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"I've always liked drums to be big and powerful. I've never been into using cymbals overmuch. I use them to crash into a solo and out of it, but basically I prefer the actual drum sound. To me drums sound better than cymbals."
"It wasn't so much what you could play with your hands--you got a lovely little tone out of the drums that you couldn't get with sticks. I thought it would be a good thing to do so I've been doing it ever since. You really get an absolutely true drum sound because there's no wood involved. It hurts your hands at first, but then the skin hardens. I think I can hit a drum harder with my hands than with sticks."
"When I first started, Ginger was a big image in Britain. He was a star in his own right. In the old big band era, a drummer was a backing musician and nothing else. In the early American bands, the drummer played almost unnoticed with brushes, always in the background. Gene Krupa was the first big band drummer to be really noticed. He came right out into the front and he played drums much louder than they had ever been played before. And much better. People hadn't taken much notice of drums until Krupa came along. Ginger was responsible for the same sort of thing in rock. Rock music had been around for a few years before Baker, but he was the first to come out with this "new" attitude--that a drummer could be a forward part of a rock band...not something that was stuck in the background and forgotten about. I don't think anyone can ever put Ginger Baker down. Of course, every drummer has his own idea of just when Baker was at his absolute peak...I thought he was just fantastic when he played with the Graham Bond Organization. It's really a pity that American and Japanese audiences didn't see that band because it really was a fantastic line-up consisting of Jack Bruce, Graham Bond and Ginger Baker. Personally I think Ginger Baker was more into Jazz than rock...he definitely did play with jazz influence. He was always doing things in 5/4 and 3/4 tempos which are associated with jazz. Unfortunately he's always been a very weird sort of bloke. You couldn't really get to know him--he just wouldn't allow it. Ginger's thing as a drummer was that he was always himself. It was pointless for anyone to try to do what he was doing. And Eric Clapton was the same in the guitar field."
"I think my first real break was backing up Tim Rose."
"Robert and I lost contact for two or three months..."
John Bonham media on this site:
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In Through The Out Door outtakes
Full name: John Henry Bonham
Born: 31 May 1948, Redditch, England
Died: 25 September 1980, Windsor, England
Family: Parents: Jack and Joan Bonham
Brother: Michael (3 years younger)
Sister: Debbie (14 years younger)
"I'd wanted to be a drummer since I was about five years old. I used to play on a bath-salts container with wires on the bottom, and on a round coffee tin with a loose wire attached to it to give a snare drum effect. Plus there were always my mum's pots and pans."
"When I was ten, my mum bought me a snare drum. I've always been fascinated by drums--I felt nothing for any other instrument. Later I played a bit of acoustic guitar, but it was always drums, first and foremost. I don't reckon with that jack-of-all-trades thing."
"My dad had bought me my first drum kit... It was almost prehistoric--most of the metal had rusted. Later I learned how to properly look after my drums. People who don't care for their drums really annoy me."
"I swore to Pat that I'd give up drumming when we got married. But every night I'd come home and sit down at the drums and play. I'd be miserable if I didn't."
"Well yeah, I was always breaking drum heads when I first started playing. Later on I learned how to play louder but without hitting the drums so hard. It has all to do with the swing of the stick."
"When I first started playing, I was interested in music and I was able to read it. But when I moved into playing with groups, I did a silly thing and dropped it. I do think it's great to be able to write down ideas in music form. But I also think that feeling is a lot more important in drumming than mere technique. It's all very well to be playing a triple paradiddle--but who's going to know you're actually doing it? If you pay too much attention to technique, you start to sound like every other drummer does. I think that being original is what counts. When I listen to other drummers, I like to be able to say, 'Oh, that's nice, I haven't heard that before.' I think that being yourself as a drummer is so much better than sounding like anyone else."
John Bonham Discography (non-Led Zeppelin recordings)