Poll: Are you a Buddy Rich fan? Yes or No

Are you a fan of Buddy Rich?


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Matched Gripper

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Thank you!

I certainly appreciate the admiration you have for Buddy, I do. Within the context of what you find important in a player, Buddy perhaps was/is the greatest drummer. My point that perhaps I made badly is the context is left to the individual when not clearly stated. What I find important in a player is different. It is not how well the musician is known, nor is it a bass drum solo, or a fast left hand, it is the musicality of the performance. Weckl will never play swing as well as Buddy. On the other hand, Buddy could not play the fusion as well as Weckl. I learned a long time ago there are styles I will never play as well as someone who plays that particular style every day. I can play a country tune, but it will not sound as good as someone whose entire focus is country. But who is the better drummer... depends on the context:)

I said I was not really a fan. I didn't say I couldn't appreciate the talent and accomplishments.

Thanks again for the welcome to the forum.
This thread is getting long, and I suspect many aren't reading all of the posts. To avoid repetition, please see post #162. I think it is an appropriate response to your post here. A pre-sponse, if you will, in anticipation of this kind of comment.
 
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JimmySticks

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Thank you!

I certainly appreciate the admiration you have for Buddy, I do. Within the context of what you find important in a player, Buddy perhaps was/is the greatest drummer. My point that perhaps I made badly is the context is left to the individual when not clearly stated. What I find important in a player is different. It is not how well the musician is known, nor is it a bass drum solo, or a fast left hand, it is the musicality of the performance. Weckl will never play swing as well as Buddy. On the other hand, Buddy could not play the fusion as well as Weckl. I learned a long time ago there are styles I will never play as well as someone who plays that particular style every day. I can play a country tune, but it will not sound as good as someone whose entire focus is country. But who is the better drummer... depends on the context:)

I said I was not really a fan. I didn't say I couldn't appreciate the talent and accomplishments.

Thanks again for the welcome to the forum.
I just think Buddy was so obviously great that nobody could deny it, but looking at the pole numbers here I see that it’s not that obvious or that simple.

Hey, good first post, I hope I didn’t hit you to hard! :icon_lol:
 

JimmySticks

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Just got done listening to a lot of Buddy’s Johnny Carson stuff and then some John Bonham. And well...it’s not even close! Bonham sounds weak in comparison, low energy, yeah, low energy and slow compared to Buddy. Surprised me to! Buddy was lights out all the way through his solos, while Bonzo had a lot of slow, un interesting spots, almost like he was out of ideas. Buddy never slowed down enough to run out of ideas! He was a machine that didn’t give you a chance to breath. Bonham was a bit more musical however at times, but not nearly as fast, fierce or ferocious as Buddy. I was shocked honestly, I thought Bonham would have been a closer match. I remember him as a hard hitting tough guy rock and roll drummer, but I’m not hearing that so much now, especially in comparison to Buddy.

I’m not sure why I compared the two, or why I’m putting it out there, but it shows that the greatest rock drummer (?) is no match for Buddy’s playing. Must be the matched grip slowing Bonham down!:icon_lol:

Let the slagging begin!:-D
 
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Ian S

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Thanks again for the welcome to the forum.
Looks like you joined Feb 2010, but first post today. No shortage of restraint.. welcome from a member since September! : )

Your posts resonated with me as well. Buddy was a phenomenal talent, but I'd rather listen to others.
 
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hawker

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Dale - all good points, but.....

It All Depends On The Gig

I've done everything you've described - walked away from situations that were uncool. Stood my ground on money, on agreed to amenities, etc. - and usually having to put the gig on the line each time to do so.

And while all gigs are important, surely you realize that some can be more important than others.

For this conversation to make any sense, I think we need to raise the bar and focus only on gigs that could be called “the highly coveted gig” - gigs at the top of their fields and genres. Gigs that the player’s doing full well expect to walk away with a valuable credit, a widely recognized mark of distinction or at least the feeling of having taken some goal all of the way to its endgame and having succeeded.

There are, of course, levels to these - before even getting into personal priorities. There’s landing a chair in a full time professional symphony, and then there’s landing a position with the New York Phil. There’s landing a gig with a well known, headlining jazz artist and then landing the gig with Miles.

Needless to say, these are all gigs where supply greatly exceeds demand.

Buddy’s band had long been one of those gigs. In the 80’s, it was even more so. Why? Because if your dream was to play every night with a top flight, full size big band.... the Buddy Rich Orchestra was about the only place left for realizing that dream. Few were touring regularly at all - and some of those, like Maynard, had stripped the band size down considerable. And while many of us didn’t have that particular dream, tons of those jazz performance majors at Berklee, North Texas and countless other colleges certainly did.

So what’s it take to be a player in such situations - be it the Rich band or the NY Phil?

Well first would be being able to play at that high of level. Well that’s easy to sort out - hold auditions or with a band like Buddy hire a new guy on for a week…. Plenty of time for them to either sink or swim. If they crash and burn right away - send them home with their week’s pay and get someone else in. But again, that’s the easy part - do the sink or swim?

The hard part is finding players that can function at that level every night, night after night, when they’re tired. when the flight was late, so you get to the first Europe gig after 20 hours of travel, with only 2 hours to spare, when they’re so sick they should be in bed (though not in the hospital - can they keep playing like they did that first week - over and over - night after night - town after town - show after show… over and over and over again.

That’s challenging enough to do when the gig os easy. And face it - most paying gigs are relatively easy. We are hired to play things far less challenging than what we are capable of. Gigs where we have the mental space to drift a bit. Not focus all the time. And the gig ends up suffering no one bit.

But often these “coveted gigs” aren’t like that at all. Either they are so challenging that they simply require full attention just to play the music. Or they are at the level of no flaws are ever acceptable. It’s like mistakes can happen - but they better not very often (or it will be a problem). The Bacharach gig was likely that - never at all difficult to play. But the “no note out of place” standard that was maintain was a challenge. For a long time, I kind of kept track of the full on mistakes I’d made - and the count was around 4 or 5 at the time I’d been with him 30 years.

OK - so Buddy’s rants… have you noticed that all of Buddy’s rants all grow out of “not giving your all” not “ doing the job”… This is the real past college, where Buddy has no responsibility to teach anyone to play. He already confirmed each player could play when they came on the band.

This is all about maintaining that level. And the rants are about making it clear that “not maintaining that level” is simply unacceptable. And I can honestly say it is a rant in one form or another, I’ve witnessed every bandleader I’ve ever worked with have to do at some point or another.

And yes, the higher up the food chain the gig is - the less and less sugar coating the rant, the pitch, the admonishment has. And the highest levels, it is assumed that the boss doesn’t need to ask nice because you are darn well supposed to know this. Because if you don’t - then what the heck are you doing on MY gig?

In the Buddy Tapes period, we had Buddy confronting some members of a band that didn’t see the gig as requiring playing to the highest standard they were capable of, if they were born, tired, or whatever. That the gig didn’t pay enough or whatever. But the fact is - there is no excuse for ever playing less than you are capable of. If you don’t want the lousy paying job then turn it down. But if you take, you do your best.

Listen through Buddy’s rants and that’s what he’s saying, in every one. And… the fact he’s doing it - means he needed to, Because I know tons of Rich band alumni that say there was never any of that going on on their tours. He was saying what he was saying to see if these guys would grow up and meet the requirements of the gig. Instead of just letting the problem players go (always time consuming and expensive) and trying the new ones.

I think too many folks go all school mom on the tone and language of these - these weren’t grade school kids getting a talking down by their principal. These were cocky young men - each having grown up from high school though college as the hottest player around. They sat in the top chairs of the top bands in the top jazz schools - and now, they were expected to really work. Not just practice for the big concert. No, play the big concert, over and over again, night after night, week after week. “To heck with that, how dare Buddy demand I work that hard. Doesn’t he know how great I play???”

Helping a young adult player get through that nonsense - that’s what those rants are about. And I get that most players have ever sat through similar “talking to’s” while staring down at their shoes. And think - “I would never allow another adult to talk to me like that”

And they’d have every right to feel that way - to walk out and never look back.

But then they would also have to face that they failed at their dream…. their dream of successfully doing a gig like that. Because succeeding is not about doing it for a day or two - but until they reach the point where when they finally choose to leave the gig, that leader or conductor says “Well, I’m sorry to see you go”, then they haven’t succeeded at all. They gave it a shot - they got close - but they really didn’t succeed.

If that makes any sense...
You really nailed it dcrigger. I also know more than a few players in the band and as you said, all of them said that those rants were very rare. Yes they happened but very seldom. Now I don't think Buddy was a sweet heart looking to make friends with everyone on the band....but he did develop relationships with band members and respected good players and good playing. But he was the leader first and foremost and more than twice the age of the rest of the guys in the band. Buddy grew up in an age when the leader was generally more of a Drill Sergeant than a benevolent boss. And Buddy's temperament fit right in with that. Would I have liked to work for him...probably not. But to me he was the best big band drummer ever...ever! And his technique and musicianship were magical. He was a true genius.
 

hawker

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Buddy wasn’t raised right. He had a very tough childhood and things didn’t get any better in his teens. But that was actually pretty typical for the kids of his generation, especially in places like Brooklyn, where money was always tight and you had to be tough or you got eaten alive. My father and most of my friends fathers were much the same and wouldn’t have blinked an eye at Buddies behavior. Big families, raised during the depression with no money, poor education, then went off to war young, and if they survived, they quickly married. It wasn’t much of a life.
Very true. I'm 71 and grew up in NY with very blue collar family. Neither of my parents graduated High School and my Mom worked in a factory and my Dad sold aluminum siding and then finally because a car salesman. My Dad was also a very difficult alcoholic....with the occasional police visiting the home because of family disputes, etc. I'm not looking for sympathy as I am doing well and God has blessed me richly. But when you grow up in a tough family (as Buddy certainly did) your approach to life and other people tends to be what you saw modeled. Several of the Bio books written about Buddy indicated his father was rough on him, reminded him regularly that he was the money-maker in the family and purposely kept him out of school so he could be available to travel and take part in the family vaudeville act. Buddy was raised to be a star and give paying customers what they came to see....hence those extended solos that most of us loved and which Buddy felt obligated to provide. Hey Buddy had his personality flaws....but if we're talking drumming; to me he was a Genius-Freak in the very best sense.
 

Squirrel Man

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Dang, I didn't realize Buddy was such a polarizing figure.

His heyday was a little beyond my age maybe and genre but now, later in life my likes for music and artists are really shifting and when I'm sitting around at night diddling away on the pad I find myself surfing stuff like Buddy Rich solos and interviews among other things outside of my sphere of knowledge.

I guess my takeaway is that everything that's being done now has already been done to a large degree by guys like Buddy and others and maybe better then.

Pencil me in as a fan.
 

BennyK

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This thread is like poison ivy

Feels good to scratch , but that only makes it worse .

It's generally accepted that Rich was in many respects a towering figure , but his superiority and the way it does or doesn't fit specifically personal belief systems and world views creates a confrontational atmosphere where his virtuosity is no longer central to the debate but merely the focus of polarizing assertions .

Just wanted to see if i could establish a DFO record for longest sentence .
 
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JimmySticks

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Very true. I'm 71 and grew up in NY with very blue collar family. Neither of my parents graduated High School and my Mom worked in a factory and my Dad sold aluminum siding and then finally because a car salesman. My Dad was also a very difficult alcoholic....with the occasional police visiting the home because of family disputes, etc. I'm not looking for sympathy as I am doing well and God has blessed me richly. But when you grow up in a tough family (as Buddy certainly did) your approach to life and other people tends to be what you saw modeled. Several of the Bio books written about Buddy indicated his father was rough on him, reminded him regularly that he was the money-maker in the family and purposely kept him out of school so he could be available to travel and take part in the family vaudeville act. Buddy was raised to be a star and give paying customers what they came to see....hence those extended solos that most of us loved and which Buddy felt obligated to provide. Hey Buddy had his personality flaws....but if we're talking drumming; to me he was a Genius-Freak in the very best sense.
I think we grew up on the same block! :icon_lol:

When I was a kid, I used to watch Father Knows Best, and I thought this family must be from another planet, because I never saw anything like that in my neighborhood!:lol:
 


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