Louis Bellson’s Modern Drummer Ad and Consent Letter 1982


SKF NOTE: I came across this letter in one of my old notebooks. One of my non-writing ideas at Modern Drummer was the “Who Reads Modern Drummer?” endorsement ads. The idea was simple: A drummer gives his or her written endorsement of MD, allowing us to use their photo. MD, in turn, features the drummer in a full-page ad.

That ad campaign ran for a couple of years, I think.

This is Louis Bellson‘s “Who Reads Modern Drummer?” consent letter. It’s interesting he was a Slingerland endorser at the time. Also, of interest: Louis uses an “S” at the end of his name instead of an “E,” which is used today on his official web site.


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Carmine Appice Syndrum Ad: One Moment in Time (1978)

SKF NOTE: Michael Shrieve was, I believe, the first drummer I heard playing Syndrums. This Carmine Appice ad photo from 1978 is a good example of one moment in time during the ongoing progression of the drumset, drum accessories, and percussion sounds. down-beat-misc-drum-stuff-782803

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Fred Below: Backgrounder on Childhood, DuSable High, Roy C. Knapp School, US Army, and the Meyers Brothers

SKF NOTE: This is the first 20 minutes of my July 9, 1982 interview with pioneer drummer Fred Below. The interview starts with Mr. Below telling us about his childhood experiences with drumming. Then we talk about Below’s studies at DuSable High School, the Roy C. Knapp School of Drumming, and in the U.S. Army. And this interview segment ends at the point where blues drummer Elgie Edmonds introduces Fred Below to David and Louis Meyers.

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Audio: Freddie Gruber on The Musical Big Sid Catlett

SKF NOTE: Excerpt from my interview with Freddie Gruber in Buddy Rich’s NYC apartment circa 1983-84. I posted the back story of this interview on an earlier post.

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Levon Helm: The Possibilities of the Blues (1977)

SKF NOTE: This morning I noticed in Down Beat (March 23, 1978), Mikal Gilmore’s record review of Levon Helm & the RCO All-Stars – Levon’s first solo album. I loved everything about this album when it was released in 1977. That’s not to say this is a perfect album, but I think I would have rated the album five stars for its spirit/concept, and an overall four stars for the music, against some five star song performances, like Blues So Bad.

“Without being stodgy or sermonic, it’s an album about the possibilities of the blues, its derivations and variations, and it’s an album about friendship,” writes Mr. Gilmore.


Levon’s drumming is a pleasure to hear throughout this album.



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John Von Ohlen: Reading and Writing Drum Charts (1984)

SKF NOTE: From the transcript of my interview with John Von Ohlen, published in the March 1985 Modern Drummer. This interview was done by phone. I was in my MD office. John was home in Indiana. My introduction to John’s playing, years earlier, was through Stan Kenton’s Live in London album.

You’ll hear me at the very start of this excerpt mention the name Szantor. I’m referring to John Von Ohlen’s March 16, 1972 Down Beat magazine interview with Jim Szantor titled, “Let the Limbs Fly.”

Mel Lewis, who I had befriended by the time of this interview, spoke very highly of John. I happened to be in Mel’s apartment for one of his birthdays when he received a Happy Birthday phone call from Von Ohlen. “He always calls me on my birthday,” Mel said.

And prior to this interview I had listened a few times to John’s Blue Wisp Big Band albums. A terrific big band.

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Bob DiSalle: Recording in France with Blue Rose

SKF NOTE: Since listening for the first time in over 30 years to the cassette shown in this YouTube video, I’m trying to recall the circumstances of the taped conversations. It’s possible – because of the months between my interviewing Bob DiSalle, and the Modern Drummer publication of his feature interview – that I called Bob for an updater: If I was interviewing you today, Bob, is there anything you would like to talk about that we haven’t already talked about?

So, Bob’s updates are the positive influence of friend and mentor, Keith Gilroy (which I posted earlier), and an album Bob recorded in France with the Blue Rose group.

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