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 Steven Rucker Interview


Taken from The Musician's Planet - Spring 1998 edition - Q & A

Q Why are there so many jokes about drummers? I've just gotten into drumming, and every day, I hear jokes like this: "How do you find a drummer for your band? Call and order a pizza." Who started this?

A No one knows for sure. But the theories are amusing.

"How did drummer jokes get started? Jealous guitarists who were tired of us bagging all the chicks," brags Mike Mangini, drummer for rock guitarist Steve Vai.

Jonathan Joseph agrees. The drummer - who's played for saxophonist David Sanborn and vocalist Al Jarreau - says the jokes "probably originated with guitar players".

But Steve Rucker, one-time drummer for Bee Gees and now a drum instructor at the University of Miami, hypothesizes that it was specifically bass players who started the drummer jokes.

"They're the team, the ones together at the back of the bandstand," Rucker says. "Guitar players aren't smart enough to come up with them, anyway."

Mangini actually enjoys the jokes. "The best one I can remember goes, 'How many drummers does it take to screw in a light bulb? Eleven - one to screw in the bulb and 10 to stand around saying they could've done it better.'"

Rucker's favorite is: "How do you know when a drummer's knocking at your door?
The knock slows down."

For his part, Joseph can't recall any of those jokes. "I don't really have any drummer jokes," he concedes, "but I do have a guitar-player joke: Have you seen B.B. King's new instructional video?
It's called Hooked on Tonics.

Q What's the difference between a conga, a bongo and a djembe? I always get them mixed up.

A Well, they're all drums. But the first two - conga and bongo - are of Latin descent, while the djembe is African. "In Latin rhythms, a conga is the major drum of modern times," says Nemil Chabeb, a MARS drum associate in Tampa. "A bongo is two smaller drums mounted together, while djembes are African hands drums with their own unique sound and shape."

By the way, the proper pronunciation of djembe is "JEM-bay," although Chabeb says pronouncing the "dee" won't embarrass you - it's so common, it's becoming accepted.



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