I just picked up the DVD of the Making of Burning for Buddy last week. I’ve owned the albums for years. Yes, volume 1 is 16 years old now but it’s still one of my absolute favorite collections of music I own. I’m still consistently amazed that Neil Peart and Cathy Rich were able to pull that project off. But, as the drummers involved consistently note, and they are not the most eloquent of speakers, it was the idea of Buddy Rich and his legacy that humbled them to show up and try. I think this clip from The Muppet Show should say it all.
I’m a bad drummer. Hell, let me restate that. I’m bad at flailing around on my electronic kit. To call what I do drumming does violence to the concept of drumming, no less the art itself. But, having gone through and re-watched this marathon of performances and commentary (nearly 5 hours, btw, you certainly get your $28 worth) is nothing short of inspirational. You know you’re in for a good time when Neil Peart is the worst drummer in the mix, a state he freely admits with his customary humility.
From Steve Gadd, with ever-present scowl, futzing with his monitor mix while laying down a perfect groove on “Love for Sale” to Omar Hakim smiling and dancing his way through “Slo-Funk” to Steve Smith dispelling the idea that he was ever in Journey to Joe Morello reminding the younglings that they still have a lot to learn during “Drumarello,” it’s one fascinating look after another at what one is capable of when one sets their mind to it. And, while each of them are brilliant in their own idiom (or outside of it in the cases of Peart and Kenny Aranoff) remember that Buddy Rich played all of them. Unfortunately, YouTube is really short on cuts from this DVD. But, start here and let the suggestions take you where you like.
It’s a shame that some of the drummers involved couldn’t be filmed for contractual reasons. It’s an even greater shame that some great drummers couldn’t make the sessions originally. For all the talent here I still miss Vinnie Coliauta, Stewart Copeland, Terry Bozzio, Chad Wackerman, Alex Acuna, Tony Williams, etc.
If you’re interested to see what happens when a man shows great humility and respect for his art, check out the changes in Neil Peart circa 1994 during the recording of Cotton Tail and the 2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert. It’s subtle, but it’s like two completely different people.
And, those are words of wisdom that reach much farther than than your floor tom. That’s the legacy of this fantastic recording.
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