John Fred Young

Drummer John Fred Young Black Stone Cherry drew on their Kentucky heritage for their second album, Folklore And Superstition. “We love the mysterious stories that we grew up hearing, so we dug up some of those,” says drummer John Fred Young. “Bluegrass and Appalachian songs are stories put to music. Same with a lot of blues. So we’re like rock ’n’ roll storytellers.”

One song, “The Ghost Of Floyd Collins,” features a spoken intro by John Fred’s uncle, Kentucky Headhunters drummer Fred Young. “Whenever we’re home, we try to sit down and play together,” John Fred says. “I never cease to learn something from that man.”

Since the release of Black Stone Cherry’s debut CD two years ago, the band has toured non-stop. For John Fred, one of the best aspects of being on the road is meeting and learning from a variety of drummers. “You can always trade secrets and tips,” he says. “We just got back from Europe doing the Def Leppard and Whitesnake tour, and I got to hang out with Rick Allen. He’s got kind of an under-stage cage he can come down and sit in, and he would let me sit in there and watch him every night.” Advertisement

One groove on Folklore And Superstition was inspired by Ringo Starr. “On ‘Reverend Wrinkle,’ ‘Blind Man,’ and a couple of others, I’m playing 8th notes on the ride and playing hi-hat with my foot on the ‘&s.’ When you do that, and you’re going to the bell of the ride for the accents, it’s like you’re riding a roller coaster. On ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ Ringo didn’t do that with his foot, but he was accenting the ‘&s’ on the closed hi-hat. That makes it swing more than if you just played ‘tick tick tick tick.’

“When you try to learn something that somebody else did, nine times out of ten you’re never going to play it the way they played it,” John Fred says. “But it’s going to open a door to where you come up with your own thing based upon the idea you went after.” (Photo by: Jane Mattingly)

Rick Mattingly