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WHAT GOT HIS ATTENTION? It was the Latin chops. I threw a little Latin stuff into the video, and that stood out. He wanted someone with some of that knowledge. Billy either used to play with or take lessons from Tito Puente on Latin percussion, and there’s a lot of Latin-inspired stuff on the record.

NEXT STEP I’ve already got the music, and I’m working on the tunes. For now, it’s just 11 songs. He’s been on tour with ZZ Top for the last couple of months. We haven’t even met

in person yet, but he’s flying me and SoZo Diamond [featured in the New Blood column of DRUM!’s October 2014 issue], who is also doing the gig with me, out to a festival they’re playing in Kentucky. He wants us to meet, catch the full ZZ Top show, and go backstage to see how everything works on a tour with such a big production. I’m really looking forward to meeting him. We’ve talked on the phone a lot, and he’s a really chill, downto-earth guy.

DOUBLE DRUMMING SoZo and I are doing the gig

together. It should be really cool. I’ve never played with another drummer. She messaged me and said the same thing, so it’s going to be really exciting. There’s a lot of Latin percussion in the music, so I can see why two drummers will work. I’m learning all of the fills verbatim so we can always lock in. Later on, we’ll probably be looser with the music, and do a little more. I’ve been watching a lot of Allman Brothers videos, and footage of Beyonce’s band when she had Kim Thompson and Nikkie Glaspie to see how different groups make this thing work.


SPECIFIC GEAR? He wanted our drum sets to match, so we’re both getting silver sparkle kits. Mine is coming from Mapex. Big thanks to Joe [Hibbs] at Mapex for the help there. Other than that, we’re both free to bring our own regular setups.

NERVOUS? I’m not nervous. I’ve learned the music, and I feel good. I never really get nervous about playing. But I am actually nervous about meeting him in person. Once I get to the playing, I’m totally in my element. I can’t wait for the rehearsals.

By Andrew Lentz

Drummer Tell-Alls From Bill Kreutzmann, Rick Buckler, & Dennis Bryon With the fiftieth anniversary of the Grateful Dead this year and the accompanying performances with record-setting ticket prices, the timing was perfect for founding drummer Bill Kreutzmann to deliver his official tell-all. You don’t need faded dancing bear stickers on your Volkswagen bus to enjoy Deal: My Three Decades Of Drumming, Dreams, And Drugs With The Grateful Dead (St. Martin’s Press; 400 pages hard cover). Beyond the epic jams, the Dead was at the nexus of the 1960s political and social upheavals, so anybody remotely interested in that decade could use this book as a fly -on-the-wall glimpse of that time. Music-wise the band’s innovations cannot be overstated, from its recording approach to the advent of double drumming. Surprisingly little is devoted to interactions

with codrummer Mickey Hart (and what is shared is unflattering) but there are choice bits on craft and Kreutzmann’s technical breakthroughs. As you might expect with a musical institution, Kreutzmann tells the Dead saga in broad strokes. What he recalls of Haight Ashbury days and other pivotal moments in GD lore (with startlingly good recall given the quantities of drugs ingested) is told in the well-paced conversational tone of a born storyteller. Rick Buckler’s name may not ring loud in the drum world, but in light of how much he added to rock drumming’s vocabulary with The Jam, it ought to. The British band, cranking out memorable tunes while treading skillfully among punk, mod, and R&B, didn’t have the impact Stateside it enjoyed in its native England (18

consecutive Top 40 singles in the UK from 1977 to 1982). That said, the propulsive rhythms, surprising accents, and resonant rolls Buckler doled out on the kit with the special-order extra deep toms are an indelible part of ’80s new wave. That these licks came from a selftaught player raised in a rough part of London is all the more remarkable. Written in the bracing no-fuss vernacular of a working class Woking lad, an unshakeable impression that readers of That’s Entertainment: My Life In The Jam (Omnibus Press) will be left with is what a self-serving bastard bandleader Paul Weller turned out to be. Of course the author is biased, but we’re willing to give Buckler the benefit of the doubt. Electronic beats may enhance the skillset of today’s drummer, but by the late ’70s, when Linn drum

machines and Fairlight samplers were threatening livelihoods, Bee Gees drummer Dennis Bryon was at the frontlines of the battle. Before that, he went mano à mano with the click track. (We’ll let him tell you how that fight turned out.) As with Buckler’s tale, You Should Be Dancing: My Life With The Bee Gees (ECW Press) puts into even starker relief the vagaries of the music business. Unlike Kreutzmann or Buckler, Bryon was not associated with a single band, enjoying commercial success in the short lived Amen Corner long before disco became a household word. Of the three books, Dancing is by far the most revealing in its painstaking portrayal of the thenmodern recording environment and the paces a drummer goes through to nail the take. December 2015

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DRUM! Magazine December 2015  

Try a copy of DRUM! and learn to play better faster. The huge (144 pages) holiday issue features jazz triple grammy winner Teri Lyne Carring...

DRUM! Magazine December 2015  

Try a copy of DRUM! and learn to play better faster. The huge (144 pages) holiday issue features jazz triple grammy winner Teri Lyne Carring...