October 2015
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Drumming for peace

When I left the film/TV business 28 years ago. I was post production supervisor for Dallas, Falconcrest, Knotts Landing, Hunter, etc.The top shows of that era. The only consolation for selling soap opera I had back then was that when we broadcast Dallas worldwide, people in Beirut and Belfast and Joburg would stop shooting each other to find out who killed JR. I felt the calling to come back to the drum, but there was no meditation drumming in our culture back then. It had to be created out of thin air. This current production is DIY with no budget. I love working at the grassroots level with nothing but ingenuity and good intentions. A lot of people have participated along the way, and what used to take me a city block full of satellite dishes and an army of personnel can now be done on a laptop with a few button pushes. But content is what always matters. This is a networking of consciousness and good intentions with people all over the world.

Listening to Damsels in Ditress

Damsels in Distress

When I was a young rock drummer there were plenty of romantic opportunities with willing young women. The sense of celebration was contagious and everyone was feeling the liberation of psychology from what had been the Eisenhower mentality, very conservative, but humanistic with the focus on fulfilling the American Dream for the family. This evolved into the Summer Of Love for the following generation; all things possible. But with the largesse of prosperity also came emotional strain never experienced before in such a land of plenty. Anxiety, bad judgement, disillusion in the status quo, seeking of a new family without the prejudices of our biological, earthbound parents. So, instead of the wanton desecration of virgin temples I often listened to their stories. In an attempt to understand my own stories. After all these years, I am still doing the same thing. I am getting to be a good listener while I am going deaf. I drum with a lot of women. Different kinds of women drum. Admittedly some of the younger of the generations I  drum with are a total mystery. But thats what happens when men get blind sided on purpose. The shadow is projected from the warrior male and the women, a certain type of women, will take on the shadow, the Great Sorrow, and deal with it, to turn it to the good. The Sacred Whore, as perceived by some. Instead, I am the listening drummer and their stories are amazing. I envy some of them, feel great sorrow for others, while they hit the drum in a relaxed manner, a very slow forgiving groove. This liberates psychology and they come to terms with what they have to negotiate to move on. Some men tend to just hit it until it breaks with little concern for cosmic repercussions. Although there are a few men willing to ride the groove to higher consciousness with good intentions. But clearing the path for the story teller is what I have been doing, keeping out extraneous distractions while they spin their yarns.

Excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm ©2015 buddyhelm.com

drumming in synch with the world

Welcome to my office, come in and drum for awhile

My Office

Grooves for Sept. 15

This is the groove from last night, Tuesday Sept. 15. Google is messing around with new video encoders, so I am posting the final event, which is different than the live streaming url. Get it together, Google. At least the sound and the picture are in synch. Hooray for that!

healing long distance drumming

drumming to heal long distance


What I feared most did not happen

What I feared most did not happen; that my life would have been spent doing something I did not believe in. Although I had to adjust my value system to accommodate a more…”philosophical” approach to defining a successful life. After listening and watching a tribute documentary to Lynyrd Skynryd I feel glad that I was incarcerated in the Deep South as a child. I felt like I did not belong but I learned to respect what I saw and felt, and heard. The music is truth and soul and guts and heart, and pure blissful boogie grooves. In the long run, the sensation of playing and hearing that music is what I value most today. It is a source of survival energy. It is a source of wisdom.

The connection to Skynyrd is in time and place. There were so many great bands playing around the Southeast in the late sixties and early seventies, that it seemed like that was the natural order of things.

Frank O’keefe, one of the lead guitar players in my high school band, Those Five, ended up playing bass, helping to create the band, The Outlaws. That was a Florida West Coast spawn, which eventually migrated to Skynryd. The Allmans had set up shop in Macon, Georgia, a few hours north of the Florida/Georgia state line. Seemed like Jacksonville and points south were the growing fields for good blues. In the long run history gets told by people who weren’t really there. So what existed don’t exist anymore, except the music that survived. That’s what hurts so good. Frank O’keefe called out of the blue, and asked my to come on up to the Fillmore in San Fransisco and hang out with the local boys from Florida. He knew that Tim Buckley had just been murdered and that I was not really a ball of fire about getting into another band. He thought this would do me some good.

The backstage bathroom at the Fillmore, had “Florida Rules!” scrawled very largely across the clean white wall. Frank went out of his way to involve me with all their success and fun. Even though Hughie stated critically that Tim Buckley,

“He only had a pair of two’s”. Which was cruel, and totally cracker. I responded by saying,

“He had a great band.” Instead of punching him in the mouth before he went on stage at the friggin Fillmore.  I wasn’t gonna get bitch slapped by my hometown good ‘ol boys about what I did instead of sitting at the back of their band, drumming, drinkin’ Jack til I die of whatever corruption I settle on. Tim’s band was great. I had carried the grooves over from Macon, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Clearwater/St. Pete, Tampa and Coconut Grove all the way out to LA, and found the best goddamn singer I ever heard, and we did it. If Tim was murdered for his high minded mouth, I guess I couldn’t count on these crackers to cut me any slack. They were happenin’, that’s all that mattered. When the gigantic red Rebel Flag unfurled behind Lynyrd Skynyrd the roof blew off the Fillmore. Everyone cheered, not out of racism but out of individual love of themselves and others. The power to be yourself was being celebrated by all different types of people. It was the era where civil rights became a reality. That night at the Fillmore, everybody was a Southern Rebel. And we were all on the same side.


What is Synchronicity? Screening



“Liza, Liza Skies Are Grey” and “What is Synchronicity? Screenings

TWO movies we are drumming in are both premiering this weekend on the SAME DAY! What are the odds of that?
“Liza, Liza, Skies Are Grey” at the Billy Wilder Theater in the Armand Hammer museum in Westwood.(Directed by Terry Sanders). A sixties love story where we performed a drumming circle. Sept. 13 at 3pm.
Then “What is Synchronicity?” a documentary by David Strabella, a therapist who drums in Kansas City who interviews all sorts of interesting people. That is on Sunday night at the Awareness Film Festival just down the road at 9pm.