Rush News

Freddie Gruber Dies

UPDATE: Neil Peart has written an obituary for Freddie Gruber which appeared today on the Hudson Music website.- Oct. 13th

"Famed jazz drummer Freddie Gruber - who taught and influenced a generation of rock drummers - died Oct. 11 in Los Angeles after a lengthy illness. He was 84. According to DrummerWorld, Gruber got his start in New York during the be-bop era, performing with the late Charlie Parker and became a roommate and longtime friend of drumming legend Buddy Rich. Gruber was also responsible for helping Rush drummer Neil Peart 'reinvent' his style in the 1990s. 'He was easy you know because he wasn't nuts,' Gruber said of meeting Peart in a clip from the band's 2010 documentary 'Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage.' 'It was fun. We didn't have to go to some strange land.' The musician also taught and influenced the likes of Frank Zappa drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, Journey's Steve Smith and Chick Corea drummer Dave Weckl along with acclaimed session drummers such as Jim Keltner, Kenny Aronoff and Anton Fig. 'Dispensing the Zen-like wisdom of Yoda with the caustic delivery of Don Rickles, Freddie has enlightened and altered the playing habits of countless students...' JazzTimes said of Gruber in a 2004 interview. In 2010 [sic - correction in 2011], cymbal manufacturers Zildjian presented Gruber with a lifetime achievement award. Although Peart has made no statement yet regarding Gruber's passing, other drummers and even Pearl Drum Corporation took to Twitter to express their condolences. 'We lost the great master drum teacher,' Mark Schulman (Pink, Cher, Billy Idol) tweeted. 'He taught me twice in my life and has been a mentor and inspiration...RIP." -, October 12, 2011

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