SKF NOTE: Katrina Chester let me know this morning that Modern Drummer is making available online Gary Chester’s April 1983 feature interview. Today, October 27, is Gary’s birthday.
Thinking back to first meeting Gary, to MD Founder Ron Spagnardi’s approving the feature interview – so much has happened since.
Most of all, I suppose, after his April 1983 interview, Gary went on to work with MD Features Editor Rick Mattingly, codifying his drumming method into “The New Breed” book (1986). That book, in turn, remains one of MD‘s most popular method book.
Gary’s family is handling Gary’s drum related business, including an in-progress documentary, and the emergence of Gary’s former students posting videos of how they are making use of Gary’s drum method.
You can check out all of this at any/all of these places:
It took quite a while for me to gather in one place all of my Gary Chester materials: The interview tapes, the tapes transcription, the original letter Gary sent me. All of those are now with Gary’s family to do with as they see fit.
What comes to mind most on this Gary Chester Day 2022 is the importance of capturing for posterity drummers’ stories. There is so much work to do. I’ve written a few posts on the topic. But just in re-reading Gary’s MD interview I see he mentioned studio drummers Jimmy Johnson and Al Rogers. But, a quick Google search turns up very little about either musician.
It’s possible there are Jimmy Johnson and Al Rogers interviews, columns, discographies, etc. But where? Living drummer stories are much easier to compile and verify than dead drummer stories.
Gary Chester was blessed in many ways. Having time, and using that time, to chronicle so much of his drumming knowledge and skill was a blessing for him, for us, and for all the drummers who come after us.
Happy birthday, Gary.