Joe Morello on Buddy – Rich Part 1

SKF NOTE: Revisiting the transcript of my 1979 interview with Joe Morello today. Five or six times Joe Morello said some things about Buddy Rich which were new to me. I also found Joe’s remarks instructive and/or funny. So, I will post the remarks separately, by subject, over the next couple of weeks.

Joe sat through our entire interview with a pair of drumsticks, sitting near a coffee table on which he had a practice pad. In upcoming posts, Morello demonstrates points he was making about Buddy Rich’s playing. Joe did so playing on his practice pad.

Drummer Joe Morello at the Ludwig Drum FactoryJoe Morello: …Buddy’s a good friend of mine. He’s always been nice. Buddy and I have always gotten along very well. And we used to fool around together with the sticks…. He’s got very good technique. It’s not as fast as you would think it is. He looks faster and he sounds faster than he is because he’s clean. Everything he does is very clean. There’s faster drummers, that’s for sure. If you want to just look at it from that. From strictly technically there are much faster drummers, so Jimmy’s faster, Louie Bellson‘s faster….

Scott K Fish: Jim Chapin is faster than Buddy?

JM: Oh yeah. Sure, but Buddy puts it together so beautifully. He builds this picture real nice, y’know.

[Buddy] just does his thing. That’s all. He’s got great ears. He listens. He hears real well.

I remember when we were in Vegas in 1967. He was still with Harry James then. See, for awhile, as you know, he was buried with Harry James’ band. He was with James for quite awhile. When I was winning all the polls and all that s**t, Buddy was coming in like, 12th, 15th. ‘Cause he wasn’t doing anything. He was just in Las Vegas playing Ciribiribin, and he’d do a little think on Caravan, y’know.

I used to meet him on the road once in awhile. I’d say, “Why don’t you start your own band?” He’d say, “I’ll never start another f*****g band as long as I live.” He said, “I’ll just play my three hours a night and go home.” He told me this in San Francisco. That’s when we drove home together and I told him that I knew the way back. Christ! And we got lost. He had a white Jaguar. Oh, Buddy’s nuts. He’s a nice cat though.

I guess Buddy’s still doing very well now, because he’s got a good manager.


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