Keyboard And Electric Bass Player Larry Knechtel Dies

According to the Yakima Herald keyboarder/electric bass player Larry Knechtel dies at age 69.

Larry Knechtel was a busy musician, working live and in the studios. He recently collaborated with The Dixie Chicks. Besides that he played with musicians and bands such as Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, The Doors, The Byrds, Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, Steppenwolf, Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson and Elvis Presley.

Larry Knechtel received a Grammy award for arranging Simon and Garfunkel’s super hit Bridge Over Troubled Water, on which he also played keyboard. He was also a member of Bread.

As studio musician Larry Knechtel was an important part of the Los Angeles music studio scene of the nineteen-sixties.

Micky Dolenz: “The Monkees Was Not A Group”

Micky Dolenz interview for "The Wrecking Crew" documentary

Still today, many Monkee fans are disappointed about the fact, that the Monkees didn’t record their music. The Monkees records were made by a group of very versatile studio musicians.

The documentary The Wrecking Crew pays tribute to these great musicians in the background who were responsible for so many classic recordings of the nineteen-sixties.

Director Denny Tedesco, son of the late guitar legend Tommy Tedesco,  interviewed Micky Dolenz of The Monkees for the documentary. And Dolenz says it straight forward:

“The Monkees was not a group”.

-> Watch the Micky Dolenz Interview

Drummer Howard Grimes: Memphis Soul Beat

Justin Fox Burks

Photo: Justin Fox Burks

You may never heard of Howard Grimes. But if you love soul music you certainly have heard his beat.

Howard Grimes played drums on countless soul tunes that were recorded in Memphis TN. Early in his career he played for the record label Stax, later you could hear him playing behind many Hi Records artists. “I Can’t Stand the Rain” by Ann Peebles is probably his most famous credit. He also played for  Al Green, Carla Thomas, William Bell, Wendy Rene, Prince Conley and many more.

There’s a good article by Preston Lauterbach about Memphis musicians who played on the Stax records. Back in the Hi Life by Bob Mehr concentrates on the musicians behind Hi Records.

Brain Wilson: A Creative Mind At Work

The Behind The Sounds series on YouTube presents informative clips that illustrate the creative process behind the recording of Beach Boys songs. By editing together audio of the session, pictures and text it gives you an idea about how Brian Wilson worked together with the studio musicians and the Beach Boys.

Playing The Drums For The British Stars Of The Sixties

British Studio Drummer Bobby Graham

British Studio Drummer Bobby Graham

No, British studio drummer Bobby Graham didn’t join the Beatles. When The Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein asked him in 1962, if he was in interested in joining the band, Bobby Graham answered: “Why would I want to join a band in Liverpool that nobody has ever heard of?”. Had he joined The Beatles the British music scene would have lost one of its most versatile drummers.

Like many studio musicians, Bobby Graham is a jazz drummer at heart. But he lent his drumming skills to every kind of music. He played the drums for many great British acts of the nineteen-sixties. It’s him on You Really Got Me by The Kinks, for example. You can also hear him on records by Them, Pretty Things, The Walker Brothers, Lulu, and Dusty Springfield. If you’d like to know more about the records he played on, than check Bobby Graham’s discography.

On many recording dates Bobby Graham played together with guitarist Jimmy Page who later would join Led Zeppelin. Like in the music studios in the USA, also British producers relied on experienced and skilled musicians who could record fast and in any style. Studio time was too expensive to take any risks. Back then still most of the music was recorded live and you had maybe four tracks on an analogue tape machine. If somebody messed up it meant doing it all over again.There’s was now software that could edit mistakes easily.

Visit Bobby Graham’s website to get more insight into the hard working life of a British studio drummer.