SKF NOTE: Frankie Dunlop spent a long time during our October 16, 1984 interview talking about his being drafted into the US Army and serving in Korea during the Korean War. That Frankie did so was, at the time, a bit frustrating. I wanted to talk about his drumming with Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus — you know, important stuff.
As I’ve thought in the decades since about the Korean War portion of our interview — it is important. Frankie was an enthusiastic drum student in Buffalo, NY who was seeing a bright musical future for himself. When he was inducted into the U.S. Army he saw no musical future and — as you hear Frankie tell it in this excerpt — was suicidal.
You will hear me laugh when Frankie first admits to wanting to kill himself. I thought he was being over dramatic. But he wasn’t.
Finally, you will hear in this excerpt how Frankie completely turned his hopeless situation as a U.S. Army Private stationed in a Korean combat area into a very hopeful situation. A vital lesson for drummers and other people.