John Ware - My Comments

I’M A DRUMMER. I’M AN ARTIST. I’M AN OKIE.
I’M DAMN LUCKY IS THE TRUTH.
I WAS BORN IN THE 40’S
AND RAISED WITH RHYTHM AND BLUES,
RACE MUSIC, AND COUNTRY IN MY HEAD.
CONSTANTLY.
I LEARNED TO PLAY DRUMS FROM RECORDS,
AND
I TOOK LESSONS FROM A FELLOW
EXTRACTED BY MY FOLKS FROM
THE MUSIC STORE CATALOG OF
GUYS WHO COULDN’T MAKE A LIVING
PLAYING.
IF YOU CAN’T DO IT
TEACH IT.
I WAS HOPELESS. I COULDN’T MASTER
A PRESS ROLL, BUT HE DID SHOW ME
BRUSH TECHNIQUE.
BY THE TIME I ENTERED MY TEENS
I WAS PLAYING WITH SOME PRIMATIVE
HILLBILLY ROCK GROUPS
AND
SOME COUNTRY SWING BANDS.
AND
SOME BLACK NIGHTCLUB ACTS
WHO WOULD OVERLOOK THE FACT THAT I WAS
A THIRTEEN YEAR OLD WHITE KID.
I STILL HAD NO RUDIMENTS AT MY CALL,
BUT I LEARNED TO PLAY A REAL SHUFFLE,
AND WITH A FEW TRICKS IN COMMAND
I WAS DESTINED TO LEARN HOW TO PLAY
WITH THE BIG BOYS.
BUT
I STUDIED ART AND NOT DRUMS.
I COULD GET BY ANYWHERE WITH DRUMS,
BUT I WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ART.
BEFORE I TURNED TWENTY I KNEW
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
ART AND CRAFT.
IT’S AN IMPORTANT LESSON.
I HAVE ALMOST NO CRAFT IN MY BAG.
I’VE GOT PERFORMANCE ART DOWN.
IT’S A GOOD THING TO DEVELOP HEROES.
ONCE I GOT PAST GENE KRUPA
AND THEN JERRY ALLISON
AND, OF COURSE, LEVON IN FAYETTEVILLE,
I FOUND AL JACKSON,
AND IN HIS PLAYING I FOUND A HOME.
SINCE I DIDN’T PLAY WITH GREAT SKILL,
MENTORSHIP WAS DIFFICULT,
AND LEARNING FROM RECORDED MUSIC IS OFTEN
MISLEADING.
OVER TIME I GOT THE GROOVE FROM JACKSON,
AND SINCE I WAS PLAYING
ESSENTIALLY AT MY ZENITH AT ALL TIMES
I COULD DELIVER SIMPLICITY
WITH A FEVER.
ON RECORDINGS AL JACKSON (WITH HOWARD GRIMES)
WAS ALARMINGLY SIMPLE.
I STOLE THAT.
I HAD BRUSH TECHNIQUE.
I STOLE THAT.
I LEARNED THAT IN MY LIFE
LESS IS NECESSARILY MORE.

ABOUT THAT LUCK STUFF.
LET’S CONSIDER THE PLAYERS I’VE BEEN WITH:
JESSE ED DAVIS FROM MY HIGH SCHOOL BAND
ALONG WITH JOHN SELK AND ROGER EDWARDS.
LINDA RONSTADT - MY FIRST WEST COAST GIG.
MICHAEL NESMITH WHO IS WILDLY UNDERVALUED
AND WITH HIM THE LATE GREAT RED RHODES.
GLEN D HARDIN AND JAMES BURTON AND
EMORY GORDY AND HANK DEVITO AND
RODNEY CROWELL AND ROSANNE CASH AND
ALBERT LEE AND RICKY SKAGGS AND
FRANK RECKARD AND MANY OTHERS
FROM MY YEARS WITH EMMYLOU HARRIS
AND THE HOT BAND.
SO,
LUCK WAS ON MY SIDE
I PLAYED IN THE STUDIO
AND ON THE ROAD WITH PEOPLE THE LIKES OF WHOM
I COULD ONLY DREAM
AS A KID IN OKLAHOMA CITY,
AND
LET’S FACE IT,
I SAW JAMES PLAYING WITH RICKY ON TV, TOO..

AND ALL THAT ART TALK.
I STUDIED ART SERIOUSLY IN CALIFORNIA
AT POMONA COLLEGE,
A REAL HOTBED OF THE AVANT GARDE,
WHICH ACTUALLY HAS TURNED OUT
MORE THAN A FEW GOOD ARTISTS.
I HAD MORE THAN A KNACK FOR MAKING OBJECTS.
IN 1965 I WENT TO
THE YALE SUMMER SCHOOL OF MUSIC AND ART.
I DID MY GRADUATE WORK AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT SANTA BARBARA.
BUT
I FOUND MUSIC MUCH MORE
SATISFYING THAN
MAKING STILL, FLAT THINGS
IN A STUDIO.
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT THAT FEEDBACK.
I CHANNELED MY ART INTO
PERFORMANCE.
THE PERFORMANCE WAS THE ART.
I WAS/AM MAKING ART WITH SOUND.
IT’S NOT ABOUT DRUMMING IN THE WAY
THAT MASTERS OF THE INSTRUMENT
DISPLAY THEIR SKILLS.
I HAVE MADE A CAREER OF MAKING
SPACE AND BEATS
WORK FOR THE MUSIC
WITH LITTLE CRAFT INVOLVED.
I DON’T RECOMMEND IT,
BUT IT’S BEEN VERY GOOD TO ME.

NOW I’M PLAYING AGAIN. AFTER TAKING MORE THAN
TWENTY YEARS OFF
I’M PLAYING.
IT’S UNNERVING TO ADMIT, BUT,
SINCE AN AUTO ACCIDENT IN ’98,
I PLAY EVEN MORE SIMPLY.
DRUMS ARE BETTER. ACCESSORIES ARE BETTER.
I CAN MAKE NOISES WITH GREATER EASE.
I’M MAKING MUSIC WITH PLAYERS
ON A CALIBRE WITH THOSE IN MY PAST.
I CAN JUSTIFY THE YEARS OF NOT PLAYING,
THOSE SPENT MAKING FILM AND VIDEO,
AS PREPARATION..
IT’S ALL ABOUT MOVING PICTURES,
MOVING MUSIC AND
THE NEED TO STAY HUNGRY AND RECKLESS,