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Old 09-25-2015, 03:39 PM
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Default Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon


SKF NOTE: When Jim Keltner called me at Modern Drummer to ask if we would be interested in interviewing his friend, Jim Gordon, the answer was an unequivocal yes. It was a time when we MD Editors felt, to an extent, as if we were playing catch up securing interviews with the long line of drummers we felt deserved interviewing. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: before MD there were few published indepth interviews with drummers.

What I didn't write in my 1983 introduction to this interview is that Keltner was asking about MD interest in a Jim Gordon interview for two reasons. Gordon's career, of course, was enough to warrant a MD feature interview. But Keltner was also asking because he thought a MD interview might raise Gordon's spirits. Gordon was feeling very low. In fact, five months after this interview was published, Jim Gordon murdered his mother. A very sad, tragic event in a remarkable music career.

Also, MD's yes was no guarantee Jim Gordon would say yes. But if MD was interested, then Keltner would float the idea with Gordon.

I don't remember if I called Jim Gordon the night of this interview or if he called me. What I do remember, vividly, is that it was after normal work hours and I was alone in my room at the rooming house where I lived. I was neither expecting to interview Jim Gordon at this time, nor had I done any preparation for this interview.

That is, I was familiar with Delaney & Bonnie, Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Derek & the Dominos, Gordon Lightfoot -- but I hadn't time to study Jim Gordon's musical career. Ideally, I would have listened to as much as possible of his music, and read as much about him, prepared a list of questions/topics, before interviewing him.

But, as I say, there was no guarantee Jim would say yes to an interview. Our phone conversation this night was, in my mind, an introductory phone call. At first, I'm sure my goal was to gain Jim Gordon's confidence and to set up a later day/time for our interview.

So when Jim was ready for an interview that night, I scrambled, not wanting to tell him I wasn’t ready, only to find out another day he had changed his mind. Fortunately I had a small cassette recorder, a land line telephone, and a Radio Shack suction cup mic on hand. I don't think I had any blank tapes. Instead, I think I reused a couple of cassettes on hand.

I asked Jim Gordon my first question and then, as I like to do, just listened. Just let him talk and let the tape roll. I based my questions on what I knew about Jim Gordon, and thought of new questions based on the story Jim was telling me. For example, I was familiar with Gary Puckett & the Union Gap, Mike Post, Larry Bunker, and other people and things Jim spoke about.

Finally there was the issue of photos to accompany this feature interview. Again, we ran into whether or not Jim Gordon would be okay with a stranger/photographer taking a series of photos. We were also running up against the clock. If MD was going to publish this interview as scheduled, we needed photos.

Jim Keltner, I believe, suggested his son, Eric, take the photos. Eric was a young guy, but MD had used his photos in the November 1981 interview with his father. So I gave Eric Keltner the green light, Jim Gordon was okay with Eric coming to the house and taking photos, and those are the photos we used.

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals Click Here to Read Full Interview
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Old 09-25-2015, 05:16 PM
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

What a find. Probably some of the last words the drumming community heard from Jim before his long and ongoing incarceration.
He emphasizes his listening skill in making his many tasteful drum parts.
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Old 09-27-2015, 07:48 PM
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Zero Mercury Drummer Zero Mercury Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

Wow- pretty cool. I don't have time to read this right now, but I definitely will.
The violence he committed will always overshadow his career, and maybe for good reason. He strikes me as part of the dark side of that era and he is always shrouded in mystery.
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Old 09-27-2015, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

I re-read this a second time. An excellent article, very revealing of his opinions on himself, others, equipment..etc. I don't think I've ever come across as much from Jim ....about Jim. He clearly listens to a lot.
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Old 09-29-2015, 10:23 PM
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

Another gem here Scott. I was just listening to Pretzel Logic on yesterday's commute.

This is also a sad reminder of how mental illness can wreak havoc on the lives of individuals and their families.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

SKF Blog Audio: Jim Gordon on Derek and the Dominos

In this third audio excerpt, Jim Gordon talks about the formation of Derek and the Dominos, rehearsing and recording with that band, and about his drum solo on "Derek and the Dominos in Concert."

The full back story and the published Jim Gordon interview are posted here.

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals
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Old 03-13-2017, 09:56 PM
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Bruce M. Thomson Bruce M. Thomson is offline
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

Wonderful interview; he seemed to be in a mellow place and quite secure about his life. I read a piece in Modern Drummer a few years back and drummers were picking their favorite drummers and Jim Gordon came up quite a bit, I know that Jeff Porcaro really liked him and used him as an example on how to play to the song. It was mentioned by one drummer that he was sort too sweet a guy and that the life on the road and it's inherent (the 70's) after show lifestyle really was not for him and that he may have been a bit overwhelmed by it, in conjunction with his undiagnosed mental health issue.
By all accounts he was described as a very musical drummer again referring to his listening abilities and his talent for playing what he heard.
Thank you for posting.
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:34 AM
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Default Re: Scott K Fish Interview: Jim Gordon

Really, really good stuff Scott. Thank you for sharing this.

The more I get "woke" to what it really means to be a good player, the more I appreciate and draw inspiration from Jim's playing. Tragic what mental illness did to him (and his mother) and it's truly sad that we've missed out on so many more years of his playing as a result.
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