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Old 01-24-2016, 12:44 AM
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Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
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Default Earl Palmer: I Wasn't Quite Sure What I Wanted to Do with My Life

Earl Palmer: I Wasn't Quite Sure What I Wanted to Do with My Life

SKF NOTE: I had this phone conversation with Earl Palmer on February 28, 1981. This is another of my Modern Drummer History of Rock Drumming five-part series backgrounder interviews.

I am so grateful to be posting these interviews for the first time having the internet for fact checking. Several misspelled names in my original transcript are corrected here. And, as always, where I could find a link to more and credible information about people and places mentioned here, I did so.

I think I transcribed Earl Palmer's and my opening phone greeting at a time when I was transcribing interviews verbatim -- every um, y'know, er -- to help me better understand how people actually spoke.

Also, Earl has an interesting way of speaking in this interview. Several times he starts a sentence, drops in a clarifying sentence or phrase, then finishes his original sentence. It is likely I would have rewritten some of these sentences, using Earl's own words, had this interview appeared in Modern Drummer. But this transcript is verbatim. Where I thought Earl's use of pronouns -- usually the word he -- was confusing to read, I inserted the proper noun in brackets.

As with all my backgrounder interviews, I don't know if there is new information here. But I think it's good to have these interviews as part of the public record of these great musicians

Scott K Fish: Yeah. (Pause). What kind of equipment were you using on those recordings?

Earl Palmer: The first set I had I bought from a friend of my mother's. He's now the head of the Olympia Brass Band. Harold Dejan. He was married to my Aunt Rose. He had a set of drums that somebody pawned him or something.

The first set I had was an old Leedy set with the lights on the inside and the waterfall and the nude lady [on the front bass drum head] and all. I had to change that because we played a lot of churches with Dave's band. But it was great on Bourbon Street. And I was working with Harold on Bourbon Street at the time.

I'll never forget the first record date I went on. I needed some new cymbals. So I went to a place called Morris Music Shop on Rampart Street and it had a pawn shop section to it. And I bought some of the worst cymbals you ever heard. 'Cause they looked great. They were brand new shiny brass looking cymbals. They were terrible! But I didn't know the difference. What the hell. They were brand new. I didn't even know how to test a cymbal.

I brought them to the studio and Dave said, "Man, if you don't get those things out of here I'm gonna fire you." So I think I borrowed some cymbals from Vernell Fournier. Because the ones I had were even better, but I had given them away already.

That was for Fats Domino's first record, Detroit City Blues.

SKF: You had that Leedy set and Vernell's cymbals?

EP: Yeah.

SKF: And did you use that set with Sam Cooke and Little Richard?

EP: No. A couple of months after that I realized what a lousy set that was and how much I overpaid my dear Uncle Harold. How much he overcharged me for that lousy set of drums!

I bought a set of Gretsch at Werlein's Music Store on Canal Street, and I used that for quite awhile.

I later got some Ludwig's and then another set of Gretsch. Now, fortunately I haven't had to buy a set for the last 15 or 20 years.

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals Click Here to Read Full Earl Palmer Interview
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:54 PM
J-Boogie J-Boogie is offline
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Default Re: Earl Palmer: I Wasn't Quite Sure What I Wanted to Do with My Life

So I had to borrow my Pops car, and Im driving along. Oh look there are some cd's in the car door, Im hopeful, maybe its here. So I start looking, Carole King...ok Pops, Tina Turner....alright, Bruce Springsteen....Pops?, THERE IT IS....Sam Cooke! Yea buddy, bring it on home, yea, YEA, yea, YEA! Nice Pops! I just assume my fav's are all Earl Palmer....Bring it on home, Cupid, Wonderful World, Another Saturday Night!! Awesome stuff. Love the drum intro in Bring It On Home.
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