I ran into my old mentor Roy Burns today at the 2017 NAMM show in Anaheim California. I first studied drums with Roy back in 1982 or so. At that time he was just starting his company Aquarian Drumheads. He taught me about drumming with the help of his books and his mentors books (Jim Chapin). And he also taught me how the mind and emotions could interfere with one’s natural capacities via books like “Zen and the Art of Tennis”.
I was standing in front of the Aquarian booth waiting for John Wackerman to say hello to the company that supplies drumheads for promotional purposes. I saw Roy there with the usual crowd of people around him. I think John, Chuck Wackerman or maybe it was Chris Brady told Roy that his old student Ken was here. Roy said I thought that was Ken but it looks like he lost 100 pounds. Roy told me to sit next to him and that he was very happy to see me. He told me a story about his drum mentor Jim Chapin and in that moment I felt he was on some level speaking about he and I. He spoke of pride and its effect on one’s ability to embrace change. I felt as if I was 18 years old again listening Roy talk philosophy.
Someday I may write a lot more about Roy, he has this endless understanding of human nature mixed with conservative ideals. Truly someone you would want to sit and talk with for a long time. Im lucky to say that he has always felt comfortable enough around me to share some deep concepts.
I have never met anyone like Roy Burns and I have a feeling I never will. Thank you Roy I heard everything you said, and you had a profound impact on my life.
I was at a point in my life when the feeling one gets from the Christmas Season begins to fade. So i decided to write a set of Christmas songs with my friend Joey Grijalva. We called our Christmas Album Moon Christmas.
The working title for this song was Christmas Land, looking back I probably should have called this Christmas Show. My original intent when writing this song was to make a story about remembering and hanging on to the good parts of Christmas. To sort of go back to that person you were when you really loved the Christmas holiday
As far as I remember, I composed this in Studio Visions. Brought in Joey Grijalva and John Horne to record with me (on drums). The wonderful backing vocals are Julie Van Duren.
This song was recorded in my (home studio) garage, on a Akai MG1214 aka Akai 12 track.. I used a old studiomaster mixing board (I bought off Chad or John Wackerman), Studio Visions DAW, Quadra 650, assorted 421, 414, sony, and Shure mics, alesis compressors, timecode machine, assorted keyboards, and spx90’s.
The cover photo was Dave Sparks. Im pretty sure I laid out the cassette sleeve via Pagemaker. We had this album pressed at Rainbow Records.
When I studied with Murray he was in his late 80’s. I was his last student of the day on fridays so it was my job to drive him to Farmers Market get some corned beef and cabbage then go to his apartment and dine with him. During our meals together we would talk about all the famous drummers he had taught, he talked about their skill levels temperament etc. Since I had a personal interest in sound engineering I would pick his brain about his audio career. Murray would talk about which mic Julie Andrews or Barbra Streisand preferred. How he balanced all the rounds in the parade scene of Hello Dolly. I even have some recoardings he made for me from his personal reel to reel of the board mixes from West Side Story. His apartment even had some Hollywood history. It contain his academy award from the original King Kong. And was party central for the likes of actors such as Fred Aster as well as the heads of the major studios.
When I play the drums my teachers influence “sound” out of my hands and feet. Greg Perry, Kenny Peters, Roy Burns, Roy Mcurdy, Rick Latham, Chad Wackerman, Murray Spivack, and Chuck Flores. Im so sad to hear that drummer Chuck Flores passed away yesterday. I studied drumset coordination with Chuck Flores back in the 1990’s at his house. His studies made a huge difference in my overall coordination on the drum set. And he was a really decent and generous person.