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LetThereBeDrumsWAY back in July of 1936, Benny Goodman recorded SING, SING, SING featuring Gene Krupa on drums.  Rumour has it Goodman wasn’t too thrilled about Krupa stepping out with a long solo, but he tolerated it.  It was the first extended drum solo to be recorded commercially.

It is one of my favorite songs of all time, even though I wasn’t born until nine years later!

SING, SING, SING was part of the famous Carnegie Hall concert in 1938.  Several famous musicians were featured, but Krupa rules if you like listening to drums!  No video exists, but a scratchy audio version can be found on the Internet with various lengths.  This one is 12:00 plus, with era photography.  Here is an 8:39 version with no video.  The best video is from HOLLYWOOD HOTEL, 1937, 5:28

“In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” from the 1968 album of the same name could be called SING, SING, SING, Part II.  This Iron Butterfly classic occupies one entire side of the album at 17 minutes in length.  Like the contemporary band The Greatful Dead, many different variations “In the Garden of Eden” exist.  The Dead have surely set an all time record for the number of recordings – no two concerts were ever the same, and fans were not discouraged from taping during performances.

But I digress.

In 1961, Sandy Nelson had a single and LP titled LET THERE BE DRUMS.  I bought the album hoping for a lot of drum solos, but I was disappointed.  I’ve had to fall back on Gene Krupa time and again.

About the same time as LET THERE BE DRUMS, I was in my second term of Metal Shop.  Usually students would alternate wood shop with metal shop, but a tea cart I made for my mother was such a success, I came back for more.  I was really quite good at welding, and bending metal.  The carts and a mailbox I made were in our family for well over 20 years.

Metal shop and wood shop had the same teacher.  He had a reputation for throwing things at the students, most notably in wood shop.  I’ve been reminded he was missing a couple of fingers!  I never saw him throw anything in metal shop – the obvious answer is because that had the potential for being much more dangerous.

At one of my many schools, Ernie Gates was the gym teacher, and he had a big old paddle to whack anyone who didn’t try hard enough. We didn’t realize it had a crack down the middle so it made more noise than it caused pain, but it still wasn’t something you wanted. During one class, Mr. Gates “encouraged” us with that paddle to climb a rope. I made it all the way to the top! I was probably the only student he never whacked – was it because I feared him so much I obeyed explicitly?

All these thoughts about drumming and mean teachers has been brought to my mind by the movie WHIPLASH.

I am really not that anxious to see J.K. Simmons slap, scream at, and throw a chair at a drum student.  I guess it all works out for the best, but it seems to me this sort of teacher behaviour would never fly in 2014-15.  What year is portrayed in the movie?

I played the soundtrack for WHIPLASH on SPOTIFY, and only kept one track – “Caravan” – which brings us full circle as it dates to 1937.  The Mills Brothers even recorded an a cappella version!

Drum on!

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