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#1 2020-10-18 04:26:10

drummer
Member
Registered: 2020-09-23
Posts: 6

Hello from sunny Southern California...

Where it's still over 100 degrees where I live lol.

I am a old Crunchbang user from back in the day. First got into Linux way back when Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens played for the San Francisco 49ers (only way I can reference that time lol). First distro I think was just plain SusE from when Novell developed it. Used it off and on over the years (my primary OS was Mac, then Windows, then Mac, predicated on what machine I booted into really), distro hopped until I found Crunchbang, and that was it. To me it was the perfect distro and desktop. I went on a Linux hiatus until a couple of years ago, hopped around, then tried Bunsenlabs and now use both Bunsenlabs and Archlabs on a dual boot on my T460s Thinkpad, as my "BangBox". It's like Crunchbang all over again, it's just what I prefer, a desktop that is minimal, light, efficient, and beautiful. I am a big Openbox kind of guy, I also use other WM's as I prefer those to a full on desktop environment. I have used Bunsen with MX (using the BLaM! from many-roads), and now use it with Testing, and yes, I have done the FrankenDebian thing ages ago where it was quite frightening indeed. I am used to breaking stuff so I fear not doing that, but with both BL and AL, no need for further forays into the deep end.

I wish to thank everyone here with the Bunsenlabs team for keeping the spirit of #! alive, but also congratulate you for coming into your own with the beautiful Lithium desktop. It's just fantastic. I prefer the Yeti theme myself, and it's everything I want in a desktop. Bravo Bunsenlabs! Thanks for all you hard work!

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#2 2020-10-18 04:41:21

damo
....moderator....
Registered: 2015-08-20
Posts: 6,406

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

Good to hear from you, nice post smile


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#3 2020-10-18 10:36:14

ohnonot
...again
Registered: 2015-09-29
Posts: 5,022
Website

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

Welcome to BL forums, drummer!
Are you a drummer (always interested in avatar stories)?


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#4 2020-10-18 19:18:54

drummer
Member
Registered: 2020-09-23
Posts: 6

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

ohnonot wrote:

Welcome to BL forums, drummer!
Are you a drummer (always interested in avatar stories)?

Yeah, I grew up playing the drums, started playing them around 5 years old, then throughout high school. Was looking into applying for Berklee and North Texas, but I got a job doing A/V work that paid well back then. I moved to San Francisco in 1991 to study with Chuck Brown, who taught Terry Bozzio and David Garibaldi, studied with Brown for about a year, then a couple of years later, studied with none other than Tony Williams (my all time hero since high school) for about six months. Studying with those two made up for not going to college lol.

During the time when I first moved to SF, I was still doing A/V work, but now in SF, and worked at lot at the Moscone Center there. I worked all the major big tech shows, Macworld, WhateverWorld (there were a lot of Tech World shows there lol), and I was exposed to all the leading tech that was cutting edge simply because if it happened at the Moscone, it was THE leading edge tech that debuted there first. This was even before the internet as we know it today existed. I was running 386, 486, and SunSparc stations out onto the trade show floor for all the booths that ordered them. This was back in the days of NeXt lol. I remember the first time a Pentium processor hit the trade show floor, it drove all the displays nuts.

I have a story where I was working an executive meeting for Intel during the time when the Tokyo stock market crashed, right when the Vice President of NASDAQ was due to speak lol. That's the first time I have ever seen a VP of a major stock index jump up and down shouting "WE'RE DANCING IN THE AISLES AGAIN PEOPLE" to a resounding applause of executives and investors of a company like Intel lol.

I had to travel a lot for work, so the drumming thing took to the wayside. I eventually moved back to SoCal from SF due to the rising costs of living in SF. That and to be closer to my father, who is now 80 years old. But I also went back to playing drums. Right now I am in the process of revamping my technique. Technique is very important to me, that and vocabulary. I don't have to make a career out of playing the drums, I look more of it as a craft and an art form. I also started to take up singing again, as I play drums and sing at the same time. I am an eternal student, thus my foray back into Linux. Going forward, it's going to be music and Linux as my primary interests. That and doing more writing (I used to write about NFL football for an SB Nation blog years back).

What's funny is that people who have seen me play drums back in the day ask me when I am going to start playing again. They really enjoyed my playing, and that inspired me to get back on the horse. Everyone I know sees me as a drummer first, and they keep asking me to start playing again. Of course today, I play a lot different than I used to, it's a lot better than I ever had played, a lot more focused and with a lot more vocabulary. I play more like my heroes in Tony Williams, Billy Cobham, Steve Gadd, and such, and now I want to write music that reflects where I am at. What happens after it really doesn't matter, I like to do a variety of things I love to do, and as long as I can do that, life is still a wonderful gift, especially during a time of crisis in this country.

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#5 2020-10-19 02:14:20

phuturism
Member
From: Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, Melb
Registered: 2016-07-15
Posts: 102

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

Great story!  Thanks for sharing Drummer


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#6 2020-10-19 06:01:40

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,421
Website

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

Hi drummer, welcome to the community! smile

(Very impressed by the Tony Williams lessons btw.)


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

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#7 2020-10-19 06:10:02

cog
Developer
From: The Southwest
Registered: 2015-10-27
Posts: 535
Website

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

Steve Gadd.! Very cool.


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#8 2020-10-19 07:44:44

drummer
Member
Registered: 2020-09-23
Posts: 6

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

johnraff wrote:

Hi drummer, welcome to the community! smile

(Very impressed by the Tony Williams lessons btw.)

Yeah I couldn't believe it when I saw an ad in the back of the San Francisco Weekly that said "Drum lessons with Tony Williams". I called the number, it rang a couple of times, then I heard "Hi this is Tony Williams". It wasn't a recording either it was Tony on the other end lol. In high school, every drummer wanted to be Neil Peart. I didn't want to be every other drummer, so I started to look into other drummers. I used to subscribe to Modern Drummer magazine, and that kept me in tune to all the great drummers past and present, and one issue had a cover story and interview with Tony. Everything he said in that interview was just what I needed to hear. He was all about the drums, it's history, the meaning of being a drummer, just everything. So I went and bought every record I could find with him on it. The first record I bought was his own album "Believe It" that also had guitarist Allan Holdsworth (who I was also a HUGE fan of in high school). That album changed the game for me. I used to listen to rock, metal, and some funk and R&B, but that album had it all. I also bought his record "Emergency", that had guitarist John McLaughlin and organist Larry Young that was released in the late 60's. They were one of the first electric jazz groups that emerged post Miles' "In a Silent Way" (which both Tony and McLaughlin were on). There is one track on it called "A Famous Blues" that is pretty much a time capsule of everything to come after when it came to the drums. Tony's concepts were ahead of it's time, from his days with Miles to his Lifetime records, Eric Dolphy's "Out to Lunch", Herbie Hancock's "Maiden Voyage", but that one tune is earth shattering as far as vocabulary and concepts. His use of tension and release, the figures between his hands and feet, his using the kit punctuating with multiple explosions, and he can stop on a dime. That tune is a study all on it's own, and he became my all time hero back then.

I took both master class lessons and individual ones. The technique he was teaching was different from Brown's. He was all wrist control to Brown's use of finger control. I told Tony that I studied with Brown and he was like "Oh yeah, did he tell you that it was going to take four or five years studying with him?". I told Tony that Brown said eight years lol, which was true. "Have you ever seen him play?", to which I said I never had which I hadn't. He says to me "If you're going to study with a cat, make sure he also plays. Guys who don't can string students along for years, but you have to see if what he is teaching you works." He also told me a funny story about he and Brown back in the day in Boston: "He was going around telling everyone he taught me how to play, which was bullshit. I caught up to him in a practice room at Berklee, and there he was on a practice pad, drool coming out of his mouth, playing single strokes as fast as he can, and I asked him if he was telling everyone that he was my teacher. He nervously said "No man, I never said that", and I said good, don't ever say that you did because everyone will know it's bullshit".

I didn't know what to say after that lol, I just said "Yeah well I just studied with him..."

Then Tony interrupted me with "Because he taught Terry (as in Bozzio) and this guy and that guy".

Tony was an awesome cat, he was totally down to earth, very personable and could talk about anything. We even talked about NFL football, and he really knew his football lol.

The highlight was when he showed me how to play the ride cymbal. I see many many many video's on YouTube that show "How to play the Tony Williams Ride Cymbal" that have it all wrong. He stood behind me at the kit in the practice room where he taught, which was at Don Sfarzo's Drum World in San Francisco, that no longer exists sadly. He had his hand around my right wrist and literally played the ride cymbal with me holding the stick and he moving my arm lol. He showed me the entire motion from the cymbal to my shoulder, and back. After a while, he got behind the kit, grabbed the stick out of my hand, and played tie ride cymbal, but at a blazing tempo (meaning very fast lol). He looked at me in a manner almost bored and said "I can do this all day". I wanted to kiss him, it was that freakin' awesome.

One lesson I came in with my left hand a bit sore, and he asked me why. I told him that I was trying to play the ride cymbal like he showed me, but with my left hand instead of the right, as I played open handed (meaning leading with either hand like Billy Cobham and Simon Phillips). He said to me "Did I tell you to do that?" to which I sheepishly said no. He then said "Then why do you do that?", and I told him because I wanted to play open handed. He then said "Look, you're paying me a lot of money to take lessons, maybe it would be a good idea to stick with the lessons I gave you". I humbly agreed lol.

Everything he said in that Modern Drummer interview he said in that practice room for all the weeks I studied. He stayed true to all of it, he always said "I am here because I stood on the shoulders of giants, like Art Blakey, Max Roach, Roy Haynes, and Philly Joe Jones". What was amazing was that he would play lick like Max Roach, and it sounded exactly like Max Roach. He then played the same lick like Art Blakey would play it, and he sounded exactly like Art Blakey. He then played it like "Philly would stylize the lick more" (in his own words) and he sounded exactly like Philly Joe Jones. He always knew where he came from, and he always referenced who came before him. He taught about the history of the drums, how they came over from the days of the slave trade, how they took away the drums from the ones being traded as slaves to take their culture away from them, and how people fear the drums because how fierce and loud they are, and taking the drums away from them is a reason why.

Tony used to say "I want to express the drums and the time (meaning timekeeping). The drums are meant to be played loud, and soft.". I just can't say enough about Tony Williams. I am just so glad that I had an opportunity to learn from him personally, in every aspect of being a drummer, and as a person.

Last edited by drummer (2020-10-19 07:50:54)

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#9 2020-10-19 08:06:53

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,421
Website

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

^Yeah I'm just a very low-grade guitarist, but I certainly liked what Tony Williams played with Miles Davis and John McLaughlin. I lost the thread after that - did he stop playing for a while? Meanwhile McLaughlin started playing with Billy Cobham, who's also amazing.


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

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#10 2020-10-19 08:43:27

drummer
Member
Registered: 2020-09-23
Posts: 6

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

johnraff wrote:

^Yeah I'm just a very low-grade guitarist, but I certainly liked what Tony Williams played with Miles Davis and John McLaughlin. I lost the thread after that - did he stop playing for a while? Meanwhile McLaughlin started playing with Billy Cobham, who's also amazing.

In between both incarnations of Lifetime, I think Tony did more straight ahead stuff, like with VSOP and such. McLaughlin and Cobham were in Mahavishnu Orchestra right after McLaughlin played with Tony. That band is another one that I was into in high school and beyond. Cobham is another one of my heroes, and whenever anyone asks me who I think is the best rock drummer ever, well, I tell them there is no such drummer as the best ever, but on my list of rock drummers, Cobham is number one on my list. Because he is a fantastic rock drummer. Without "Quadrant 4", there is no "Hot for Teacher". His playing on "The Inner Mounting Flame" is heavier than anything Bonham. He went from a Ringo size kit on that album to a full on double bass drumkit the very next one in "Birds of Fire" and changed the whole game with it. He was THE power drummer who also had technique that was unparalleled at the time. He could play odd meters in his sleep, can play funk like James Brown, and his own Dreams band with the Brecker Brothers and James Abercrombie was incredible. Just listen to "Shabazz" or find "Tenth Pinn' on YouTube. That was the time where NOBODY could touch him.

I caught a gig of his years ago at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I was outside chatting with him in between sets, and his guitarist was Dean Brown, who played with Cobham in Cobham's Glass Menagerie band in the 80's. I casually mentioned "Quadrant 4" and Brown lost his shit "DON'T YOU DARE CALL THAT TUNE OUT THE NEXT SET. I HATE IT WHEN SOME ASSHOLE CALLS THAT TUNE OUT!". Cobham just smiled and I said "Ok man I won't".

Last edited by drummer (2020-10-19 08:44:02)

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#11 2020-10-20 02:51:56

johnraff
nullglob
From: Nagoya, Japan
Registered: 2015-09-09
Posts: 7,421
Website

Re: Hello from sunny Southern California...

"The Inner Mounting Flame" was a revelation to me. And, yes "Birds of Fire" was much heavier, but also great.


...elevator in the Brain Hotel, broken down but just as well...
( a boring Japan blog (currently paused), idle Twitterings and GitStuff )

Introduction to the Bunsenlabs Lithium Desktop

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