Don Lamond: ‘I Played Dave Tough’s Drums for Three Months’

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Dave Tough

SKF NOTE: If Don Lamond played drums on Bobby Darin’s hit song, Beyond the Sea, and never recorded again — I would still think of Mr. Lamond’s drum sound and drum fills on Beyond the Sea as essential parts of drum history.

Lamond is also unique as the drummer hired to replace Dave Tough with Woody Herman‘s big band, staying with the Herman band most of 1945-1949. For those of us who never heard Dave Tough play in concert, who never knew Tough when he was alive, Tough’s playing has always been based in part on hearsay. Imagine if Tough lived long enough and remained active as television grew popular, and music recording capabilities improved. Or think of it this way: what would we know of Tough’s contemporaries — Buddy Rich, Papa Jo Jones, Gene Krupa, Louis Bellson — if they had died in 1948?

The musicians who did hear Dave Tough play, who did know Dave Tough as a human being, can never pass on in words to those of us who missed it, what it felt like or what it sounded like, listening to Dave Tough on the drums.

Still, when I find musicians, especially drummers, offering one more firsthand piece of the Dave Tough tapestry — I like to make note of it. So, thank you Don Lamond and interviewer Gabe Villani for this information.

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Don Lamond

“Dave Tough was the greatest. I replaced Dave with [Woody Herman’s] First Herd. I played on [Tough’s] drums for three months. Dave was an idol of mine.

“I was raised to believe in swinging the band, not soloing. Dave Tough thought the same. Dave tuned his drums differently than anyone else I’ve ever known. They were comfortable to play on. The sound of his cymbals and the tension on his bass drum were unique. He used a lot of tape on the heads. He was a tape freak.

“Dave used three cymbals, a crash on the left that you could use anywhere and hi-hats that were beautifully matched. Dave didn’t drop bombs when he played. He just came at you like a dynamo. When he was right it made you scream. His bass drum was soft. In those days there were no electric basses, so the bass notes sounded as if they were coming out of the bass drum. Tough was fantastic. I was told that when he joined the Benny Goodman Orchestra, the musicians applauded him.

“I’ve never had a hard bass drum. I was influenced by Dave Tough. From his playing on drums, I realized how well soft drums blended with the band. I get the heads at the same tension, and then back off a little on the batter head. That goes for all the drums. I also use newspaper inside the bass drum.”

Source: Reflections: Don Lamond, by Gabe Villani, Modern Drummer, August/September 1979
Don Lamond Photo Credit

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