Russ Kunkel

CC Cirillo

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One of the architects of the "L.A. Sound"

And now to go completely O.T. -
Here's a titillating bit of gossip about him and Carly Simon. (Remember, she was married for to James Taylor for 10 years plus and Kunkel was a mainstay of both Taylor's touring and studio band that whole time and then some.)


There is a proven dynamic, based on both biological science and sociology, that If one focuses on consistency and taste, and is supportive in playing and attitude, that the drummer always gets the girl.

I’ve had several bass players tell me this, so it must be true.

Anyway, his personal life aside, a classy and incredible player. Doesn’t get enough kudos and I’m glad he’s getting some here.
 

Houndog

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There is a proven dynamic, based on both biological science and sociology, that If one focuses on consistency and taste, and is supportive in playing and attitude, that the drummer always gets the girl.

I’ve had several bass players tell me this, so it must be true.

Anyway, his personal life aside, a classy and incredible player. Doesn’t get enough kudos and I’m glad he’s getting some here.
I’m living proof …..
 

RIDDIM

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Two years ago, I had no clue, who Russ Kunkel is. Shame on me. Of course, I knew a lot of songs he drummed on, but the name meant nothing to me.

It is Leland Sklar's youtube channel, that I was (and still am) listening to, that discovered so many gems of music business. Russ Kunkel is one of them. It is rare to hear something over-spectacular from him. But - as mentioned - he 'plays for the songs'. And he makes songs shine better through the way, he plays. What more could you expect from a drummer.

Now, I have highest respect about his master drumming and tried to incorporate partly in my own playing. Not sure that worked out, but something happened, that I didn't expect. It is not 'boring', no, it is real fun. Because it far from 'straight', what Russ Kunkel delivers. And it is more difficult than expected to play less and leave room for others.

Here a recent example of Lee Sklars channel (featuring James Taylor - Everyday, and of course Russ Kunkel):

You can skip the talking. Music starts at 1:48. To play along with this master helped me a lot in understanding structures of good songs. At least, I hope so.
He makes great musical choices. Even though he doesn't necessarily play a whole lot of drums, he always sounds great because he does a great job of playing the music he's hired to play.

That's our job.
 

JDA

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if it's a Job
or way to meet.. people
that's fine
It's not the only reason or function /t o play
~
I don't think russ plays PURPOSELY one way or another
I think he plays WHO HE IS

In other words if you're a say EXTROVERT or one of many other personality trait(s)
That is what comes out.

In others words Restraining who you are or Attenuating who you are--- is
in the end----not being honest to Whom you are!

Be yourself- some (selfs..) are widely accepted (say Like a "rUss") Other's are Niche players that also have their Following.

If one is economical in their playing- that is who they are
The opposite is True also.
`
but don't make it sound like we're all auditioning for the same General Manager position found at every WalMart
 
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TrickRoll

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[QUOTE="drumgadget, post: 2150416, member: 19775"
I seem to recall Kunkel playing on a fusion record at some point - might have been his own date?

Mike
[/QUOTE]

Indeed he did...

 

JDA

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wow here's the article to end-all articles on the subject I've seen...



a must-read wow
 
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lamartee

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There is a proven dynamic, based on both biological science and sociology, that If one focuses on consistency and taste, and is supportive in playing and attitude, that the drummer always gets the girl.

I’ve had several bass players tell me this, so it must be true.

Anyway, his personal life aside, a classy and incredible player. Doesn’t get enough kudos and I’m glad he’s getting some here.
Amen to everything you said!
Yes it certainly is.
He pretty much was the defacto drummer for the "The Section" . That killer group of players who backed up/ recorded and created the "LA Sound" of the 70's and early 80's I believe the Marotta brothers were part of that scene also.
 
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JDA

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wow here's the article to end-all articles on the subject I've seen...



a must-read wow
so after all those years...

this
in 2007
the bookend
if you're a boomer have kleenex nearby when Carole sings

GO TO 31:40 if you haven't time for all of it
James Talks of RUSS
 
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Scott K Fish

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Yeah Kunkle is da man...

When trying to explain to hard and/or busy hitters the concept of "less is more" this usually is a song that I use as an example. Cranking the preamps in the range where they get rumbly and playing lightly will inject a good dose of analog saturation that will make the drums seem bigger than life. This is just a perfect storm of a great song, played by a great player, produced, engineered and mixed to perfection.

Edit: I forgot to mention the fact that the bass is played by a cello with a bow so it leaves a ton of sonic space to the drums in a range where they usually compete for the fore front of the mix. Right in the range where a lot of phasing issues can/does happen. So again, kudos for the production/arrangement choices.
It's a well-known story, I think. Russ broke trail playing brushes on this cut and elsewhere on this album. Why brushes? Because Russ used brushes during the practice session to avoid disturbing the neighbors, and the brushes worked best on those songs when it was time to record. // Best, skf
 

itsjjp

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if it's a Job
or way to meet.. people
that's fine
It's not the only reason or function /t o play
~
I don't think russ plays PURPOSELY one way or another
I think he plays WHO HE IS

In other words if you're a say EXTROVERT or one of many other personality trait(s)
That is what comes out.

In others words Restraining who you are or Attenuating who you are--- is
in the end----not being honest to Whom you are!

Be yourself- some (selfs..) are widely accepted (say Like a "rUss") Other's are Niche players that also have their Following.

If one is economical in their playing- that is who they are
The opposite is True also.
`
but don't make it sound like we're all auditioning for the same General Manager position found at every WalMart
Spot-on. Love Russ, but fully agree that he plays him and it fits where it fits. I doubt he could put himself into John Bonham mode or play like Elvin Jones, and that's perfectly okay. Russ plays Russ, and he does it very well. Quite a fan.
 
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I always thought that the guitar and drum beat were ripped off from this song, which is cool.
I read an interview with guitarist Waddy Wachtel where he said as much, that Stevie loved that song and wanted to try something similar. Somehow Waddy managed to replicate the delay effect with his fingers, no pedals.
 

old_K_ride

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40 years ago I was part of an opening act for Linda Ronstadt.It was a giant by invitation only Christmas party.Kunkel was on drums...Sonor's.
I quickly became a temporary friend of his British drum tech.He gave me an all access red & white plastic roller skate Linda Ronstadt pin to wear.
I watched soundcheck & the first show from the side of the stage.After the first show the tech invited me onto Russ's riser to watch him change out batter heads.
Mind you...the heads for soundcheck & 1st show were brand new...no matter-Russ would play fresh clear Diplomats for the 2nd.The tech finger tightened them until the wrinkles were smooth & that's the amount of tension the drums were played at.
But prior to the toms he swapped the batter side of the bass drum allowing me to help back out then reinsert the T handles after a clear Ambassador had been placed...
I got to meet Russ after the event was over...a very nice guy with a broad smile.
 

RyanLovesDrums

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I read an interview with guitarist Waddy Wachtel where he said as much, that Stevie loved that song and wanted to try something similar. Somehow Waddy managed to replicate the delay effect with his fingers, no pedals.
I wonder if they had to pay the police royalties or anything because it sounds like I direct replication doesn’t it?
 

heythere

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The perfect drummer to support a song. I saw Russ with C,S,N & Y tour in Memphis 1974. GREAT SHOW
 

Old Drummer

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Unlike others on this forum, I'm not even aware of most famous drummers, much less inspired by them. Hey, I live in my own little world. What can I say?

But Russ has long been an exception. I was still a kid in high school aspiring to be a jazz-rock drummer when taste and opportunity prompted me to start playing the then new folk-rock stuff. Russ was the king of this genre, so I learned and to some extent copied his style. I don't mean this to sound critical, but I never admired his drumming the way say I did Joe Morello's. He probably has, but I don't recall Russ ever playing anything difficult. He had though a certain sound, chiefly those low-pitched tom fills, that I copied and came to like. One of the reasons that I still need three toms is because I want two of them low-pitched for Russ-style playing and a third higher-pitched for the jazz-rock sound.

Folk-rock kind of petered out and I turned more to country (folk-rock with a Southern accent) but Russ has remained one of my main influences. Funny, Bonham of roughly the same era never inspired me, but Russ did. I preferred to play like Russ, and probably preferred that style of music too.
 

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Was reminded watching this that he might have been one of the first drummers that I really watched, when he played on SNL and all the replays and was all over TV in 70s/80s. I remember he had his crashes screwed down tight, and didn't lay into them.


Huge groove with interesting cymbal hits.

 


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