I figured the best way to start off the Drum School Blog is with a drum solo from Buddy Rich! Buddy Rich is one of the greatest (some say the greatest) drummers of all time! Even though he passed away in 1987, there is still much to be learned from him and the amazing music he left behind.
As I'm sure is the case with countless others, Buddy Rich inspired me to become a drummer! When I was about 13 years old, my father gave me audio cassette tapes of the drum battles between Gene Krupa (another incredible drummer to check out) and Buddy. Ever since then, I was hooked and I knew that’s what I wanted to be.
One of my favorite quotes about Buddy Rich is from Louie Bellson (yet another incredible drummer to check out). Louie said this on the Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship Concert – Tape 1. “The story goes like this. My turn is up. There I am at the gates. St. Peter’s there to greet me. He says, ‘Louie, it’s nice to have you. We’ve been looking for you for a long time. You’re gonna be our number one man’. I looked at St. Peter and said, ‘Wait a minute, you have people up here like Chick Webb, Big Sid Catlett, Jo Jones, Shelly Manne’. St. Peter said, ‘No, they’ve had their chance. They’ve all played. Now, you’re gonna be our number one man. In fact, you’re gonna play all the drum solos up here’. And just as St. Peter said you’re gonna play all of the solos, I hear this tremendous solo off in the distance. I looked at St. Peter and said, ‘St. Peter, you told me I’m going to play all the drum solos. That sounds like Buddy Rich to me’. He said, ‘No Louie, that’s God, he thinks he’s Buddy Rich’.”
Check out this video “Away We Go” from circa 1967. It’s one of my favorites. Utterly fearless, amazingly powerful, bold and purely Buddy! For information and history about Buddy Rich and the amazing music he created, I encourage you all to check out Modern Drummer’s upcoming December issue which features him.
J.J. Clarke, musician and drum instructor
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