SKF NOTE: I found the full transcript from my 1983 interview with Gary Chester, published that year in the April Modern Drummer. The transcript is about twice as long as a typical MD feature interview at that time, suggesting Gary shared words of wisdom beyond those in his interview.
Scott K Fish: How did you develop good time?
Gary Chester: I studied time. Time is the whole essence of playing. Davey Tough, Nick Fatool, and another cat who just died in a fire, Morey Feld. These guys are not soloists or nothing, but their time is so gorgeous. I love time.
SKF: Did you used to talk to Davey Tough about time?
GC: We used to sit and play brushes all night. Him and I.
SKF: With a metronome?
GC: No. Just between ourselves on a cardboard box. What grooves we use to get! That’s the trouble with the younger generations. They don’t know time as well as they should.
SKF: Until you started session work you never messed with a metronome?
GC: No. I never had to play with a metronome because God gave me something inside me. I have a born-in quarter note. So I don’t have to worry about that. But, when I went into records there was no click track playing. It was just the pulse of the room.
I don’t think you can show me a record that starts and ends in the same tempo, which is acceptable.