Barry Keane: Teaching Drums the Way I Wanted to Be Taught

SKF NOTE: Barry Keane is among the most successful drummers I know, with a long career as a studio drummer, and a touring gig with one of the world’s great songwriters, Gordon Lightfoot, that has lasted, so far, over 40 years.

Relistening to my first conversation/interview with Barry around 1981, I was struck by the way he taught drums to students, and the wisdom in Barry’s teaching method. In a nutshell, Barry’s teaching niche was guiding kids who wanted to know how to play basic drums — they way Dave Clark, Ringo Starr, or Charlie Watts were playing much of the time on their respective records.

Help a kid like that learn what interests him. Some may go on to more advanced drum studying. Some may not. But there’s room for the kids who just wants to start playing backbeats on 2 and 4, without first having to master the 13 essential drum rudiments.

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Pete Best Plays Himself in ‘Lennon’s Banjo’ Stage Production


SKF Blog: Fun stuff. Thumbs up to Pete Best for his sense of humor and historical perspective.

Beatles drummer Pete Best to play himself in new John Lennon play

The original Beatles drummer, Pete Best, will appear in the comedy production Lennon’s Banjo, in Liverpool next year.

The show, which tells of a quest to find the first instrument John Lennon learned to play, is based on the novel Julia’s Banjo by Rob Fennah and Helen A Jones.

“I read the novel Julia’s Banjo some years ago and thought it was a great mix of fact and fiction with regards to the Beatles and the elusive banjo.

“It made me smile – a really enjoyable read. So, when speaking to Rob Fennah about the book becoming a stage play, I said in passing ‘I should play me!’ And lo and behold, here I am doing a few of the performances,” said Pete Best.

Full story

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Life is Better if You Pursue Your Passion


sport-1013999_1920Life is Better if You Pursue Your Passion
Scott K. Fish, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • December 8, 2017

All my life I wanted to be either a writer or a musician. At age 18, figuring I didn’t have enough life experience under my belt to write anything worth reading, I refocused most of my energies on becoming a professional musician: someone who earns a living playing music.

I had been smitten by the drums 12 years earlier, but didn’t own my first drumset until I was 18. Before then, I started easing my way into high school garage bands as a lead singer. One of those garage bands — I think we called ourselves “Potter’s Field,” — was hired to play a school dance. Our drummer, Denny, quit the band a few days before the dance, and no one could change his mind.

Finally, Denny said to us, “You can use my drumset, if you want to.” I don’t know what was going on with Denny, but it wasn’t that he wanted to sabotage the band. He just really, really didn’t want to play anymore.

As sorry as I was to see Denny quit, when he offered the use of his silver sparkle Gretsch drumset — I saw an opportunity. “I’ll play drums,” I announced to the other band members. “Well, who’s going to sing lead?” asked Jimmy, the bass guitarist. “I will,” I said. “I’ll do both.”

At that time I had neither sung nor played drums before in public. I knew the basic mechanics of playing drumset, but I still had never owned a set. Other than noodling around on friends’ drums for a few minutes, I had never played a full drumset. But I certainly did know the “Potter’s Field” song repertoire.

Full column

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Bobby Blotzer’s 1985 Ludwig Ad


SKF NOTE: Ah, drum industry advertising! What’s not to love? Here’s a nice 1985 photo of RATT drummer Bobby Blotzer with his Ludwig drumset. Scurry to a Ludwig dealer, indeed.

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Jimmy Chamberlin: A Drummer’s Heart on Canvas


SKF NOTE: Solid thoughts from Smashing Pumpkins‘s Jimmy Chamberlin on learning to communicate through drumming.

Jimmy Chamberlin: [A] lot of people…don’t give themselves enough time to master something, even something as simple as a paradiddle or a single stroke roll. I continue to work on that stuff today and try to make it better, you never really master it. You might master it to a certain degree, but everyone’s single strokes are different.

You need to realise that throughout your life drumming will remain a long arc of practise, completion and some type of resolution. Realising that allows us to continue to learn with patience.”


[T]here are many levels of success. Letting people know that the destination of music is self expression is important, and that the reason…we practise the drums is for us to get what is in our heart out onto the canvas. That should be the only reason that we practise.

There’s a lot of people out there who can do it with very few brush strokes. Charlie Watts is one of the most recognisable drummers out there…. Then you have someone like Vinnie [Colaiuta] who obviously articulates in a very different manner, but the destination is the same. They both have feelings they need to articulate and get out onto the drumset, they just have a different mechanism. It’s all self expression.”

Source: Jimmy Chamberlin on drum education, developing your style and the mechanics of drumming, by Rich Chamberlain, 12/4/17

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Ginger Baker’s ‘Africa’ Drum Solo (1990)

SKF NOTE: This Ginger Baker drum solo, Africa, as far as I know, has never been released. Chip Stern sent it to me as part of a cassette for a drum project on which we, and others, were working. The cassette is dated May 1990. I assume Ginger’s Africa was recorded around that time.

Posted with Chip Stern’s permission.

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Jack Bruce: Tony Williams is ‘the Prophet of Rhythm’


Photo courtesy

Stanley Hall: Did you enjoy working with the Tony Williams Lifetime?

Jack Bruce: Oh yeah, it was one of the high spots, and Tony, he’s the prophet of rhythm.

Source: Jack Bruce: Low String Eclectic, by Stanley Hall. Down Beat, 1/26/78

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