DJ Fontana

I still haven’t met DJ Fontana, but I did speak to him on the telephone when he was doing something in a TV studio in Elstree a few years ago. He was born on March 15th 1931 in Shreveport, Louisiana. We know that the ‘D’ stood for Dominic but depending on where you look the

By | 2017-04-20T12:20:56+00:00 January 20th, 2016|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on DJ Fontana

George Allen ‘Buddy’ Miles jnr.

We’re moving quite a bit closer to the present day with the subject of this month’s ‘Groovers and Shakers’. Buddy Miles was very much a child of the sixties inasmuch as that was when he came to people’s notice, including mine. It’s no secret he’s listed up there at the top of my favourite drummers

By | 2017-04-25T22:31:02+00:00 December 25th, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on George Allen ‘Buddy’ Miles jnr.

Billy Gussak

We know Billy Gussak was born in 1920 but exactly when and where seems to be something of a mystery. He was a ‘Swing’ drummer during the thirties who had an exceedingly proper gig with the CBS Staff band. He played under a conductor called Leith Stevens (who was responsible for the music soundtracks for

By | 2017-04-21T14:23:16+00:00 December 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Billy Gussak

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gig – The Drummer As Entertainer

If you think about it, there has been a rich tradition of drummers as entertainers and comedians. In the UK, Norman Wisdom, Michael Bentine and Peter Sellers were all serious comedians (pun intended) who could also play the drums. The Americans had Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis jnr, Jerry Lewis, Mickey Rooney and even Johnny Carson.

By | 2017-04-28T09:33:01+00:00 November 28th, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gig – The Drummer As Entertainer

Fred Below

Freddie Below was born in Chicago on September 19th, 1926 and is credited with inventing the art of blues drumming as we know it, and for slipping the all-important offbeat into it at the appropriate place. But of course he didn’t begin as a blues drummer; he took up drums while he was in a

By | 2017-04-21T14:09:06+00:00 October 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Fred Below

Ron Tutt

  Ronnie Tutt was born on March 12th, 1938 in Dallas Texas. His mother started him with tap-dancing lessons at three years old after he started singing along to the family’s radio and record player, and he kept up these lessons for eight years. During this time he became interested in the playing side of

By | 2017-04-21T13:58:17+00:00 September 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Ron Tutt

Roger Hawkins

Roger Hawkins, born on October 15th, 1945 in Mishawaka, Indiana, is the drummer who played on a great many of the songs that I (and many other drummers of my ilk) love to play live. When someone in the band I’m playing with at a gig calls out: “Respect”, “Chain Of Fools”, “I’ll Take You

By | 2017-04-21T13:47:28+00:00 August 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Roger Hawkins

Charlie Watts

Charles Robert Watts was born at University College in London on June 2nd 1941, three years before Hitler’s ‘doodlebugs’ were doing their best to wipe-out the inhabitants of the capital city. I do know Charlie a bit having interviewed him on camera for a film I was working on. His son also went to school

By | 2017-04-21T13:24:07+00:00 June 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Charlie Watts

Carmine Appice

I’ve been waiting patiently to get to Carmine because he’s very much of my generation and I know there’s far more to him (and the effect he has had on music) than meets the eye. For my money, he had a great deal more to do with the development of ‘rock’ drumming than he’s been

By | 2017-04-21T13:38:23+00:00 May 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Carmine Appice

Kenny Clarke

Kenneth Spearman Clarke was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 2nd, 1914 to Charles Spearman and Martha Grace Scott. His mother was a pianist who taught him the piano until her sad death when he was just six years old. Things got worse after this disaster when his father left the family and Kenny was

By | 2017-04-21T13:15:17+00:00 May 21st, 2015|Categories: Groovers and Shakers|Comments Off on Kenny Clarke
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