The Grand Master Buddy Rich

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
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.....
 

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.
 

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.
 

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
 

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

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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photon

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

I hear you Elvin...and actually it was the Tonight Show that introduced me to Buddy Rich when I was young...
 
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

Elvin4ever said:
Photon, being in your 40s, you have to know that saying Rich toiled in relative obscurity is seriously overstating. He was a regular on all the major talk shows of the sixties and early seventies, back when American television had only three stations. This included his recurring open door role on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (the most celebrated entertainment venue on American television). He even starred in a CBS variety show called Away We Go with George Carlin of all people, where he actually did comedy, and was good at it. In other words, Rich was seen by millions of people almost every week, for at least twenty years. Did LZ ever perform on television? I'm not saying they didn't. I just don't remember.

Honestly, (at least in America) Bonham was only well known by a singular (although large and enthusiastic) demographic. All the saying to the contrary doesn't change that...and has been refuted many times on this and other threads. In fact, he was not even the most famous rock drummer at the time (although I agree with most of you that he was the best of that group). Starr, Appice, Watts and even guys like Buddy Miles were far better known. Moreover, people forget how popular Chicago was. They also were filling football stadiums and appearing on television. This made Serraphine a big deal indeed.

I mean this in all sincerity. Rich's name recognition was probably second only to Ringo's during the period in question. There were people who knew about Rich because of the television alone...and a lot of these people knew nothing of his drumming... but knew him. Back then, Bonham was the biggest to you. But I doubt your parents had heard of him. At the same time, I'll bet your parents, your grandparents, and all the uncles you only see at Christmas had heard of Rich, and chances are good that none of them cared much for jazz. Now that's fame.

Like him or not, give credit where credit is due.
Very correct, Elvin. But it's probably also true that Buddy was a bit angry and jealous by the spontaneos Rock 'n roll success and everything else. Seems like if Buddy only started to care about Rock more or less by secretly watching some of Bonham's immense gimmicks and very nice grooves and unique sounds... of course his admited greatest names in Rock history are of other people's and not Bonham, but heh... that's a little predictable - I guess. Buddy was very popular back in the 50's/60's and mainly, 70's and 80's but he, indeed, was a bit jealous about the amount of people that showed up at some Jazz concerts and the "same" amount in the Rock ones...

A little off-topic but heh.. I love Peart's quote of "you see the phrase 'Buddy Rich, the world's greatest drummer' and you don't REanalyse it, you just accept it as a fact" - or something close to it.

What an honour for him.

- Ivo.
 

Elvin4ever

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

photon said:
What he said!...

I would imagine that Buddy must have been jealous of the adulation of those famous rock drummers like Bonzo, Ringo...the list goes on and on, while Buddy toiled in relative obscurity...
Photon, being in your 40s, you have to know that saying Rich toiled in relative obscurity is seriously overstating. He was a regular on all the major talk shows of the sixties and early seventies, back when American television had only three stations. This included his recurring open door role on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show (the most celebrated entertainment venue on American television). He even starred in a CBS variety show called Away We Go with George Carlin of all people, where he actually did comedy, and was good at it. In other words, Rich was seen by millions of people almost every week, for at least twenty years. Did LZ ever perform on television? I'm not saying they didn't. I just don't remember.

Honestly, (at least in America) Bonham was only well known by a singular (although large and enthusiastic) demographic. All the saying to the contrary doesn't change that...and has been refuted many times on this and other threads. In fact, he was not even the most famous rock drummer at the time (although I agree with most of you that he was the best of that group). Starr, Appice, Watts and even guys like Buddy Miles were far better known. Moreover, people forget how popular Chicago was. They also were filling football stadiums and appearing on television. This made Serraphine a big deal indeed.

I mean this in all sincerity. Rich's name recognition was probably second only to Ringo's during the period in question. There were people who knew about Rich because of the television alone...and a lot of these people knew nothing of his drumming... but knew him. Back then, Bonham was the biggest to you. But I doubt your parents had heard of him. At the same time, I'll bet your parents, your grandparents, and all the uncles you only see at Christmas had heard of Rich, and chances are good that none of them cared much for jazz. Now that's fame.

Like him or not, give credit where credit is due.
 

photon

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

What he said!...

I would imagine that Buddy must have been jealous of the adulation of those famous rock drummers like Bonzo, Ringo...the list goes on and on, while Buddy toiled in relative obscurity...
 

dothecrunge

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

I think of Buddy playing in front of maybe a thousand people, in a small club somewhere in Idaho. I think of Bonzo playing in front of 75,000 people at the Pontiac Silverdome.

Imagine yourself as Buddy, and then imagine yourself as Bonzo. I think more people would have liked to have been in Bonzo's place, rather than Buddy's.
 

photon

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

..as will Bonzo's...unfortunately and unlike Bonham and Buddy when I'm gone my drumming dies with me......
 

Bernhard

Founder Drummerworld
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

The only interesting part in this is:

Must somebody be a jerk to be a good drummer?

The answer is: NO

So I enjoy Buddys drumming - which is definitively great....

...and I'm not interested what he did or said thirty years ago on a bad day.

Very cold coffee - but his drumming will stay forever.

Bernhard
 

photon

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

As great as Bonham was, personally I don't think he is in the same league as Buddy...
 

Elvin4ever

Senior Member
Re: Buddy Rich on Bonham

onemat said:
Matt replies: I have to preface what I'm about to write with this: I loved Buddy Rich. Loved his playing, his technique, loved many or his records. In my humble opinion, Buddy had issues in the people skills department. He could be very negative one minute and warm and funny the next. How he acted, what he said was inconsistent. I've read accounts of him being a sweet guy who would do anything for his pals, musicians, and especially children. And then there was the other side of Buddy's personality, the ego driven, perfectionist side. He knew he was great and he often would let people know he was the best. When asked about Bonzo, his answer came directly from his own ego. That's a shame when any musician slams another. Fortunately, the comment did not stop John Bonham from reaching the stratosphere of rock drumming. When asked about Danny Seraphine he was very positive. Perhaps Buddy picked up on the jazz chops Danny had and did not relate to Bonzo's drumming. Buddy's temper is well documented as well. I'm not a doctor but I know chemical inbalance when I see it, and in my opinion Buddy could have used the happy pills. My father was very much like him, and I've had the same problem. Medication works great. So being both a major fan of Bonzo and of Buddy, I'll take Buddy's comments with a grain of the old salt.
Matt
This is a good post, and I agree with every bit of it.

I saw both sides of him and still loved the guy. When I was young, he treated me great. Rich supposedly hired Matt Smith's dad three times and fired him twice. Tom once said that had he on one ocassion moved an inch to the left, the guy behind him would have been fired instead. Still, he still evaluates Rich as one would perceive a god. In other words, he disliked the guy but deferrred to the talent. I do not believe that is so hard to understand.

I see a lot of commentary about the negative side of Rich's personality, as if being nice to people shares an interrelationship with talent. We must first understand Rich's own upbringing. He was required to submit product when most of us are still in diapers. He learned his initial lessons from notorious taskmasters like Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw...men who never asked nor gave any quarter. Then he watched first hand how disciplinary lapses wiped out performing colleagues and friends like Charlie Parker, Charlie Ventura and Art Pepper. In the case of Ventura, he tried to help him several times, only to have Charlie acuse him of stealing his band, when nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Sure he was a jerk. But he grew up in an era when anything less than your best was not enough. I am certain he would be appalled by this recently evolved incessant need to stroke fellow musicians whether they deserve it or not. Of course he went too far, and Matt is right. Prozac would have helped, but it also would have taken some edge off his playing. I applaud the perfectionist tendencies, although I can never condone the approach. Still, these guys would take the abuse and keep coming back for more. That alone speaks volumes.
 
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