Karen Carpenter

felonious69

Well-known member
I was born in 65. I think Karen was the first time I remember ever witnessing a "girl drummer".
 

felonious69

Well-known member
I watched the videos of Karen before posting them, and she has SO MUCH FUN!

I am watching Bob Ross right now. People like that who always make things look so easy...Karen Carpenter, Bob Ross, Jimi Hendrix, Tim the Tool Man Taylor...Always make me go: "MAN!"
 

Sonorfan

Well-known member
Is it just me or do people tend to underrate Karen Carpenter as a great drummer? I mean, the woman could sing in a gorgeous 3 octave range and keep a beat at the same time. John Bonham couldn't do that. Then they made her stop playing. If you look up videos online you can see how flipping happy it made her to be behind a drum kit. She always thought of herself as a drummer who sang. It really sucks that they took her happy place away from her. What a gift she had. She could play some crazy hard time signatures too. If they allowed her to have more input in the music she and Richard would have been a force and a half. Kind of like Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. Finneas is a production genius and Billie can sing the living daylights out of a song. An interesting side note is that Billie said she always thought Finneas had a better voice than her. Karen didn't think her own voice was that great either.
There is a YouTube vid that shows her sitting at a kit that has 10 maybe more drums, haven’t looked at it in awhile, but her wrists look and act like they are suspended they work so smooth and fast. In the 70s when we had 2 mounted and 2 floor toms we referred to “around the horn” My goal was to get as fast as the drummers in the major Soft Rock groups. After seeing that vid on Karen I agree that she was among the great drummers. There are a few gals in YouTube right now that make some of the guys look ordinary. Maybe it has something to do with those skinny arms and typical female dexterity and not overdeveloped triceps.
 

drummanic58

Well-known member
Apparently her divorce was a trigger for it getting worse. She had a short and very bad marriage.

As far as the marriage goes, from what I can gather I think there were a few factors. 1) She was kind of naive when it came to love. Petula Clark said that she and Karen went to go see Elvis perform in Las Vegas. After the show they went backstage to meet him. After a short time Petula said it occurred to her that Elvis was getting a little flirty. Karen didn't really realize what all was happening. Petula did and says something to Karen like "Karen I think we should go because you have that thing you have to do" and Karen's like "What thing?" (they didn't actually have anything planned) and Petula says "That thing you have to do early tomorrow morning" or something along those lines.

2) The guy she wound up marrying claimed when they met that he had no clue who The Carpenters were. One of their friends was like "What? Are you living under a rock?" and Karen somehow believed him. So again, I think she was just so desperate to find someone and to find love.
I know Karen wanted children so badly. She found out like the day of the wedding that he had gotten a vasectomy.

3) She said that she felt like he was treating her "like a bank". Apparently he bought them each a car. Two matching Rolls Royces. He made her believe he had a bunch of money and he didn't. The cars got repossessed. After she found out about all the financial stuff, she went to her attorney and changed her will so that when she died all of her money would go to her family and he would get the house and everything in it. Considering she never got to sign the divorce papers, that was probably one of the smartest things she did. She died the day she was supposed to sign and finalize the divorce. She was still legally married the day she died.
 
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drummanic58

Well-known member
Karen was awesome... I wish she’d realised that herself...?
I don't know if I already mentioned this or not but after her death one of her best friends, Frenda Franklin was interviewed by The New York Times. Frenda said: "If anorexia has been classified as a young woman's struggle for control, then Karen was a prime candidate, for the two things she valued most in the world--her voice and her mother's love--were exclusively the property of Richard. At least she would control the size of her own body." Pretty sobering. I mean, they wouldn't let her truly be herself because they wanted to maintain that squeaky clean image, they wouldn't let her put out a solo album, her mom never told her "I love you". After she died Richard was saying that after that everyone forgot about him. It's because she was finally at peace. It also brought more awareness to something that was not a very well known condition. Her family didn't realize anorexia nervosa wasn't just a physical condition but it was also an emotional one. I think in her case half of it was about weight and the other half was about just being able to control what she put in her mouth. Her psychiatrist said that the fact that she was taking not only the laxatives but the thyroid medication to speed up her metabolism blew him away. He said in all the years he'd been practicing he had never seen anyone take it to the extreme that Karen had.
 

Benthedrummer

Junior Member
I can only speculate here, but she may have also had perfectionist personality traits as well.

Being a perfectionist can lead to mental health issues if not regulated properly.

There is a big disparity between say striving for excellence vs perfection.

Excellence enables a more realistic set of goals and can help with setting goals that ultimately may lead you to fail.

I have had a life of trying to achieve perfection and it's a dangerous path.

Ever since I've adjusted my attitudes toward a life of excellence.......it's made me be much kinder to myself and far more forgiving.

Karen, what a shame........you poor sweetheart X X
 
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brushes

Well-known member
Karen not a studio drummer? Whatever. I’ve seen her perform on TV and straight-up KILL it. Hal was full of it on that one.
Blaine simply stated that - contrary to the belief of the parents - she wasn't up to the task yet, which is completely okay. Playing in studio is different to playing on stage/before an audience. And yes, it takes time to get to know the acoustics of a studio, the microphones (You don't become an astronaut overnight, too, right?). It ain't like ... "Hey I know how to drum, so let me do the studio session. I intuitively know what to do and don't need to gain any experience and learn something beforehand in order to nail it.". Sorry, whoever thinks that it is THAT simple ignores the reality. Blaine knew what he was talking about and no, there is a difference between arrogace and knowledge. ...Knowledge is often perceived as arrogance by ignorants, as they say.

My 2 cents
 

Bozozoid

Well-known member
As a kid my mom let me stay up to watch Buddy Rich on the Johnny Carson show..i was excited beyond belief. Karen Carpenter was another joy of mine..i was envious of her taste! Behind the kit
 

drummanic58

Well-known member
Blaine simply stated that - contrary to the belief of the parents - she wasn't up to the task yet, which is completely okay. Playing in studio is different to playing on stage/before an audience. And yes, it takes time to get to know the acoustics of a studio, the microphones (You don't become an astronaut overnight, too, right?). It ain't like ... "Hey I know how to drum, so let me do the studio session. I intuitively know what to do and don't need to gain any experience and learn something beforehand in order to nail it.". Sorry, whoever thinks that it is THAT simple ignores the reality. Blaine knew what he was talking about and no, there is a difference between arrogace and knowledge. ...Knowledge is often perceived as arrogance by ignorants, as they say.

My 2 cents

I never realized until I started learning more about The Carpenters how common it is for bands to bring in drummers who are specially trained in playing in a studio. I didn't really think about the difference. But on a record it's you and your voice and what you're singing and that's all that they have to judge it by. If you're playing a live show, the parts don't have to be as perfect. Many artists forget lyrics to their songs in live shows or sing the wrong lyrics. I think a lot of people don't realize that when you're in a studio and you have to do it over and over again, you need a good ear and to be able to play with a strong sound. It costs a lot of money to do take after take. Now, they can isolate each drum individually on each take. So you can hear just the snare or just the bass or toms or whatever. Back then when Richard and Karen were playing they stacked their own vocals. Most artists don't do that. Billie Eilish and Finneas did that on her "When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go" album and she said it took FOREVER. I think she said she thought they would never finish it.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
Blaine simply stated that - contrary to the belief of the parents - she wasn't up to the task yet, which is completely okay. Playing in studio is different to playing on stage/before an audience. And yes, it takes time to get to know the acoustics of a studio, the microphones (You don't become an astronaut overnight, too, right?). It ain't like ... "Hey I know how to drum, so let me do the studio session. I intuitively know what to do and don't need to gain any experience and learn something beforehand in order to nail it.". Sorry, whoever thinks that it is THAT simple ignores the reality. Blaine knew what he was talking about and no, there is a difference between arrogace and knowledge. ...Knowledge is often perceived as arrogance by ignorants, as they say.

My 2 cents

Yes, Blaine was speaking specifically about studio recording, which a "fine drummer" who was "just as good as other drummers on tv" would surely pick up eventually. He wasn't putting down her general playing skills. As I understand it, the main reason why Karen moved from behind the kit to the front of the stage is that's what the audience wanted. They wanted to see the pretty lady out front serenading them, not wailing on buckets in the background, or at least that's what corporate was telling her.
 

Sonorfan

Well-known member
Yes, Blaine was speaking specifically about studio recording, which a "fine drummer" who was "just as good as other drummers on tv" would surely pick up eventually. He wasn't putting down her general playing skills. As I understand it, the main reason why Karen moved from behind the kit to the front of the stage is that's what the audience wanted. They wanted to see the pretty lady out front serenading them, not wailing on buckets in the background, or at least that's what corporate was telling her.
Either way she was fabulous. Still love her velvet voice and song choices. Gone far too soon.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
Is it just me or do people tend to underrate Karen Carpenter as a great drummer? I mean, the woman could sing in a gorgeous 3 octave range and keep a beat at the same time. John Bonham couldn't do that. Then they made her stop playing. If you look up videos online you can see how flipping happy it made her to be behind a drum kit. She always thought of herself as a drummer who sang. It really sucks that they took her happy place away from her. What a gift she had. She could play some crazy hard time signatures too. If they allowed her to have more input in the music she and Richard would have been a force and a half. Kind of like Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. Finneas is a production genius and Billie can sing the living daylights out of a song. An interesting side note is that Billie said she always thought Finneas had a better voice than her. Karen didn't think her own voice was that great either.
Not a fan of either Karen or Billie but comparing the two seems like sacrilege, is like saying Britney Spears can sing.... just like Witney Houston can sing...Anybody can breathe at the mic and call it singing. Is Kanye talented because he writes lyrics and talks (he doesn't sing) about them?
I don't like Rap but find that Eminem's songs have a much more thought out approach to phrasing than a lot of other "artists"...
Karen allowed them to take her happy place away can't feel sorry for her because of that... you fight for what you want.. yes she is underrated.
 

doggyd69b

Well-known member
I'm not in the habit of discussing "what could have been" under different circumstances. Speculation is a reshaping of reality, and a considerable serving of wishful fiction is always part of the recipe. As an expression of respect for Miss Carpenter's achievements, I will state merely that her voice was exquisite beyond compare and that her recordings are a gift to anyone with ears. Our heritage of music would be reduced without her contributions.
You just won the boring person of the day award. It is ok to not live your life "By the book" or to "Think outside the box" sometimes...
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
You just won the boring person of the day award. It is ok to not live your life "By the book" or to "Think outside the box" sometimes...

You're free do whatever you wish. I'm not a proponent of getting mired in examinations of contingences that lead to romantic assumptions about what a personage could have achieved under different circumstances. The past is inaccessible, and a deceased individual, being absent from the present, has no future to speak of. We accomplish what we accomplish; then we expire. Life is pretty simple, really.
 

Sonorfan

Well-known member
Not a fan of either Karen or Billie but comparing the two seems like sacrilege, is like saying Britney Spears can sing.... just like Witney Houston can sing...Anybody can breathe at the mic and call it singing. Is Kanye talented because he writes lyrics and talks (he doesn't sing) about them?
I don't like Rap but find that Eminem's songs have a much more thought out approach to phrasing than a lot of other "artists"...
Karen allowed them to take her happy place away can't feel sorry for her because of that... you fight for what you want.. yes she is underrated.
Karen was no different from mega music performers in that the main stream record executives dictated what they would record that would make money not necessarily showcase the performers genre' skills. During the 60s Columbia's A&R man was Mitch Miller. He took some great ballad singers and had them record novelty tunes that most of them didn't want to do.
The lovely Patti Paige was given that silly song "How Much s That Doggie in the Window" but it reached the top ten. Frankie Laine was a good sensitive ballad singing Jazz artist but Mitch made him do "Rawhide, My Heart Goes Where the Wild Goose Goes".. and the list goes on and on. But Mitch also made those folks a ton of money. So did they sell themselves out ? Sinatra who was supposedly "the Boss" (sorry Springsteen fans" recorded some silly songs
ie: "High Hopes" about a Ant of all things and it was a big hit. It's not therefore
surprising that the recording and tv people pressured Karen to do it their way.
 
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