What was the first album you ever bought and what’s your favorite track on it today? I don’t remember the first album I bought, but I do remember one of the first albums that I remember hearing as a young kid. My dad played me the 1937/38 jazz concert at Carnegie Hall with Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and the great Gene Krupa…..He is still my hero and my favorite drummer!! My dad also played me John Phillip Souza marching records as well and told me to listen to both and I would be allright….Ha !…I listened to Joey Dee and the Starlighters along with Chubby Checker with my parents……then the Beatles came along…favorite song was “Love Me Do”…great cymbal crash in that song.
Who were you favorite drummers as a kid? Growing up , I had a lot of drummers that I listened to….never tried to copy anyone…My favorite to this day would have to be Gene Krupa.
What groove, or musical style, came most natural to you at first? I started playing to records that I heard on top 40 radio…Beach Boys, etc. until the British invasion came to America…I still enjoyed the loose feel of Gene Krupa with the Goodman band….He seemed to play the way he wanted to…no rules. I am a huge bebop fan….1960 jazz from New York.
Looking back, was there a pivotal first ‘big break’ for you as it were? Playing on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1971 was cool and my first semi rock star tour and album was with Bob Seger and I recorded the album Back in ’72 which contained the original version of ”Turn the Page “… As you know, my career then started to go forward!!
Of all the kits you have owned and played, what is your all-time favorite? Well, I have had a few…one was an old Camco kit which I wish I still had and my first Ludwig kit my Dad bought me when I was first starting out….Today, I am playing Sakae Almighty maple kit…..I left Yamaha after a 40 year relationship and endorsement with them….My favorite Yamaha kit would be my Maple Customs which are no longer available……Sakae made all Yamaha drums for 50 years.
Do you have a philosophy when it comes to recording? Recording is a personal preference, but I will say that it is different than playing live, so I would recommend to any young drummer to learn how to do both…I did, and it was beneficial in my career.