SKF NOTE: This is the first audio excerpt of my phone interview with William “Smokey” Dacus over 35 years ago. Smokey Dacus was the first drummer to play in a country band. Legendary bandleader Bob Wills had the idea, in Smokey’s words, to add oomph to Wills’s fiddle band. “So he hired me,” says Smokey.
In August 2015 I published the full interview transcript. It should be available to music historians and drum historians — especially, but not exclusively, to country music historians.
Smokey went from working in bands and orchestras where everything he played was written, to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys where nothing was written. Plus, Smokey had no role models. No other drummer was asked to do what Bob Wills asked Smokey to do. How Smokey adapted is a key piece of drumming history.
In this first audio excerpt from our phone conversation, Smokey is telling me about the moment he became a professional drummer. It happened while Smokey was in college.