Many drummers that have stood out in the past and the present had someone else to attribute their success to. This is different for Buddy Rich. He stands out as a self-trained childhood vaudeville star.
In other words, Buddy Rich did not just start drumming because others were doing it and it was beneficial, he loved and lived to drum. And for this reason, Rich had a technique that has remained unrivaled for all these years. No one can drum as fast as the rich could.
Hence, he has remained one of the greatest of all times if you wanted to know how drumming really felt, whether as a drummer, or just a music enthusiast, it would help to listen to Buddy’s projects.
Among the things that made him stand out was his speed. This allowed him to smoothly take over the throne of the reigning big-band drum player Gene Krupa. Even Krupa himself crowned him as “the greatest drummer ever to have drawn breath.” It was not easy to hear such compliments from Krupa, who had set his roots as an unrivaled drummer of all time. This showed just how much respect and recognition Buddy had gathered across the industry.
When buddy landed a career-making gig with Tommy Dorsey, he seized the opportunity to meet other performers that would change his life forever. One such figure was his rival/ friend/benefactor Frank Sinatra. It was even Sinatra who delivered his eulogy after more than 40 years of their partnership. Buddy came up with unique styles of delivering exotic sounds every time he was behind the drums.
The rich influence did not just end with the big-band era. It went beyond even jazz and the entire music industry. He was the first American drummer to entertain many of the earliest British rockers. Hence, he becomes an influence to super fans like John Bonham and Bill Ward, who later created unique sounds beyond the simple backbeat and into hard-hitting improvisational patterns.
The impact reached Phil Collins, who was then compelled to forget a two-bass-drum set-up and put his energy on the hi-hat works. Rich also left a mark in the life of just plain flooring Roger Taylor. At one point, Queen Drummer admitted how he remembered Rich’s press-roll thing that would last for more than five minutes.
And it is even the press-roll that has continued to inspire many other best drummers until today. It began with as a whisper, which was barely audible, and extended to fill a whole room with close to 4000 people. The style ended in a thunderous blast that took everyone up on their feet.
Rich was a gifted drummer, more than just a professional one. And it was this personality that led him to invent different drumming styles only to fulfill the curiosity of his fans. When Roger Taylor spoke about him, he never stopped showing how fond he was of his skills. The fact that he learned from childhood meant everything he did was based on innovation and the need to improvise.