So often I am asked, "What was it like to play with Buddy Rich and his band?"

Let me tell you, it was one of the best experiences I ever had.  Being
ten-years-old and given an
opportunity to play for
Buddy and to be given a chance to perform with Buddy's band and to know
you were
respected and very well treated by Buddy Rich himself was on Honor in itself.

It was July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 Astronauts splashed down after a
triumphant journey to the
moon.  Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins did it, or should I say America and NASA did it, landing man
on the
moon and returning them safely to Earth.

But, that night, July 24, 1969, my Father's Band,
"J" and the Contours, was performing at the
Welwood Lounge in Eynon, Pennsylvania, and the main attraction was Buddy Rich and the
Buddy Rich Band.

I went with my Dad because I was scheduled to do a
drum solo there on the band's intermission.  I
remember walking in the
Welwood Lounge and seeing Buddy's Slingerland Drum Set set up and
staring constantly at his
24-Inch Bass Drum and his two 16x16 Floor Toms plus his 20-Inch
Medium "A" Zildjian Ride
.  I guess you can say I was like a kid in a candy store.  I played the
"Rogers" version of the Buddy Rich Drum Set.

Anyway, I couldn't wait to meet
Buddy again.  First time I met him was at Basin St. East, in New
York City.  
Dusty Springfield was his opening act.  And it was great meeting her also.  So, I went
downstairs and was going the wrong direction and stumbled into his dressing room.  He was sitting
on a chair talking to some people and when he saw me he had a big smile on his face and said,
"Hey kid, I can't wait to see you play."  I said, "OK," and tried to leave because I didn't want to bother
him since he was talking to people.  He grabbed my arm and said "Maybe you can play a tune with
my band.  Again, being as nervous as I was, I again said, "OK."  Someone in the room said, "The
boy doesn't talk much does he?"

I remember
Buddy's band getting ready to play.  Buddy got on his set.  He was calm, cool, and
collected, gave me a smile and a wink, gave out the number to the tune they were to play, and the
band started with
Buddy playing the hi-hat and counting the 4-count and the whole Band exploded.  
What power!  
Buddy and his Band went through about seven numbers and then he got off his drum
set, grabbed the microphone, and started talking and telling jokes to the audience.  Just when you
thought he was going back to play, he said over the microphone, "Hey,
Angie, is the kid ready to
play?"  My Dad said, "Yeah, just let me get his set adjusted."  
Buddy said, "No, he is using, mine.  
Get up here kid."  He asked, "Are you alright?"  I said, "Yes."  He said, "Good.  Get back there."

So, I went back behind
Buddy's set.  That Slingerland set was just fabulous.  His snare drum was
tuned so perfectly.  It had a crisp snap to the sound.  What a feel on that
snare drum.  Wow!  The
only part of that Drum Set that wasn't
Slingerland was his foot pedal.  It was a Rogers.  It was so
perfect for my foot.  It wasn't tight or loose.  It had a perfect balance.  The
bass drum had a real pop
to it.  It was tuned low.  So, I am behind the set and he says, "OK, kid.  Let's hear you."  I played a
few sixteenth notes with four-stroke Ruffs and flew around the set.  It was about 20 to 25 seconds.  
Buddy let me get comfortable on his set.  After that, he asked, "What song do you want to play?"  I
immediately said, "
West Side Story."  The place erupted in laughter.  I really wanted to do that
number.  
Buddy stood there laughing hysterically.  He told me, "No.  I can't even play it, so I'm not
letting you do it.  What else?"  So, I said, "
Mercy Mercy Mercy" and the audience applauded.

Buddy said, "OK," and we went into doing it.  Buddy stood in front of the Band as I started out the
song to bring them in.  About a quarter of the way into the song I really felt the groove.  I started
driving his set and the Band really got into it.  It felt so good to play with so many of
Buddy's talented
musicians.  
Buddy sat right at the table with my parents and my grandparents.  I remember so
distinctly the big smile he had on his face as the band and I played.  I do remember when the song
was over, he jumped up onto the stage, shook my hand, and I got a hug.  I did receive a standing
ovation and he made me take a bow to the three corners of the room.  
Buddy told the audience I
was the youngest talent he had ever seen and was joking with me from the stage.

Buddy went back behind his set and was teasing me in his own way, the sticks flew out of his
hands.  He picked up another pair and he jokingly lost those.  Someone in the audience yelled out,
"Let the kid play.  He's better than you!"  Whoever that was, I wish he didn't say that because
Buddy
got a little angry.  He didn't say anything, but he gave a look to kill.

He proceeded to go into a solo with the song "
Bugle Call Rag" and brought the band in.  The band
was excellent, powerful, and
Buddy just drove that song.  Accented with another solo, Buddy
finished off the night with "
West Side Story" and brought the house down.  Buddy Rich was a
drummer's
Drummer!  To me, and a lot of professional drummers, he can make you leave a
place where he was playing with
your head on backwards.  There has been no one like Buddy
Rich
since.

I did perform with his band many, many times since that night on July 24, 1969.  It was up until 1972
and I really enjoyed doing
"Mercy Mercy Mercy" and other tunes such as "Norwegian Wood",
"Greensleeves"
, and, yes, the ending of "West Side Story" (and I mean the ending where Buddy
comes out of his solo and the band comes in on the ending.  I do remember him saying to me,
"Don't ever say I didn't let you do 'West Side Story', OK, kid?"  And many times, he let me do
my
Drum Solos on his drum set.

Forty years later I still have his drum sticks in which he autographed for me.  But, time has eroded
some of his signature.

Buddy Rich was always kind to me and my Dad.  Yes, he yelled at me couple of times because I
had readjusted his hi-hat stand or accidentally stepped on his shoes and I also knocked a candy bar
out of his hand.  But, I learned a lot.  Talking to him was a learning experience.  He gave me a
LIFE
experience, which I understood so greatly as I got a lot older.  His words of wisdom were brilliant.  I
hold it in my heart even today.  
He knew I could play, and as he said, "Just keep doing it, kid."

In December, 1986, my Father went to see Buddy play.  Buddy asked him where "the kid" was.  My
Dad told him, "He brought his Daughter home from the hospital."  His reply to my Dad was, "So, the
kid had a kid?"  I was hoping to see
Buddy again but, as life has it, he passed away in  April, 1987.

Today, I still have the memories, photos, autographs, drum sticks, and his words of
encouragement and wisdom, just as I have with my Dad, Angelo Stella.

Whatever it is you want to do with your life . . . DO IT . . .

and when they say you can't . . . DO IT MORE!
Billy Angelo Stella's
The Drummer's Workshop
It's All About The Drumming!
BUDDY RICH AND ME
IT ALL STARTS SOMEWHERE!
WITH
PROPER LESSONS AND PRACTICE, YOU TOO CAN BE GREAT!
The Drummer's Workshop is the ONLY workshop in NEPA where you learn the RIGHT way!
PRIVATE INSTRUCTIONS FOR MALE AND FEMALE
DRUM EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES IN STOCK FOR THE BEGINNER OR PROFESSIONAL
THE LITTLE SHOP WITH THE BIG SUPPLIES!!!
PRIVATE INSTRUCTIONS FOR MALE AND FEMALE
DRUM EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES IN STOCK FOR THE BEGINNER OR PROFESSIONAL
THE LITTLE SHOP WITH THE BIG SUPPLIES!!!
Buddy Rich and
"The Kid"
July 24,1969
October, 1970
LOCATED AT:

39 School Street
Hudson (Plains Twp.), PA  18705-3430
(Between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre
Behind Mohegan Sun Casino)

Call (570) 822-4883

FOR DIRECTIONS ON YOUR "GPS",
ENTER "39 SCHOOL ST, HUDSON, PA"

CLICK HERE TO E-MAIL!
Hosting by Aabaco Web Hosting
Enter starting street address:

City, State or Zipcode:
Home
Information
on Drum
Lessons
About Billy
Angelo Stella
About Angelo
Stella
About Prof.
Billy Angelo
Stella
Who Does
Billy Listen
To?
Billy's Photos
1959 Thru
1969
Billy's Photos
1969 Thru
1978
Billy's Photos
1980 thru
2004
Billy's Photos
2005 thru
2007
Angelo's
Photos 1948
thru 1964
Angelo's
Photos 1965
thru 1972
Angelo's
Photos 1972
thru 1990
Professor's
Photos 1925 thru
1970
Quotable
Quotes
Try These
Beats!
Attention
Musicians!
Magazine
Articles
A Big
Thank You!
Billy's Photos
2008
What it takes
to play the
Drums
Buddy Rich
and Me
Billy's Photos
2009
Check Out
Billy's Videos
On You-Tube!
Billy's Photos
2010
Billy's Photos
2011
Billy's
Photos 2012
Drum
Equipment/
Supplies
Billy's
Photos 2013
Billy's
Photos 2014
Billy's
Photos 2015
2007
Interview
Angelo - Mel
Wynn & The
Rhythm Aces
Billy's
Photos 2016
Billy's
Photos 2017