Morello – I Never Use Half the Technique I Have

Back cover of the Dave Brubeck Quartet 25th Anniversary Reunion album.

SKF NOTE: An excerpt from my 1979 Modern Drummer interview with Joe Morello. Just prior to this part of the interview, I told Joe I was sad to read in the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s 25th Anniversary Reunion album, Joe saying, “It’s nice to be remembered when you’re old and gray.” He was 50 years old in 1979!

Joe Morello: Well, sometimes I get down with it, but not too much. It’s been good to me. It’s been a lot in such a short time. And now, as much as I enjoy taking it easy and doing what I want to do, still, I want to start playing again.

Like, I could be teaching again if I really wanted to, heavy, but…. I even went up on the prices and they still want to come, y’know. I charge twenty-five [$25.00] a lesson – and they pay for it. They come.

I’ve had them come from Arizona, Dallas. I’ve had them come from Canada.

I used to tell them, “Jeez, this is ridiculous. I wouldn’t go across the street to see me play.”

All a teacher can really show you is how to play the drum. That’s all. I don’t care how much technique you’ve got, or how little you have.

When it comes to playing the drum set, I never use half of the technique I have. I don’t need to. For what?

Unless I’m feeling real hotsy-totsy one night, and I’ll come on with the power a little bit, y’know, if I’m up to it; and sometimes I feel like doing something like that – I’ll do it.

It’s good to know that I can do it if I want to, but I normally don’t knock myself out much like that. I’d rather do my playing first, and then if people want to see this kind of thing [Joe plays fast licks on his drum pad], then I can do it.

But, I like to do my playing first. Then I’ll play for the crowd, y’know.


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