Mr. Paul's Odyssey
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Frank Loesser on working in Hollywood:
The producer orders a certain title, the musical director orders a certain rhythm, the dance director orders a certain number of bars, and the composer orders a certain number of aspirin!

GigLog 22 From the Barry Mcguire Show 1976. What can you say about Barry... we're on the eve...

  1. LifeLog...
  2. Mr. Paul Timeline/No records here…just a nice average… thank the LORD.
  3. Born 1953, Boston, Massachusetts
  4. @ 8 years old held my first pair of sticks, they were my dads
  5. 10 began playing in a corps because I liked a girl
  6. 12 played in bands & orchestras throughout middle and high school
  7. 18 toured with the Anaheim Kingsmen
  8. 19 began professional touring w/Stan Breckenridge Singers
  9. 18 began teaching 3 jr. corps & 4 music stores
  10. 21 begin lessons with Murray Spivack
  11. 22 began touring with Maranatha Music groups
  12. 27 began touring with Pat Boone & Josh is born
  13. 27 music becomes a career choice & endorsement appearances begin
  14. 29 invented and manufactured the first oversized “ripstop” stick bag “Sticks Pack”
  15. 32 it rains gigs 25 to 40 per month
  16. 34 Danny is born
  17. 36 film work begins
  18. 37 stop almost all touring, work with Disney begins
  19. 37 create Too Many Bongos band, project & CD (in its 24th season)
  20. 40 hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
  21. 43 marry Kathy xoxo
  22. 45 receive BA from Pacific Oaks & begin teaching 2 classes
  23. 48 receive MA from Pacific Oaks & begin teaching college
  24. 50 ½ marathon after being told by my doc I would not run again
  25. 53 inducted into the Whose Who of Teachers in America
  26. 56 become a grandpa
  27. 57 awarded Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential
  28. 58 opened home studio
  29. 61 making a teaching home @ Laurel Hall School & still taking gigs w/performances on 8 CDs over the last 2 years. Teaching 63 drum students per week.
  30. 62 teaching 3 sections of drum corps, 1 section of world drumming & doing drum circles for educators... negotiating 2 cds & a reprinting of my book: The Latin Rhythm Primer.  Too Many Bongos is in its 27th season, & adding Sakae Drums to the endorsement list.
  31. 63 working with David Blasucci, Jan Roper and the CFTN Band!

GigLog 21 GENTLE FAITH 1975 to 1978. We had no idea of the impact that was made on worship music. No one was playing like this in a church; we were just praising G-D and didn't know better! TURN AROUND

GigLog 20

A favorite track of mine with Don Gerber and a host of others!

GigLog 19
Pat Boone USA went like this: one run through and right to video!

GigLog 18


Bhumibol Adulyadej,  H.M. Jazz King jamming with some Jazz Kings!  In December of 1980 the Boone band was invited to Thailand to perform for the King, a well accomplished musician.  He sent us a stack of charts to rehearse and play at a command performance.  The music was wonderful and captured that Sammy Nestico feel and sound!  The King loved our performance and sent us a fleet of limos so we could tour Bangkok.  Two days I’ll never forget.

Giglog 15


I believe Mindy Abair’s first night with the band was at the Biltmore downtown L.A.  I don’t think any of us had met her and the general consensus was that the agency just wanted to dress up the band.  She had a wonderful down-home attitude and the whole deal seemed too cute until we played… Mindy totally blew our socks off!  She had the articulation, wisdom and repertoire of an old jazz codger.  And that was back then… the rest is music history!

Giglog 16


On the set of Angie the orchestra applauded Susan Jaffe's magical run-through on her toes.  A trombone player amazed at her sur les pointes technique, looked up and asked, "Whatcha got in them shoes?"  Susan walked to the edge of the stage, looked down into the orchestra pit and replied, "BLISTERS, CALLOUSES, CORNS, INGROWN TOENAILS, SWEAT AND BLOOD!  THAT'S WHAT'S IN THESE SHOES!"

GigLog 13


When Peter Marston called me for a session it was a beautiful thing; when I heard the material it was love!  Some of the best times ever was working with Shplang!

GigLog 12


Let them say what they want… the Pat Boone I know is just a great guy!  I don’t know how many gigs I did with Pat but I averaged the flights (according to flight numbers and as many as 7 in one day) at over one hundred per year throughout the 80's.  The hang was the best!  I loved playing the ballads and that’s that!


GigLog 10

The band Private Life was holding auditions and since I knew their tunes  I went down. I knew the band was produced by Ed Van Halen but on this hot summer’s day, I wore walking shorts, a long sleeve Oxford shirt and very short hair.  I walked in the studio and Danny Johnson was on guitar and to my surprise, Ed was playing bass.  There was a lot of big hair and a few laughs when I began tuning the bottoms of the drums.  I looked at Ed over the top of my glasses and he said, “Sorry, we’ve never seen anybody tune the bottoms before.”  I smiled and continued tuning.  I sat down and said, I’m ready.”  Ed counted the first tune and I slammed that kit so hard that Ed and Danny stood there looking at each other with their mouths open.  For the rest of the day Ed called me Clark Kent.  We played tune after tune and much to their surprise I filled the room with what I do best.  However, the fix was in for Vinne Appice the well known Dio drummer, but what a great day I had with Ed and Danny!


GigLog 9

1968 (16 years old). Playing a Saint George kit at the NCO Club at Los Alamitos, CA.  Check out the corner of Alan’s Silvertone bass amp.  Born on the Bayou never sounded so good!


GigLog 6

They give us, like, no information.  Load equipment in through a small stage door, set up center, and look through music we will have to play later.  This night there were only cues (play ons and offs).  The cues were numbered, no song titles.

We started playing standard songs promptly at 7:30 as hundreds of formally dressed guests entered the room for dinner.  We played easy listening jazz standards and dinner was served.  An hour later, after a short break, the conductor looked up and simply said, “I’ll need a drum roll and it will be right into cue one.”  He put a headset on and a moment later pointed right to me.  Without a hesitation I slammed my biggest tom-tom and played a dramatic roll.  A voice announced, “Ladies and gentlemen Ms. Oprah Winfrey!”  We went right into the cue and I looked up with a pleasant surprise as she acknowledged the band. 

Oprah addressed the audience telling of her experience filming The Color Purple and working with the great Steven Spielberg.  Immediately at the end of her brief speech a multi-media presentation of samples of Spielberg’s greatest work appeared on two big screens in the room.  As the presentation was rolling the conductor stood and held up two fingers meaning we were going to play the second cue.  At the presentation’s end Oprah simply said, “Lady and gentlemen, Steven Spielberg.”  The band started playing and again I couldn’t believe my eyes. 

Steven emerged from the middle of the room as the crowd went nuts with a standing ovation.  He came to the stage, embraced Oprah and stood center for what seemed to be minutes and waited as the applause subsided.  In silence he looked up at the big screens, which still held his image, and said, “This is one of my life’s biggest fears…  That I would have to follow… [he paused and looked up at a screen] well… ME!”

The crowd laughed and Kate Capshaw yelled from the middle of the room, “I can’t believe you used that line!”  The crowd roared.  After a short acceptance speech for whatever the award was, the band played cue three and within minutes everybody the room was empty and the gig was over.

GigLog 1


Not too long ago, in a CBS sound stage, I was playing for a fundraiser when a gentleman walked on stage to make a few announcements.  I said to the bass player, Jeff Steele, “He looks like Andy Garcia.”

Jeff looked at me and said, “That’s because it is Andy Garcia!”

I said, “ Great, let’s get him to play a couple of numbers with the band.”

Jeff said, “He’s an actor.”

I replied, “He’s not an actor, he’s a musician! I saw him on a Cachao video.”  We argued about what Andy really does and dropped it.  Andy did not play with the band that night.

A few weeks later I was playing at Hollywood’s Roosevelt Hotel and saw a star on the sidewalk that read ANDY GARCIA!  I thought, “Holy smoke he is an actor!”  The next day I went out and rented an Andy Garcia DVD (about Garcia Lorca) and reviewed the Cachao video.  My level of respect for both Garcia and Cachao skyrocketed!


"Cachao is our musical father. He is revered by all who have come in contact with him and his music," Garcia said in a statement about the late Israel Lopez. "Maestro ... you have been my teacher, and you took me in like a son. So I will continue to rejoice with your music and carry our traditions wherever I go, in your honor."

As a follower of those musical traditions I can’t help but feel related to these gentlemen in small way... and see the Cachao video!

GigLog 2


Usually what you see on stage is not a performer blowing out everything he or she has but just a fraction of their talent.  In the case of John Fogerty… a mere fraction.  Working with John was one of the greatest privileges of my career.  I only did a few gigs in town and a couple sessions with him, but in that time I learned a lot about what kind of musician he really is.

John’s time is flawless.  At rehearsals I studied his strumming intensely and found amazing consistency in his rhythmical articulation as his pick made its way across all six strings. During run-throughs, performances and recordings I did my best to lock in with John’s playing and soul.  As we listened to playbacks what I heard was almost like a cosmic machine, perhaps too much like a machine; nevertheless, the most cohesive drum and guitar experience I have ever had. 

As for the gigs I did with him, I approached the music from the folk angle even though we were rockin’.  It seems natural for me to take that approach so that I wouldn’t miss a single hammer-on or pull-off.  During the shows John played a variety of guitars, including dobro, and my desire was to blend with whatever instrument he was playing.  He could bring the house down just by being John, but I’m telling you in regard to the sum of his talent… he is a world-class player and a pleasure to work with.

I believe the main task of the spirit is to free man from his ego.
Einstein  9/14/48

Sakae Trilogy

GigLog 23 One of life's greatest moments: Artist Chase Langford using my music for his film. As a former art major I truly understand his genius and proudly hang some of his work here at home. CLICK HERE!

GigLog 14


Heaven knows how many show I’ve done with Ellis Hall (a hundred plus) and there are no outlandish stories I can tell.  From his work with Tower of Power to the Boston Pops, he is truly the patron saint of soul… all groove, all the time and one of the kindest gentlemen I know.  

GigLog 11


Al Perkins---what can I say?  He’s worked with many of my favorite artists. We hooked up in ‘75 when he produced the group I was in, Gentle Faith.  I had come up through the ranks of drum corps, and had to be sure to play precisely and articulately.  Al, who had zeroed in on bluegrass, country and the Flying Burrito Brothers, played with the same precision and articulation.  He’s a gem of a human being.  One day, I walked into a session where Al was sitting, warming up in his “ever so quiet manner.” I commented, “Wow, have you seen it outside? What a beautiful day!”  Al just looked up and quipped, “Why thank you very much.”  Everybody in the studio roared with laughter.  Much of who I am as a musician today, I learned from Al---Thanks man!  


GigLog 8

Back in 1977 I did my first European tour with the group Gentle Faith and our first gig was at the Royal Albert Hall.  On the way to our first meeting with the British team I told the driver that, “I was excited about playing at Albert’s hall.” 

He got very perturbed and replied angrily, “You can’t call it that!  IT”S THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL!!!”

 “Didn’t Queen Victoria build for her husband Albert?” I asked, “Well, then it really is Albert’s hall.”  The driver mumbled something.  I continued, “I suppose you don’t refer to the Queen as Liz either.”

The driver looked at our manager and said, “You see, this is what ‘taxation without representation’ leads to!”


GigLog 7

I have no idea how many wedding receptions I’ve played, perhaps over a thousand.  Two memorable happy events went as follows…

Playing wedding receptions includes announcing the events of the day, like the grand entrance, the first dance, the garter and bouquet toss, the cutting of the cake and whatever else the honored couple would like.  During these events the band is required to play appropriate music. Well, many times these events are wonderful and are conducted in a loving way; but now and again… it’s a nightmare!

On one occasion, during the cutting of the cake, the bride playfully smeared a bit of cake around the groom’s lips.  It was cute so I gave a little drum roll and soft cymbal splash.  The groom did not respond… he reacted by dipping his hand in the cake and pulling out a very large handful of cake and frosting.  As he turned toward his new bride she began to run.  He pursued and chased her around every table in the room.  The crowd seemed delighted so I embellished the event with drum-rolls, rim shots and cymbal crashes.

The groom finally caught up with his bride when she tripped and fell face first onto the dance floor.  Her new husband jumped on her, pinned her down and began rubbing cake in her face, hair and took whatever he had left and smeared it all over her dress.  She, and rightly, began to cry hysterically.  Everyone in the room was in shock.  The lead singer went to the microphone and announced, “Well, that’s a little hard to follow so we’ll be taking a break now.”  Guests began leaving at once and the gig was over.

Over the years I’ve seen many things go askew and in most situations couples handle the glitches with grace.  But I have seen plenty of yelling and a fistfight or two along the way.  One night a drunken Maid of Honor began yelling at the band because we didn’t play her favorite song long enough.  As she was screaming up at the stage she took a step forward, but her date was standing on her dress.  Her dress tore completely off but she didn’t notice as she continued her tirade.  Finally, with a few hundred people looking on, she looked at her condition, turned to her date and snipped, “So what!” and went storming off without her dress.  “Well,” I said, “couldn’t happen to a nicer person.”

GigLog 3


I was getting ready to leave the house to go golfing when the phone rang.  “Paul,” the voice said, “its Swifty.  How are your symphony chops?  I need someone tonight!”  I told Tim that most musicians don’t sight-read symphonic music and that it needs to be rehearsed unless its part of the musician’s repertoire.  I told him I had experience with many classics and asked him what the pieces were.  He replied, “It’s for Judy Collins.” 

“Judy Collins?  The folk singer?”

“Yeah.  We just finished rehearsing and she let the drummer go.”

“Judy Collins the folk singer?”  I asked again totally puzzled.

 “Yes,” Tim said, “She’s with the Orange County Symphony tonight.”

 “If its Judy Collins the folk singer no problem, count me in; where shall I go?”

 “Come down and set-up at UCI and we’ll go to the hotel to meet with her music director.”

I went down, and was set up within the hour. We then went to Judy’s hotel and had a twenty-minute meeting with Judy’s music director.  We talked over each piece of music, went to dinner and then performed a flawless show.  The first song was Both Sides Now and in the middle of the tune Judy gave me a nod of approval.  I had an incredible experience sitting in the middle of a symphony orchestra playing Judy’s music and I never even got to say “Hi and Goodbye.”

GigLog 4

Minnie and Roy

The first time I played the Grand Ole Opry it was with Pat and Debbie Boone.  Right before our sound-check the band got a tour of the venue.  I was really taken in by all of the memorabilia and loved looking at the photos of all the old-time country stars.  On our walk through the new Opry I noticed a star fixed to a dressing room door; it read Roy Acuff.  I looked at our manager, who was from Kentucky, and asked, “Who’s Roy Acuff?” 

I was immediately shuffled off like I was being arrested for some federal offence and given a quick lesson on the “King of Country Music.”   The name didn’t mean much to me but I was very familiar with his song The Wabash Cannonball, and didn’t know that Roy recorded the first version of The House of the Rising Sun in 1938.

My dad always tuned the radio into the Sunday rebroadcast of The Grand Ole Opry.  The sound of Minnie Pearl’s “Howdeey!” was etched in my mind but somehow the name Roy Acuff  eluded me… but I know it now! 

GigLog 5

Thanks For the Memories

Being a sideman is not the easiest way to earn a living though I was blessed working up to 40 dates a month.  One night after setting up for a show with Ellis Hall I went to the bar, ordered a gin and tonic and began telling myself, as I had for several months before, that I needed to retire from the sideman gigs.  As I sat at the bar I looked up and saw a Bob Hope video on the screen and noticed that I knew every musician in the band that was backing him.  My first thought was, “Wow, how did those guys land that gig?”

As the camera panned Bob and the band, I noticed that it was me on drums!  I felt horrible that I could not remember how blessed I really was.  I thought, “Man, if I couldn’t remember this, how much of my family have I missed chasing 40 dates a month.”  I just bowed my head and thanked GOD for the amazing musical career that I lived and decided at that moment that I would take the necessary steps to retire. 

I still gig… I still work like a fool… but the nature of what I do has changed.

Giglog 17


There is and African proverb: there is no drum without a dance!  In 2009 my niece Devin posted on Facebook that the California Contemporary Ballet was looking for a male to play a small part in The Snow Queen.  I told her to give me a call if they couldn’t find anybody.  She did!  It involved two months of rehearsal and as the weeks went on, my part became more complicated.  In the end I played a priest who gets wounded, a coachman who gets murdered and a villager who dances a jig!


Chick Web

Gene Krupa

Baby Dodds

Barrett Deems

Buddy Rich

Louie Bellson

Jo Jones

Harold Jones

Sandy Nelson

Ron Wilson

Ringo Starr

Charlie Watts

Hal Blaine

Jerry Allison

Mitch Mitchell

Spencer Dryden

Mick Fleetwood

Earl Palmer

Keith Moon

Jim Capaldi

Ginger Baker

Frosty Smith

Emitt Rhodes

John Bonham

John Mehler

John Guerin

Jim Keltner

Jim Gordon

Paul Humphrey

Rick Marotta

Jeff Porcaro

Bernard Purdie

David Garibaldi

Murray Spivack

Billy Cobham

Zigaboo Modeliste

Steve Gadd

Andy Newmark

Bob Wilson

Mickey Hart

Carlton Barrett

Steve Jordan

Teo Lima

Stanton Moore

Keith Carlock

& Wendell