I’m Michael Welch, drummer, musician and author of “Notes of a Young Drummer 1966-1969” (free digital download) Chronicle of those 4-years playing music in Florida, Mississippi, New York and the Southeast. I never played Woodstock, Monterey, The Fillmore, Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig, Hullabaloo or Where the Action Is. I never had a hit record, toured with and opened for a major group. But, I wouldn’t change a thing about my music journey. I started playing the drums because I heard something in music. I didn’t get the band bug watching Ringo with The Beatles, February 9th, 1964 on the Ed Sullivan Show. Music found me. I heard popular music played on my Springfield, Ohio radio station before elementary school. I watched Nat King Cole, Spike Jones or Hank Williams on our primitive black and white 50s television set. My journey is different. I’ve heard similar stories from UK musicians. Hearing American records by Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Elvis, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and more. Many of those musicians would become rock stars and part of the British Invasion. Before becoming a professional in 1967, I saw and heard many Florida bands, The Tropics, Nightcrawlers, We The People, Royal Guardsmen, The Fantastic Group. I heard bands with top 40 records, Sam The Sham, Kingsmen, Rascals, Yardbirds, Blues Magoos, The Turtles. I admired that kind of success in the business of music. Playing those gigs was a dream, I never experienced. But, as a seventeen year-old drummer in 1967, I became a professional musician earning $125 a-week playing my Zim-Gar drumset. With very little experience I was on stage with musicians twice / three times my age. They were my teachers and mentors. I was a teenager working in the adult world of entertainment. I wasn’t playing a teen dance. My drums were on a stage in a smoky nightclub playing popular adult lounge-lizard music. Notes of a Young Drummer 1967-1969 is a free digital download on my web site Michael Welch Publications dot com. I offer a paperback, which I’ll ship. I also created my book with audio. I played and created a drum score for each specific section. The digital audio can also be downloaded for free. My site is hosted on Bandcamp, they require a pay what you like. All donations are appreciated.
My book, “Notes of a Young Drummer 1966-1969” was printed and delivered to me in 2013. When I authored my Quadragrip book in 1980, I had not idea to imagine I would ever be writing, producing and self-publishing again. I thought my Quadragrip was a one-off project, inspired and special. I didn’t think about “writing” since, I wasn’t a writer, I'm a musician.
The stories in “Notes” were all memories from my past. In the early 70s I had a few scribbled pieces of paper with a couple of my stories. My “Night in the Hattiesburg Jail” was one of them. But, the complete physical writing of the stories on paper didn’t exist until I began the project in 2006. It was a (7) seven-year project with my final proof read and submission to be printed in 2013. Opening up the box that contained my printed books was one of those special days, never duplicated.
It was a long period from 1980 to 2017 without writing or publishing a paperback book. During that period I was recording, producing and releasing my music and drum track library. There are similarities in producing music, but playing an instrument, engineering and everything involved in making a music project is different than writing a book.
Of the 19 books I’ve authored in the last (3) years, “Notes of a Young Drummer 1966-1969” is a very special project. Every word, phrase and sentence in that book was scrutinized and checked hundreds of times.
The learning curve of the technical mechanics to format a paperback book was involved in this project. I was a paperback publishing new-be. The format of the book cover and interior design was a new experience. There are a few layout rules that must be understood and followed. It may not be easy for first timers, but it’s quite simple and convenient to self-publish when you understand the technical design and format rules.
BA DA BOOM
The photo of ME on the cover of my book, “Notes of a Young Drummer 1966-1967” was taken by my Mom. It was the summer of 1967, (50) Fifty years ago. I was (17) seventeen years old. I talk about this gig in my book, but here’s a quick reflection.
That picture is from my gig in 1967 at The Cork Room. The Cork Room was a club in Cocoa Beach, Florida. It was/is physically located on what’s known as the Merritt Island Causeway or 528. The club was a topless go-go room with a show band including Larry D and The Show-Rockers. Topless go-go girls were dancing on that little stage a foot from my Zim-Gar drumset and me. It was quite an experience for a 17 year-old young drummer to be making $125.00 a week, playing my drums and watching go-go girls with a group of experienced professional musicians. Everything I see from this picture makes me think back 50 years ago, reflecting on my journey as a musician.
I tell my stories in “Notes of a Young Drummer 1966-1969” in my book. Most 17-year old drummers were playing in bands with kids their own age. My journey was different. Although my journey was different and unique, many of my stories are similar to the stories I’ve heard from other musicians that played music in the 60s. We share that bond of being there and doing it. Some of us are survivors of a period and environment that could be detrimental to your physical and mental health and life. Those that read this book (especially musicians) always tell me they enjoyed it and have a similar story. I choose the period of 1966-1969 because that period in my musician life was full of adventure and musical activity. The musicians I shared a bandstand with were friends and teachers as I learned to play the drumset and be a musician. Every tune I played was a learning experience. Every club or venue had certain qualities of sound and even smell. The 1960s was a great time to be a musician.
In producing this book, I read the book and recorded a drumtrack solo for each of the (over 300) stories. I approached this with my drumtrack being the soundtrack. I tried to compose a special drumtrack solo that relates to the text and story. I really prefer the audiobook version. I enjoy reading, but the option to listen is my choice.