The Grand Master Buddy Rich

onemat

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

I would have to say that Buddy had a extremely long career and was a household word long before Bonham arrived on earth.When Rock and Pop music became the most popular music, it displaced the jazz industry, which was "Americas Most Popular Music" for decades. It also put many players out of work. This may also be part of why Buddy had an attitude about rock music and it's drummers. Most of us would be quite happy having a career playing the tubs, that is making a living doing what we love. I'm happy just playing, whether it's for 20 people or 1000, it doesn't matter to me.
What could have been for Buddy: It's too bad Bill Graham didn't book the Buddy Rich Band and The Ellington and Basie bands into the Filmore the way he booked BB King, Miles Davis and other non-rock acts. Can you imagine Buddy Rich sharing the bill with Hendrix and the Dead? It would have been very good for Buddy and the band. Record sales would have skyrocketed. I have many friends from that era. Along with the rock staples in their album collections, they bought records by BB King, Albert King, Booker T and the M.G.s, Otis Redding, all thanks to Bill Graham. I got into BB King and many other blues artists because I saw him in a 3-way show with the Airplane and The Who at Tangelwood Mass, the weekend before Woodstock, August 1969! I was 14 years old and ran out and got "BB King Live at the Regal", and later "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" a year later. I got my musical horizons broadened many times in the late sixties and into the seventies. My Dad had me listening to Basie and Ellington but I didn't discover Buddy until years later. Stir in the first two Led Zep Lps, a little "Electric Lady Land, and "Wheels Of Fire", I think I was a pretty hip young man.
Ahh the good old days... :)
Matt
 
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Shamoo

Junior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

I believe the drummer who made this comment was the guy from the Strawberry Alarmclock. When his pop career faded he became a recording engineer and worked with both BR and Bonham, though his work with Bonham was limited to a quick sit down on another drummers kit while they were getting sounds up for a SwanSong band. To his credit he did say that even though the kit was a small pop kit "it still sounded like Bonham" but all this is just pure heresay. He seemed to feel that Bonham was over-rated, I think he was jealous of Johns career and used BRs opinions, of which there are many, to prove his point. Hey, Zep, or the Strawberry Alarmclock, take yer pick. I did read that Kathy Rich, Buddys daughter, took her father backstage to a Zeppelin show, and it didn't go that well, anyone else heard this one?
 

onemat

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

Shamoo said:
I believe the drummer who made this comment was the guy from the Strawberry Alarmclock. When his pop career faded he became a recording engineer and worked with both BR and Bonham, though his work with Bonham was limited to a quick sit down on another drummers kit while they were getting sounds up for a SwanSong band.
The drummer in question was probably Randy Seol who was in the chair for Strawberry Alarm Clock's one and only hit record. However, the Alarm Clock's guitarist name was Ed King who went on to a little band known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. I've heard the story of Cathy Rich taking Buddy to a Led Zep show too. What a missed oportunity, Rich & Bonham performing solos together..how cool would that be?
Matt
 

Elvin4ever

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

onemat said:
The drummer in question was probably Randy Seol who was in the chair for Strawberry Alarm Clock's one and only hit record. However, the Alarm Clock's guitarist name was Ed King who went on to a little band known as Lynyrd Skynyrd. I've heard the story of Cathy Rich taking Buddy to a Led Zep show too. What a missed oportunity, Rich & Bonham performing solos together..how cool would that be?
Matt
Because the BR band performed so many school clinics back then (the band's main income), Buddy was asked similar questions hundreds of times. Therefore a lot of us share similar stories. It might surprise people to learn (as has already been stated here) that Rich was good with kids. So more than a few were always around.

Many over 40 guys recall big bands like Rich, Woody Herman and Stan Kenton visiting high schools, where they would do clinics in the afternoon, and a concert at night. The local high school band (usually the sponsor) most often served as warmup. This was easy for us, since we were all playing the Rich, Herman, Kenton charts anyway. This was pretty common back then. Moreover, the clinic questions were always the same in all the bands.

I remember (in the tenth grade) seeing an 18 year old Peter Erskine play with Kenton, and drummers were asking him to play like Bonham, do Seraphine from 25 or 6 to 4...all that stuff. Therefore, no one person has an exclusive on these stories. But when you're a kid, and a famous drummer talked to you, it felt like he was talking to you and you alone.

Nowadays with all this new found interest in guys like Bonham, Moon etc, I suppose a lot of guys recall this stuff. If Rich heard this question from Seol, you can rest assured he had his routine down based on the thousands of times he had already performed it for the kids.

Honestly, I don't think there was all this secretly admiring, studying stuff. Rich was simply asked these questions so often, that he learmed enough to do the routine and threw in his inevitable comments as time went on.
 

dothecrunge

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

Shamoo said:
I believe the drummer who made this comment was the guy from the Strawberry Alarmclock. When his pop career faded he became a recording engineer and worked with both BR and Bonham, though his work with Bonham was limited to a quick sit down on another drummers kit while they were getting sounds up for a SwanSong band. To his credit he did say that even though the kit was a small pop kit "it still sounded like Bonham" but all this is just pure heresay. He seemed to feel that Bonham was over-rated, I think he was jealous of Johns career and used BRs opinions, of which there are many, to prove his point. Hey, Zep, or the Strawberry Alarmclock, take yer pick. I did read that Kathy Rich, Buddys daughter, took her father backstage to a Zeppelin show, and it didn't go that well, anyone else heard this one?
Kathy took Buddy to thier last concert in 1973. July 29th, 1973, Madison Square Garden. Yep, the same concert in The Song Remains the Same.

I highly doubt that Kathy Rich had backstage access, and I also highly doubt that Buddy Rich would've even wanted to go backstage to meet these "incompetant musicians" as he was probably mumbling to himself when he was at the show. If anything, Bonzo might've wanted to meet him, but from all these stories, Buddy would've told him to go screw himself.

Although, I have heard of maybe one or two incidents where Bonzo and Buddy met, but that's it. No other details.
 

foursticks

Pioneer Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

I doubt that buddy would have told bonzo to screw himself.... the man isn't THAT bad, but it would be more bonzo wanting to meet buddy rather than buddy wanting to meet bonzo, after all buddy did influence bonzo.....
 

Fur drummer

Pioneer Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

From what I've heard and read about him that sounds like something Buddy would say and do. As someone said the fact that he even knew who Bonham was says a lot. How old was Buddy when he said and did this? 50 or 60 something? I don't think to many people that age were listening to Led Zeppelin.
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

onemat said:
I It's too bad Bill Graham didn't book the Buddy Rich Band and The Ellington and Basie bands into the Filmore the way he booked BB King, Miles Davis and other non-rock acts. Can you imagine Buddy Rich sharing the bill with Hendrix and the Dead? It would have been very good for Buddy and the band. Record sales would have skyrocketed.

Are you sure he didn't? I thought I remembered seeing an old Filmore poster with Buddy on the bill. I also remember him opening the show for the Who at the Kinetic Playground in Chicago. Pretty sure that was during the first Tommy tour. Buddy was not only a drummer but also a businessman. He obviously recognized the commercial value of rock music by including arrangements of rock tunes in his set. In fact I think his was the first big band to do rock. Norwegian Wood is one of my favorite arrangements from that era. It opened the door for Maynard and Woody among others to venture into the rock genre.
 

Pete Stoltman

Silver Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

Curiousity got the best of me and did a little searching. Without having to dig too deep I found that Buddy and his band played the Fillmore East on Oct. 4,1968 and Jan. 17,1969. He also played Fillmore West on March 12, 1970. There may have been other dates but those were the ones that I found. Interestingly, also spotted a listing for Count Basie at the Fillmore West on Aug. 21 & 22 1967. A real surprise was seeing the amazing vibist Gary Burton sharing the bill with Cream and Electric Flag in 67. Bill Graham obviously had a very eclectic sense of booking.
 

onemat

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

Pete Stoltman said:
Curiousity got the best of me and did a little searching. Without having to dig too deep I found that Buddy and his band played the Fillmore East on Oct. 4,1968 and Jan. 17,1969. He also played Fillmore West on March 12, 1970. There may have been other dates but those were the ones that I found. Interestingly, also spotted a listing for Count Basie at the Fillmore West on Aug. 21 & 22 1967. A real surprise was seeing the amazing vibist Gary Burton sharing the bill with Cream and Electric Flag in 67. Bill Graham obviously had a very eclectic sense of booking.
I stand corrected. I just never heard about it. Perhaps the reason BB King, Albert King, . Albert Collins, and others benefited more from appearing at rock shows is the obvious relationship of the blues and rock music. Many rock acts were playing their versions of great blues tunes. I would imagine Buddy blew away a few concert goers and generated some record sales in the process.
This has been a very good thread...
Matt
 

macktavish

Junior Member
When I first got into Buddy, I was amazed by his solos, but now I focus on how musical he was and the way he kicked the band. In my opinion, Buddy was as great a musician as he was a soloist. Check out Buddies Big Band at the Montreaux Jazz Festival (on DVD). To me that is some of his best playing.. He had everything great time, dynamics, musical sensitivity, and creativeness. Another tune I love...just pure swing no solos, is Big Swing Face on the album by the same name.
 

Zardoz

Member
I bought 'Buddy Rich: At The Top' dvd tonight. Good concert, with some cool bonus solos and t.v. appearances.

It also claims to have a "blazing solo from a performance on The Mark Of Jazz, from December 1974", yet it's really just an interview from Sid Mark's show. While it's hilarious and showcases Rich's humorous side.....argh! I hate false advertising.......

Besides what macktavish just suggested, what are some must-have Rich dvd's?
 
While Buddy Rich, maybe, could NOT perform all the "gimmicks" performed by Mr. Lang, the otherwise is also true: Mr. Thomas could NEVER, EVER play like Buddy played. To perform such awe-inspiring cymbals-solos with his fast/light-speed, invisible hands, that cannot be duplicated too... never in the same elegant, sensitive and stylish way. NEVER. It's not all about technique but also his natural/neural spontaneous creativity that was (and still IS, to an extent, imo) unmatched.

Zardoz - I recommend you tryin' to get "Jazz Legends - 1970/1987 - BUDDY RICH" and the '82 video at the "MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL", and while they're both great, they STILL don't make total justice to Buddy... as I have some rare, amateur-camera like, videos of Buddy outperforming, really OVERplaying his own self and playing as like in a maniac's dream. INSANE. :)

One thing that should not be forgotten is that Buddy's best moments were NOT recorded on cameras, they're were recorded inside the andience's eternal recalls of "those special, really eternal nites...".

- Ivo.
 
Its very simple here.. He was a natural born talent PERIOD. He could have played anything if he wanted to. Jazz has the elements from all genres rolled in to one. It has moments of 4/4 rock feel (if you listen) and time wise is all over the charts as we all know. Saying he could not cop a rock feel with groove to me is like saying he couldnt play at all. Have you really listened to his work on the albums or are you juts judging from what you have seen or heard on the net which is mostly him soloing. He was a freak of nature period.
 

Clark

Junior Member
It's from 1982. Buddy had a heart attack shortly after this. He was not well.
His playing was better than ever. Buddy ALWAYS played great!!
 

dougalmac

Junior Member


I gotta tell you, I've read some pretty silly nonsense regarding Buddy Rich on a lot of these posts. Buddy was the best drummer to play ever, period. The fact that he had an ego was irrelevant. Buddy knew he was phenomenally talented, and he wasn't ashamed or shy about saying it. Since when is being humble and self-effacing a requirement for being talented at something? You may not like it, but he could back it up whenever he played. I saw Buddy countless times on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson in the 60's, 70's, and 80's. He was always innovative, brilliant, and amazing. Of course he wasn't perfect, he was human. But, Gene Krupa, who defined drums and soloing in the 30's said Buddy "was the greatest drummer to ever draw breath." And Krupa was a master. Buddy had immense respect for Gene, and they were very close friends. As far as different styles are concerned, if Buddy heard any Latin lick or groove, he could have played it. There's a famous story about Buddy's big band being hired to open for the lastest rock band phenom in the 60's at the Fillmore West. The rock band insisted that Buddy open their show, even after Bill Graham suggested to them that they should show deference to Buddy and let his big band close the show. The rock band refused, and Buddy proceeded to blow them off the stage totally. The next night the rock band insisted that Buddy and his band close the show. Now there are a ton of highly skilled, talented drummers out there today: Steve Gadd, Terry Bozzio, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chad Wackerman, Steve Smith, and the list goes on and on. But I've seen Buddy do things on the drums that I've NEVER seen any other drummer duplicate period. His left hand was unGodly. His independence was freakish. I've watched countless videos and performances of Buddy, and there's just no denying it-there is nobody better on drums I've ever seen. And I mean no disrespect to any of the amazing drummers out there playing today, some of whom I've mentioned here. Their talent and playing ability is phenomenal. But I tell you, Buddy could get up beside any of them on a drum kit, in his prime, and floor them with moves that would make your jaw drop. Buddy was one of a kind, and his like will never be seen again. I've played drums for 37 years, I've run camera on "Austin City Limits" for 29 years, and I've seen just about every major drummer from the 60's through the present day. I've been privileged to see some amazing, unbelieveable drummers and their performances. And without hesitation, I still say Buddy Rich was better than any other drummer I've ever seen. By the way, has anybody noticed that Buddy has more videos on his "Drummerworld" site than any other drummer?
 

Elvin4ever

Senior Member
dougalmac said:


I gotta tell you, I've read some pretty silly nonsense regarding Buddy Rich on a lot of these posts. Buddy was the best drummer to play ever, period. The fact that he had an ego was irrelevant. Buddy knew he was phenomenally talented, and he wasn't ashamed or shy about saying it. Since when is being humble and self-effacing a requirement for being talented at something? You may not like it, but he could back it up whenever he played. I saw Buddy countless times on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson in the 60's, 70's, and 80's. He was always innovative, brilliant, and amazing. Of course he wasn't perfect, he was human. But, Gene Krupa, who defined drums and soloing in the 30's said Buddy "was the greatest drummer to ever draw breath." And Krupa was a master. Buddy had immense respect for Gene, and they were very close friends. As far as different styles are concerned, if Buddy heard any Latin lick or groove, he could have played it. There's a famous story about Buddy's big band being hired to open for the lastest rock band phenom in the 60's at the Fillmore West. The rock band insisted that Buddy open their show, even after Bill Graham suggested to them that they should show deference to Buddy and let his big band close the show. The rock band refused, and Buddy proceeded to blow them off the stage totally. The next night the rock band insisted that Buddy and his band close the show. Now there are a ton of highly skilled, talented drummers out there today: Steve Gadd, Terry Bozzio, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chad Wackerman, Steve Smith, and the list goes on and on. But I've seen Buddy do things on the drums that I've NEVER seen any other drummer duplicate period. His left hand was unGodly. His independence was freakish. I've watched countless videos and performances of Buddy, and there's just no denying it-there is nobody better on drums I've ever seen. And I mean no disrespect to any of the amazing drummers out there playing today, some of whom I've mentioned here. Their talent and playing ability is phenomenal. But I tell you, Buddy could get up beside any of them on a drum kit, in his prime, and floor them with moves that would make your jaw drop. Buddy was one of a kind, and his like will never be seen again. I've played drums for 37 years, I've run camera on "Austin City Limits" for 29 years, and I've seen just about every major drummer from the 60's through the present day. I've been privileged to see some amazing, unbelieveable drummers and their performances. And without hesitation, I still say Buddy Rich was better than any other drummer I've ever seen. By the way, has anybody noticed that Buddy has more videos on his "Drummerworld" site than any other drummer?
This is the greatest Buddy Rich post ever seen on drummerworld. It sums up perfectly what so many of us older guys feel everytime we see inane comments like all he had was chops, he always played his solos out of time, he was great for his era, he couldn't lay down real grooves, he would suck in a real rock band etc, etc, etc... .

Dougalmac may not be aware of the revisionist history seen frequently on drum forums where Rich is still considered great but with disclaimers, judged almost entirely on four or five videos that I have stated at least a thousand times are not even close to what he actually was.

Day after day we witness teenage fans who argue incessantly, with no regard for idealogical comprehension and/or possess the tools necessary to make such judgements. Instead they rail on that Rich support is a kind of props for an older generation that neither appreciates nor understands the nuances of their misunderstood heroes, as if any comparison does justice to historical accuracy. I have even seen posts where I am told that Rich could not hold his own with DCI drummers, had lousy brushwork, or could not lay down a good groove.

For the last time...from the perspective of American 20th Century drum set playing alone...

Rich could groove any way he desired.

He could play any music he chose to play at the highest possible level, and could perform said task without the need for practice.

He was the fastest.

His cymbal work was the absolute standard.

His brush work was at least as good as Shelly Manne's.

Yes, he would have been great with absolutely any band of any style or genre.

No these are NOT opinions. They are quantatative and qualitative assessments based on many years of educational analysis, and thousands of hours of acute observation.

Am I saying that Rich walked on water?

Yes, I am saying that. He was a Mozart like prodigal freak of nature, whose likes may not be seen again for decades to come.

He may not be your favorite. Check out my handle. He wasn't mine. But he was the best...and during his lifetime, no one and I mean n-o o-n-e dared claim otherwise.
 
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