Sandy Nelson Interview: Just Follow Your Heart

Scott K Fish

Silver Member
Sandy Nelson Interview: Just Follow Your Heart

SKF NOTE: I recently found transcripts of a group of short interviews I did in the early 1980's when I was gathering data for my five-part Modern Drummer series, The History of Rock Drumming. It is probably hard to believe today, but back in the early 1980's there was precious little written about the history of Rock drummers. The good news? Most of the drummers were still living and willing to talk.

This is a phone interview with Sandy Nelson done on May 13, 1982. I was in my MD office. Sandy was at home in California. My recollection is Sandy was reluctant to be interviewed, that he was a private person who wasn't thrilled taping a phone Q&A with a stranger. I ran into that reaction from a few other drummers. The icebreaker was always that I wanted to talk with them about drums. Period.

Notice in this interview, when I ask Sandy the name and location of the club where he was appearing regularly -- he didn't want to tell me. That's the opposite reaction of most musicians.

Toward the end of this interview I hint at having Sandy do a feature MD interview, telling him we receive letters from MD readers asking why we haven't done a Sandy Nelson feature. Sandy was glad to hear that, but he never said, "I'm ready anytime you are."

There's some good historical info here. Caveat: Carmine Appice had a solo album out at this time. In promoting the album Carmine was making the Sandy Nelson connection in a major way. Sandy shoots down some of Carmine's claims. I said nothing about that at the time. In retrospect it's good to correct the record [no pun intended] for the history books.

Finally, this is the first time this interview is seeing the light of day. Enjoy!

Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals: Click Here for Full Sandy Nelson Interview
Thank you Scott for posting this. My mom bought me the "Let There Be Drums" and the 'Teen Beat 65" records. I used to love looking at the album covers and listening to the music. I enjoyed reading your interview.