That Magic Snare Drum and Even Big Stars Fail…Sometimes.
Further episodes of Victoria’s “Bobby Faulds and The Canadians” British tour.
In England at that time there was a huge television show that every week featured the music stars of the the day. It was called “’Top of the Pops” and was hosted by a very colourful chap name Jimmy Saville, who after each act would retort “How about that then”? As new arrivals trying to make the scene, we would watch his show every week.
One week Jimmie Hendrix would be on, the next week Tom Jones or The animals along with up and coming stars like Cilla Black, Sandy Shaw, Manfred Man etc. Of course the show had a house band similar to Leno or Letterman in the states.
As a drummer watching on TV, I was most impressed by how the drummer on the show was getting this great sound from his snare drum. It was the sound I always wanted but could never get…you know… that solid sounding, rock driving whack! that you might hear when a construction crew is blasting in your neighborhood… “Kaboom”…Ok maybe not quite that loud.
A few months later on our lead singer Bobby Faulds hooked up with a well connected agent who thought he could get Bobby a spot on “Top of the Pops” but it wouldn’t include the rest of us? We were of course very upset)! (but after we finished further discussions and left him on the pavement by the side of the road…) ..No! just kidding!! It simply wasn’t going to happen for us at that time. But we were very happy for Bob.
The night he was on the show we got to go backstage and see his performance live. Great I thought now I can get a look at the at that snare drum. So prior to the show I had a chance to sneak into the deserted stage setup and check out the skins (drums for those who are Not-Hip types) The drum kit was a set of Ludwig drums, a common brand at the time. I found a pair of drum sticks nearby and gave a couple of whacks on the snare. Surprise! Surprise! It sounded pretty ordinary to me. Hmmm? I thought, the drummer must be bringing in his special snare drum when he arrives for the show. I could hardly wait to see it.
Now it’s show time and the band comes in as I shift into the shadows, my eyes glued to see this drummer’s magic snare drum. He is a pretty ordinary looking dude and nope, no magic snare drum? Now I’m really confused! He sits down behind the drums, reaches in his back pocket and pulls out his very thick looking wallet, places it on top of the snare drum and pulls a piece of masking tape of the wall next to him and tapes the wallet to the drum… Holy Cow!!..Naw!.. it couldn’t be that simple? But it was.
I thought to myself…Yeh! I guess that works when you have a fat wallet from making big dough playing drums on a hit national TV show. My wallet at the time was somewhat thinner than his. I would never get that sound! (lol)
Bobby is about to go on the rest of us are backstage in the Greenroom, (a term used in television where performers are waiting to be called for the show) there are several monitors carrying the live feed as it happens and we are anxiously watching the monitors.
Suddenly the door opens and a very tall dark handsome man walks in. He’s wearing this James Bond looking very expensive tailored suit and he walks with a very definite flair of confidence. He sees us sitting there and smiles as he goes by. We all looked at each other with the same thoughts…Wow! That’s Engelbert Humberdinck. (from “Please Release Me” fame) We were all somewhat awe struck. What happened next is hard to fathom?
Engelbert walks into a waste basket and knocks it over spilling all the paper, chocolate rappers, ice cream tubs and half eaten fruit all over the floor. Oh my God! I can’t believe what I’m seeing? This guy is a huge star… that just doesn’t happen…..but it did!
More to come on the next blog as we return to those thrilling days of yesteryear.
Contact me at www.drumboy.ca for drum lessons or e-mail me at [email protected] and please pass on my name to your friends, I’m always looking for new students that I can teach and talk their ears off with these stories of the old days on the road. Cheers,Barry