The Buddy Rich Band going to Japan.Playing the Blue Note Tokyo, June 24th thru the 27th, 2013
The first time the Buddy Rich Band has been back to the "Land Of The Rising Sun" since Buddy himself manned the drum throne back in 1978. The BR Band will be made up of all Alumni. All band members have at one time or another played with Buddy. Players including Tony Levin on bass guitar, who recorded the "Roar Of 74" album with Buddy, to Matt Harris on piano, Chuck Finley, trumpet, Al Kaplan leading the Bone section, and even Eric Myashiro who played in Buddy's last band thru 1986. Not to be missed, these performances will be documented for an in depth feature film. Gregg certainly has his work cut out for him. If sharing the stage at the London Palladium last year with Dave Weckl, John Blackwell, Ian Paice, and Gavin Harrison wasn't enough, this year he will have the opportunity to play along side Buddy's band and two other drumming legends, Peter Erskine, (Maynard Ferguson & Weather Report) and Nick Rich. (Buddy's Grandson)
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.
Buddy Rich Band 2012 "You're No Buddy Tour" videos
BUDDY RICH BAND August 2012 TOUR Dates
August 2012 Tour Dates
Sunday 8-26-2012 The New Hazlett Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA 7:00
Monday 8-27-2012 New York State Fair, Chevy Stage, Syracuse, NY 2:00PM
Tuesday 8-28-2012 Nite Town, Cleveland, OH 7:00
Wednesday 8-29-2012 Jazz Kitchen, Indianapolis, IN 7:00
The Buddy Rich 25th Anniversary Memorial Concert takes place for the first time in the UK at the world-famous London Palladium on 2nd April 2012. The world-class lineup is confirmed as Dave Weckl, Gregg Bissonette, John Blackwell and Gregg Potter from the USA with Ian Paice, Ginger Baker, Gavin Harrison and Elliott Henshaw from the UK. Plus singing supremo Tony Christie will also appear.
One of legendary drummer Buddy Rich's last requests to his daughter, Cathy, was to keep his band working, his music alive, and to do something for young people. No easy task, but eventually Cathy decided that an annual memorial concert seemed the way to go. The first sellout memorial concert was in 1988 at the celebrated Carnegie Hall in New York. Since then, shows have followed in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Boston with the who's who of the drumming world taking part and the shows being described as the 'The Greatest Drum Show Of All Time.' Artists to grace the stage in previous years have included Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Stan Getz, Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta and Dennis Chambers.
This year, on the exact date of the 25th anniversary of Buddy's death, it is the turn of the London Palladium to host this prestigious event. The show, co-hosted by Cathy herself, features the US-based Buddy Rich Big Band supported by UK session musicians who used to play with Buddy. Cathy will also present Lifetime Achievement Awards to three rock drumming legends.
On his involvement, the highly-respected Dave Weckl said, “anytime I get to pay tribute to one of the greatest players of our instrument, I am first in line. To be able to play with a great Big Band and play songs from the Buddy Rich book is one of my favourite things to do as a drummer." Joining Dave Weckl are Gregg Bissonette, known most recently for his work with the Ringo Starr band; John Blackwell, currently playing with Prince; and Gregg Potter from the Buddy Rich Big Band. From the UK, Deep Purple's distinguished drummer, Ian Paice; the renowned Cream drummer, Ginger Baker; respected session drummer Gavin Harrison; and Elliott Henshaw, veteran of over 20 West End shows and drummer for Tony Christie.
MODERN DRUMMER BLOG January 4, 2012
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.
“Your stage volume is a bit loud, you were louder than Moonie.” John Entwhistle, The WHO “You are my hero.” Bun E. Carlos, Cheap Trick “I wish I played the drums like you.” Eric Carr, KISS "You're not just a drummer, you're an artist. Greg Lake, ELP “Nice hair kid.” Buddy Rich Gregg recieved an EMMY Award along with BLACKBOX front man Damon Ranger and Cheap Trick guitar legend Rick Nielsen for their CBS News televised 2009 live performance.
Gregg, began his professional career after winning the
Slingerland/ Louie Bellson National Drum Contest
at the legendary Frank’s Drum Shop in Chicago. While still a teenager, he landed the drumming spot with radio icon Steve Dahl. Along with Dahl and his band Teenage Radiation, Gregg scored two hit singles, performed on Dahl’s daily radio show, syndicated national shows, Emmy Award winning television specials, feature film soundtracks, daily morning television shows, and live concert appearances.
Gregg played with national recording artists Joe Walsh, Steve Stevens, and Rick Nielsen, among others, which lead to his first major label record deal with the band, SIREN. Recording, videos, and tours followed. SIREN’S first album, “All Is Forgiven” garnered two hit singles which received heavy MTV rotation and massive radio airplay.
Another of Gregg’s career highlights is his affiliation with Modern Drummer magazine. Not only was he a featured artist, he also became a contributing writer for the magazine. `
" Vulgar Display of POTTER ! " ®
THANK YOU to all of these great companies who not only make the finest equipment in the world, but also support me throughout everything I do. I play at my best always knowing I am backed by the world's best.