Drummer Buddy Rich hated country music


Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/08/drummer-buddy-rich-hated-count.html



I find it interesting that he complains about his kind of musicians not getting respect but then says an entire genre of music isn’t worth listening to because ‘it can be played on one string’. Not sure what kind of country he’d been listening to.

Then again, artists should have strong opinions on art…so I’m torn on if he is an asshole or not. I’m still leaning towards asshole.


I used to hate Country Music. Mostly because it was the soundtrack for rednecks that wanted to kill me when I was a kid. But hating an entire genre of music always comes from a position of ignorance. The subgenre of Western Swing pretty much destroyed my preconceptions and became my gateway to enjoying more conventional Country Music.

Conventional Country Music in the real old style is top-tier Ambient Music for drinking with friends – it provides a dreamy atmosphere without stepping on the conversation. Find your own way in, it’s worth it.



I don’t know anything about country music. But back in the early 80s, my guitar teacher was a wonderful jazz and rock guitarist. He knew this stuff backwards and forwards. He told me a story I’ll never forget (most of). He and his pals finish playing a gig somewhere, and they drive past a country bar The place must have been having an open mic or something. I don’t know. They figure it’d be fun to play there, and because country music is so simple, it’ll be easy. So they go up there—no preparation—and they just kill it. Boy, anyone can play this stuff. After their song or show or set or whatever, an old guy approaches them and says, “Keep practicing.”

The moral: No matter how good you are (or how good you think you are), you don’t know everything. And it’s a big world.


I’m not a country fan either but Buddy Rich just fell into a common trap many talented musicians fall into: simplicity does not equal bad, if it’s delivered masterfully. You can play lots of notes with perfect timing (I’m look at you, Steve Vai) and still be less moving than a simple blues ballad.

FWIW Charlie Parker loved country music (because of the stories). And in most people’s eyes, Bird>Buddy…


What kind of music do you suppose the MAGA types listen to? And did anyone catch this from the Houston Chronicle?

Perhaps most important, though, country is painfully guilty of perpetrating the idea that there is some kind of white utopia that exists on this planet. Country music is almost violently segregated, happy to borrow influence from hip-hop or blues or soul or mariachi while pretending that people of color simply don’t exist. There are up-and-coming artists of color to be sure, Mickey Guyton and viral Facebook sensation/country-rapper Cofféy among them, but there are still too many artists in this genre who refuse to ditch the Confederate flag…When you throw all of that together, you get a big old pile of shit that can be really, really difficult to defend.

Or this ?

"I don’t believe all music is good. I believe some music is bad for people to listen to. I think it makes their taste worse, I think it makes their lives worse, I think it makes them worse people.”


IIRC, Steve Vai is somewhat of a classically trained guitarist and did most of the hands work for the film Crossroads (according to Wikipedia, he did everything except the slide work). He can definitely shred more than just speed metal.

I agree that simple does not equal bad, and think that Rich’s solo in the video isn’t really all that moving. He clearly can play masterfully, but this seemed like a demo of “look how many notes I can play quickly.” I didn’t feel any soulfulness. I’ll take soulfulness any day.

I think it’s commonly known that Rich was a dick, but a lot of masters are. Personally, I don’t hold that against him.


I was driving one day, scanning through the radio stations and the DJ said “You’re listening to Country Classics 106.9” I mumbled to myself how much I hate country music and reached to change the station, but the sound of Johnny Cash singing “One Piece at a Time” stopped me in my tracks; I like Johnny Cash. When the song ended, I again reached to change the station, but Patsy Cline came on and I thought, “I like Patsy Cline.” When her song ended, Jerry Reed came on next belting out “East Bound and Down”. Once more, I reached for the radio…and pre-set this particular station as a favorite. Still not a fan of modern country music though.


60/70s crossover Country Music (I think this was before ‘crossover’ was first coined) is more my speed, but limited to Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, John Denver, and The Eagles.


The name of the genre says it all. You can’t have “country” without “try.”


I see his point, because so much country music is that whiny drony pre-packaged God/America/family/pickup-trucks/beer/girls commercial shit that thinks it’s country but isn’t.

Then again, sometimes I run across stuff like this:

I love Western Swing fiddle music, and especially that female close harmony.


I used to think I hated country as well, because it just seemed so unapologetically white trashy. Then I discovered much later that old country was pretty good stuff, and that modern country doesn’t resemble actual country music much–it’s just twangy rock music with redneck tropes for the most part.


I’m sensing a theme here: “I thought I hated Country until…” :wink:

I thought I hated all of it until my uncle, a very talented fiddler, who introduced by to Old Time music, which really opened up my eyes and ears to the history and origins of American music and got me exploring on my own. There’s a lot of great “Alt-Country” music being made out there that’s both traditional and pushing the boundaries.

But I still despise most modern country music with passion. Most of it’s just crappy pop with a steel guitar thrown in. And cowboy hats.

Here’s my favorite country song about alien abduction:


Yep. That theme is “I thought I hated Country until I listened to real Country”.

Not my thing really. Too rigidly traditional for me.

There really is. I’d post some examples, but I’ m not even sure which genre within Alt Country to start from. Rockabilly/psychobilly? Dark country? Hobo/anarchist music? And that’s just the stuff I listened to last week!


That shit’s “country” like a pop song is “gospel” if you change every occurrence of “baby” to “Jesus”.

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus oh…

Ahaha true. Even up North the people dress up in redneck cosplay whenever they go to country shows. First of all, you’re in the North. I live up North so I can get away from that shit, not listen to more of it. Second, it’s clear they’re not real country, because once you’re in meth territory with 30somethings who have more grandchildren than teeth, you instinctively know that’s not something you want to imitate, even ironically.


As a general rule, I am not a fan of country because I utterly despise t the southern white trash redneck aesthetic of it.

That said, I will appreciate a good song regardless of genre, and country does have some amazing song writers-Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash…

Also, because I do a lot of Celtic traditional stuff, I have a pretty solid appreciation for the chain that goes from there through Bluegrass and into some Country- basically stuff that’s fiddle/mandolin heavy with a lot of triplets…


My wife and I are of the opinion modern country is just recycling the music of two decades previous and adding a steel guitar. And maybe a few Whoops and Hollars


True, “Alt-Country” does cover the spectrum, doesn’t it? Never thought about the cowboy stuff as “redneck cosplay”. Love it!


Hi - clueless from the UK here. Can somebody please post an example of bad country music so that I can calibrate? Thanks.


Rich may have hated country, but as I learned recently in reading about Chuck Berry’s death, Berry was a fan. There are country influences in the work of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, and of course a lot of the early rock-and-rollers came out of that tradition.

Theodore Sturgeon’s law, “ninety percent of everything is crap”, applies here, as it does to most genres. Listen long enough and you’ll find the non-crap.

Pretty much anything dumb and violent, regardless of genre. They certainly aren’t listening to the Dixie Chicks, or Willie Nelson, or Iris DeMent.

ETA: “Hey, Buddy, what do you call people who hang around musicians?”

Answer: “Drummers”