Sunday, March 3, 2013

DRUM INFLUENCES: My Original "Big Three"

My Original "Big Three"

When I think back on all of the
legendary drummers who have
had the greatest musical impact
on my life, I realize quickly that
the names are just too numerous
to list. Hence, in this post, I've
opted merely to present my very
first "Big Three." And although
certainly don't come close to
possessing even fraction of 
their skills, these are the cats
who first captured my attention
and imagination — inspiring me
to pursue my rock and roll dream. 
Uh, gee thanks, fellas!

The Ohio Players'
James "Diamond" Williams
As I revealed in a recent post, the Ohio Players were my "Led Zeppelin." And during the early and mid 1970s, few bands rocked as hard as my boys from Dayton. Their chart-busting hits including "Skin Tight," "Fire" and "Love Rollercoaster" were as funky and soulful as any ever recorded. However, it was the gritty, down-and-dirtiness of lesser known tracks such as "Smoke," "What the Hell," and "Fopp" that showcased the band at their heaviest. PLUS, they had nekked girls on all of their album covers!

I was only 12 when I discovered the Ohio Players in 1974 — years before I took up an active interest in becoming a musician. But even then, I recognized that drummer James "Diamond" Williams was the primary badass in a band full of total hard rocking, funky badasses. Hence, when I did finally start playing drums along to records in my bedroom at age 16, I was inspired to try and cop Williams' chops from such Ohio Players records as Fire, Honey and Jass-Ay-Lay-Dee. I'm still trying.

Believe the "rumors" — 
Mick Fleetwood is THE MAN!
Although I'm likely in the minority, I have no problem confessing that some of the Fleetwood Mac music I love most was produced prior to their classic Buckhingham Nicks era. Have you heard Mystery to Me? Simply brilliant. But, the Fleetwood Mac record that I discovered first was their self-titled 1975 release.

What I admire most about drummer Mick Fleetwood's style is that everything he plays sounds as if he's making it up as he goes along. His tracks always sound spontaneous, and possess a beautifully organic vibe. And it's that schizo-meets-organic style that continues to inspire me.

NOTE TO SELF: Add to Bucket List — hug Mick Fleetwood.

Bun E. Carlos
As a teenager during the late '70s, I claimed such rock star heroes as David Bowie, Paul Stanley and David Lee Roth. So I was somewhat taken aback with the appearance of drummer Bun E. Carlos when I first saw him with his band Cheap Trick gracing the pages of CREEM magazine. In fact, with his short hair and mustache, wire frame glasses, white button-up shirt and skinny black tie, he more closely resembled my math teacher than a rock star. Then I heard Cheap Trick's 1977 In Color record. The verdict was in. Bun E. Carlos was not just a rock and roll drummer, he was THE rock and roll drummer. A switch hitter, Carlos mixes rock solid power with a splash of swing. He's got the chops to overplay, yet has the instinct not to. Bun E. Carlos offered me a blueprint to rock drumming very early in my musical endeavors. And to this day, when working out a piece of music I often ask myself, "WWBD?" (What Would Bun Do?)

-Christopher Long
(March 2013)

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