Buddy Rich Big Band with Gregg Potter “You’re No Buddy” Tour New York State Fair 2012
Buddy Rich Band Modern Drummer Magazine blogs 2012
Hello, Modern Drummer readers. This is Gregg Potter. I last spoke to you in January. At that time, I was just beginning this Buddy Rich odyssey, which to this day still feels like a dream. No, not a nightmare; a nightmare is watching Buddy playing through “Time Check” on your cell phone eight minutes before you hit the stage with the band, knowing that’s looming in the book. Or, standing in the wings of the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City with six-time Grammy Award winning jazz trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval, ready to walk on, and he turns to you and asks, “Do you have brushes?” Yeah—I had them in my stick bag, at the hotel. “I thought you were playing something out of Buddy’s book—there are no brushes in ‘Birdland’ or ‘Beulah Witch.’” Mercy! All of that and more has happened in just the last seven months.
Then there was England. We did the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert at the London Palladium this past April 2. That lineup consisted of me, Dave Weckl, Gavin Harrison, John Blackwell, Ian Paice, and Ginger Baker, among others. The rehearsals the day before the show were intense enough, with Gavin Harrison and Ian Paice in the room. It was the soundcheck the next day that got to me. I’m in the middle of going through “Nutville,” checking my drums, my monitors, etc., on the same stage Buddy had played for the Queen back in 1978—not to mention the Beatles and a few others whose drums have graced that venue. The band is peppered with Buddy Band alumni, and I see Dave Weckl walk around behind me—you know, the Buddy Band has only toured or been fronted by Weckl or Steve Smith since his passing in 1987—so not only do I have the nerve to take on this drumming task in front of Buddy’s daughter, Cathy Rich, but now I have Weckl making sure I’m playing the proper Latin figure throughout this “Roar Of 74” classic! To add to it, he’s going to join Gavin Harrison, who’s been standing behind me the whole time. It’s like a Modern Drummer Festival going on backstage! Yes, dream-like, to say the least. Nerves of steel are required at all times. I have it all on video, so I know it really happened.
All of these experiences were incredible. It’s so amazing to play this music with musicians of this caliber. We are now getting ready to do our first extended tour, starting in mid-August. Some highlights include the New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA, on August 26; the New York State Fair, in Syracuse, NY, August 27; Nite Town in Cleveland on August 28; and the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis on August 29. We also have a festival date with James Darren on the bill. For you real drummer trivia buffs, he played Gene Krupa’s trumpet-playing friend in the classic 1959 Sal Mineo film The Gene Krupa Story. Now that’s going to be a ride in the time tunnel. I’ll keep you all updated.
I’d like to thank the drumming community for always being such a tight-knit, supportive group, continuing to give such a positive uplifting vibe to all of this that we are doing. And thank you, MD! See you on the road.
Hello, Modern Drummer readers, this is Gregg Potter. It’s been a while since I’ve graced the pages or computer screens of MD. This is definitely a high point of any drummer’s existence, being allowed to communicate with the coolest, most up-to-date drumming community on the planet!As I had written in my First Person article “Hey, Rock Star” in the January 2004 issue of Modern Drummer, this business is a lifelong process, and you have to take in every great experience along the way. Writing an MD blog is one. I’ve stayed my drumming course throughout the years. More touring, recording—I even picked up an Emmy award in 2009 for my drumming performance on a CBS television special. What I am about to embark on now is not only living proof that following your dreams is the only path to take in life, but also that dreams do come true.
I’m going to be fronting the Buddy Rich Big Band, barnstorming venues across the world. Yes, that Buddy Rich—the best drummer that ever lived, the most influential man to ever pick up a pair of sticks and bang on things. Buddy could make anything sound rhythmic—drums and cymbals especially. I even saw him bang on a Muppet head once, and even that sounded incredible!
I’m going to be playing with a sixteen-piece big band, playing Buddy charts, and bringing Nutville to the youth—just as Buddy did! (He played more high schools and colleges than Chuck Taylor.) Now, of course you’ll ask, “How did I come up with such a concept?” I didn’t do it alone. This is where Buddy Rich’s daughter Cathy enters the blogosphere. One day we were sitting in our living room, looking at the 1991 Buddy Memorial Concert poster for the show at The Ritz in NYC (where I actually first met Cathy). She’s done many Memorial Concerts in the twenty-five years since Buddy’s passing. The drumming elite of the business were always well represented—Peart, Gadd, Smith, Weckl, Colaiuta, to name a few. But those were all one-night stands in L.A., NYC, and Boston—what about Lincoln, Nebraska or Dayton, Ohio?
Buddy always wanted the “kids” to hear his music. “Keep my music alive with the young people” is what he asked Cathy to do. Touring a big band was a tough enough concept for Buddy back in 1966. For us to take on the task in 2012, we had to think of a concept that would make it interesting to more than just the jazz enthusiasts studying music theory at the community college. Cathy has exhausted the “get the drumming greats to sit in with the band” concept; she has done that for twenty- five years now. The new approach is to have a fresher vision of Buddy’s music—like Buddy did! Juice up the band.
No one has more respect for Buddy than we do in our household. Everything being done is just what Buddy would have wanted. Believe me, Cathy knew Buddy better than anyone blogging on a vintage drum website. We’re not disrespecting the medium; it’s in the name of art and Buddy. This is show business, and besides being the world’s greatest drummer, Buddy was an entertainer.
With no interest in creating a Buddy Rich clone or finding a leftover big band stalwart, Cathy and I are taking it to the streets ourselves. This will not be a Gus Van Sant shot-for-shot copy of Buddy Rich. No one will ever replace the magic that Buddy performed with a pair of sticks on a drum set. I’m certainly not claiming to be Buddy in any way, shape, or form, even if I’m playing with traditional grip—as opposed to my barbaric, plodding matched grip, which I’ve used throughout the years. (Check out this video on why Buddy didn’t play matched grip.)
You guys and girls are definitely on the ground floor of this adventure. Our first show is headlining the Beaver Creek Jazz Weekend in Dayton, Ohio, this coming March 3. I’m nervous already, so let me get back to rehearsing.
Thank you, MD!
For more on Buddy Rich, visit his official website, www.buddyrich.com.
Buddy Rich Band Modern Drummer Magazine blog with Gregg Potter
Buddy Rich Band drummer Gregg Potter get’s ready for the “You’re No Buddy Tour 2012″
Read all about it at ModernDrummer.com
Buddy Rich Documentary, “Welcome To Nutville” Be a producer!
Buddy Rich, “Welcome To Nuttville” A feature-length documentary on the most inspirational drummer the world has ever seen, Buddy Rich. Be a part of the production. Check out the kickstarter.com website for all of the details.
BUDDY RICH ON TOUR IN AUGUST 2012
Come and see the new Buddy Rich Band on tour. We will be starting out August 26th.
Sunday August 26, 2012 The New Hazlett Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA http://www.newhazletttheater.org/event/?event_id=567
Monday August 27, 2012 New York State Fair, Syracuse, NY http://www.nysfair.org/concerts/events/the-buddy-rich-band
Tuesday August 28, 2012 NiteTown, Cleveland,OH
Wednesday August 29, 2012 Jazz Kitchen, Indianapolis, IN
It’s been a while since my last update. We are very busy with the new Buddy Rich Big Band. We have had a very successful few months. Gregg Potter is doing a stellar job playing with the band! He adds a new fresh vibe to the whole thing!! The Memorial Concert in London was a huge success, and we are already booked for next year. Mark your calendars for April 20, 2013…venue TBA. Check out the pics from the April 2 show.
We will be playing in NYC on June 14th at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The show will benefit Voices Against Brain Cancer, a foundation dear to my heart! Playing with us the evening will be the incredible Arturo Sandoval, and Will Lee on bass. Also on the bill is the amazing Jimmy Hopper…if you haven’t seen him, you owe it to yourself to do so! For ticket info go to www.voicesagainstbraincancer.org!
More dates to be announced in the coming weeks!
As always, thank you all for your continued support of what we do for Buddy.
See you soon.
Buddy Rich Band in action!
Click here to see the Buddy Rich Band in action on our new YouTube channel. … BuddyRichChannelOne!
25th Anniversary of Buddy’s Passing
My good friend Chris Newell at the PimpCo drum company will make 69 of these beautiful snare drums commemorating the 25th anniversary of Buddy’s passing.. One drum for every year of Buddy’s life. They are incredibly beautiful and a must have for any collector! They are numbered and signed and come with a beautiful certificate of authenticity signed by Chris and me. Please contact them directly for more info. email@example.com