A few years ago, Emil Richards took me and my wife to see Buddy Rich play at a musician’s night in a restaurant in Glendale.

All the musicians in town were there, especially drummers. So after his set—which was incredible—we all went back to see him in the dressing room. I’m just watching him sitting there and talking, having been buzzed on how he played so incredible. He looked real small and kind of vulnerable. So I went over and I said, “Can I kiss you, man?” I reached down and kissed him on the cheek. Everybody in the room was thinking, “What’s Jim doing? He’s crazy! Buddy’s gonna kill him!” But he was so gracious and beautiful. He understood where I was coming from. He could feel what I felt in my heart.

Jim Keltner

Modern Drummer, November 1981