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Great interview with Billy from over 10 years ago!

D. Slam
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I remember reading that (and not getting much of it because of my not very advanced knowledge of english) about 10 (!!) years ago!
Still a great read, and cool to get it now! Very Happy


Billy how did your musical/professional situation change since then? Back then did you imaging your 60s like they are for you now? You still play a lot and you don't teach at a University! I guess that's a good sign!! Very Happy

All the best to all of you and thanks Billy for bringing us together and keeping us together!


D. Slam

D. Slam

What's funny is I have this same interview out of Modern Drummer Magazine.
So I don't know what "WFM" Stands for.


Niki: I am getting old........... scratch I don't remember this interview but, OK, to answer your question as best I can: The changes in the music scene are extremely profound as you guys already know. Record companies can be found in every house on the planet and sometimes more than one or two are in the same household since every musician is a record mogul now. I guess we artists have finally figured out that we have to take responsibility for our actions since we get blamed for the miscues of others who 'front' for us anyway. This is just one change atop the "tip of the iceberg" of this business that we are in. So, we have the issue of a product that we can sell in the guise of a cd........ or DVD if the funds are available for us to delve into that realm........... this is also a good thing as I believe that the generations now are much more business oriented than my generation and that is because you guys have to be. What I believe is missing now is an understanding of the interpretive art of reading music, phrasing as in the dynamics of music in performance and being able to interact with your fellow musician on multiple levels and dimensions. This is because music is not taught as much in schools as it was when I went to middle school and high school. Funding for The National Endowment for the Arts has been cut back drastically in the USA and elsewhere, if I am not mistaken and you can experience the results in the music that is now presented on the few remaining radio and tv networks that still promote music in some form from time to time. The musical equipment has developed to a higher level than even 10 years ago, on the other hand yet less people are purchasing them because there is no money to pay them. For instance drum heads have a stronger personality for drummers to line up their ideas to as well as the artist being much more fickled about elements of the drum set like bass drum pedals, drum sticks, drum thrones, snare drum stands,
hi-hat stands and cymbal stands and of course cymbals and even lug screws and more: elements that many players just 10 or 20 years ago did not dwell too heavily on, now these elements help the player to be creative in his or her mind quite a bit more than before. Traveling from point to point has been dramatically altered and I could continue but I believe that everything that is happening now in the world, on all stages has change radically from when I conducted that interview, just 13 years ago. If we are observant enough to understand what is happening in the world around us, both at the international and local level we can use this information to assist us in being more effective at what we do as musicians and artists in general. Don't just read but interpret what is being said or on the page of the book in order to develop your personal view point. Reading between the lines is as important as the lines themselves. It's what has not been said that has influenced the words you see. Use your imagination. The fact that you are thinking is very powerful within itself.



Well spoken, Billy.


Ted E. Bear

Ted E. Bear

Hits the nail right on the head !

Peace, TED




Great read Niki and I do appreciate particulars of what was stated by Boomer about how a new generation of listeners was developing. As Boomer quoted;"Some of the comments from the kids have been a little surprising," Billy laughs. He's actually been asked if drummers with names like Chambers, Phillips, and Beauford--players Cobham has so obviously inspired--are big influences of his. "I get that all the time," he says. "Guys like Dennis and Simon have kept a higher profile in the States, so I can't blame the kids coming up today for not knowing about me. Maybe I should be flattered; here I am, fifty-four years old, and people think I'm younger than those guys!"

The issue is a callous conscience:
If youth today would be that interested in drummers or music like that (JID-Jazz Is Dead) the probability of what's being played and heard may be different today in terms of what is acceptable listening within the social mainstream of music.

I've always held this position in regards to JID (Jazz is Dead) and Boomer's involvement in it's musical composition produced the kind of quality in mainstream rock which I think could've survived. That was a pivotal point in time by which music was making a turn. Jazz is Dead and Paradox was more than what we may have thought of being. What am I saying here? Well, considering Boomer's musical background and his contribution into fusing with a band like the Dead the final results goes beyond just having a generation liking it but be enlightened by it! This at the time I would think was refreshing. I feel that what this generation is exposed or bombarded with is totally insensitive, and at times, outright vulgar and is a strong deterrent towards the furthering of music on a much higher level. The appreciation for music being the artform that it was is now triggered by an over-dubbing (misuse) of samplings (beats, vocals etc.) and often fallen short in defining what we once new as being a community of collaborative talent and sharing of giftedness. Instead we're getting the world's fastest drum contests, a person on stage lip synching along a sampled track and am sure you can continue that list. I personally think that Jazz is Dead would do well today if it's market for it was sustained. But we know things are transient and are influenced by what is appreciated whether that be good or on a personal note most unfortunate.

I'm lead to believe, by what's happening, is that we have loss an appreciative generation that no longer exists. A generation that has been seared (numb) in developing interest and appreciation for music that is progressively unique in it's collaborative efforts to expressing it's self. That is why I favored Boomer's entrance into developing countries where the openness of mind still exist and the infusion of educating concepts are received into their musical communal settings. And this is not to be confused with indoctrinating here but rather simply the sharing of giftedness with other people groups. In my understanding, in our indulgences of materialism and capitalized country, we have lost our intelligenta and have succumbed into the oblivion of delusions to our perceptions of social mediums - one being music.



7Great interview with Billy from over 10 years ago! Empty Re: Billy Cobham interview Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:50 pm


I remember when Billy indirectly caused a minor uproar in Modern Drummer magazine's Reader's Forum back in
one of the 80's issues of the magazine.
Someone at a drum clinic heard a comment Billy made about drum teachers, that if they were any good, they would be out playing and not teaching.
The guy took it out of context and wrote a letter in the Reader's Forum complaining about Billy's comments.

This sparked more letters from other angry drummers, who feed off the same misinformation.
If I can find the issue, I will post it here...it was a funny period piece of the times.



Yes Music has Cut Backs
in these Mega Debt times.

Maybe a Tour in China is needed
on their national TV , as well.

I never see limits.

Music is Fun and Work.



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