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Thread: I have some very sad news...

  1. #51

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    Man. that's GREAT stuff about our friend! Please share more
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  2. #52

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    I saw it RonJ and want to thank you for sharing! I am so sad that a fine person like KayGee has passed away, but we all know where he is now!
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  3. #53

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    KayGee was our friend, eventhough we never met him, but he was a person we all aspire to be!
    Thanks so much for sharing! It means a lot to me!
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  4. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonJ_60 View Post


    Table hockey, 1987, my apartment in Windsor. My wife April snapped this one.

    We were both married, Kelly to his first wife in 1984; April and I wed a year later.

    I was going to college and Kelly had launched his health food delivery biz in Toronto. Dropped in for a visit.
    Man, I know he was such a good friend to you! I did not know him personally, but I feel as if I knew him as well as I did my best friend.
    You were blessed to have had him as a friend. i am envious that I never got to meet him.
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  5. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonJ_60 View Post
    Thanks so much, Bish

    And you too, Ricardo...

    I understand it's tough to comment; I appreciate the opportunity to share, immensely.

    I studied journalism in the mid-'80s, worked as a reporter in local radio and as a writer for local papers.

    Later, was a corporate writer before moving up to marketing where, since 1997, as an analyst, I have worked mostly with numbers.

    I'm trying to write about my non-pretentious buddy in a fairly plain style, and I'm also trying to keep myself out of the way.

    That's tough because as the first two chapters show, he helped me, musically, in all kinds of ways.

    In the third and final chapter, which I'll write - then post - Sunday or Monday, there will be more examples of Kelly's help and positive influence.

    Peace everyone, and thanks again.
    I remember his story about someone stealing his motorbike. It brought a smile to my face because he was such a nice guy he didn't even speak bad about the thief. What a great guy and my loss for not ever getting to meet him.
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  6. #56

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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ View Post
    This person is impossible for new people to understand, heck I barely do. His posts, were way beyond my level of comprehension, he was a very intelligent and well read person. I entirely refuse to believe he's dead, living where he does it just doesn't seem possible. Maybe that's very wrong of me, but it's just how I feel and what I believe. I want to think of the best about people, not bad thoughts of them. I want to speak to him again someday, I want to experience his knowledge and wisdom. Others also have that and I believe in them, I want to experience their abilities as well. I don't believe in people dying, just changing, becoming something else, maybe something better even. I will say this though - Aquarian and Zildjian, oh boy sign me up cause it don't get better than that!
    I agree Russ!
    Take care and seeya!

    Jim

  7. #57

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    Quote Originally Posted by jgraham798 View Post
    Man, I know he was such a good friend to you! I did not know him personally, but I feel as if I knew him as well as I did my best friend.
    You were blessed to have had him as a friend. i am envious that I never got to meet him.
    Thanks for the kind words, Jim.

    I'll try to capture anecdotes the best that I can.

    Much peace, amigo.

  8. #58

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    Chapter 3...

    The photo of Kelly playing table hockey reminds me of the early '80s and trips - many trips - to The Machine Shop, a cool arcade about four blocks north of our Tim Horton's.

    Another very good friend of mine, Mark Ratchford, was into Foosball and he and I often teamed up for some epic battles with other "teams."

    Kelly would watch. He wasn't a frequent visitor to The Shop, but when he did visit, he loved to play the new domed table hockey game.

    He liked it so much, in fact, that he'd later tire of feeding the machine quarters and decided to build his own table hockey game.

    I saw it, hewn from wood, and fully operable; but never played it. It was cool!

    - - -

    Kelly’s passion for the drums expanded to the bass guitar. He bought a Fender Mustang from Eugene and loved that he could practice playing it well after midnight, with no amplification.

    He picked up basics in relatively short order, and it allowed us to jam again, which harkened back to the mid ‘60s and The Hippos, only this time the instruments were professional calibre.

    The jamming took place at the studio. A fellow named Al Budge played guitar and sang. Kelly’s girlfriend Tiiu played guitar and sang, while Kell was on bass and I drums.

    We worked on a few tunes, including Sister Goldenhair (America) and Daniel (Elton John).

    Was great to play in that very focused setting and then hear the good and the bad on playback later. Lots of fun.

    - - -

    While the Ludwig/Premier kit was a fine rock outfit, Kelly was looking to upgrade.

    One evening I saw The Future, and it was Gretsch.

    "Ronnie, these drums are incredible! They just have that sound!"

    The scene was Kelly's family garage, sometime after midnight, back in 1983.

    Several boxes marked with the Gretsch logo were housed there, some with the tops opened, some not.

    Kelly reached in to one open box, and carefully lifted out a beautiful rack tom.

    "Just give that drum a few taps..."

    I did. The head wasn't tuned and anywhere near tight, though.

    "Natural maple! Hear that tone? It's not even tuned!"

    Sweet tone, alright. The top head was loose enough that a slight ripple was visible.

    The tom was heavy, the chrome, brilliant. It was hard not to be impressed, or envious.

    Kelly explained that seeing the band Alabama in concert in Ottawa had unleashed a Gretsch thunderbolt of sorts.

    "I'm listening to the band and loving the music when there's a drum break and the guy's toms...I heard this rich and warm drum sound. I thought: 'What kind of drums are making that sound?' It's like I was hearing a drum sound I've been looking for."

    A Gretsch Man was born.

    Kelly ordered enough drums to allow multiple setups. The centrepiece was a 14x24 bass.

    He didn't buy a snare; he loved his Ludwig Supraphonic.

    "It's so versatile, one of the most recorded snare drums in history, I don't see any need to get another snare."

    With both of us on the road, there wouldn't be opportunity to hear, much less play, his new Gretsch kit, tuned and primed. I didn't know it at the time, never would have thought it, but that golden opportunity was several years away.

    - - -

    The early '80s brought some major changes. Time marches on, and ushers in change.

    Kelly was hitting the road, with George Wright and Buckshot. Excellent country band; solid players and strong vocals.

    It was late 1982.

    Around the same time, I got a call to audition for another local band that was touring Ontario, Darcy North & Raven.

    I passed the audition and would hit the road the the third week of January. We'd be doing Beatles, and Guess Who, Steve Miller...and the third set was entirely Elvis, with Darcy doing a great Elvis impersonation. A fun time, and $250 a week.

    I didn't see Kell much all of that year. There were a couple of occasions where we were both on a week's break at the same time. There were coffees and a chance to trade some stories from the road.

    The touring takes you places, provides memories and stories including some varied musical experiences, but you can't be in two places at once.

    I kidded with Kelly that we were 'Goin' Mobile' - - those Pete Townsend lyrics fit life on the road alright - - but maybe, something just had to give.

    Kelly was in a serious relationship and marriage loomed. I was as well, with April.

    Flash ahead to December, 1983.

    My road experience was coming to an end. It was sad news, but really, I knew I had to get to college and begin to build a foundation, a career.

    It could not have been music. Technically, I wasn't good enough.

    In the midst of a heavy bout of band-breakup blues, I got to see Kelly's band, and hear the Gretsches, for the first time.

    It was New Year's Eve; 1984 was at hand.

    Kelly's band was ushering in the New Year by playing the Eastgate. April and I had a great table, centred and close to the stage.

    My memories of that night are mostly general in nature. The band was well-received and it was totally fun.

    Oddly, one tune stands out for me. I can hear the song in my head, hear the wonderful harmonies and see an alert, ever-ready Kelly laying down a solid, authoritative, beat. The Gretsch 14x24's warm and proud, thump.

    The song was Dixieland Delight, by Alabama.
    Last edited by RonJ_60; 02-05-2019 at 11:34 AM.

  9. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by RonJ_60 View Post
    One evening I saw The Future, and it was Gretsch.
    "Ronnie, these drums are incredible! They just have that sound!"
    A Gretsch Man was born.
    Kelly ordered enough drums to allow multiple setups. The centrepiece was a 14x24 bass.
    Ha ! There it is ! Hell, yeah !
    Why does this sound so familiar ?
    Because I did the same thing in 1977................ordered 5 USA shells................one of course was the beloved 14X24.
    Kay Gee and I talked about this more than once.
    Thanks again, Ron.
    Gretsch USA & Zildjian
    (What Else Would I Ever Need ?)


  10. #60

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    Excellent 3rd entry, Ron.

    Feels like being right there with you guys!
    Signature here

  11. #61

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    That’s awesome! I had to chuckle at the Alabama reference and “ Dixieland Delight”. I remember how HUGE Alabama was back in the early ‘80’s. I detested their music at the time, because I found it too “pop” and commercial. They actually were one of the first bands to blend Country and Rock and bring it to the popular forefront. Just tonight, I was listening to Dixieland Delight and a few other Alabama tunes. Ironically, I find myself appreciating the musical qualities of the songs and the imagery in the lyrics (even if they are very 1980’s “cheesy”). They make me remember a more simple time and make me smile. People still love them. My band has the musical and vocal talent to play them well, and I’ll be introducing a few into our set list. Funny how things stay the same over the years, but our perspective of them changes, LOL.
    -Brian

    "Too many crappy used drum stuff to list"

    Play the SONG......not the DRUMS!!!

    "I think that feeling is a lot more important than technique. It's all very well doing a triple paradiddle - but who's going to know you've done it? If you play technically you sound like everybody else. It's being original that counts." ~ John Bonham

  12. #62

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    Thanks, Bish.

    Working on the 4th and will post it by Saturday at the latest.

    Got some Kelly kit photos scanned and will post those, too.

  13. #63

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    Thanks, N2Bluz.

    Cool you'll be adding some ''Bama to your band's playlist.

    You're spot on about that band being at the forefront of country music's evolution, and not everyone was on board!

  14. #64

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    Chapter 4...

    Kelly's band broke up or otherwise came off the road in 1984.

    He married Tiiu in summer and moved to southern Ontario (Mount Forest) shortly afterward.

    He would launch his health food delivery business and successfully run it the next 22 years.

    He picked up another instrument to learn, the fiddle!

    The move meant I wouldn't see much of him the next twelve years, save for a couple of visits.

    In 1985, I got married and moved to Windsor to study journalism. I'd never have believed it if told at the time, but for the next 11 years I was going to be completely idle, drumming-wise.

    ---

    On the other side of a 12-year communications canyon, contact with Kelly picked up, bigtime.

    April and I moved into our house and after 11 years of apartment living, I was finally able to practise drums at home again.

    It was 1996. Where had the years gone?

    Rust had set in; lots of it. It wasn't like starting over completely, but it felt awful close.

    I avoided all the music I used to play along to, and worked on songs by Offspring, from 'Smash.' A friend had lent me the disc.

    Kelly and I talked on the phone periodically and he offered encouraging words for me to keep at the drums.

    "You have to put in the time. A lot of people give up too easily, trying to learn an instrument. They think it's going to be easy, but it's not. It takes work, study and patience."

    The blue vistalites needed some TLC, they looked rough. They met my needs but left me wanting something more.

    I kept on slugging them though, and gradually there was improvement, enough to fuel the fire.

    ---

    A visit to Kelly's place in Toronto in 1998 was a game changer.

    This visit, I finally got to see those maple Gretsch up close, and actually play them.

    I was taken aback by not just the tone, but the sustain. The entire visit was a blur of drum gab, and flipping through the 'Gretsch Drums' book (Chet Falzerano) and an assortment of MD magazines.

    I was getting hooked on Gretsch. Wheels were turning fast and there was seemingly no way to stop them.

    The topper was spending a Friday night watching the 1997 MD Festival tape, with Bill Stewart featured behind a completely cool-looking Grestch jazz kit.

    "His playing is great but what I really like is his tuning...love the sound be gets. Great tone. Perfectly tuned for the band."

    Stewart was playing matched grip, opening my eyes to things I never thought possible as I was a matched grip player myself and always thought trad grip was so much better, especially for jazz.

    The next day, I was leafing through a ND mag when I saw an ad for a vintage drum kit. Suddenly, I had an idea: sell my vintage Ludwig kit and go Gretsch!

    Kelly agreed with idea in principle but cautioned a nice set of Grestch wouldn't come cheap.

    "Selling your Luds...that'll get you part of the way there but be prepared to pay a lot more. Gretsch are among the more expensive brands."

    I left Toronto with my mind in a drum swirl. It had been a three-day eye-opening drum fest and I was stoked about maple shells, new sounds and new goals.

    At the centre of it was Kelly, naturally. It was 1998, but felt like 1970, all over again.

    ---

    With the Vistalites cleaned and polished, and bass hoops refurbished, they sold in short order.

    May, 1999. It was time to go good Gretsch hunting.

    I flew to Toronto on Friday and was pumped because the next day, Kell and I would comb the downtown drum shops to see if that just-right Gretsch kit was available.

    First stop was a vintage shop, Songbird Music. They had a 20-13-16 Black Diamond set that had some magnetism, but only because they were Gretsch. They looked tired and carried a $1,500 price tag. Ouch and pass.

    Next stop was Steve's Music Store and there were a slew of great looking kits, lots of eye candy, but not the Gretsch I needed.

    The third stop, to Long & McQuade, was the charm.

    There were three Gretsch sets in the house. The first was absolutely eye-popping.

    "Man, those are great-looking drums, Kelly said, as we stood in front of a stack of brand new Champagne Sparkle Gretsch. "I'm not much for wrapped drums, but those look incredible."

    The price was an issue, though, $1,999 (if memory serves, but it might have been a bit more).

    There was a set of used in Walnut finish, but scratches were numerous and some were glaring. The price was right but they looked liked they'd been used and slightly abused. Just...no.

    The third kit had odd sizes - an 18x16 floor to go with 16x20, 8x12 and 9x13 - but these Rosewoods looked nice enough and were priced under $1,500. Sold!

    We unloaded the drums at Kelly's and set them up. He grabbed a Gretsch c-o-b snare and said it would be a great fit for the test drive.

    "Next to the Supra, I think it's my favorite snare. Die-cast hoops. You get wicked rim shots with that drum."

    He had found the shell in a pawn shop and restored its functionality. It looked like the Hope Diamond to me.

    Kell wasn't kidding about great rim shots; I got addicted to them in a hurry.

    He offered to sell the snare, since it worked so well with the set. I happily agreed.

    I was thrilled. For $1,700 or so, I had a five-piece Gretsch kit and it didn't break my self-imposed spending cap.

    What a glorious drum weekend.

    ---

    The next few months, we gabbed on the phone often.

    When Kell came up for a summer visit, he was a bit surprised I was using the 9x13 as the floor tom.

    The 18x16 just didn't do it for me and the 9x13 somehow delivered as a floor.

    I loved the kit, but the 18x16 was unsettling and I knew by mid-summer my discontent wouldn't ever just go away.

    A remedy would soon be at hand though; and it would prove to be a veritable Big Bang. An all-new drum universe was about to unfold.
    Last edited by RonJ_60; 03-09-2019 at 11:47 AM.

  15. #65

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    Good stuff, RJ.
    Signature here

  16. #66

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    I am saddened to come back to DC and read this, but I did enjoy reading your stories, Ron.

    Thanks
    "The chances of being attacked and killed by a terrorist are less than the chances of being attacked and killed by your own heart"
    Carrying the message to Garcia. Today and everyday.
    Temple Beth Snare Buzz-Head Rabbi

  17. #67

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    I regret not coming on here as much now greatly. Although I never met KG He became a dear friend. RIP my friend.
    Dave


    Frank "Fiacovaz" Iacovazzi
    RIP my friend


    Proud member of "PHROGGES AQUARIAN ARMY"

  18. #68

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    Chapter 5 (of 5)

    (Promise to add some pics, soon)

    The new frontier for drums was Ebay. The new auction platform featured a slew of vintage drums, with all brands - some long gone - in the mix, and displayed with photos that tantalized.

    EBay was the vehicle that allowed me to try out vintage brands I might not have ever had the chance to play otherwise. The "shelves" back in 2000 when I signed on, were always stocked with kits and singles that often stirred interest or must-have frenzy.

    I talked with Kelly often - 3-4 times a week - in those early eBay days.

    He loved Gretsch, but since a fair number of vintage brands like Rogers and Camco hadn't crossed his path, he was, to some degree, intrigued by the numerous auctions I ran by him.

    He wasn't online much in those days. He was skeptical about the security of the internet and warmed to surfing very slowly.

    While eBay allowed me to sample a variety of cool kits and snares, it also provided Kelly a chance to test drive these same drums when he came to visit. I was happy as heck seeing him play the 20-12-14 Premier kit I had purchased from the UK, or my Rogers Red Onyx set, or Camco Tuxedo snare.

    It was like giving something of value back after all of the lessons, support, and playing opportunities he provided when we were kids.

    One drum really caught his attention, though; a WFL 10x14 mahogany marching drum.

    With wires that had seen much better days, I played it as a tom. Kelly was taken aback by the projection and warm tone.

    Later, when I bought two marching bass drums, both mahogany, and relayed the news, Kelly's wheels began to turn.

    "I might be interested in buying those marching drums from you, if you're not gonna keep them," he said. "I'd like to put together a small kit of those drums. With the wood hoops, that'd be pretty cool, don't you think?

    Kelly bought the 12-lug bass, the WFL snare, and weeks later was thrilled to tell me he had done it, he'd put together what he called "my 'Louisiana' kit."

    "Love it. Simple set up. It's great, especially with brushes!"

    ---

    Kelly's enthusiasm in building the new wood-hooped kit would soon be matched and maybe surpassed with his purchase of a new Gretsch Tennessee Rose guitar.

    Over time, he answered an itch to get out from behind the drums, play guitar and sing.

    He later rigged up a scaled down drum kit that he played while working the guitar and singing, frequently entertaining folks in the Bahamas as a kind of one-man band! Amazing.

    ---

    Kelly's musical interest just could not be contained, it's like there was no lid big enough to cap it.

    It was infectious, too, as he inspired others to pick an instrument, stick with it, and discover the beauty of playing music.

    This was clear when he spoke of family jams out on St. Joseph's Island.

    My wife and two daughters joined me at one such jam, back around 2005.

    I sat in on drums for a few tunes and it was a blast.

    His brothers played...young nieces and nephews...some playing instruments, some dancing...carefree and laughing...everyone had a great time with country, rock and folk tunes, all of it Kelly-inspired if not completely Kell-orchestrated. Amazing.

    ---

    In the early 2000s, Kelly's Toronto house was jam central. That's where he, along with bassist Danny Mott and longtime Bud Eugene Boyer jammed at every opportunity, and they were often marathon jams of rock, blues, jazz and fusion.

    They had a vocalist for a time, too, but his name escapes me.

    Would have been great to have filmed the trio; they raised the roof with great sound.

    ---

    The move to the Bahamas came in 2006.

    This meant I typically hooked up with Kelly on his annual, late-summer trips home to Sault Ste. Marie.

    Never did get down there to see him - that first visit was in the works - but it's unfortunate the opportunity is now gone.

    ---

    So much of what I have written to this point has centred on drums and drum gear, etc. It's understandable to a point since Kelly's musical interest was keen and drums were the first threads to be woven into the fabric of our friendship.

    But Kelly was a great conversationalist, and just great to be around. Open to discussing a wide-range of topics and always able to contribute or cut to the chase and raise key questions.

    It's great when there are planned events, to jam, hit the beach, or a Toronto jazz bar to catch a great band, yet as in any great friendship I guess, just sitting around gabbing over a coffee or a beer was always enough.

    He's missed by so many people, and I feel for his Family, particularly his wife, Anne Marie and his Mom, Marjorie.

    They're all great people, salt of the Earth folks. Kell's passing came as a tremendous shock to them.

    He truly inspired a great many people and in so many positive ways.

    I wonder if he knew just how much.
    Last edited by RonJ_60; 04-12-2019 at 11:02 AM.

  19. #69

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    The "Louisiana Kit"

    Last edited by RonJ_60; 04-11-2019 at 02:55 PM.

  20. #70

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    Kelly with my daughter Kristy, at the Garside family jam, late summer 2002.


  21. #71

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    Kelly and I at the family jam...

  22. #72

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    Thanks for all the information and effort you've put into this.
    Signature here

  23. #73

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    This tribute is so giving! Much respect to you and thank you for so graciously sharing your heartfelt memories with us.
    - Tom

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  24. #74

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    Thanks Bish, thanks Tom.

    Appreciate the opportunity to share some treasured memories and salute a first class gentleman.

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