Music in my life started early...about the age of eight. My dad built a cafe from the ground up, it wasn't "plush" but new, and afforded some intoxicating fun
for people that had worked all week.
Nights that he had a band, I could stay only until the crowd began to fill up
the joint...my dad would point toward the door...that was my exit signal! I
would go around back to the backdoor to where the drummer was setup...
and it all started from there !!!
I began practicing on a metal 5 gallon pail. I'd place a few small "rocks" on the
pail to get a snare drum effect. My mom soon bought me a set of bongos.
! Boy was excited ! But I saw no one playing bongos...the drummers played
a full set of drums.
When I was in the fourth grade I became interested in songwriting and sing-
ing, so I took piano lessons. Well...it turned out...I wasn't a good piano player
and couldn't sing my way out of wet paper bag !
In a couple of years I was off to junior high school and they had a band...and
they had drums...but the band director told me to play the E-Flat horn because
he had enough drummers. I "held" the E-Flat through grades 7 and 8, with
passing grades...but I never learned to play the horn ! The last day of school
before the summer vacation he heard me play the drum...and told me when
I return to school that I could play drums...what a relief !!! I played that last
of junior high school...but the real learning awaited me at Wheatley High
During the summer before entering high school...I landed me a gig with a
guitar player named Lil Rose. He owned and provided all of the instruments.
I also played my first gig and was paid a whopping $3.00 !!!
I entered high school and found the band director to be very strict...demand-
ed perfection in the marching band and the concert band. My experience
under J. P. Mosley was very, very beneficial and help shape me professionally.
I soon gave Lil Rose a notice and explained that I was hooking up with Vernon
Davis, a guitarist. Lil Rose didn't like that !!!
I worked with Vernon Davis for about a year, and it was very beneficial. ( I'm
not degrading Li Rose as a musician...but it was time for me to move on)
I got a chance to move to the next level, playing songs like "Turn On Yout
Lovelight." (Bobby Bland)
I hooked up with Sherman Roberson and The Silvertones Band, he had a
3 piece band, was young like myself, and father was the manager. We
worked together in his band for about 2 years...and then we upgraded !
We both, Sherman and I joined Conrad Johnson's Band. Conrad was the
band director for Kashmere High School. He was well known and played
clubs gigs as social gigs at some of the better hotels.
I finished high school in the summer of 1966, but my future plans were
put on hold...I was involved in a bad automobile accident ! My leg was
broken in the thigh of my right leg...my bass drum foot and leg ! I had
given up on playing drums because I knew a drummer is only as good as
his bass drum "leg and foot."
About eight months in my recovery, I got a call from Charles"Bubba" John-
son. (Conrad Johnson's son) He had a band called "Americans of '67...and
he needed a drummer. I explain to him that I no longer played drums. I
don't think he heard anything I said cause he insisted that I try...and with
doubt in my abilities...I played the gig !!! The other band members were
satisfied with my performance and that motivated me. In six months I
was playing much, much better...thanks to Bubba Johnson !
My playing career "took off" after my leg healed. I played with a lot of
artists over the years, been through 30 states and through 60 towns
and cities. My favorite tours was with Etta James, Tyrone Davis, Bobby
Bland, Jackie Wilson and Buddy Ace. I was the studio drummer at Duke
Records for about 4 years, and recorded with many artists.
I was married for 7 years...had 1 son (deceased) 1 bio daughter, and 1
stepdaughter. The marriage ended in divorce. I then partnered up with
a ventriloquist dummy named Jesse...and toured with him and had some
success! And success it was, until Jesse started insulting hecklers WAY...
WAY...too strong! So strong, until the heckler threatened to shoot the
dummy! After several incidents...I decided to end the act...because I
could not control the hecklers...or the dummy !
I've had a good career in entertainment...I've also had some "bad times"
in the entertainment...but the good outweigh the bad.