Thursday, April 17, 2008

In defense of Buddy

I found this website of this guy, Emmett Ientilucci. Evidently, he enjoyed putting up audio of Buddy Rich rants. There are many. I think this letter from Ross is a pretty good explanation of why the world's greatest drummer lost his cool.


Hi, I have been looking at your site and I wanted you to know that Buddy Rich wasn't at all the way you have him portrayed, as a "prick". I played trumpet and stood next to him every night for almost three years from 1975-1977. We had a great band that loved and respected him and he was 95% a sweetheart the whole time. The only time I saw him as he sounds on the tapes is when he had a bad back, or a band full of young guys who couldn't play well but thought they could, who showed disrespect towards him and thought they were too good to be there. I went back later for a few weeks and the band was like that. He and I were both miserable. Steve Marcus and Buddy and I sat together on the bus one night and he asked what he could do to get the band back to a high level. He was frustrated that yelling didn't help. It only made the lousy players band together and feel persecuted while continuing to suck.
I know that tape sounds funny to most people, but to the people who knew him to be unbelievably generous, (I could tell you stories) funny, loving and a whole different kind of drummer than any other on Earth, that tape hurts because we hear his pain and confusion as to how guys can suck and not know it.
I'm sure you appreciate his playing or you wouldn't have bothered to design such a great site! (I'm from Buffalo originally. Are you in Rochester? We probably have mutual friends,) Anyway, I just thought you should know the real Buddy.

p.s. I played with Barry Kiener (keys) for most of my stay with the band. He was amazing. Not only could he play his ass off, he could remember what rooms everyone stayed in on any date of any year. (one of those freakish kinds of memory) We all loved him. Buddy was absolutely crazy about him. Anyway, keep up the good work with your love of music and I'm glad you didn't mind my spouting off about Buddy.

Ross Konikoff

1 comment:

Tony said...

Hey, it's not like Buddy was Murray Wilson!