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)


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


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.


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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Carmine Appice Keeps Hangin’ On


SKF NOTE: When I was 17-years old our garage band, Potter’s Field, covered Vanilla Fudge’s version of, You Keep Me Hangin’ On. That’s my first memory of Carmine Appice.

Ten years later, I met Carmine at a Long Island Drum Center drum clinic, the same day I interviewed him for Modern Drummer magazine. At his clinic, Carmine ventured into drumming territory – i.e. odd-time signature jazz fusion — that surprised and impressed me. And he was very easy to interview.

Now, 50-years after the release of Vanilla Fudge’s first album, Carmine continues performing, writing, and releasing new music. By any measure, that’s a career path most drummers would love having.

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Susan Ramsey: Earning a Musician’s Living in Rural Maine


Susan Ramsey with students. Photo courtesy of Susan Ramsey

SKF NOTE: I write a weekly column for the Piscataquis Observer, sometimes about music and musicians, such as musician/teacher Susan Ramsey.


A Musician Can Make a Big Difference in a Community
Scott K Fish, Special to the Piscataquis Observer – Sept. 11, 2017

When I first started writing for this newspaper, I browsed the internet for Piscataquis County music teachers, wondering, “Are musicians making a living in Piscataquis? If so, how?”

Turns out, the musician I was looking for is Susan Ramsey. While I discovered, and was impressed with, Foxcroft Academy’s (FA) music programs, I did not connect with Ms. Ramsey until last week. She directs the FA String Program among her several other musical endeavors. And if not for down time needed to mend a knee, Susan and I may have never met.

“Honestly, I run from gig to gig, and this is the longest I’ve been home for, like, two years. I never spend this much time in my house,” she tells me.

I first heard and saw Susan perform on her violin several years ago with Dave Mallett’s band at the Gracie Theater in Bangor. There were moments where she was improvising short melodies in call-and-response fashion to Mr. Mallett’s singing. This is a common interaction with musicians. What stuck with me was that Susan was uncommonly good at inventing memorable music lines.

“David asked me to do some recording on his album, Artist in Me, in 2003, and I reluctantly agreed to it,” Susan said. The recording was fun, but when Mallett asked her to “play a few songs” with him onstage — Susan’s reluctance returned. Her extensive classical music education had not prepared Susan to wing it onstage with a folksinger.

Full story

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Revisiting Drummer Boy Paul Wilson’s Grave


SKF NOTE: Revisiting drummer Paul Wilson’s gravesite for the second time in three years. Wilson, an escaped slave, was part of Company D of the United States 33rd Colored Troops Regiment. He died at age 15 and is buried at the Nombre De Dios cemetery, St. Augustine, FL.

Here is the account of my first finding Paul Wilson‘s grave.

Civil War Drummer Boy’s were communicators. The drums were used to send orders to all troops within earshot of the drummers.

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