SKF NOTE: In the early 1970s Joe LaBarbera was recording and performing with Chuck Mangione. The group released three excellent albums with Mr. LaBarbera: Land of Make Believe (Mercury, 1973), Bellavia (A&M, 1975), and Chase the Clouds Away (A&M, 1975).
LaBarbera played a Gretsch kit with his drums and cymbals positioned at odd angles — which you can see in the accompanying Gretsch magazine ad.
This excerpt LaBarbera answering my questions about his Gretsch set-up with Mangione. I actually saw Joe play this Gretsch set in concert with Mangione at a Long Island, NY club called My Father’s Place. LaBarbera played great. It would seem drums/cymbals at these angles would make playing more difficult. But, as Joe says in this excerpt, he used this configuration for about five years.
I came across this exchange on the start of my Joe Englsh interview tape. I don’t remember anything about this conversation with LaBarbera. The English tape was no doubt right at hand when I needed a tape to record Joe LaBarbera’s answers.