have had one strange life. I truly mean that. As I get older and
reflect on it, it really amazes me about all the crazy things that
God put in my path. I say God, as I am a Christian. Some may call
it fate or karma, but I simply feel that Christ answered prayers
and led me to the people, places and events that played a part in
making me the person I am today. He also gave me the talent and
many skills needed to do my job, be creative and enterprising so
that others might enjoy the results of my efforts years later.
I seldom get out to music or drum conventions anymore as
my schedule does not permit it. I also feel that my time in music
is in the past and was very special. Once you have a period like
that, you cannot restage it or reproduce it, nor would you want
to. It would only cheapen the original experience so it’s
best to move onto the next scene and value the memories.
Part of the reason it was so special is because of the people I
worked with, had lunch with, fought with, and through it all I still
found time to laugh. They are gone now. They too have moved onto
retirement or into other areas and career paths. They made the time
special for me because of their dedication, talent, and sheer energy.
The formula was simple; take these gifted people, fuse them with
the excitement of what was happening in music at that time and there’s
no way that it's ever going to happen again. I firmly believe that.
I don't think I'm being romantic or sentimental here; it really
is a fact. At that time, artists were risk takers. They were experimenting
all the time. - Promoters and record companies encouraged it. The
baby boomers lived by a motto that was the root for that whole generation
and that was "Do your thing."
Think about it. During the 1970's the Beatles,
Blood Sweat and Tears, Chase, Chicago, Emerson Lake and Palmer,
Pink Floyd, Elton John, Alice Cooper, Allan Parsons, and John Mc
Laughlin were all extremely talented individuals cranking music
out like Detroit produced gas guzzling muscle cars. Buddy Rich was
playing at a level that mortal men can only dream about and Count
Basie; Duke Ellington and Woody Herman were still touring, while
Maynard Ferguson was touring the country bringing a new and young
crowd to jazz. These people were what made music great. For me,
it was the whole reason to be in music.
catalog proof Shot of Buddy Rich
(Photo VSD Collection)
I did not come from a musical family and if you
ever heard me try to play drums, you’d know that I’m
not kidding. My dad worked in a factory, and mom was just that,
a "stay home mom". At that time, we lived in the Logan
Square area of Chicago, and starting in 1959, my mother’s
health began to turn south. As the years went by her mystery illness
only got worse and the health bills bigger. Finally, in the summer
of 1963 the doctors threw their hands up and suggested that getting
her out of the inner city might help her. So we moved to an area
called Norwood Park. Norwood is great part of Chicago and is in
Cook County. It hasn't changed much and is the last stop before
crossing into Edison Park, Park Ridge and Niles, which is, where
this little tour bus is headed.
We moved into a white Dutch colonial style house
and being the good Roman Catholics that we were, my family,felt
obligated to visit St Adalberts Cemetery on Milwaukee Avenue to
attend the graves of those relatives that passed on. During one
visit, I wandered off out of boredom and walked toward thecemetary
gates. . It was a great summer day (yeah we get them occasionally
in Chicago) and looked across the street. I noticed huge shipping
room doors that were open allowing me my first glimpse inside
a place called...