It’s hard to believe that, on this day, 34 years ago, we lost Buddy Rich, one of the greatest drummers to ever roam the earth. I had the privilege of seeing him perform live on at least a dozen occasions, and I have amassed many of his recordings on vinyl, cassette, and CD, mostly as a solo artist, but also as a sideman. I can still remember the moment when I learned of Buddy’s passing… and the stinging emptiness I felt in the days after.
The following is a short memoir about finding what appeared to be the Holy Grail of rare Rich recordings at a Boston record shop, way back in ’81 when I was a student at the Berklee College of Music. I wrote this for a recent edition of my Newsletter (#6: 3-10-21) which I’ll share here in its entirety at the request of my longtime friend and colleague, Dom Famularo. Enjoy:
Hello Everyone –
Welcome back! Let’s get into this week’s Newsletter:
In This Issue:
- Musings: Are You Ready For This?
- BR Health Beat: Plan on a Daily Workout… Even if it Doesn’t Always Work Out!
- Down & Dirty: Could this be the world’s healthiest fruit?
Are You Ready For This?
When I was a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, I was hardcore into jazz drumming and had developed an active obsession with collecting classic old jazz albums. One afternoon, I stepped into my favorite used record shop near the school to have a quick scroll through the bins. As I was taking a pass through the Buddy Rich section (one of my all-time favorite drummers), my heart skipped a beat: I had stumbled across a strange title I had never heard of before. And what’s this, I wondered? Louie Bellson is on this record, as well? Some kind of a drum duel performance of the two of them? Holy shit!
But then when I glanced up at the sticker price, I nearly threw up in my mouth. $50! This was an obscene amount of money for a record back then—most were in the $2 to $6 range—and it clearly should have been a dealbreaker for a broke-ass college student. However, I simply could not tear myself away. A rare “archaeological” find such as this might only come once in a lifetime, right? Why else would it have been so expensive, I reasoned? I pulled the record from the bin, slipped it out of its hand-sealed plastic covering, then caught a whiff of that vintage aroma. It smelled like the inside of a ’65 Chevelle. Oh man… this might be the only copy left in America right now. Must grab.
I slowly brought it up to the register and asked the attendant to please hang on to it for a hot second while I went to the bank to empty my account. (Like I said: $50 was a lot back then!) Fifteen minutes and a couple of painful transactions later, I was back in my dorm room, savoring every scratchy second of my conquest, and poring over the liner notes like a history professor. The record contained one 28-minute track called “Slides and Hides.” It was recorded in Japan with a renowned Japanese big band that only played a combined seven or eight minutes on the whole thing. All the rest was Buddy and Louie, slugging it out like Ali and Frazier. A drummer’s wet dream.
But the story gets even better for this young drum nerd. Over the course of the next two years, I was able to get both Buddy and Louie to sign it when each rolled through town for shows. Buddy was cordial yet methodical in his signing, while Louie was overtly friendly and inquisitive. In other words, both were “business as usual” in their reaction to the record, which was fine with me. And most importantly, I had a sort of “seal of approval” on a valuable drumming artifact that would often inspire focus and clarity in the four decades that followed.
And this, to me, is the real value of collectibles. Not the market value cash price, but the emotional value we assign to a thing as it lives on to represent something important in our life—or to remind us of something pivotal in our journey. In this way, things like classic vinyl and old dog-eared books are holy relics, holding a space for our higher pursuits… and serving as a critical reminder that the best version of ourselves is still out there somewhere: waiting to hopefully show up in someone else’s “collection” one day… if we’re willing to pay the proverbial piper and do the work.
BR Health Beat: Quick Tip
Plan on a Daily Workout… Even if it Doesn’t Always Work Out!
Some days, life happens and we don’t get around to our workout. This is a reality. So consider this: if you plan on training 7 days a week, life will happen and you will likely get 5 or 6—which is great. However, if you plan on training 5 days a week, you will often end up with 3 or 4. Not bad, but I say, let’s shoot higher. And remember, a workout doesn’t have to be an epic 90-minute affair. 20 to 25 minutes (or less) all adds up over the long haul. (Remember the Micro-workout concept from Newsletter #1?)
I believe people’s biggest resistance to this shorter workout idea is that it doesn’t seem worth it. “Hell, if I can’t get a full workout in, it will be a waste of time.” Not true, I say! You might not get a lot of quantifiable benefit from the short, easy workout if you evaluate it from a total increase in conditioning standpoint. But there is value in reinforcing the practice, the ritual, the lifestyle attribute, of moving your body, elevating the heart rate, and getting some increased range of motion happening—daily. If nothing else, it breaks that unfortunate multi-day streak of minimal movement that so many have defaulted to these days. And perhaps even more importantly, it preserves a sense of momentum in your regimen… as opposed to having yet another day off from training, which can often lead to another day off… which, well… we all know where missing multiple days in a row can lead us.
So let’s plan on doing something—even a little something—every day.
Down & Dirty!
I recently launched my very own custom-blend superfood powder called Dragon Dirt. In this section, we offer tips and insights for our kick-ass new DD community. Our Ingredient Spotlight provides info into the why, what, and how much of our ingredients in the Dirt.
The World’s Healthiest Fruit?
Indian gooseberry, also known as amla, is one of the most antioxidant-rich food sources on the planet—particularly when in its concentrated powder form. Native to India and a versatile component in Ayurvedic medicine, amla is an unparalleled immunity-booster, among many other things. It mitigates the build-up of LDL cholesterol (for greater heart health), regulates blood sugar levels, brings relief to a number of digestive issues, promotes healthy skin by protecting collagen, and can even improve the mitochondrial health of eye cells. Amla also appears to have anti-cancer properties, as in vitro studies have shown it to not only stunt cancer cell growth, but also block the invasion of these cells. There is a full 1500 mgs of Indian Gooseberry in a single serving of Dragon Dirt!
Thanks, everyone! If you haven’t already, be sure and take a moment to sign up for the BR Newsletter at: https://www.bobbyrock.com/pages/newsletter. This will give you a much more customized experience, and also grant you access to various members-only areas, events, etc.
Until next time,