Tony Williams: Two Decades of Drum Innovation
by Paul de Barros — 11/1/1983
An Exclusive Online Extra
DB: How important is technique?
TW: You’ve got to learn to play the instrument before you can have your own style. You have to practice. The rudiments are very important. Before I left home, I tried to play exactly like Max Roach, exactly like Art Blakey, exactly like Philly Joe Jones, and exactly like Roy Haynes. That’s the way to learn the instrument. A lot of people don’t do that. There are guys who have a drum set for two years and say they’ve got their own “style.”
DB: How can we prevent those kinds of guys from taking up more room than they deserve?
TW: [laughing] Well, we could pass a law.
DB: The Bad Drummer Ordinance?
TW: Exactly. Anyone who does not study is shot!