SKF NOTE: Paul T. Riddle (aka “P.T.”) was my first interview as Modern Drummer‘s Managing Editor. We conducted the bulk of this interview in his hotel room in New Jersey. The Marshall Tucker Band was playing at what was then the Garden State Arts Center. Today it is the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.
From the instant P.T. opened his Sheraton Hotel room door it felt like I was visiting an old friend. He was 26 and I was 29 — more than half a lifetime ago. We have remained close friends over the years. Indeed, Riddle is among my very best friends.
Since MTB Paul has created and recorded a couple of his own bands: The Throbbers and then Watson Riddle. He’s built an amazing drum teaching practice in South Carolina. And he has almost 3,500 “Friends” on his Facebook page!
Paul is a jazzer at heart. That first time we met for his interview, Paul had on Ron Carter’s Carnaval album with Hank Jones, Sadao Watanabe, and Tony Williams. Among the stories Paul tells with fond memories is meeting Buddy Rich on his band bus, or the time Paul and I and a couple of MTB members went to see Mel Lewis‘s Big Band at the Village Vanguard in New York City.
I introduced Mel and Paul. After his first set of the night, Mel came over to Paul, arms folded across his chest, and said, “Well, that’s what I do.” I visited Paul at home this past June. We still laughed recounting how g-r-e-a-t Mel’s bass drum sounded that night.
Paul was a good friend to Modern Drummer. I’m sure he helped us secure the Jaimo/Butch Trucks interview. Also, MD‘s interview with Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s Artimus Pyle. In fact, Paul was with me interviewing Artimus. And David Dix of The Outlaws.
These days Riddle is playing Palmetto Drums made in Greenville, South Carolina. In this promo video, Paul does a great job bringing us up-to-speed on what he’s been doing since leaving the Marshall Tucker Band.
For years and years Riddle and I have talked about teaming up on a book. I’m ready when he is! And I hope it happens.