I almost met Buddy Rich once. I was going to one of his gigs at Mr. Kelly’s on Rush Street in Chicago in the early ’70s. I ran out of gas on the way downtown, so I was almost late to the gig. I got there just as they were announcing Buddy Rich. He was entering from the same door as the patrons. The maître d’ said to go right in, so I turned and Buddy was standing right there, about to go on stage, glaring at me as I bumbled some inane words of praise. If looks could kill…
Anyway, it was a great performance (in spite of my “gaff”). During the show, Buddy broke a drumstick in mid-solo and tossed the stick behind him. He didn’t lose a beat. I noticed this, and after the show as everyone else was leaving, I got up from my table, ran up to the stage and found the broken stick…including the broken tip! I went home and Scotch taped the broken tip together with the shaft. I keep it on my desk and fondle it every so often. I can still feel the magic!
To this day, I believe Buddy was thinking about the fool at the door when he broke the stick. Whaddya think?
(also check out my other Buddy Rich post, “Crossed Sticks”)