As the months go by I continue to be gratified by occasional messages from Danny afficianados who, by one reason or the next, have found their way to it. The feedback has been very positive. Many of the writers ask if I wouldn't mind sharing a bit more about Danny, another anecdote or tidbit of personal information. In response to these requests, I have the following thoughts and observations.
1975: Meeting Danny | Danny Interview (Realaudio)
Playing with Danny
The very idea that he was LUCKY to play with US...
But make no mistake -- he knew who he was. He held no misguided notions about his abilities; he knew EXACTLY how great he was. He did not suffer (musical) fools gladly. When he found himself onstage with someone he didn't care for, he'd often play only the minimum, or even make the person look like a beginner if he felt they were too full of themselves.
I guess the point is he always made you feel special, that you were doing HIM a favor. I last played with him in Dec. '91, after that tour. Somehow I knew it would be that last time for a while, but of course, had no clue it would be the last time, period. So I kept the last set list, and also asked him to sign an '88 Elmira St.' poster. He graciously obliged and wrote something that blew me away:
"Brian - Thanks for saving our butts again!
Incredible. In fact, Danny could've had any drummer around, and
there are only about ten million who play better than I do. That was
just his way of raising other musicians up to his level, so he wasn't
stuck always looking down.
One of many lessons
1975: Meeting for the first time
Comes time for the deal, and Danny and (drummer) Dave Elliot are there, but no Billy. We wait for a while, but no Billy. Danny and Dave began to express some impatience, so we go ahead and do the interview. We have a great time. Good conversation, relaxed, talking about music,the record and a variety of topics.
They made sure to take advantage of Billy's absense by giving him a merciless hard time on a number of fronts. Pretty jovial all around, and we (the interviewing team) are collectively impressed with how down to earth good natured and unpretentious these guys are, and get no small grins from the fact that they are goofing on Billy.
So the interview comes and goes; Danny and Dave head off. They're gone only a few minutes when screaming around the corner comes this big white Cadillac, a flustered and harried Billy Hancock behind the wheel. Late, but he's made it. When he finds out what happened he takes it in pretty good stride. Oh well, as long as we got on the air and all that. He then gives us promotional copies of the LP. Quite a few in fact - about a dozen. Plenty for us to each take one and have a pile to spare for the radio station. A number of them were slightly warped, but playable. (Remember warped records?) Regardless, we were pretty happy about the whole deal.
Anyway, Billy zooms off as hurridly as he arrived, and that, is the
end of the story. We didn't mention to Billy that he'd taken a severe
ribbing from his bandmates during the interview.
A Danny Gatton Interview
Introduction || A Hot Band || The First Gig || Tour Plans
© 1991, 1996 by Brian S. Alpert. All rights reserved.