Keep-A-Knockin: The Charles Connor Biography
Charles "Keep-A-Knockin" Connor’s bio is out and you should care. He was the original drummer for Little Richard and the man credited with the “Choo Choo Train” style of drumming that set the music world on fire in the mid-’50s. Little Richard (and, of course, Chuck Berry) elevated the blues song structure using the rhythms of early rock, creating a sound that blew a hole in the white-bread universe of American pop music. Those beats were the ones that set the stage for the British invasion of the Sixties, the blues revival, and the great rock acts of the ‘70s. They were all drawing inspiration from the backbeats and locomotive eighth-notes of Charles Connor.
Charles Connor’s story begins where American music does, in the ethno-cultural mix of New Orleans. His father was a merchant marine from Santo Domingo and his mother was born in Louisiana. He himself was born right in the French quarter in 1935. In those days even more than today it was the home of the Caribbean, Cajun and blues rhythms that provided the petri dish for modern jazz, blues, and rock & roll. While playing in 1953 a young Richard Penniman (aka Little Richard) heard him and thought he'd be the right drummer for Richard's next tour. In Connor's telling, Penniman pulled him to the train station and told him the sound of the train was the sound he wanted for his rhythms.
Charles tells his stories in straightforward and simple manner, but one that keeps you glued to the narrative. His recollections of learning sex (“My dreams of being a preacher ended that day”), brushes with white folks in the pre-civil right south, and experiencing show business success (and getting kissed by Jayne Mansfield), make this a read that any student of drumming history and early rock will want to know.
One of the greatest insights from the book is how profound opportunity was everywhere in those early days. Young Connor played with the legendary Professor Longhair when he was just 15. Soon he would be onstage with names like Champion Jack Dupree, and Smiley Lewis, Little Richard, and Sam Cooke and even James Brown. His contemporaries would be greats like his mentor Earl Palmer.
There is something profound that goes on at the beginning of a process that can never be recaptured later in the process. Whether you are starting a project, a school, a political movement, an institution, or a musical genre like rock ‘n’ roll what happens at the beginning is all about passion and energy. It’s ragged, but it’s exciting. It’s less organized than it will be as it matures, but there’s more opportunity. In the beginning, it’s all about creating something new. Later on, it also is about the money or practicalities. But in the beginning the new idea is pure. Imagine the excitement one must have felt to be a painter in 1870s Paris, or a novelist on the Left Bank in the 1920's. The same was true of the birth of this music in post-World War II America. That energy is what you feel in reading Charles’s story. It’s on every page of the book.
- Keep A Knockin: The Story Of A Legendary Drummer
- Charles Connor With Ziv Biton (foreword by Chad Smith)
- Waldorf Publishing, $29.95
Future Of Music Business Always Changing
New technologies have revolutionized the music business. While these technologies have wreaked havoc on traditional business models, they've also provided new opportunities for music business entrepreneurs, as well as new challenges for musicians, recording artists, songwriters, record labels and music publishers.
In the fourth edition of his book The Future of the Music Business, Fourth Edition, entertainment attorney Steve Gordon provides a road map for success by explaining legal fundamentals including copyright law's application to the music business, basic forms of agreement such as recording, songwriting and management contracts, PLUS the rules pertaining to digital streaming, downloading and Internet radio. The book also shows exactly how much money is generated by each of these models, and details how the money flows to the principal stakeholders: artists, record labels, songwriters and music publishers.
The Future of the Music Business is divided into four parts:
Part I provides an overview of the basic rules and business practices that apply to the record and music publishing business today. Gordon discusses how copyright law protects songs and recordings, standard contracts including management, label and producer deals and the most recent rules and business practices that apply to the new means of distributing music; downloading, streaming and webcasting, and how those rules differ in foreign countries.
Part II is a guide for producers, filmmakers, and distributors on how to clear music for all kinds of projects, including movies, TV programs, ad campaigns, and stand-alone digital projects. And it explains how much it will cost!
Part III presents new discussions on the hottest industry controversies, including net neutrality and the financial battles between the new digital music services, copyright owners, and artists.
Part IV focuses on how to best use new technologies to succeed.
The book contains URLs linking to 2 on-line videos: Fundamentals of Music Business and Law, and Anatomy of a Copyright Infringement Case. Attorneys who view the videos can receive two CLE credits.
The book retails for $29.95 and also is continuously updated at http://www.futurefothemusicbusiness.com
Give The Drummer Some!
Travis Barker will kick off his new performance dubbed “Give the Drummer Some” at Hyde, a club within the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Tuesday, August 18. According to the resort, Barker is the first artist to launch an official residency at the club. Through “Give the Drummer Some,” Barker will blend beats and genres as a one-man-band dominating the drums and the DJ booth. Barker will employ his unique mix of DJing and live drumming. According to Las Vegas Weekly, “the show will find Barker behind a complex rig that includes a cocktail drum kit, electronic drums and DJ gear. The illuminated setup will change color with the beat.” Barker says it’s really difficult. “It’s busier than any other set I have.”
“There are three things I love: Drumming, DJing and Vegas,” said Barker in a release. “I am stoked to be able to perform in Vegas on a regular basis and I look forward to my residency at Hyde.”
Ticket info is available via Hyde’s website.
“Give the Drummer Some” Residency Dates:
- August 18, 2015
- September 5, 2015
- November 3, 2015
- January 2, 2016
- February 20, 2016
- March 19, 2016
Portuguese Drummer Sets Guinness World Record
The Guinness Book Of Records has officially recognized Portuguese drummer Carlos Santos as the king of marathon drumming. Last November he played for 133 hours and 3 minutes continuously, breaking the previous record by 10 hours.
He broke three records in Castelo Branco, Portugal, playing drums for five and half days. Previously the record was held by an Indonesian drummer who had played for more than 125 hours.
Hats off to Carlos.
"Wikidrummer" Inspires "Wikisinger"
You may remember a video floating around the internet, titled "The Wikidrummer," in which drummer Julien Audigier performs a solo in several different locations, showcasing how the drum kit sounds depending on where it is played.
With more than 1.5 million views, the video inspired the creators to make a similar version with a singer. Locations for this acapella video include inside a cathedral, on a roof, in a gymnasium, outside in the woods, and even in an attic, to name a few. The differences in acoustics make for a more-than-interesting experiment and sound.
Wikidrummers.com is already putting together a second "Wikidrummer" video to be shot in the U.S., just in time for the worldwide launch of their new website.