I can go through our drummers already filmed and share my thoughts upon meeting them, but I’ll wait until the film is wrapped. Instead, I’d like to share some quick “glimpses” of a few drummers I would hang and bump with during my Hollywood heydays in the 80′s…
Tommy Lee: Motley Crue. Lived above him at 1040 North Clark in Hollywood, 1982, when he was roomies with band mates Nikki Sixx and Vince Neil – in a one bedroom apartment. Good swimmer. Was actually a shy guy. He saw my 28 inch Ludwig bass drum at Sound City rehearsals several years later and was floored by its presence. Weeks later the Dr. Feelgood video debuted on MTV where Tommy entered opening frame behind his new 28 inch bass drum. I remember laughing and loving it.
Roger Taylor: Queen. John Deacon, his bass player, was a regular at the Rainbow Bar & Grill whenever he was in town, but when I saw Roger Taylor one night I slipped my way into the booth next to him to strike up some conversation. Taylor was the first real big concert drummer I had ever seen in 1977. He was an extremely pleasurable guy to meet. He was one of my earliest drumming heroes who shared his whisky and water with me.
Eric Carr: Kiss.
Never met Eric until we happened to sit next to each other in the bar at the Rainbow in 1989. It was a weeknight. We got to drinking some beer, then shots, and we were disagreeing and debating very strongly on music of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, who were not all that much to me back then. Eric disagreed. Neither one of us let up. I jumped from my seat, ran outside in the middle of our debate and puked in the parking lot. There was a pat to my back, “Hey man, you ok? Didn’t mean to upset you.” We would be friendly acquaintances whenever we bumped into each other from that night on. Eric Carr was one hell of a guy.
Eric Singer on the other hand, who took Carr’s place after his death, had a beef with me in 1989. My band opened for Paul Stanley and Singer was his drummer. On our closing song I had a routine of dumping water on my skins–the fans loved it. Singer hated it. Somehow I managed to sprinkle his shiny cymbals and sparkling clean drums behind me. I couldn’t believe he had an issue with a little water on his equipment. They were free and given to him anyhow. We were all endorsed back then–”run over it with a truck.”
Steven Adler: GNR was huge and regulars in our neighborhood but ego never got to Alder or his other band mates I might add. I saw him the night he settled his lawsuit with Axl and his former band mates. He bragged to me that he just “kicked their asses.” I was happy for him but he was in bad shape that night. His front tooth was missing, he was gone on booze and there he was, victorious. On the town, sitting alone and in an even lonelier booth. Today, Steven Adler is a winner. He is drumming, alive and well–and I’m proud he’s in our film. One of my favorite drummers is Adler because of rawness and slushy high-hat approach. He hung a lot on the town back then with my good friend Athena, but we only once or twice all hung together. Athena was the drummer in a hot all girl band at the time, Hardly Dangerous. She was bad-ass and just as solid back as her mega star brother, Tommy Lee. She still is.
Randy Castillo: Ozzy Osborne/Lita Ford.
Randy was a special drummer and person to anyone fortunate to meet him. I can’t think of one person who ever said a bad word about Randy Castillo. I first met Randy in a tiny dirty rehearsal room in LA deep in the valley in 1984 with guitarist Mitch Perry and another guy from their three-piece band. A few years later, Randy got the Ozzy gig but still remained the same old Randy; always smiling and cheerful. He was much older a drummer than most of us on the Strip at the time. He struggled many years in working his way into an arena band and finally got the golden gig with Ozzy Osborne, when Osborne was on fire. Every drummer wanted Randy’s gig; it was rumored he was being paid over six figures a year, for half a year’s work. Randy would Harley around the town during the day with Billy Idol, and his best friend, Phil Sousan. One day, I set up two sets of drums at Sound City Rehearsal and he and I went at it for over two hours. At night, Randy was a fixture at the Rainbow Bar and Grill because that was every musicians clubhouse. Still is. Randy drummed a little for Motley Crue and shortly thereafter he became ill. It was sudden and quick. He had cancer. He died on March 22nd, 2002.
In the words of Anthrax drummer and founder, Charlie Benante, “Drummers are special people.” Damn right they are.
Be safe and hit em’ hard–BM