Jeff Porcaro

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Julia Stoff

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prasa > PAISTE NEWS, no. 1, 1994

PAISTE NEWS, no. 1, 1994

Jeff Porcaro Tribute

By Rich Mangicaro, with Jim Keltner

I will always feel blessed that I had the privilege to work with Jeffrey Porcaro, and to call him my friend. All of us a Paiste feel this way. Jeff gave us so many wonderful, inspiring and emotional memories that will live in us forever. He taught us what it means to play "music" on the drums. Due to his amazing versatility and ability to play every music style, Jeff inspired us to create new cymbal sounds. He always shared our excitement when we came out with something new. Of course, the reward was to hear the many, many recordings Jeff played on. The list is truly incredible. His energetic, warm, and passionate personality came through on all his recordings and performances. Everyone wanted Jeff's touch on their projects. If you ever had the chance to see Jeff live, you felt his energy and the real soul he projected...right to your very core.
We want to extend our heartfelt appreciation to Jim Keltner for contributing to this article. Jim was Jeff's best friend. They constantly inspired and spoke of each other.

* * * * *

JIM: The first time I met Jeffrey he had just turned 17. He was playing these ridiculous patterns around the drums, very fast and furious but very controlled. I remember asking him to do it again and he did, exactly the same. He told me his Dad Joe would set him behind the drum kit when he was very young. He could barely reach the pedals. He always told me that he regretted not listening to his Dad more, that he didn't learn properly. I had to laugh because he seemed to me to have the best of his Dad, plus this old soul that just seemed to have been playing drums forever.

RICH: He was very modest about his chops.

JIM: Later on he became this guy who you would never think had any chops at all, judging by the records he played on. He just played with great feel, with this big, huge pocket. I always marveled at his right hand. He had the most beautiful hi-hat technique. When I hear the records he played, I love to listen for that...such a silky way to play hi-hat. Also, his space between the bass drum and the snare was extraordinary.

RICH: Well, he'd come around to your sessions quite often when he was younger, right?

JIM: Yes, he was real curious. I remember telling him how I used to go to Hal Blaine's sessions, and I think Jeff started to go around to the studios a lot...He really appreciated other players, and always commented on their strengths. We both had that in common. I loved to go see Vinnie Colaiuta with him because he would just squeal with delight, it was so much fun.
Jeff was so many things. He could be very aggressive in his playing, but most people know him as a polished studio guy, which he did better than anybody. It's tragic that we don't get to see what he would have developed into as player-producer. He was headed in that direction before he was cut off.

RICH: I noticed, even as busy as he was, he would take the time to spend with his children. He was such a dedicated father.

JIM: Yeah, I know how important that was to him. I've heard recently how his youngest son Nico has alot of Jeff's mannerisms, and is acting like him. His other son Miles seems to have the interest in drumming and Christopher is leaning toward guitar and acting.

* * * * *

The mutual admiration between Jeff and Jim was something so very special, that we all can learn from their kind of relationship. To bring out the good things in others, and to support one another. We all need this in today's hectic world. Jeff knew this. His father Joe's influences went beyond inspiring him musically to impressing on Jeff the importance of simple human kindness and compassion. Anyone who met him will tell you that he made them feel so good.

Even if you met him for the first felt like you already knew him.

[The article is followed by a selected discography which is not included here.]