Originally Posted by Thinshells
I remember Buddy saying that he hated rock drummers in general "They are animals" and he challanged Ginger Baker of Creem to a drum battle anywhere, any time.
My uncle played with Rich on four different tours in the late sixties, so I got to see him a lot when I was young. Uncle Billy was fired seven different times by Rich, and rehired seven times. On two of those ocassions he was fired and rehired on the same night. There was never any true reason for it. He could get mad about anything. My uncle says that on some of those firings, had he moved over six inches to the left, the guy directly behind him would have been fired instead.
Initially Rich was tough on the rock guys, but eventually softened his stance, and voiced public respect for Bobby Columby of Blood Sweat and Tears and Danny Seraphine of Chicago. He also developed an amused tolerance for Bonham. When (as a fearful 12 year old) I asked him if he thought Bonham was any good. He didn't say a word. All he did was shoot me a terrible look followed by 10 seconds of a dead on Moby Dick, without Bonham's edginess, but with immaculate technique. That moment has stuck with me my entire life.
The Ginger Baker story has morphed into several unique versions over the years, when it was actually his reaction to hearing that Baker had challenged ELVIN JONES. This resulted in one of the best Rich quotes ever.
"That guy challenging Elvin Jones is like a paraplegic challenging Arnold Palmer to a round of golf."
Much of the current opinion of Rich rests entirely in these stories instead of the insurmountable technical and yes, INNOVATIVE talent he demonstrated night after night for over 60 years. When I hear people praise Rich with qualifiers (Yeah he was good at this, but Jordison, Colaiuta etc beats him at this other thing) I am amazed. I thought his untouchable legacy would always remain intact. But time has a way of changing things, and I guess Rich is no exception.