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Into...the Vortex

The Vortex: other musician and music -related links The Vortex.  Given our dedication to elucidating the road-weary travails of the professional musician, the vortex is a list of web-places which share that focus. Also, there are a few selected drum sites and some choice music-related sites tossed-in for fun.

Suggestions for this page? Please let me know what they are.

About the term "vortex": Coined by a good friend, "the vortex" referred originally to all-life-consuming day-gigs. Previously, this page presented links to my day-gig "vortex" and other technology-related schtick. If you're curious about the diversions that composed the original vortex page, check out some well-meaning long-distance nerds (and not-so well meaning hucksters) and some hard-apple-core propaganda.


Buddy on the Bus
Let's get one thing straight: NOBODY loves the way Buddy Rich played drums more than I. I have his autograph and a slew of his LPs. I met Buddy once. I sat on his tour bus, told him how much he influenced my playing and confessed to playing in a Western Swing band, knowing full well he hated Western music. He was gracious as can be. He cared for other drummers and behaved graciously toward them. But to be another musician working in the man's band, THAT was another story...

Buddy Rich (and this is well known) was a bleeding-at-the-mouth TYRANT to those in his employ. Being a young cat in his band (and generally, he could only afford to hire young, wet-behind-the-ears players) meant living in a high-risk inferno. Everyone shared the receiving end of his profane blowtorch of a mouth. He was tough, spoiled, profane beyond being reasonable. All this is documented on this website, which transcribes (the audio clips no longer work) a number of tirades made famous when a band member had the balls to record them. This tape is a legend among musicians. It's worth noting that this site also features a copy of a letter from a former trumpet player who remembers Buddy in a much more positive light.

WARNING! The audio and transcribed text at the other end of this link are shocking and profane. What a shame they so accurately reflect Buddy Rich's famous dark side.


The Rockin' Reverend Billy C. Wirtz
The Rockin Rev is the real deal, lemme tellya. Billy kicked off his musical career in Harrisonburg, Virginia and never looked back. I gigged with Billy a few times, and despite his outrageous persona, am happy to relate what a nice, funny guy he is.

Billy writes quite a bit, and has some great 'Sermons,' linked here. Here's a snippet:

We are accustomed to blowing into any given town two hours behind schedule, double parking in the rain and loading into a second-floor club with a broken elevator. We are used to checking in to the local crack house/ section 8 housing/ Patel owned/ Jimmy Thackery said it was OK/Motel of Satan provided by the club. We are all way too used to being informed that they thought we needed three rooms not four, catching a fifteen minute power nap, following the sound man with his unique hygiene habits into the bathroom, squabbling with the other band members over where to eat, ending up at a nasty Chinese Buffet that wonÕt replace the steamed Crab legs, driving around the club for half an hour looking for a parking place, dashing onstage five minutes late, playing for two sweaty hours or more, packing everything up at two A.M., going back to the motel, getting five hours of sleep more or less, depending on the state of your roommatesÕdigestive tract, and then repeating the drill all over again the next day.


Mike Lankford's 'Life in Double Time'
Author/drummer Mike Lankford has written an excellent book called Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer, which portrays Mike's experiences in his own professional-musician-vortex. Regarding this sincere and clever book, Washington Post reviewer David Nicholson gushed:

This is a sweet book, gracious and full of grace, its transparent prose akin to what Lankford's drumming must be like—rock-solid and propulsive, yet sensitive and rarely calling attention to itself. Like a favorite song, you finish "Life in Double Time" ready to start all over again.


Wes Crawford
Great drummer, good buddy and all around nice guy Wes Crawford has put together a very nice site, devoted to his many and varied musical projects. Stop in, give a look and be sure to check out his latest effort—the DRUMSET PLAY-ALONG DVD. Very cool!
An excellent, entertaining resource devoted to the greatest drummers of today, and yesterday. Lots of great photo's, reliable bio's, and an excellent selection of downloadable videos. Worth your time.


America's Ace Drummer Man! Shawn Martin's Gene Krupa tribute site
A tastefully and skillfully-executed tribute site. Good content, biographical and other texts, photo gallery, music and interview sound clips, the works. Plus, a chance to get the real story behind Gene's famous drug bust!


A Great Day In Harlem
If you love jazz you will love this beautifully executed site devoted to "the photograph." What photograph? Here's a bit of copy which used to grace the (since-edited) the site's 'about' page:

In August of 1958 Art Kane, a young photographer from Esquire magazine, had an idea to bring together the most important people in jazz for a group photograph. To his colleagues' surprise 57 jazz greats showed up in Harlem at 10am.

In 1994 Jean Bach brought the photograph to life with a documentary that featured many of the living legends in the photo reminscing where they were in their lives when the photo was taken. Bach's film "A Great Day in Harlem," is one of the best films ever made about jazz music.

Trust me jazz lovers, you may think "It's just a picture, what's the big deal?" But when you scan the photo, and use the skillfully designed databset to see "who's who and who's that standing next to them" you will understand.

Of interest—a University of Virginia radio station WTJU arranged a Charlottesville-home-grown version called Great Day in Charlottesville to honor that town's longstanding, exceedingly vibrant live music scene. Fun.


The Official Danny Gatton Website
A central piece on this website is my journal recounting a Concert Tour with the late, legendary guitarist Danny Gatton. This from 'The Concert Tour' intro sums up my feelings:

Danny Gatton was one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Before his shocking and tragic suicide in 1994, this fact was well-known only to an informed contingent of musicians and music devotees. Today Danny's legend lives on due to his astonishing musical legacy and the enormous impact he had on anyone ever to see him play.

A trip to his official website offers a plethora of sound and video clips, a complete discography; a homegrown photo gallery, much about Danny's many guitars, plus the latest news regarding the great guitarist's posthumous recordings.


Rancho DeNada
Kent Newsome is a recorded songwriter who has been writing songs for over twenty years. Most of his songs are somewhere between traditional country and alternative country, with a few folk and rock and roll numbers thrown in for good measure.

Kent's award-winning personal website is more than a mere music site, however. Rancho DeNada is really a web-community with a musical bent, including Band Listings and well-written personal essays.
What begins as a lengthy, impressive tribute to the father of Jazz (Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong), upon entry turns into a lengthy clearinghouse of Crescent City sites, New Orleans musicians, bars, Mardi Gras and other Fat City websites, etc. Sponsored by the Crescent City Connection web hosting/design/consulting firm, even has the temerity to link to, on the page devoted to New Orleans and Louisiana Music Links, a subset of the acclaimed Louisiana Music Archive & Artist Directory. Louis Armstrong Online
Not to be confused with the above site, this is the official website for the Louis Armstrong House and Archives, located in Queens, New York, affiliated with Queens College. A must-visit for anyone interested in the life and work of Louis Armstrong.

Oh, by the way, the Director of this museum is none other than Michael Cogswell, formerly of Sitting Ducks, my first-ever professional band.

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