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Floyd Sneed on his Plexiglas double bass Zickos set (circa 1972)

   When I first started playing with Floyd, it took me close to 6 months just to find the "1" on certain tunes. Playing with Floyd was like playing with a drummer AND a conga player at the same time. He was so innovative and nontraditional in his approach, when left to his own choices. Floyd once told me that he saw a movie with Stewart Granger called, "King Solomon's Mines" that had jungle music that captivated him. The jungle rhythms applied to a "trap set," is how he describes his interpretation. Kind of Latin, kind of African. LaAfrican is the word he coined. As time went on, I became aware of the obvious similarities in different countries music. Take African music. with it's unique wood on tree trunk, hypnotic native rhythms. Then go a little further, out across the Atlantic, till you reach the Caribbean and compare the music and the rhythms. The same with a little twist, similar, but distinctly different due to social and local religious chants. Go on over to Mexico, Central and South America and it changes a little more, but still a blending of the same source rhythms. Further out into the Pacific Ocean, Tahiti and Hawaii have their own variations. It's all linked geographically. Like a gradient tool on a musical level.

   Floyd was the inventor of the rock n roll drumbeat that has the ride cymbal playing on the "and" (upbeats), while the snare does the back beat on 2 and 4. This can be heard on our hit single "Black and White." It has become a staple in todays music. This was just one of Floyd's innovations. Playing with Floyd was like playing with a train. Maybe that is why I found him so intriguing. Since my youth, I had loved the churning rhythm of a train. With Floyd and Joe, all you had to do was just get on and ride. What a ride! Sometimes, the groove was so deep that I swear it was shaped like a giant "V." You basically could do no wrong. You could play all around the beat and still slide safely to the bottom of the pocket, to the bottom of the "V" and just groove on home. Normally in a group, the bass player and drummer are considered the rhythm section, but I too became part of the rhythm section. From Joe Schermie's Mexican band experience, as well as my own experience with Mexican musicians, I took a style of guitar playing that Joe was developing and applied it my own way. It's slightly different than Joe's, yet of the same matter. My years of jamming on acoustic guitar with Joe, in hotel rooms across America and the world, have shaped my playing greatly. (Don't get a big head Joe!) My other duties/joys were to be part "color" man, along with Jim Greenspoon, adding occasional lyrical embellishments to "suggest musically" what the lyric was singing. Sometimes, I was so into the groove of the musicians, that I didn't even know the lyrics. Not something to aspire to, but it did happen on occasion. I was so enthralled with the music from the musicians, that it became a distraction for me, to some extent. That is to say, we began making the music parts TOO complete within themselves. Our writing attempts often fell short because of that very reason. The songs that would come out would be less than complete instrumentals, but a little too complete melodically to add a vocal. This was a true joy, but a real problem as well. Back to the music structure of playing with Floyd Sneed and Joe Schermie (born Schermetzler). The simpler I played, the better it worked with Floyd. Joe found that to be true, as well. I began to feel songs in double and triple time with a half time feel superimposed under it. That was a major "light" coming on for me. Once I could play in that realm, we turned over some wonderful musical "rocks" together. Nobody was more thrilled than we were concerning what came out of our bonding and just plain having fun with it. Wonderful! Perfect! I want to thank someone, but who? God? Okay then, thanks God.

   I want to invite you to read the tribute to Floyd, located in the tribute section of this web site. It includes a recent article in a magazine called "Vintage Drummer." You can click on this thumbnail picture of Floyd to go directly to his section. There is a corresponding link that will return you to this page.


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