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!