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  #1  
Old 03-18-2013, 08:25 PM
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Default Jim Gordon

I couldn't find a thread in the Drummers forum dedicated to Jim, other than an old one from a couple years ago that never got a reply.

There was a thread larryace started last year about Jim's mental illness and the tragic circumstances that followed.

But what I came here to talk about is how f***ng good this guy was. I've been digging up some of the classics he played on (and there are a ton) and, man, he was just a spectacular, ahead-of-his-time musician.

The guy played on The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. He played on Gordon Lightfoot's Sundown. He played on Derek and The Dominoes' Layla and he co-wrote the piano coda that the song ends with. He played on Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman. He played on Carly Simon's You're So Vain. And Steely Dan's Ricki Don't Lose That Number. Traffic's Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys. Nilsson's Nilsson Schmilsson album. Alice Cooper's Alice Cooper Goes To Hell. He did Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour. He played on Zappa's Apostrophe. He played on George Harrison's first solo album.

I'm just scratching the surface here.

His touch, his time, his DRUM SOUND... just incredible. So comfortable in so many styles of music, just playing for the song. The tag "studio drummer" often carries with it the connotation of someone who's too polished or refined. Not Jim Gordon! He had so much soul.

Not enough discussion about this guy's musical contributions.
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2013, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Cool thread Larry. His isn't a household name. All those songs you mentioned are all very special in their own way. He was a large part of that. I didn't know he did Layla. His drumming was the kind of drumming that let the others excel. That's the goal right there, in my book.

This would be a good place to consolidate everything Jim Gordon. To me he belongs in a class like Benny Benjamin, hugely influential, hardly known. Hal Blaine and Jim Keltner belong too, but they've received some accolades and recognition. I don't know much about him except he suffered from mental issues. All the best musicians of the time used him and that is the highest compliment a drummer can receive IMO.
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  #3  
Old 03-18-2013, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Yes Jim Gordon!

.....3rd in line to Hal and Keltner. Hal handed him any of the extra work he could not handle and that got Jim started. You're right though, definitely a Benny Benjamin behind the scenes guy. For many, Derek and the Dominos is a guitar record, but its actually some of the best drumming on any Clapton album, or any album period, thanks to Gordon. That was a great line-up for EC. Loved his Camcos too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWGa9TSIcfA
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  #4  
Old 03-18-2013, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I too am a big Jim Gordon fan.I loved his drum sound which was his signature.he also played on Souther,Hillman and Furays album.There's also a Dominoes live at the Fillmore album,where he does a solo on" Let it Rain".

I just recently,re read Eric Claptons auto bio,and Slowhand says that Jim was the BEST drummer he ever played with.Imagine that and Clapton is a man who can pick a drummer.

Miss ya Jim.

Steve B
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Old 03-18-2013, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Wow Eric said that? Compliments don't get much higher than that. His drumming feels so good, it just goes right by. No matter what chops a person has, the guitarist will always go with the good feeling drummer everytime. That's what I know to be true in my world. So it doesn't matter if you have killer chops, what really matters is how good can you make the music feel. Chops help, they are not essential necessarily, and they have to be in the proper measure. Feel is King.
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  #6  
Old 03-23-2013, 03:52 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Wow Eric said that? Compliments don't get much higher than that. His drumming feels so good, it just goes right by. No matter what chops a person has, the guitarist will always go with the good feeling drummer everytime. That's what I know to be true in my world. So it doesn't matter if you have killer chops, what really matters is how good can you make the music feel. Chops help, they are not essential necessarily, and they have to be in the proper measure. Feel is King.
Yeah, EC has always felt that way. Same with Jim Keltner..both knew Jim Gordon was on another level.

Here's my favorite Jim Gordon recording. He's unrelenting with the slick ride cymbal work. Unless you are really old, most people don't understand that DATD were way ahead of their time and people didn't understand what was going on. :) There's actually a bootleg of Layla in Tampa FL, December 1970..., where you could hear the guy recording yelling, 'What the hell is this?!" :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kpTDIiwxps
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  #7  
Old 03-23-2013, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Yes, he has a great musical feel and has probably forgotten more hits than most people will ever get to play on. But I get uneasy heaping praise on someone who bashed his mother's head with a hammer and then stabbed her to death with a knife because of psychosis or the voices in his head. Mark David Chapman heard voices as well, but his name evokes anger, rather than pity or tragedy. I admit I have a double standard with this 'talent gap' as well, though I stop short of dismissing Gordon's actions as beyond his control.

Even so, I found this story encouraging, a kind of redemption:

http://fresnoalliance.com/wordpress/?p=4680

-John

Last edited by JohnW; 03-24-2013 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:56 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Wow John fantastic article. Pure gold. What a tragedy he is incarcerated. He still has "it' too. How can something be so wonderful and so tragic simultaneously?
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2013, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I just had a great idea. Would it not be cool if we started an online petition to get Jim Gordon out of jail. That would be so satisfying. Kind of a thank you for everything he gave us. Any advise on how to implement that would be appreciated. I mean, if that act, killing his mother, is the only violent thing the man ever did in his whole life, well maybe it was a freak occurrence that was beyond his control at the time, given his mental condition and the state of mental health treatment in those days.. He served a lot of time. Close to thirty years, right? That's a lot. I don't think he's a danger to society. He's an older man now. I'm betting the guy isn't going to kill anyone anymore. That would be such a great thing if we could pull this off. I feel it's our duty and responsibility to at least try. I want him as a member here so bad, just so his knowledge doesn't fade away. I want to do this.

I'm serious about this. I think we should put all of Drummerworlds weight and influence behind this. This should be a call to arms. It's a travesty that he is still in jail. He paid his price, he's square with the house IMO. So.....

Who's with me!?
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2013, 07:09 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I would sign something that would have a review of his case. That he has been closely monitored for 30 years is probably a factor in keeping him from hurting himself or others. Now I don't see jail as a solution for him, but I also don't think just letting him free without supervision would work either. Someone with experience handling mental health issues and how it affects recidivism in violent crimes would have a better idea.

Ed Blackwell's daughter Nearin is another tragic case. She stabbed her boyfriend, who allegedly abused her, to death in 2005:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/FREE-N...08156939222506

In both of these cases there are factors we don't know about; just what we read. But they should be brought out into the daylight.

-John
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2013, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
Yes, he has a great musical feel and has probably forgotten more hits than most people will ever get to play on. But I get uneasy heaping praise on someone who bashed his mother's head with a hammer and then stabbed her to death with a knife because of psychosis or the voices in his head. Mark David Chapman heard voices as well, but his name evokes anger, rather than pity or tragedy. I admit I have a double standard with this 'talent gap' as well, though I stop short of dismissing Gordon's actions as beyond his control.

Even so, I found this story encouraging, a kind of redemption:

http://fresnoalliance.com/wordpress/?p=4680

-John
I actually read that story before starting this thread. Very cool.

Speaking only for myself, Mark David Chapman's name doesn't evoke anger from me any more than Gordon's does. I studied abnormal psychology in college and I think that experience has influenced my take on matters involving serious mental illness.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:26 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I just had a great idea. Would it not be cool if we started an online petition to get Jim Gordon out of jail. [/size]
I'm not sure, but I think its been done, or one existed at one time, in California. He was just up for parole a little while ago. If I recall reported in Rolling Stone.

Nevertheless, it would be cool to start another one and here at DW would be a great place to start. How do we all e-sign?
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  #13  
Old 03-25-2013, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Originally Posted by JohnW View Post
Even so, I found this story encouraging, a kind of redemption:

http://fresnoalliance.com/wordpress/?p=4680

-John
THANKS! that was a great story and another example of the uplifting spirit music brings. I hope he is still playing music even if a prison.
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  #14  
Old 03-25-2013, 07:53 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I recently shared my intentions with a fellow band mate. He told me that Jim Gordon has a lot of money from royalties, and if it was possible for him to get out, he already has the monetary resources to do so. I don't know if that is factual. He allegedly has a co writing credit for "Layla" as far as I understand.

And since he is so closely supervised, perhaps this is the reason that he hasn't been violent. Once someone with mental health issues finds a drug that actually helps them, after they take it a while and start to feel good, they feel they no longer need it, and the cycle repeats itself. I don't know enough about Jim's condition to understand exactly what he's enduring.

I just think it's a damn shame that his talent is just sitting there, unused.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
I recently shared my intentions with a fellow band mate. He told me that Jim Gordon has a lot of money from royalties, and if it was possible for him to get out, he already has the monetary resources to do so. I don't know if that is factual. He allegedly has a co writing credit for "Layla" as far as I understand.

And since he is so closely supervised, perhaps this is the reason that he hasn't been violent. Once someone with mental health issues finds a drug that actually helps them, after they take it a while and start to feel good, they feel they no longer need it, and the cycle repeats itself. I don't know enough about Jim's condition to understand exactly what he's enduring.

I just think it's a damn shame that his talent is just sitting there, unused.
Larry, I think it's a shame and a waste, too. It would be great if there were a way to objectively review his case with the goal of having him released and monitored for his protection as well as others. That's assuming he wants to leave and would be able to deal with everything including the public and press.

You may have stumbled upon this; I'm sure it made it to this message board at one time:

http://jamiethompson.net/jim_gordon.htm

The worst case scenario would be the story of Jack Abbott, who murdered an inmate in prison, but was released after having his parole championed by Norman Mailer. He wrote to Mailer, who recognized Abbott's writing ability and helped get him released, as well as get his book published. 6 weeks later, he murdered a man over an argument outside of that man's family restaurant.

Now, this is a completely different situation from Jack Abbott. Still, I think any movement to release him should move very cautiously.

And to 8Mile- I don't feel anger any more at Mark Chapman, though I still I believe it was a highly selfish act. But at the time, I saw him only as a person trying to get into the limelight without any merit. I didn't look at the mental illness associated with it.

-John
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:13 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

From Wikipedia: On 10 July 1984 Gordon was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison. As of March 2013, James Beck Gordon, prisoner #C89262, age 67, admission date 13 July 1984, is still serving his sentence at the California Medical Facility, a specialist medical and psychiatric prison in Vacaville, California.

So how does this work? By July 13, 2000 he had served the 16 years and then did he started having parol hearings after that? How often do they hold parol hearings? The guy has served almost 29 years now!

Ya, I would say Jim needs some help/support from the outside. If he does have alot of money, there may be somebody (Family/friend/manager) with control of his money and they don't want to help him get released.
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Sign the petition in post# 15

John, thanks for the link to the petition. I signed.
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  #18  
Old 03-26-2013, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Ya, I would say Jim needs some help/support from the outside. If he does have alot of money, there may be somebody (Family/friend/manager) with control of his money and they don't want to help him get released.
Its true he has collected plenty of royalties from Layla (co-written with Clapton) over many years. As I read he has used some of that whilst in prison. He is not rich, but the beauty of a songwriting credit is its income for life.

Its truly sad, but given his state (which none of us know anything about), he may not wish to leave the confines of prison which he knows as home for nearly 30 years. I am hopeful he's still playing music in his prison band at the very least.

I would also guess that in an over-crowded prison system, he must be quite unwell (and judged a hi risk) to have not been let out yet. They are not looking to keep people in prisons.
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

A few comments about Jim Gordon..

Jim is schizophrenic and it's a very challenging mental illness. I won't get into too many details, as they're well documented. Jim checked himself into clinics to receive help prior to murdering his mother. What he lacked were the required anti-psychotic medications. Those are make-or-break for schizophrenics, especially. The problem is, upon any release, there is no way to monitor whether he is taking those medicines.

Another interesting point is that he not only received writing credits on Layla, he also wrote and performed the piano outro.

Also, from what I have heard and read, Jim is one of the most , if not the most wealthy prisoner in California due to all of the royalties he has received. The man is loaded, contrary to what I read in this thread.

Anyway, a very sad story obviously, but he seems to be okay with his current situation from what I understand. Man, he was truly the "drummer's drummer".
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Old 03-26-2013, 08:47 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Great post Brian. I didn't know he actually played the outro. You know, as long as he is happy, that's the main thing. I just wish there was a way he could still make music with anyone who wants to record with him. Which there would be no shortage of. Wouldn't it be cool if a concert featuring his old mates could be organized inside the prison, just for opportunity to get Jim on wax, or ones and zeros, again? That way, he's happy, we get new stuff, the prison would surely benefit, and him and everyone around him hopefully would be safe.
Kind of like when Johnny Cash recorded at Folsom. Kinda.
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  #21  
Old 03-26-2013, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

It is indeed a sad story. He is my favorite drummer from the 70s. His sound and playing was second to none back in the day. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:30 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Great post Brian. I didn't know he actually played the outro. You know, as long as he is happy, that's the main thing. I just wish there was a way he could still make music with anyone who wants to record with him. Which there would be no shortage of. Wouldn't it be cool if a concert featuring his old mates could be organized inside the prison, just for opportunity to get Jim on wax, or ones and zeros, again? That way, he's happy, we get new stuff, the prison would surely benefit, and him and everyone around him hopefully would be safe.
Kind of like when Johnny Cash recorded at Folsom. Kinda.
Us selfish listeners demand more! I do think that for the insipration and benefit of the drumming community (present and future), he should be remembered for his music and not for his illness and personal tragedy.

I've always wondered how his playing style and chops have evolved since the 70's, and it would be divine to hear and see him perform again, just once.

/selfish ;)
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:49 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Somewhat OT, but 1:55 "What is this sh**?" ha!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qralsMt6wV0
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Old 03-27-2013, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Most definitely, yes. Most definitely the s**t. Wow that feels even better than the one they released...I wonder if Jim played the outro on piano in concert. Eric nailed the vocal. Gives me chills man. Jim just had a hammerlock on the proverbial g spot right there.
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Old 03-27-2013, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

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Most definitely, yes. Most definitely the s**t. Wow that feels even better than the one they released...I wonder if Jim played the outro on piano in concert. Eric nailed the vocal. Gives me chills man. Jim just had a hammerlock on the proverbial g spot right there.
Yeah, EC was obsessed with Patti Boyd at this point (rightfully so, she was one hot woman) and you can hear that intensity in the vocals.
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Old 04-19-2013, 07:06 AM
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http://www.iem.ac.ru/clapton/article....washpost.html

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Jim Gordon is prisoner C89262 in the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo. He killed his mother on June 3, 1983, by pounding her head with a hammer, then finishing the job with three plunges of a butcher knife into the ribs. He says "You know, I heard the new version of 'Layla' on the radio and I was real surprised. And then I was informed that it was nominated for a Grammy and I was real surprised." Gordon did not petition the prison officials for permission to attend the ceremony, and regarding that said "I watched the show, and when my name was announced, well, I didn't hear it. I'd stepped out of the room. But the other guys said, 'Well, you won.'" Concerning the isolation from the rest of the music industry, Gordon said "When the crime happened, they all just turned their backs on me. I don't blame 'em, to tell you the truth. Whatever was taking me down that road, I was on a path of self-destruction and it was nothing that any reputable studio musician or artist would want to be connected with. Because it was kind of a hopeless situation." Apparently Gordon believes that he didn't commit the crime, but rather that the crime "happened" and says "When I remember the crime, it's kind of like a dream. I can remember going through what happened in that space and time, and it seems kind of detached, like I was going through it on some other plane. It didn't seem real." According to police reports, when they found him he feared that the person who killed his mother might come for him too, and in the police car he sobbed "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, but she's tortured me for years." He was pretty consistently known as an All-American type, with Frank Zappa even nicknaming him "Skippy." Gordon did admit that Speedballs were commonplace on the 1971 Joe Cocker "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour, when he claims he was dating Rita Coolidge. A journalist who wrote a never released book on Gordon says he once showed her a letter from Gordon's father written in 1969 urging him to get psychiatric help. However, the letter apparently made no references to the voices that Gordon heard. The most powerful voice was that of his mother. The voice would deny him food, with Gordon starving himself for days and then hiding in a motel to eat fried chicken. The voice also caused him pain, denied him sleep and relaxation, caused him to be sullen and incommunicative with the occasional violent outburst, and, finally, refused to let him play drums. He says "My mother, she persecuted me a great deal, I felt. And it finally got so bad that I just gave up and got a condominium and just stayed indoors. I didn't ever go anyplace. That's when I started hearing voices, and having delusional thoughts and hallucations, and all of a sudden the crime occurred." Predictably, his work dwindled to nothing. In 1977, he began a series of aborted hospital stays. His last work was in 1979 when he got a gig with Paul Anka in Las Vegas. A few bars into the opening song, he walked off stage, unable to play. Today, he says he no longer hears the voices. He says he is on two medications, Navane for acute paranoid schizophrenia, and another one for depression, which Gordon says stems from prison life. Talking about the crime, he says "I was in a real strange place then. What I was imagining and what was real -- I still don't know the answer to that...but something always confronted me and didn't allow me to go along the lines I wanted to go along. And well, it just ruined my life." His lawyer says "[Gordon] truly believed he was acting in self-defense," and calls him "the most tragic case of my career." Gordon had a well-documented history of mental problems and a firm diagnosis of acute schizophrenia, yet was found guilty of second degree murder due to a then-recent change in California law severely restricting the insanity defense. He had made statements right after the crime admitting it ws wrong to kill. So, in May 1984, the court sentenced him to 16 years to life. Most of his time has been at Atascadero State Hospital. Parole has been denied him twice. His finances are in good shape, in spite of all this, due to royalties from Layla and other Dominos work, work with Traffic, and work with George Harrison, among other things. Finally, he says "As far as getting back toanything I was doing before 1981, it's pretty grim. Unless -- what I'd like to do is get in some kind of touring situation, maybe contribute a little bit with my writing." As a meek afterthought, he adds "I'd still like to play with Eric."
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Old 04-19-2013, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

So sad and tragic. What a great drummer. It really is sad.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79NKuLETtCg

12:30

Jojo who? :D
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:14 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Aw7Jai7peM

so slick
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  #30  
Old 05-23-2013, 07:25 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Jim Gordon denied parole until 2018.

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/ne...arole-20130517

http://ultimateclassicrock.com/jim-g...denied-parole/
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:08 AM
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOHVSi65bPk

30:00 the "big Jim Gordon beat" 27:00.. "down animal ! ! " great, and sort of dumb. :) forgot about this!
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:49 AM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Frank Zappa and the Grand Wazoo Orchestra 1972 w/ Jim Gordon & many friends

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xrqed...mOCJQJv8BaSb4P

Same tour in Boston. Gosh, what a drummer.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvUR5h3Srqs

Last edited by Brian; 07-12-2013 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 07-12-2013, 05:28 PM
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

He was one of those players who you really couldn't adequately describe him as a drummer alone. He was real musician. Played EXACTLY what the song required and indeed had a fabulous drum tone for the time. A lot of folks don't realize he wrote the piano coda to Layla.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:04 AM
drumphil31 drumphil31 is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I played a concert for NASCAR in Charlotte,nc back in 2003.i was playing with Sammy Johns.in rehearsals I asked about the song Chevy Van.Jim played it in one take.the only form of payment he wanted was two hookers and a bag of cocaine.i was stunned when Sammy told me that story...
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Old 07-29-2013, 06:45 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Brian thanks for all the links. Drumphil, interesting. Sad too.
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Old 07-30-2013, 04:42 AM
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8Mile 8Mile is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

I mean, for two hookers and a bag of cocaine, I could probably find a way to lay down a pretty mean drum track myself!

Always in bad taste,
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:05 PM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Despite the above, it was likely Jim's alcoholism (stemming from his father, hence the letter) that was the killer.
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Old 08-02-2013, 08:11 PM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlwhizslJMw

solo starting around 11:00. It's a Larry special with a solid groove and interesting phrasing.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:40 PM
Brian Brian is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/JIM-G...9090?sk=photos

Some interesting pictures of Jim and other musicians of the day
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  #40  
Old 09-22-2013, 10:23 PM
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opentune opentune is offline
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Default Re: Jim Gordon

Brian thanks for those. The one shown has been inverted - mirror imaged. Jim Gordon is a righty (not lefty)

(I don't like when photos do that)
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