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An obvious cue for a sad, but funny, joke.
Buddy Rich's manager gets a phone call, asking to book Buddy.
"Buddy Rich died last week, I'm sorry to inform you."
An hour later, another call, wanting to book Buddy. Sounds like the same guy.
"Buddy died last week."
Another hour, same voice, same offer.
"Look, man, I've told you, Buddy Rich is dead. It's tough enough to deal with it, much less having you call repeatedly and keep bringing it up!"
The caller says, "Yeah, I'm sorry about that, but I was on his band last year and it just makes me so happy to hear it."
I lived in NYC when these were just making their way around on cassette tapes. The original "collection" had a few more clips and there were these funny, cheesy Casiotone keyboard "interludes" between each clip. As ain overal product this was hilarious, as he was still alive. (This was back in the days when the only way to get a copy of the Real Book was to purchase it from the trunk of some guy's car in an out of the way parking lot, due to its illegality… )
We had a former trombonist who ended up in this band for a while and we got this tape from him.
One night about six of us went up to the Blue Note in the Village to see Buddy Rich and his band and we shouted out quotes from the tape all night. We had his band in stitches because they all had this tape. We kept shouting out "New sounds! No time! What the f*** d'you guys think I'm paying you for?" and "This guy… He ain't my kind of guy!" and "You can take Manhattan and get off my bus!"
I was shocked to hear many of these very lines used in several Seinfeld episodes. Shocked and delighted, that is to say!
Would I do this now? Not at this age and life experience level. But then, again? Sure. I hate guys who treat employees like that, even if they can just leave at any time, because you still have to get you way home and you stuff and all that. It is not like quitting a regular job at all. And no one, NO ONE needs to be that way with his employees. His public persona was BS and this tape was an appropriate response to his own bad business practices. If they play that poorly then just STFU and fire them. Picking up ANYONE, ANYWHERE would have been so easy for him back then.
He was amazing, but only to watch. Just one man's opinion.
The interesting/predictable thing about his situation was that it was a huge snowball:
The more his reputation got around, the fewer more experienced/savvy players would work for him. By the time his band came and played in my high school auditorium (1974), his entire band looked like a bunch of dudes in their early-mid '20's...
...and - sure enough - the night he played at our school, he fired the greenhorn bass player - because of a short in his cord.
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No to defend him on any level, but it was a different time with different standards and practices. In many jobs it was pretty common for foremen and bosses to yell, swear and threaten. A lot of the guys acting like that were from the "greatest generation" and learned their management skills on the battlefield. Or at least in the military of that time. And passed it along. The workplace was mostly male. Political correctness and sensitivity? Not invented yet.
I've been on the receiving end of that kind of management myself. Not pleasant. But I survived it.
But looking back on it from today's perspectives is applying a different set of standards and sensibilities than what was the norm back then.
Today that kind of behavior would be several times more shocking than it was then. Not to mention actionable.
I certainly wouldn't want to return to those times myself, but having been there it isn't all that shocking somehow.
That BS wins wars? I can't believe it.
Read carefully. I said, "A lot of the guys acting like that...."
NOT, "A lot of guys acted like that."
Big difference. And I stand by what I was trying to communicate. Times were different and a lot of things went on then that don't go on so much now. That said, that bus tape was extreme even for then.
I suspect that pretty much anyone who went through Navy (like me) or Marine boot camps during the 50's and 60's heard just as bad. It was systematic. Part of the program. The movie Full Metal Jacket gave some of the flavor of it from those days. The reality was worse as I remember it. You didn't see much, if any, of that level of butt chewing after boot camp, though.
I spent the last few weeks of basic in recruit drum and bugle corps in San Diego (1965). The first day I marched with them I got out of step and remember to this day the DI (A Musician 1st class) kicking me in the ankle and cussing me out and yelling at me for 5 solid minutes. In front of the whole corps. Surely no worse an offense than whatever the musician had done on that bus. Last time I marched out of step, too.
Yes, Buddy Rich was a first class a$$hole. Today I'd bet the band would either quit en mass or toss him out the bus door without stopping after hearing that. But it didn't happen today.
He sure didn't like beards, I'll give him that...
I had friends that toured with "name" bands in the 70's, and every one had a "riot act" that was read chapter and verse to the incoming plebes because the personell changed over so frequently
And it was always some version of their way or the highway, somewhere where there weren't many highways...
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Ray Charles' (reportedly also a pretty cranky band leader) band used to drop him off in strange neighborhoods of tour towns in order to teach him a lesson.
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