Danny Seraphine

JohnW

Silver Member
I found a thread for him last dated 2009, so let's start fresh.

Tonight, my son and I went to the Drum Shop North Shore in Beverly, MA for a clinic with Danny Seraphine. He played great, along with tracks from Chicago as well as by himself. He was funny, gracious and imparted a lot of wisdom. There were a lot of fans there, drummers who had followed them from the late '60s. I only listened to their big older hits but also knew he had studied with Chuck Flores, Papa Jo Jones and was mentored by Grady Tate. I asked what it was like to study with Papa Jo and his eyes lit up. He just said, "Great...Amazing" pulled out a set of brushes and started playing.

He told some priceless stories about Buddy & Elvin, talked about the Slingerland Drum company and the heyday of the band. My son (who plays acoustic bass) didn't know much of anything about Chicago. But he got a charge out of listening to Danny's wisdom, his humbleness and kick ass groove.

I have a video of him playing but would like to get the OK before posting it.
 

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opentune

Platinum Member
Nice! Would love to meet him. His playing on the 1st few Chicago albums was so great.
Sadly the whole band got so soft and commercial in later 70's into the 80's.
What did he have to say about the Slingerland company?
 

panop

Member
I grew up in Chicago and was a big fan of the band. I actually gave a few lessons to his daughter who was just a lovely girl. She took me to a show and to meet Danny. It was the last tour he did with them. I don't things were very good at the time for him. I was happy to meet him none the less. As good as a drummer as Tris is, that band was never the same after Danny's departure. There is a great documentary about the early days of the band on youtube. If I remember I will try to post a link.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I read his book - it was a great read and he detailed what happened. It was kind of sad. But to me, the band really was different after the death of Terry Kath. It did kind of suck that he was fired after band members complained that his playing wasn't the same, when he could totally argue that he didn't complain when his band mates' playing weren't great due to their rehab, but that's the way it went.

I'm happy that he has started again and his CTA band is absolutely great. He has influenced so many drummers and the whole world knows Chicago was one of kind when he was in it. That band is kind of like the Beach Boys now, where there's only one guy (although there are at least three original members?) and everyone else is not original. My favorite Chicago albums are I, II, and V - those have been on my iPod for the last several months when I finally got them on CD to replace the vinyl records!
 
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Gcort49

Junior Member
A true icon in the drum world. I have seen Chicago 21 times over the early years...about 18 times while Kath/Cetera/Seraphine were still in the band...5 nights at the Fillmore East alone, every night at Carnegie Hall for the GREAT Carnegie Hall Live album..

No band, and no drummer could ever match.

IMO, the band became a glorified lounge band with the lost of TK, the departures of PC and DS.

I tried to sit in concerts in more recent years, and the powerful soulfulness is no longer there. I found myself walking out on 2 occasions.

I have seen, via youtube, better tribute bands than the current lineup.

I have been following Danny's career since the late 60's...a TRUE INSPIRATION.

I have both CTA (California Transit) CD's and practice to both..after 50 years of drumming, still hard to emulate the GREAT Danny
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I met him here in Florida at a clinic and he is just a great guy. We talked afterward about anything but drumming. The clinic was very well structured and he told most of his history. If you get the chance....
 

JohnW

Silver Member
Nice! Would love to meet him. His playing on the 1st few Chicago albums was so great.
Sadly the whole band got so soft and commercial in later 70's into the 80's.
What did he have to say about the Slingerland company?
Regarding Slingerland, not a real lot. Just his early memories of the company. This is just from what I can remember- Basically growing up in Chicago and with his first idol being Gene Krupa, Slingerland was it. A neighbor was a plant manager and took him on a tour of the company and later, before they were huge, he wanted all these endorsement deals (I forgot exactly what it was). They basically said, "yeah, right." Until he took some reps to see them in a stadium with a crowd of 125,000 and all of a sudden he's on the cover of catalogs and getting all this gear. He loved the company and relationship. But he lamented that they "they fell by the wayside". He went through one or two other companies. Now he's hugely into DW.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Hey, Thanks for posting that. Good stuff. Mr. Seraphine is one of my all-time favorite drummers, and Chicago is one of my favorite groups. I had to listen to his interview on "I'd Hit That" after I read this thread last night. I have to read his book, Street Player, now. It baffles me why he stepped away from the drums for 15 years. At least he came back to his senses, but he says he doesn't regret a thing.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hey, Thanks for posting that. Good stuff. Mr. Seraphine is one of my all-time favorite drummers, and Chicago is one of my favorite groups. I had to listen to his interview on "I'd Hit That" after I read this thread last night. I have to read his book, Street Player, now. It baffles me why he stepped away from the drums for 15 years. At least he came back to his senses, but he says he doesn't regret a thing.
Well, not to give away anything in the book, but he wrote about feeling lost when the band let him go - imagine that, you founded the band and they fire you (sorta' like Dennis DeYoung in a way). Plus he had alot of personal issues to deal with, and children he hadn't seen or taken care of. And it's funny as you get older, years go by before you notice you haven't picked up the sticks!
 
I have met Danny on three different occasions with a local Chicago tribute band, and his own band, CTA. What a tremendous musician, and warm, appreciative guy. I couldn't thank him enough for the effort he made when I ordered a personally signed pair of his Pro-Mark sticks which had gotten lost in the mail. Danny himself took another pair to the post office and mailed them, while I was on the phone with his assistant. If you get a chance, check out his two recent releases with his new band...totally awesome. His DVD isn't too shabby either! I look forward to seeing him again soon!
 

newoldie

Silver Member
I got the OK to post this. It probably would have been OK anyway, since other people were taping it as well. But it was such a casual setting, I just wanted to make sure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erEnPrGENpE
Thank you for posting that. I love to watch Danny play and to see him currently is even more of a treat. He was one of my longest inspirations in drumming from the beginning of hearing him play way back when even to today. Buddy Rich said in a 70s interview that DS was one of only several rock players he thought were innovative at the time.
This whole recent strings of posts has reactivated my interest in him and I even bought the Kindle book.
Here's another link to Danny playing 25 or 6 to 4:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSVw0FBJ_cs
 

Brian

Gold Member
Good thread JohnW and great drumming! My father was a Chicago fan growing up and played the sax, I was into hard rock, punk, and metal though. As I became older I truly found out how great the musicianship was.

As an aside, I played all of those Cetera piano pieces at recitals then played them at home on the drums. But wasn't mentally attached to Mr. Seraphine's name.

Years ago, I read a MD article - maybe 2006 or 2007- where Danny Seraphine said he came back to drumming? I checked Wiki and didn't find much from 1990 to 2006. Did he take a hiatus there?
 

philrudd

Senior Member
This is sure to be a popular post...

Frankly, I don't get it. I'm just not a fan of Danny Seraphine. I always found his playing overly busy and annoyingly showy. The needlessly-hyper bass drum patterns on 'Old Days' drive me nuts. I understand that coming from a jazz rock background drums are, overall, much busier than standard rock or blues beats, but there's a time to pull back a bit in just about every song ever written. Mitch Mitchell - another rock drummer rooted in jazz - understood this; Danny Seraphine, to my ears, does not.

Given my username and avatar, I'm sure some will assume I'm just 'anti-chops', or only a fan of stripped-down drumming a la AC/DC, the Ramones, etc. Not the case. Stewart Copeland's busy style was what first attracted me to drumming, and I'm a huge fan of 'busy' drummers like Keith Moon, Bill Ward, and the aforementioned Mr. Mitchell. But it's how the 'busyness' is applied that makes the difference.

I've read interviews with Mr. Seraphine and he seems quite likeable and intelligent. He often offers some very interesting insights into both drumming in general, and his time with Chicago in particular. I want to like his drumming.

But I don't.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
This is sure to be a popular post...

Frankly, I don't get it. I'm just not a fan of Danny Seraphine. I always found his playing overly busy and annoyingly showy. The needlessly-hyper bass drum patterns on 'Old Days' drive me nuts. I understand that coming from a jazz rock background drums are, overall, much busier than standard rock or blues beats, but there's a time to pull back a bit in just about every song ever written. Mitch Mitchell - another rock drummer rooted in jazz - understood this; Danny Seraphine, to my ears, does not.

Given my username and avatar, I'm sure some will assume I'm just 'anti-chops', or only a fan of stripped-down drumming a la AC/DC, the Ramones, etc. Not the case. Stewart Copeland's busy style was what first attracted me to drumming, and I'm a huge fan of 'busy' drummers like Keith Moon, Bill Ward, and the aforementioned Mr. Mitchell. But it's how the 'busyness' is applied that makes the difference.

I've read interviews with Mr. Seraphine and he seems quite likeable and intelligent. He often offers some very interesting insights into both drumming in general, and his time with Chicago in particular. I want to like his drumming.

But I don't.
I'm cool with you ;)

That's why this place is a forum - so people can exchange ideas. There's alot of drummers (and people in general) that I don't like. I don't try to change anybody's mind - they have to discover stuff for themselves. At least you listened and discovered you're not into it, which is much more than some people do these days.
 
This is sure to be a popular post...

Frankly, I don't get it. I'm just not a fan of Danny Seraphine. I always found his playing overly busy and annoyingly showy. The needlessly-hyper bass drum patterns on 'Old Days' drive me nuts. I understand that coming from a jazz rock background drums are, overall, much busier than standard rock or blues beats, but there's a time to pull back a bit in just about every song ever written. Mitch Mitchell - another rock drummer rooted in jazz - understood this; Danny Seraphine, to my ears, does not.

Given my username and avatar, I'm sure some will assume I'm just 'anti-chops', or only a fan of stripped-down drumming a la AC/DC, the Ramones, etc. Not the case. Stewart Copeland's busy style was what first attracted me to drumming, and I'm a huge fan of 'busy' drummers like Keith Moon, Bill Ward, and the aforementioned Mr. Mitchell. But it's how the 'busyness' is applied that makes the difference.

I've read interviews with Mr. Seraphine and he seems quite likeable and intelligent. He often offers some very interesting insights into both drumming in general, and his time with Chicago in particular. I want to like his drumming.

But I don't.
Hmm. You mention "Old Days" (one of my most hated songs, I don't know if anybody could have saved that Peter Cetera nonsense). Do you find Seraphine's drumming to be bad on all, or most songs? Like "Beginnings" or "25 or 6 to 4"? I would say both of those songs benefit from his approach to drumming.

I met Seraphine at one of his drummer shows, he seems nice and friendly but is definitely an opinionated guy. That group (Chicago) had some serious rivalries and anger going on behind the scenes, I wouldn't be surprised if Seraphine just found "Old Days" boring or lame (apparently Cetera hated the song too) and thought he'd just have fun, like that guitarist on Radiohead's "Creep". Or maybe he couldn't think of anything to fit the song and just started pounding the drums.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I'm a huge fan of 'busy' drummers like Keith Moon, Bill Ward, and the aforementioned Mr. Mitchell.
I take some of your points, but how is Bill Ward busy?

Seraphine is pretty jazz, even big band style. While I gave up long long ago on their later 70's commercial schmalz, the playing on the first Chicago album is a real showcase of both drumming taste and ability (i.e. chops)
 
G

gf2564

Guest
I found a thread for him last dated 2009, so let's start fresh.

Tonight, my son and I went to the Drum Shop North Shore in Beverly, MA for a clinic with Danny Seraphine. He played great, along with tracks from Chicago as well as by himself. He was funny, gracious and imparted a lot of wisdom. There were a lot of fans there, drummers who had followed them from the late '60s. I only listened to their big older hits but also knew he had studied with Chuck Flores, Papa Jo Jones and was mentored by Grady Tate. I asked what it was like to study with Papa Jo and his eyes lit up. He just said, "Great...Amazing" pulled out a set of brushes and started playing.

He told some priceless stories about Buddy & Elvin, talked about the Slingerland Drum company and the heyday of the band. My son (who plays acoustic bass) didn't know much of anything about Chicago. But he got a charge out of listening to Danny's wisdom, his humbleness and kick ass groove.

I have a video of him playing but would like to get the OK before posting it.
I am sure I was one of the few who commented in the old thread.....Danny (besides my dad) is. by far my greatest influence and my favorite drummer of all time. I finally got a chance to talk with him in person back in 2006 after he had put his then new band CTA together.
As everyone else has said, he couldn't have been nicer, more humble and genuine. I saw them again a few days later in Philly in a small venue and it was quite a show. You could tell he was a little rusty from the layoff, but he still played with the great passion that sets him apart from many drummers. I saw him at a drum clinic in Atlanta three years ago and the rust was gone and the fire had intensified! I was a little surprised when he called me by name and remembered where I lived and other things. To me it just reinforces what a sincere, genuine man he really is!
If you get a chance to see his band CTA. do it, all world class players. They would blow current day "Chicago" off the stage! Thanks for posting JohnW!!
 
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