Fleetwood Mac: Not Really How a Rhythm Section Should Work

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SKF NOTE: Fleetwood Mac was among my favorites back in the 1960s when that version of Fleetwood Mac was considered a British blues band with Peter Green, Jeremy Spencer, Danny Kirwan, John McVie, and Mick Fleetwood. 

Fleetwood Mac’s original version of Black Magic Woman (written and sung by Peter Green) preceded Santana’s version by two years. When I first heard Santana’s Black Magic Woman I remember saying out loud, “Hey! That’s Fleetwood Mac’s song.”

Of course, Albatross, remains a cool song, and one that, for some of my circle of musician friends at the time, helped open our ears to instrumental jazz. Listening to Albatross this morning for the first time in decades, I hear the Mick Fleetwood and John McVie drums/bass rhythm team perfected on 1975’s self-titled album, Fleetwood Mac.

My theory was always that Mick Fleetwood built his drum parts around John McVie’s bass lines. But, no. According to the recent interview which follows, McVie created his bass parts around Fleetwood’s drumming.

They remain one of the best drum/bass rhythm teams ever.

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Entertainment & Arts
Mick Fleetwood on the early days of Fleetwood Mac and why he’s a terrible drummer
By Mark Savage – BBC Music reporter

It was a beginning of a beautiful friendship. Fleetwood and [bassist John] McVie not only gave their names to Fleetwood Mac, but they are the only constants in the band’s ever-changing line-up.

In the book, Fleetwood says of McVie: “Musically, he helped me survive whenever I was drowning.” And it’s this comment that prompts the revelation about the drummer’s supposed lack of skill.

“For a while, he thought he could train me into doing the same bass drum pattern every night but I couldn’t… because of the way my mind works,” he explains, “so John learned to push all his notes around what I do.”

“It’s become this weird thing. It’s not really how a rhythm section should work. They’re supposed to be doing exactly the same thing at the same time. I’m doing different stuff and he’s falling in between the gaps.”

Full story 

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Grady Tate’s Drum Lesson from Papa Jo Jones

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SKF NOTE: Count me among the listeners blown away by Grady Tate’s drumming with Stan Getz on the Sweet Rain album (1967). Chick Corea (piano), and Ron Carter (bass) make up the rest of that Getz quartet. Clean, musical, swinging on great sounding drums and cymbals — Grady Tate’s Sweet Rain drumming alone set the bar high for other drummers. I was an instant Grady Tate fan.

Here’s a rite of passage story about Papa Jo Jones and a young Grady Tate from Mr. Tate’s New York Times obituary.

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OBITUARIES
Grady Tate, Jazz Drummer Turned Vocalist, Dies at 85
By RICHARD SANDOMIROCT. 12, 2017

Grady Bernard Tate was born on Jan. 14, 1932, in Durham, N.C.

At 13, he had an odd if inspiring experience watching the jazz drummer Jo Jones perform at the Durham Armory….

He recalled being mesmerized as Mr. Jones, “the craziest man I’ve ever seen in my life,” played with unalloyed joy. Afterward, Mr. Jones invited him onto the stage and asked if he had brought his drumsticks with him.

“No, sir,” Mr. Tate said, and Mr. Jones offered his own pair but whacked one of [Grady Tate’s] hands with them. “That’s just a tiny bit of the pain that you’re going to get,” Mr. Jones said, “if you’re gonna pick these damn things up and use ’em.”

Full story 

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James Black: Early Drumming Influences

SKF NOTE: My opening question to James Black was, “Early on, was there a person, or something that influenced your decision to play drums instead of another instrument, or something else altogether?” Mr. Black’s answer is part mystery. His main influence, he says, was “an almost midget sized drummer” in New Orleans who “played Dixieland.” Black could not remember that drummer’s name.

Ed Blackwell is cited here too as a James Black influence. As of 1982, the two drummers had only a passing acquaintance with each other. What a duo those two would have been.

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Nick Fatool on Film 1940: Gorgeous Time, Musical

SKF NOTE: Some nice footage here of Nick Fatool. One of my favorite drummers, who I first heard with Artie Shaw’s small group The Gramercy Five.

Fatool was a very musical drummer. Gary Chester cited Nick Fatool as a drummer he admired for his “gorgeous time.”

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Vinnie Colaiuta Yamaha Endorsement Photo (1985)

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SKF NOTE: My educated guess on this Vinnie Colaiuta endorsement picture, found among my file folders, is that Yamaha sent it to me when I was gathering info for CREEM’s 1985 Drum Supplement.

I was surprised and disappointed then at the poor quality of this photo. The original is printed on thin, semi-gloss paper — which made it impossible to reprint in a magazine. Pre-digital photography especially, magazines always wanted to start with highest quality photo prints. For one reason, photos lose some of their quality with each reproduction.

When you start with a poor quality photo, knowing it will be of even poorer quality when the magazine is printed — it’s almost always better to not use the photo at all.

I scanned and tweaked my original copy of Vinnie’s photo for this post. Again, not a great photo. But, it is a photo from one of the great drum makers of one of the great drummers. One moment in time.

 

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Here’s How to Get Your Article Into Modern Drummer: A Spoof

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SKF NOTE: Last week I came across this photocopy, a parody called, Here’s How to Get Your Article into Modern Drummer. I wish I remembered how this came about. This was a great group to work with. Everyone had a sense of humor. Even MD founder/publisher Ron Spagnardi took part in this spoof.

I don’t think this piece was ever published in the magazine. Did we have that much of a sense of humor? But it’s fun for me to look at. Great to see old friends and co-workers sometime between 1980 and 1983.

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Yesterday, 10/14/17, Former MD Features Editor Rick Mattingly wrote and filled in the missing pieces to this MD parody:

I got a letter from one of our writers saying that he was curious about the whole process of accepting, editing, and publishing articles. (I may be wrong, but I think it might have been Rick Van Horn when he was still freelancing from California.) This is how I answered him. No, we never published it, but we sent it to all of our regular contributors. My favorite photo is Dave Creamer looking at a comic book to get layout ideas.

I took all [the photos] except the one of me; Dave took that. It would be easy to do something like that now with digital photography and InDesign, but we shot the photos on film, got them developed and had prints made, then Dave sent them to our pre-press to have them screened, and then he pasted everything up.

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Steve Smith Zildjian Cymbal Set-Up 198?

SKF NOTE: One of a series of Zildjian brochures from the 1980s, I believe.

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