Dave Tough


Junior Member
I just read the biography of Dave Tough here.

Here are some things to add. They are from my personal knowledge, stated to me by Dave Tough's widow, Margaret (an African American) in the spring of 1954, while we were both employed in the Public Library, Newark, New Jersey: I recently tried to document Margaret's employment there, but the library never responded.

Dave discharged for medical reasons: Margaret said that he had epilepsy. I never discussed his death with Margaret, but it is possible thatt the cause of the fatal fall was a seizure. There is a subtle suggestion in this site's biography that he was dissolute. I don't know, but i think his death was more likely caused by his health problems.

He played with Artie Shaw's Navy band: yes, and he had seizures there (sometimes while on the band stand). Shaw actually had him put in the brig because he could not perform reliably because of that. So Tough hated Shaw. The band members were uncomfortable because they didn't know when the seizures would strike.

He had a daughter, whom I met, but i cannot remember her name. I think she was in her twenties in 1954. i tried to purchase Dave's practice books and drums, but they were not for sale.


Junior Member
PS. Margaret also told me that Davey detested Dixieland. He thought it was reactionary.

Also, that he was the first to design the small bass drum, for ease of transport, as we was physically small.


Well-known member
I've recently got a copy of the book and have begun working from it.

I think it was a book way ahead of it's time myself.

Very cool indeed - especially voicing the exercises / accents around the toms.

In my opinion, if you like to practice this kind of stuff, it's well worth the time to download, print and bind.