Fred Below: Becoming a Professional Drummer

SKF NOTE: This is an excerpt from my interview with drummer Fred Below, arguably the father of Chicago electric blues drumming. Mr. Below recorded with Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, the Aces, Little Walter, Chuck Berry, and other pivotal blues musicians.  The interview was published in Modern Drummer‘s September 9, 1983 issue as, Fred Below: Magic Maker.

I was at my MD desk in New Jersey using a suction cup mic and an audio cassette to record this interview. Mr. Below was at his Chicago home.

All of my Modern Drummer interviews were recorded on audio cassettes. The Fred Below interview is one of two I’ve digitized. (The other interview is Roy Haynes.) My goal, as time permits, is to digitize them all, and to offer excerpts to the public. I think music writers often err in digitizing full interviews, running an hour or more, and uploading only the full versions for public listening.

Let’s face it. Even the best interviews have dead air, small talk, and uninteresting talk. So, just as I do with my written word excerpts on this blog, I will post the best of the audio excerpts.

This is Fred Below explaining his decision to become a professional drummer.

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