Topic: Me and Aretha  (Read 4506 times)

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Offline Adam's Dad

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Me and Aretha
« on: February 21, 2008, 05:42 PM »
I just played three concerts with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

I got a call on Saturday, Feb 2 around 3:30pm, to check my availability to play tympani and vibes for an 8pm concert that evening with Aretha at the Pechanga Indian Casino Theater in Temecula (just north of San Diego).  No rehearsal, just haul butt down there and be ready for the downbeat!  When I arrived, I met with the musical director who handed me a stack of charts that were a mixture of master rhythm, guitar, and piano parts with a few tymp rolls written in and a few real percussion parts.  Our ten minute talk-thru was all I got.  As it turned out, they had hired two percussionists but neither was capable/comfortable playing the tymp/mallet book; however they were both smokin' latin percussion players.  A few days after the show, the contractor called to book two more concerts on Feb 14-15 at the Nokia Theater (7,000+ seats) in Los Angeles.

The band was the same at both venues...her regular rhythm section (musical director, piano, B3 organ, guitar (her son Teddy) , bass, drums, 5 singers hired locally, big band horn section, string synth and 2 percussion.  At the LA shows she also had a full gospel choir for the last few songs.

Working with a legendary performer was spectacular especially since she still has a great voice, a loyal fan base and a commanding stage presence.  I've been listening to Aretha since the 6th grade and it was just magical to be on the same stage.
"Put your foot on the rock and pat your foot, don't stop, put your foot on the rock" - Bill Withers from Kissing My Love"

Online Bart Elliott

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2008, 05:47 PM »
Congratulations!

I've had gigs like that where I've had to just walk in and do it. Also with holding my own on parts that others can't cover. You really proved your worth ... and you'll be getting calls again real soon ... believe me! Congrats again!

Offline Chip Donaho

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2008, 06:10 PM »
Sir, you just had a real treat. It's been many years since I played with talent of that caliber. Thanks....Let us know if you play with her again. I know I would sure be excited.   8)
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Offline Chris Whitten

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 06:40 PM »
Outstanding.

Something to talk about for the rest of your life.




 :)


Offline NY Frank

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 07:28 PM »
Congratulations.  Outstanding.

You have pulled off what few of us will ever do.

Enjoy.
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Offline Paul DAngelo

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 08:13 PM »
Wow!  That is so cool! 

I've been dreaming about something like that for my whole life.

CONGRATULATIONS!!
When you're going through Hell, keep going.  (Winston Churchill)

Offline Ryan

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 09:21 PM »
My drum instructor in college had that gig last year.  He only played one concert.  It seems funny to me that they'd do it that way instead of having a set band for the tour.

Offline Michael Beechey

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2008, 10:19 PM »
Wow!....now THAT will look good on your resume!

The closest I came to that was using the 6 degrees of separation technique....

A hero of mine was Eric "Mouse" Johnson, in Toronto in the 60's with the Soul Searchers...funkiest guy I ever heard.....he later replaced me in a gig I left, with Debbi Lori Kaye, and then he went on to play with Aretha....

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2008, 12:07 PM »
Aretha sex goddess Franklin?, thee? Aretha?, the one and only ARETHA!?. Ya, shes put on a few pounds but this little cracker had a crush on her for a decade!. You were on the same stage?, since Arethas gone maybe ill just give you! a kiss instead!. THEE ARETHA??? :'(.

Offline Jim R.

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2008, 04:41 PM »
Great job!! Sounds like you were ready to handle it, and now even more so for future situations like that.
Also, with the few tymp and perc parts you must be great at counting rests!!  :)

Congrats!!
So much to do, so little mind.

Offline Adam's Dad

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2008, 05:48 PM »
Aretha sex goddess Franklin?, thee? Aretha?, the one and only ARETHA!?. Ya, shes put on a few pounds but this little cracker had a crush on her for a decade!. You were on the same stage?, since Areths gone maybe ill just give you! a kiss instead!. THEE ARETHA??? :'(.

Paicey:  Yes, she has put on a...um...ah...a few pounds!  And, yes, THEE ARETHA, Queen of Soul...me and Sista Re on the same stage...just 10 feet in front of me.

Great job!! ... with the few tymp and perc parts you must be great at counting rests!!  :)

Congrats!!

Bobhead: Thanks for the compliment.  There wasn't any dead time at all!  Whenever there was no tymp part or written vibes/bells part, I just comped 4-mallet changes on the vibes.

To all of you DrummerCafe drum-heads (Bart, Chip71, Chris Whitten, NY Frank, mudlark, ryan, Michael Beechey)...thanks for all of the kind words.

BTW, check out this YouTube vid: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Z7qQdo-Vxj4
At 3min 38sec into the clip (at the end of the song), as Aretha gestures to acknowledge the backup singers, you can see my bald head at the far left of the screen.  My 2 seconds of internet fame!
"Put your foot on the rock and pat your foot, don't stop, put your foot on the rock" - Bill Withers from Kissing My Love"

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2008, 05:32 AM »
That's incredible, I'm really pleased for you!  And also really jealous of course  :P  Congrats!

Offline Drumlooney

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 01:00 PM »
Sir just saw this, congrats on the gig!
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Offline smoggrocks

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #13 on: April 29, 2008, 11:04 PM »
wow, man--THAT is cool! super special!

i didn't even know you played tymp   :P



i actually felt a little rush when i spotted this. i am really, really happy for you--nice going!
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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2008, 03:03 AM »
Great work and congratulations ;)

We all play becuase we love it but these little treats make all the work worthwhile. We all hope to achieve something like this and you have shown that it can happen.

Congrats again!

Offline Tony

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2008, 08:39 AM »
Well done. That must have been a thrill!
The techniques, though they play an important role in the early stage, should not be too restrictive, complex or mechanical. If we cling to them, we will become bound by their limitation.  Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it.

Offline Michael Beechey

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Re: Me and Aretha
« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2010, 02:26 PM »
Wow!....now THAT will look good on your resume!

The closest I came to that was using the 6 degrees of separation technique....

A hero of mine was Eric "Mouse" Johnson, in Toronto in the 60's with the Soul Searchers...funkiest guy I ever heard.....he later replaced me in a gig I left, with Debbi Lori Kaye, and then he went on to play with Aretha....



Now this doesn't happen every day...I just got a thank note of appreciation for my comments, from one of Aretha's drummers- Mouse Johnson...a classy guy with a ton'a'funk


I'm out of touch now, but Toronto was really fruitful in the 60/70's. lots of really hot players....Drummers - Mouse,John Pickering, Stoney,Whitey (Penti) Glann, Smitty and Richard Tee on B3's,  Dr Music..Shawn Jackson...bassist Prakash John, guitar Dominic Troiano..the Hawks (aka The Band)... the list goes on.
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