longer, but lots of mentions of the various artists he worked with as well as the much hyped Live Aid appearances. The last couple chapters were very surprising to me. I had lost track of him in the 90's and 2000's and had no idea the turn his life took. By this account, he is very fortunate to simply be alive. Not a "woe is me" book at all, just an honest account of all things Phil. If you are a fan, I recommend it.

That's my take on the 2 that I've read.
 

frankmott

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I've just about finished Give the Drummer Some, Why Charlie Watts Matters. It's very good, filled with details about the history of Rock & Roll drumming, and beautifully answers the question, Why DOES Charlie Watts matter?
 

Hemant

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Several of Tony Thompson’s friends, former bandmates and family members started a FB memorial page. From their perspective Tony’s was legitimately angry about Phil’s behavior during Live Aid. Phil attempted to turn Live Aid into the Phil Collins ego stroke show. He was not content to do his one set like every other artist. He also had to play with Howard Jones, and a set with Sting in London and then charter a Concorde to fly to Philadelphia to play his own set again, and a set with Eric Clapton (who already had his drummer Jamie Oldaker) and then pressured Plant (whose record he was producing at the time) to play with Zeppelin.

Zeppelin was the most anticipated set at Live Aid – at that point they had not played together (outside of a couple of songs at the Atlantic Records anniversary with Jason) since Bonham died. They had already asked Tony to play and rehearsed the entire set with him. They could have asked any drummer in the world to play that gig – and they asked Tony. Phil in his book: “[Tony’s] taking the heavy-handed lead and has opted to ignore all my advice… putting myself in his shoes, he’s probably thinking, ‘this is the beginning of a new career. John Bonham isn’t around any more. They’re gonna want someone... and I don’t need this English **** in my way.”

Of course he did – Collins had no rehearsal – and Tony was a heavy handed drummer just like Bonham which was why he was asked to do the gig. Truth was also that Thompson as a potential Bonham replacement had already been in the works. After Live Aid the band went into preliminary rehearsals with Tony at Peter Gabriel’s studio – but Tony’s auto accident a few days into it ended the project. For Phil to play several sets in London, get on a cross continent flight, play a couple more sets and then attempt to play with Zeppelin w/ no rehearsal in front of 80,000 people and worldwide audience of 1B – when they already had a fully rehearsed drummer – was an extreme act of hubris and ego. Love Phil as a drummer, but for him to take swipes at Tony in the book 15 years after his passing was really low.
 

old_K_ride

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I've just about finished Give the Drummer Some, Why Charlie Watts Matters. It's very good, filled with details about the history of Rock & Roll drumming, and beautifully answers the question, Why DOES Charlie Watts matter?
I read that just after Christmas.It's rare that an author can get under my skin but this guy managed to do so with me numerous times.
He'd have you believe that no one but Charlie has used a china cymbal...never mind Billy Cobham made that a staple of everyone's kit in the early 70's or Gary Malabar used it on lots of Steve miller albums before Watts added one to his rig.
The author's "digs" at some legendary drummers was uncalled for...if Charlie's read this book he had to've winced when BR got slagged.
I recommend "Beatles '66:The Revolutionary Year" by Steve Turner...it details the decision to stop touring,new directions in song writing,making greater use of the studio,drugs,personal relationships with women...a page turner for sure...I didn't want it to end.
TR
 

Polska

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Several of Tony Thompson’s friends, former bandmates and family members started a FB memorial page. From their perspective Tony’s was legitimately angry about Phil’s behavior during Live Aid. Phil attempted to turn Live Aid into the Phil Collins ego stroke show. He was not content to do his one set like every other artist. He also had to play with Howard Jones, and a set with Sting in London and then charter a Concorde to fly to Philadelphia to play his own set again, and a set with Eric Clapton (who already had his drummer Jamie Oldaker) and then pressured Plant (whose record he was producing at the time) to play with Zeppelin.

Zeppelin was the most anticipated set at Live Aid – at that point they had not played together (outside of a couple of songs at the Atlantic Records anniversary with Jason) since Bonham died. They had already asked Tony to play and rehearsed the entire set with him. They could have asked any drummer in the world to play that gig – and they asked Tony. Phil in his book: “[Tony’s] taking the heavy-handed lead and has opted to ignore all my advice… putting myself in his shoes, he’s probably thinking, ‘this is the beginning of a new career. John Bonham isn’t around any more. They’re gonna want someone... and I don’t need this English **** in my way.”

Of course he did – Collins had no rehearsal – and Tony was a heavy handed drummer just like Bonham which was why he was asked to do the gig. Truth was also that Thompson as a potential Bonham replacement had already been in the works. After Live Aid the band went into preliminary rehearsals with Tony at Peter Gabriel’s studio – but Tony’s auto accident a few days into it ended the project. For Phil to play several sets in London, get on a cross continent flight, play a couple more sets and then attempt to play with Zeppelin w/ no rehearsal in front of 80,000 people and worldwide audience of 1B – when they already had a fully rehearsed drummer – was an extreme act of hubris and ego. Love Phil as a drummer, but for him to take swipes at Tony in the book 15 years after his passing was really low.
In the book though he does say Plant brought him in on this as he had played on his solo album, and only once it was too late to back out did Plant mention it was a Zeppelin gig. I thought Phil did understand Tonys pov too and felt they were both miscommunicated to.
 

BennyK

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The Trouble with Cinderella by Artie Shaw

For those of us who think too much . You're not alone .
 
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Swissward Flamtacles

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"Notes and Tones" by Arthur Taylor seems like a fascinating set of musician-on-musician interviews with some of the biggest jazz drummers focusing on topics like free jazz, drug use and the Beatles.
Of those books, I've only read this one. Very insightful interviews, not only with drummers!
This one might be my favorite book about drumming, though: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/95108.Life_in_Double_Time - it's an autobiographical novel by an unknown drummer. The writing style is concise and funny and the book should appeal to most non-drummers as well.
 


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