Favorite drummer stories?

TK-421

Senior Member
Does anyone have any favorite stories you've heard about other drummers? Preferably famous drummers, but it could be anyone. For me, it would be the infamous "sushi story" involving Vinnie Colaiuta (as told by Steve Vai):

I'll tell you a really great Vinnie story. He's one of the most amazing sight-readers that ever existed on the instrument. One day we were in a Frank rehearsal, this was early '80s, and Frank brought in this piece of music called "Mo 'N Herb's Vacation." Just unbelievably complex. All the drums were written out, just like "The Black Page" except even more complex. There were these runs of like 17 over 3 and every drumhead is notated differently. And there were a whole bunch of people there, I think Bozzio was there.

Vinnie had this piece of music on the stand to his right. To his left he had another music stand with a plate of sushi on it, okay? Now the tempo of the piece was very slow, like "The Black Page." And then the first riff came in, [mimics bizarre Zappa-esque drum rhythm patterns] with all these choking of cymbals, and hi-hat, ruffs, spinning of rototoms and all this crazy stuff. And I saw Vinnie reading this thing. Now, Vinnie has this habit of pushing his glasses up with the middle finger of his right hand. Well I saw him look at this one bar of music, it was the last bar of music on the page. He started to play it as he was turning the page with one hand, and then once the page was turned he continued playing the riff with his right hand, as he reached over with his left hand, grabbed a piece of sushi and put it in his mouth, continued the riff with his left hand and feet, pushed his glasses up, and then played the remaining part of the bar.

It was the sickest thing I have ever seen. Frank threw his music up in the air. Bozzio turned around and walked away. I just started laughing.
 

SirSwingsAlot

Well-known member
I don’t have any stories that come to mind but thank you for sharing the Vinnie story. That’s the most Vinnie thing to do. Attack of the 20 pound sushi roll?
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Okay, this was 1969. I was working at a "head" shop in Haight Ashbury San Francisco. It was late afternoon and in walks Keith Moon and John Entwhistle. The Who was playing the Filmore that night. Anyway, Moon bought a bunch of tie dye stuff and some silver rings and hands me a Benjamin out of a very large roll of bills. He had 20 dollars and change coming back and told me to keep it. I told him that was nice, and the largest tip I'd ever received. He laughed and said "That's no tip my boy." He reached in his pocket and pulled out a coin, tossed it to me and said "This is your tip for the evening, love." Then he and Entwhistle walked out, He threw me and English half pennny!!!! BIG SPENDER, EH??? That night I went to the concert, got backstage and partied with the Who until they went on stage.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Seems silly now, but at the time.,

It was 1991 or so. I was going to PIT at the time.

I went to the Baked Potato (a small jazz club in Los Angeles) to see Greg Bisonette playing with a small group made of up top LA session players who were playing jazz/fusion and generally just blowing off steam. The place is small, and I have a seat right behind Greg's kit.

The place has 2 drink minimum, which they strictly enforced at the time.

I ordered my first beer, watch the set. The band takes a break. During the break, in walks Matt Sorum, with Guns and Roses.
Now, keep in mind, this is 1991, the Use Your Illusion Albums are way up in the charts, and GnR are packing stadiums at the time. There was no bigger band at that moment.

He comes up to me and asks me if this seat is taken? Of course, I say no, and he and another guy sit down. As the 2nd set is about to begin the waitress comes and takes his order, and my 2nd drink order. And so, I sat there, with Matt Sorum watching Greg Bissonette. Later, she brings him his bill. He looks at it, and remarks "that's a lot of money for a couple of beers" but he pulls out some cash and pays it. I wait patiently for the waitress to bring me my bill. I wait and wait, and finally, they're putting up the chairs and mopping the floors. I finally realize, holy cow, that's what Matt meant about a lot of money, she put my 2 drinks on his bill!

So I walk out and head to my car. But then I see Matt Sorum in the parking lot talking to someone. So I sheepishly go up to him and say "uh, Matt, I think the waitress put my drinks on your bill..." I mean sure he's a rockstar, and I was a starving student, but I felt compelled to make it right. He paused and said, "whatever, it's already been paid..."

I couldn't believe the drummer from Guns and Roses just bought me drinks, even if it was unintentional!
 
I guess I have two favorites. The first is the story about U2's Larry Mullen Jr telling Brian Eno that the click track they were working on was off by the tiniest bit...and being absolutely right:

"I was working with Larry Mullen, Jr on one of the U2 albums," Eno tells the New Yorker magazine. "'All That You Don't Leave Behind', or whatever it's called."

"I said, 'No, that can't be so, Larry'," Eno recalls. "'We've all worked to that track, so it must be right'. But he said, 'Sorry, I just can't play to it'."

Mullen thought that the click track was slightly off and insisted it was a fraction of a beat behind the rest of the band. “I said, No, that can’t be so, Larry,” Eno recalls. “We’ve all worked to that track, so it must be right.” But he said, “Sorry, I just can’t play to it.”

Eno eventually adjusted the click to Mullen’s satisfaction, but he was just humouring him.

It was only after the drummer had left, that Eno checked the original track again and realised that Mullen was right: the click was off by six milliseconds.

"The thing is," Eno says, "when we were adjusting it I once had it two milliseconds to the wrong side of the beat, and he said, 'No, you've got to come back a bit'. Which I think is absolutely staggering."
The other is the great story about Charlie Watts. The band was supposed to record, but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards went out and got drunk. Finally, at 3am or something, Jagger calls Charlie's hotel room, and when Watts answers, says, "I'm ready for my drummer now." Charlie gets up, shaves—"I could smell his aftershave," Richards later said when telling the story—gets perfectly dressed in a gorgeous suit, and goes down to Mick's room. When Mick opens the door, Charlie punches him in the face, laying him out. Watts stands over Jagger and said, "Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer!"
 

TK-421

Senior Member
The other is the great story about Charlie Watts. The band was supposed to record, but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards went out and got drunk. Finally, at 3am or something, Jagger calls Charlie's hotel room, and when Watts answers, says, "I'm ready for my drummer now." Charlie gets up, shaves—"I could smell his aftershave," Richards later said when telling the story—gets perfectly dressed in a gorgeous suit, and goes down to Mick's room. When Mick opens the door, Charlie punches him in the face, laying him out. Watts stands over Jagger and said, "Don’t ever call me your drummer again. You’re my fucking singer!"
It's a little hard to picture Charile doing that, even under the circumstances. It's a great story though, where did you hear this one?
 
It's a little hard to picture Charile doing that, even under the circumstances. It's a great story though, where did you hear this one?
If you google it, you'll find it's been widely reported; some of the details change here and there but the gist is pretty much always the same. Mick says it didn't happen, Charlie seems to refuse to confirm or deny it at all, and Keef swears it's true.

This is from his autobiography—you'll note I got some of the details wrong...or did I? I mean, sure, Keith Richards was there, but does anyone really believe he's an utterly reliable narrator? :)

There was a rare moment, in late 1984, of Charlie throwing his drummer’s punch – a punch I’ve seen a couple of times and it’s lethal; it carries a lot of balance and timing. He has to be badly provoked. He threw this one at Mick. We were in Amsterdam for a meeting. Mick and I weren’t on great terms at the time, but I said, c’mon, let’s go out. And I lent him the jacket I got married in. We got back to the hotel about five in the morning and Mick called up Charlie. I said, don’t call him, not at this hour. But he did, and said, ‘Where’s my drummer?’ No answer. He puts the phone down. Mick and I were still sitting there, pretty pissed – give Mick a couple of glasses, he’s gone – when, about twenty minutes later, there was a knock at the door. There was Charlie Watts, Savile Row suit, perfectly dressed, tie, shaved, the whole fucking bit. I could smell the cologne! I opened the door and he didn’t even look at me, he walked straight past me, got hold of Mick and said, ‘Never call me your drummer again.’ Then he hauled him up by the lapels of my jacket and gave him a right hook. Mick fell back onto a silver platter of smoked salmon on the table and began to slide towards the open window and the canal below it. And I was thinking, this is a good one, and then I realized it was my wedding jacket. And I grabbed hold of it and caught Mick just before he slid into the Amsterdam canal. It took me twenty-four hours after that to talk Charlie down. I thought I’d done it when I took him up to his room, but twelve hours later, he was saying, ‘Fuck it, I’m gonna go down and do it again.’ It takes a lot to wind that man up. ‘Why did you stop him?’ My jacket, Charlie, that’s why!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
It's a little hard to picture Charile doing that, even under the circumstances. It's a great story though, where did you hear this one?
I've heard that one 1,000 times. Though the details are always a little different every time I hear (read) it, which sort of brings the whole thing into question.

Suppositively, the source is Keith Richard's autobiography
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Honestly, it was the "You're my singer" bit that I found the hardest to believe, as it sounds incredibly cocky—more like an embellishment than fact. Which, coincidentally, is not part of either Keith Richards story posted here.

Slugging Mick at 3am for being a drunken ass is something I could see.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Honestly, it was the "You're my singer" bit that I found the hardest to believe, as it sounds incredibly cocky—more like an embellishment than fact. Which, coincidentally, is not part of either Keith Richards story posted here.

Slugging Mick at 3am for being a drunken ass is something I could see.
Agreed. I tend to be pretty aggravated with people who wake me up for no good reason.
 
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