Drumboogie - a Crazy Drum Story!
Well, I once tried this myself while drumming for the Milneburg Six, a local trad jazz band, during a pub gig. I worked my way around this and that, eventually putting in some stick work on my full beer glass that stood on a side table … the glass shattered with resounding affect, showering me and the kit with beer and glass fragments – what pratt I made of myself!
Anyway, you can imagine then how amazed I was when, a few years after having sat down at the kit for the first time and having endlessly played Gene Krupa records, my French brother-in-law Jean-Paul Gilles announced that he was a drinking partner of the great man himself! Jean-Paul was one of life’s high-flyers. Literally! He was an executive of Air France, stationed in New York City, with my sister Beryl and niece Maureen.
Jean-Paul and Krupa’s drinking haunt was the famous Metropole Café, a jazz club, in New York.
Krupa, pictured with my brother-in-law's secretary Collette
And now finally I get to the point of my blog, the inspiration for my painting, ‘Drumboogie’. Well, that came from Krupa, who had studied African tribal drum rhythms! My fantasy versions of an elephant and rhinoceros can be seen almost dancing to the evocative rhythm laid down by the duo of four-armed drummers in a parched African landscape.
Drumboogie (1984), Inks, 70 x 100cm by Rodney Matthews
I will leave you with a video of my hero, playing the track ‘Drumboogie’ at the Metropole Café in 1965: