Friday, July 31, 2009

Russ Kunkel

If you googled tom-tom fills, It's his name that should appear at the top of the page. It may not be familiar to you unless you were/are one of those who gleaned album sleeves for players whose noise made such an impression. Being a drummer, when I think of Russ Kunkel, it is those artful tom fills and his skill for feel and finesse that were nearly impossible to replicate, for I attended the
John Bonham/Simon Kirke School of Thud and Bombast which, I suppose, somewhere, has it's own merit.
Little did I know that at age 15 I had actually watched Russ Kunkel, coincidentally, it was my very first ever bought-tickets-and-rode-down-with-my-buddies rock show.
The opening act was a group of studio musicians who played together for other artists so often that they formed their own band The Section. Comprised of Kunkel, Danny Kortchmar, Craig Doerge and Russ' ever present partner in crime, the very Wizard from Harry Potter looking, Leland Sklar.
The headliner was John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Kind of an odd bill with a set from the nondescript, shoe gazing Section juxtaposed against the Mahavishnu's trippy brain scramble.
If I wrote down the complete Russ Kunkel Discography this no longer would be a simple little blogpost but a biographical book of lists. So I'll just drop a few key names that are, or have been, on your radar.
Karla Bonhoff,Jackson Browne,Jimmy Buffet,Harry Chapin,Tracy Chapman,David Crosby,Crosby and Nash, Crosby,Stills and Nash,Rodney Crowell,Neil Diamond,Bob Dylan,Everly Bros.,Dan Fogelberg,Emmy Lou Harris, Don Henley,BB King,Carole King,Lyle Lovett,Roger McGuinn,Joni Mitchell,Stevie Nicks,Linda Ronstadt,Bob Seger,Carley Simon,Steve Stills,Joe Walsh,Neil Young and Warren Zevon plus numerous soundtrack, songwriting and production credits.
Oh, and on a theatrical side bar, is Russ Kunkel's cameo as doomed drummer Eric "Stumpy Joe" Childs in the 1984 film This is Spinal Tap.

Theatrical Update, Partial Discography and Band Member Spellings from Wikipedia
Photo from DrummerWorld

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