Max Roach and Art Blakey.

Hi Everyone – today it’s just answers to last month’s questions.

Fabian Broicher – Date: 24.09.2011 – I’ve read somewhere, Bill, I just can’t remember where, that you once wrote “Moon” on one and “Go Home” on the other shoe. Probably in some Yes-related article. Is that a true story? Ever since I read that, I am doing it too, though I’m always getting weird questions regarding why I don’t like the moon as such and/or the night.

Fabian. It’s true! We were all kids once. When I was about 15 I was a jazz snob. The ‘moon’ refers to Keith Moon of the Who, whose drumming I didn’t like. I’ve since revised my opinion in this area, as in many other areas!

Tony Foley – Date: 21.09.2011 – …I checked out this article in The Guardian: and just wondered (aside from the MSG electro drum failure debacle) whether you had any more rock star/pedestal knocking incidents you could add.

Tony, you mean other than illness (Earthworks in Pontevedra passing the fire-bucket around on stage; Tony Levin with hepatitis in Texas with ABWH, Jon Anderson cancelling PALA Eur in Rome after 15 minutes); accident (Tony Kaye with his leg in plaster); equipment malfunction (the MSG Simmons drum failure, Adrian Belew being horribly out of tune on British TV Old Grey Whistle Test and you can’t stop and tune up); and dodging the mentally unstable (Earthworks Underground Orchestra at the Iridium)? No, I think that’s it!

Michael O’Connor – Date: 20.09.2011 – Having listened to the many different groups/musicians you have worked with I have always wondered was there any one particular musician that you really wished you had had the opportunity of playing with or writing with but were never able to?

Michael:I’m asked this a lot – it’s a good question – but I have no simple answer. Just because I love a particular musician (say the late Joe Zawinul) – or his band (Weather Report ) – it doesn’t mean that I would be a good partner for him or that a partner is needed. He always used sensational drummers (a band is only as good as its drummer, or, put another way, if you want a good band you first need a great drummer) and I never felt I had anything particular that I could offer. If I ever felt I had something I could offer my colleagues, I certainly wasn’t shy in coming forward and saying so! (c.f. Robert Fripp…). I was very fortunate to be able to do my thing with a steady flow of people who could accommodate my (ever-changing) thing.

Bradley Baker – Date: 16.09.2011 – was “wondering if Bill was going to sell more of his drum sticks through his online store. They are my new favourites!”

The signed and used version are the ones you probably mean, Bradley. They are the most popular, but of course I don’t generate used sticks much anymore! So the store won’t be able to sell those I’m afraid. The basic Bruford stick is available of course from ProMark through any good drum store.

Laurie Small – Date: 16.09.2011 – You have a picture of Gong in the snow in Norway on your site. The unnamed person was Venux, the bands sound engineer. I might have been the driver but at least I was the drum tech …

Laurie, I didn’t immediately recognise your name (it was about 35 years ago!) but of course…Thanks for the identification of Venux, and for doing the drums!

Andrew Ashwin-  Date: 16.09.2011 – Any plans to release live material taken from Earthworks last few years (one of the last one’s at Ronnie Scotts prior to the retirement anouncement would be a great album…)

Andrew, sorry to disappoint but Ronnie’s wasn’t recorded. Unlike the folks over at DGM who appear to have a recording of every gig (and rehearsal) of King Crimson since about 1980, I deliberately didn’t want to record all of Earthworks. The live stuff available I think covers everything of any interest – especially the two live DVD Anthologies.

Billy Mathews – Date: 13.09.2011 – wants to know: “If you hadn’t retired do you think you would’ve been the drummer in the new Levin Torn White cd (given your past associations w/ the the 1st two)?

Who knows, Billy, who knows? I like to think Torn would have given me a call. The first of two albums we did together – Cloud About Mercury – was very popular and sold well, and is one of my favourite albums to listen to. Love that album. I’ve insisted that it be available from the shop at this site, and it will be very soon, so strongly recommend you check back and pick up a copy if you don’t know it!

Robbie Wise – Date: 03.09.2011 – has a “ muscle degenerating problem and holding a fork is a problem but the memories of you playing and my fellow muscians know you will always be an inspiration and enjoy retirement. The greatest drummer that ever lived went out in style. I thank you for putting up this site and I hope your health is perfect like your timing.”

Robbie, Thanks for the kind comments on the site and I’m very sorry to hear of your misfortune. I’m in absurdly good health, and count my blessings every day.