Clem Burke

boomstick

Silver Member
Pretty surprised to see there wasn't a thread dedicated to Clem, so I decided to start one. He was a strong influence on me, and really contributed to the Blondie sound, I thought. I came across this live performance of Blondie in 1978, and what really struck me is how much fun he seems to be having. Dude is definitely into it. The video crew seemed to notice too, as he gets a lot of camera time.

Edit: Old link now broken. Here's a new one. Amazing 1979 concert at the Apollo. Dig those stick twirls!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZNC9d_w98
 
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geezer

Senior Member
Big Clem Burke fan here - I remember wanting a Premier kit when I was a kid because he played one. I also remember how flat he set up his rack tom and as an easily influenced kid it made an impression and I always steered away from extreme tom angles (and still do to this day).
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I never real paid attention to him til my band started covering some Blondie tunes. A really solid guy with a great sound and ya energy plus!
Anybody try keeping up with his fills on the tune "Dreaming"?
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I also remember how flat he set up his rack tom and as an easily influenced kid it made an impression and I always steered away from extreme tom angles (and still do to this day).
Yeah, I can see that all of his drums/cymbals were set up pretty flat during an era when lots of angles seemed to be the in-thing.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Anybody try keeping up with his fills on the tune "Dreaming"?
I used to be in a band where this song was suggested as a cover tune for us. I actually lobbied for Rapture instead because I thought it would be more of a crowd-pleaser (and I think I was right on that count). It's not as exciting drum-wise, but I actually quite enjoyed playing that groovy beat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9kDW3y268Y

I once heard Clem described as "Hal Blaine meets Keith Moon." I think it's a pretty accurate comparison. Not saying he was an equal, but he certainly had Blaine's reliability and knack for finding the perfect groove for hit songs, and it was mixed with the sort of energy that brings Moon to mind. He was also the glue that held the band together, not just musically, but diplomatically as well. I've read that he kept the band together when they were on the verge of a breakup. It's a reminder to me that a great drummer contributes more than just beats.
 

NVIC

Senior Member
I used to be in a band where this song was suggested as a cover tune for us. I actually lobbied for Rapture instead because I thought it would be more of a crowd-pleaser (and I think I was right on that count). It's not as exciting drum-wise, but I actually quite enjoyed playing that groovy beat.
Ah Rapture. A song I thought was so bad in my youth is now one of my all-time favorites. Clem is grooving big time.. Deb's best vocal too.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Clem is just a great rock drummer.

Lots of energy with a lot of enthusiasm that shines through his playing.

And while he may not be super technical, he was never super simple either. He always found that sweet spot that just make the drum track jump out, and yet totally support the song too.

Although I laugh at some of the horrible drum tones, those were more about the producers and engineers at the time, and not Clem himself.

And Clem did a bit of session work, tours and fill in's with other bands in-between stints with Blondie. He has a pretty impressive resume.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
And Clem did a bit of session work, tours and fill in's with other bands in-between stints with Blondie. He has a pretty impressive resume.
Yes, this part really speaks to his abilities. When multiple A-list artists seek to work with a particular drummer, you know they've got something going on. This is surely where the comparisons to Hal Blaine came from. Apparently, it's been this way with Clem from early on. He did not audition for Blondie. He was "recruited" by Debbie and Chris Stein. Must be nice to be in-demand like that.
 
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