Rosey Grier and Michael Milkin were watching me drum out in the Palisades in the backyard of the President of CBS. It was a chilly day and there was no shelter from the wind. The tall old pine trees that had grown up proudly along the sloping hillside for hundreds of years below the sprawling backyard, had recently been decapitated mid height to allow for a view. Dozens of flat sawed off exposed hearts of trees were all well over twelve inches in diameter. Now there was no wind break and the attending three dozen fashionistas were getting goose bumps.
Michael, impeccably dressed in a casual dark silk suit, fidgeted and looked at his big pal Rosey. They were in the front row, guests of honor.
I continued my explanation of how rhythm can reprogram reality. I chose the immediate situation as an example.
“Hit your hands lightly back and forth on your knees.” I said while playing a steady relaxed groove.
“I am warm. I am warm.” I intoned. “Repeat it with me.” Michael rolled his eyes. But Rosie went along with it, patting his still massive thighs. Rosey had been All Pro defensive lineman for the LA Rams, as well as Bobby Kennedy’s body guard, and he was still huge. So Michael and the rest of the group followed Rosey’s lead. Michael, much more diminutive but with an impeccable hair job and tanned skin looked the picture of health reborn. He had been fighting cancer. As had other TV executives at this event. Some were wearing automatic chemo dispensers on their Gucci belts. They wanted to eat the food at this high end sourie. It was a tribute to Michael Milkin, the junk bond king. He actually did some jail time. But now he was the head of a big deal foundation for education, and cancer research.
Laurel, the word fairy had already performed her word magic. She had invited me to give a demo of the drumming meditation. I finished my spiel and everyone relaxed, and got ready to eat. Micheal slid up to me and sort of confided suspiciously,
“I lived with a traditional Chinese doctor in the mountains of China and was cured of cancer. Diet is everything. So this drumming cures cancer?”
He wanted my contact info. I didn’t have a pen so he handed me his very expensive pen. I filled out a card. I handed him the card, and I kept his pen. He slid away. A thirties something woman in a beige pantsuit approached with the fire of self righteous indignation in her eye linered eyes.
“Do you have your four thousand hours of therapy for accreditation?!” She said angrily.
“Actually, yes. I do.” I said to the obviously qualified Beverly Hills psychotherapist.
“But the therapists can’t drum, so I teach therapists how do this drumming therapy.”
She was extremely pissed at me for using psychotherapy jargon while I was keeping a groove on the Ghana djembe. But she could see that the drumming meditation worked and that she was entirely too uptight to do it. She steamed away out of the backyard party, and jammed her tall, boney frame into a blond Mercedes sport car that matched her hair then sped off angrily down the hill.
Two women approached me who were much nicer.
“We are teachers. We work with children who are developmentally challenged. Do you work with Tourettes?”
“Yes. Anything that is stress related can be helped with this type of drumming.”
The quieter, more intense teacher wanted to communicate her insights from my demo.
“Not only did it get warmer.. But your downbeat also immediately created a community. It was wonderful.”
I never thought I would be included in a community with a felon junk bond king, an NFL All Pro defensive lineman, presidents of major TV conglomerates, various uptight Beverly Hills psychotic therapists, and also some dedicated teachers, but the drum has it’s own agenda. I’m just the drummer.
excerpt: “History of the Groove” Russell Buddy Helm ©2015 all rights buddyhelm.com
“Really?!!! An hour?!! It feels like we’ve been drumming for just a few minutes!”
This sense of temporal displacement is a very real phenomenon in drumming groups. It feels really weird sometimes, when the groove is so good, then we end and a good deal of time has passed, yet we feel like it’s been only a few minutes. Einstein’s theories of relativity prove that TIME can change. It is not a constant in the universe. What affects time? Mass, energy, light, speed, gravity and grooves.
Laurel is a word fairy, weaving enchanting stories that play on words in most unusual ways. She strolled down Montana Avenue, Cathy and I were sitting on the steps in a cooling evening breeze. Laurel and her friend stopped for a quick chat. Laurel exclaimed and her friend agreed, “You both look younger!” They were amazed. I had been suspecting that this type of drumming was doing something with time. When I had drummed with Chuck Berry, he was so youthful it amazed even me. The groove keeps you young maybe because it is a coherent energy field that can displace time. We have no words for this stuff in our culture…. yet.
excerpt: “History of the Groove” ©2015 all rights Buddyhelm.com
The Walls performing at The Trip in Santa Monica. Notice I am the one wearing ear phones. It was really loud in there!
The Culture Wars of the Sixties was fought on many fronts. Including the summer Star Spectaculars in Clearwater, Florida. The gorgeous World War II era quansit hut could accommodate five hundred kids, standing or dancing on beautiful hardwood floors that could have been a basket ball court, only bigger. The Beatles had just come out a year before. The gates were open for mor adventurous acts. Enter, from New York City, in a skin tight gold spangled jump suit that left nothing to the imagination. But what really irked the rednecks in the audience was the length of his hair.
“Git a HareKut!” The good ol’ boys were yelling Monti Rock III cruised, danced, minced and boogied to his excellent back band’s New York grooves.
The rednecks were so incensed by the way that Monti Rock III flung his long black beautifully cut hair( he had been hairdresser to the stars) that they pulled out their own greased up combs and threw them at the stage.
“Dig yourself Baby” was the tossed off remark from Monti Rock III