Larry Graham Creates Bass/Snare Drums Bass Guitar Style

SKF NOTE: His distinct, revolutionary, much imitated bass playing, Larry Graham tells the interviewer, is Graham imitating a bass drum and a snare drum. That bass style help land Graham his gig with Sly and the Family Stone.

“After we didn’t have drums…I kind of missed having that backbeat,” says Graham. “I started thumping to make up for not having a bass drum.” He “compensated for the snare drum” by “a little thumping and plucking.”


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Kenny Clarke Swingin’ ‘Til the Cows Come Home

SKF NOTE: Thank you once more to Bret Primack (aka Jazz Video Guy) for this swinging 12 minutes with jazz greats on the front line and in the rhythm section. Kenny Clarke swinging ‘til the cows come home on this one. Straight ahead, no slouching. A nice addition to anyone’s jazz drum video library.

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Who Cares About Drum History?


SKF NOTE: There will always be drummers interested in drum history, and drummers who aren’t interested. That’s my conclusion after years concerned the who-cares-about-drum-history? side would bury the we-care-about-drum-history side.

Based on my experience, if the former prevails, important pieces of drum history won’t be preserved. Pieces of history considered old today will be ignored or, even worse, trashed. And once a piece of unique history is trashed — a letter, a photo, an autograph, a tape recording —it’s gone forever.

Just in the last decade or so a number of important albums were released because someone discovered or remembered old tape reels on a shelf or in a box. Here are three examples:

Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall
John Coltrane Quartet Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up
Charles Mingus Jazz in Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

When the “who cares?” attitude prevails, today’s opportunities to hang onto historical drum artifacts and memories pass unattended.

In my life I’ve rescued excellent out-of-print albums from Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. When asked to reuse (tape over) my Modern Drummer interview cassettes, I kept them instead. From then on I bought my own blank cassettes to use for interviews.

The internet has become an amazing source of historic drum memorabilia. Free or very inexpensive platforms give drum fans — from novices to experts — a place to share all kinds of interesting drum memorabilia.

Some of my favorite web places for drum history are:

Four on the Floor
The Jo Jones Group
The Great Drummers Group

I am optimistic, right now, the preservation of drum history is alive and well. And I am hopeful, yet not fully convinced, a majority of up-and-coming drummers are taking advantage of this wealth of available information.

Have a majority of up-and-coming drummers ever taken advantage of available historic information? I don’t know. My best guess? Up-and-coming drummers with deep interest in drum history have always been a minority. A very dedicated minority.

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RIP Chester B. Fish Jr.


RIP Chester B. Fish Jr.
Scott K. Fish, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • March 30, 2019

My dad died six hours ago. His name was Chester B. Fish, Jr. At age 93, dad outlived my mom by two years. And among his parents and two brothers, dad was the last man standing.

Had you asked me if I have any of my father’s mannerisms, I would have answered an honest “no.” Then in 2003, as a part-time panelist on Maine Public Broadcasting’s “Public Opinion” tv show, I was shocked to see myself with my father’s facial expressions and body language.

Of his five children, I am the only one to follow in his journalism footsteps. Although that never crossed my mind until my mom mentioned it years ago when I was Modern Drummer magazine’s Managing Editor. My dad worked mostly as an Outdoor Life magazine editor, including as Editor-in-Chief.

Full story

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Will Calhoun – Drummers Studying Piano, Music Theory

SKF NOTE: Will Calhoun is among my favorite interviews. I am sorry it was never published. From reading my 1989 notes, this interview was meant to be published in Modern Drummer magazine‘s offshoot quarterly magazines — Modern Percussionist.

But before Will’s interview was published, Modern Percussionist ceased publication.

Will talks in this excerpt about two early influential teachers who encouraged him to add to his drumming a knowledge of keyboard and music theory.

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Hal Blaine – No Parties or Memorials When I Leave the Planet


SKF NOTE: This post is on Hal Blaine’s Facebook page.

Regarding funerals, memorials or celebrations, Hal said it better than we can. This is one of many emails he wrote along the same lines… and we will honor his wishes. —The Blaine family. Full post

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My 12 favorite drummers are Hal Blaine

My 12 favorite drummers are Hal Blaine
Scott K. Fish, Special to the Piscataquis Observer • March 16, 2019

Most of us know the sound of the 1960s. But very few of us can say we are a sound of the ‘60s. Drummer Hal Blaine, who died a few days ago at age 90, was one of those few. I worked with Hal (1980-83) when I was managing editor of Modern Drummer magazine.

In its obituary of Mr. Blaine, the New York Times describes him as “part of a loosely affiliated group of session musicians who in the early 1960s began dominating rock ’n’ roll recording in Los Angeles. Mr. Blaine played on thousands of recordings through the mid-1970s.”

Drummer Bruce Gary of The Knack said, “One of my biggest disappointments was finding out my twelve favorite drummers were Hal Blaine.”

What did Bruce Gary mean? // Full column

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