Sunday, February 19, 2017

Clyde died

Clyde Stubblefield 
Writing appreciations of the recently deceased is not what we are about here, but we can't really let great drummers pass without notice, either.

When I was in school, in the late 80s, it was easy to be a drummer and not hear of Clyde Stubblefield. His gig with James Brown was 20 years earlier, he wasn't getting a lot of press, and his way of playing was not really current. I was around serious drummers and serious drumming students all the time, and nobody talked about him. But I was lucky to have a friend who went off to Berklee, and brought back some tapes, and let me know that's who everybody was listening to. To hear him is to become a fan of him, and I felt pretty hip to be aware of him and incorporating his thing into my playing.

A couple of years later, every hiphop artist in the world was sampling Stubblefield's grooves, and his playing in the late 60s became a major influence on drumming in the 90s, and on the way funk is played to this day— the sound of the instrument and everything.

An important part of his story is that he did not get paid for these God-knows how many sampled album appearances and untold millions of albums sold— a messed-up situation I am not going to recount here.

Here are links to notices in/at the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, Slate, Vice, and AV Club.

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