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JRannefeld 11-29-2011 07:03 PM

Hal Blaine
1 Attachment(s)
I had a phone conversation with Hal Blaine last week!!

Here's my story:

I recently started taking some lessons from Austin, TX drummer Ernie Durawa (Texas Tornadoes). Ernie studied with the legendary Roy C. Knapp when Roy was in his late 80's. Roy taught many greats, including Gene Krupa, Louie Bellson, Dave Tough and Hal Blaine.

On one of my first visits with Ernie, he started talking about Hal and mentioned that Hal sends him birthday cards every year. Ernie says to me, "We should try to call Hal sometime." Now, I knew who Hal was and I was aware of his accomplishments, but I didn't know much about the man himself. Honestly, I didn't even know he was still alive (he's 82, now). With the prospect of possibly speaking with Hal on the phone, I decided I should do some research. I read his biography and read several stories and interviews about/with Hal and others in the Wrecking Crew. Amazing what those guys were able to accomplish as studio musicians....

At my next lesson, Ernie pulled out his cellphone and called Hal's cellphone and home phone. No answer....Ernie left a message and we went about our business. The next week, Hal called Ernie back and apologized for missing his call, and said he'd be waiting for us to call him back at my next lesson!

Sure enough, Ernie called him back at my next lesson and Hal picked up. They chatted for a brief moment and then Ernie passed his phone over to me. After thanking for taking the time to speak with me, I started asking a few questions. We talked a little about Earl Palmer, Hal's time in the Army and his experience studying with Roy Knapp. We also talked a little about the Wrecking Crew documentary that is still trying to obtain funding to pay $300,000 in music licensing fees.

Hal was very gracious and it was quite an honor to get to speak with him. At the end of our conversation, his advice to me was to practice, and stay away from those people with the "wacky tobaccky". LOL...

I didn't see a Hal Blaine thread in the Drummers section. It's about time we start one!

Ian Williams 11-29-2011 07:14 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
Here is one JR!


resohead 01-24-2012 03:41 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
I read up on Hal Blaine and I couldn't believe the body of work he had amassed. I don't see how any drummer could accomplish what he did.

Pete Stoltman 02-25-2012 10:14 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
A little surprising that Hal doesn't get more attention. He's an amazing musician and I would daresay that anybody who plays in a classic rock cover band has at least several tunes that Hal played on in their repertoire.

Today I was listening to some classic rock stuff and the drum part from "Wedding Bell Blues" by the 5th Dimension jumped out at me. Checked it out and sure enough it was Hal on drums. Cool laid back feel but such confidence and power especially when the horn ensemble comes in. Great track.

bermuda 02-25-2012 11:01 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
Hal gets plenty of attention, it just depends where you look. He's probably more visible now than in the last few decades, thanks to the Wrecking Crew documentary, his book, the new Wrecking Crew book, and various awards he's been given lately.

I'm proud to call Hal a friend, and even before I knew I was listening to him on hit records, he was also my mentor. When I'm not applying my WWRD approach to songs, it's WWHD. Just had lunch with him a few weeks ago:



Pete Stoltman 02-25-2012 11:04 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
Nice photo of the two of you.

Brian 02-26-2012 09:27 AM

Re: Hal Blaine

Originally Posted by resohead (Post 948557)
I read up on Hal Blaine and I couldn't believe the body of work he had amassed. I don't see how any drummer could accomplish what he did.

Hal Blaine, Jim Gordon (his protege) and Gary Chester...those three are in my top 20 all-time. Half of the top 10 hits of the 1950s - 70s were drummed by those three (sarcasm but a large amount)

larryace 02-26-2012 07:50 PM

Re: Hal Blaine
Looking at all the songs Hal played on, I didn't realize how heavily I was influenced by him until about 2 weeks ago.... (when I saw his list of credits for the first time) The list of songs he played on is literally the soundtrack to my youth. He played on so many diverse songs, but I never had a clue it was the same man. Truly, a living legend.

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