The Outlaws first album was released in 1974. David Dix joined them on record in 1977, on the Hurry Sundown album, but he’d been a member many years earlier when The Outlaws was a high-school band. The band has gone through several facelifts that have taken it from being a country/rock band to a rock band with country influences. The Outlaws began as a one-drummer band, and when Dix joined they played with two drummers until 1979 when David became the main man.

Dix is like bottled energy. He’s extremely serious about rock and roll and drumming. He has evolved by his own admission since 1977, learning what not to play more than anything else. I had a great time doing this interview, as David was extremely candid and straight-ahead. His goals for his future seem to be summed up in his statement, “I don’t want to be just another tasteless rock drummer.”

 

DD: The Outlaws started when I was a kid. Hughie Thomasson and I played in our first band together when we were both twelve or thirteen. We played in a couple of different bands together during our early teens. When we were both fifteen, The Outlaws got together. This was back about 1967. We played around like that for a long time, playing weekends in bars under the name The Outlaws. About the time I was eighteen or nineteen, I left the band. I went to work a steady job! It was a lounge gig, $135 a week, and at eighteen that was a gold mine. But, it was a terrible gig. It was piano, bass and drums playing the old standards. It was not one of the better gigs I had in my life, but the money was good—so, what the hell!

The Outlaws continued and Monte Yoho took my place. The band played around and broke up and reformed a couple of times. Eventually they got their first album deal which came out in ’75. We were still good friends and kept in touch. I was basically trying to make a living and they wanted to be rock stars. Right after the third album, I got a call from Monte. He said, “The band wants to use two drummers!” He seemed all for it. If I was the drummer in the band—I would at least have my feelings hurt, I guess, but Monte was really excited about it.

I said, “Sure. Yeah.” I’ve been with The Outlaws since July 1977. Monte left two years ago. Since then the band’s just been with one drummer. It’s been great! Working with two drummers is difficult. It’s not my cup of tea.

SF: Could you and Monte switch from drumset to other percussion instruments?

DD: I play congas reasonably well and a little timbale, but with this kind of band there’s not a lot of room for that. Rhythmically it works, but the sound doesn’t work. Conga drums with rock and roll? There wasn’t much we could do with it. There were a couple of tunes where I did some conga work, but on the whole, everything was two drumsets.

SF: Monte never switched off onto percussion?

DD: There were a couple of things that he played percussion on, but I think he might’ve felt a little uncomfortable. See, there were some songs where I thought having two drummers was like killing a fly with a shotgun! It’s all backbeat, mainly. There’s nothing really that technically involved. Sometimes we’d switch off just for the sake of not having two guys playing drumsets at the same time.

SF: We were speaking about Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson as two drummers who were stylistically almost opposite, but who worked perfectly together. Do you feel that you and Monte were working that well?

DD: Monte was a straight “time” player. I could move around the set and I had a pretty good knowledge of that kind of playing. I think every drummer goes through a period of overplaying. That was my overplaying period. I look back on it now and say, “You were playing about eight times more than you needed to!”

SF: No wonder Monte left.

DD: We never really did sit down and work drum parts out. Monte wasn’t into soloing, so we couldn’t really do the drum battle thing. If you’ve got two guys that are of comparable ability that are into the same things, you can probably do something like that real well. Like Butch and Jaimoe, and Keith Knudsen and Chet McCracken. They do it real well.

When I first started learning how to play, I sat around playing to Dave Brubeck records, and listened to Joe Morello and Buddy Rich. Monte learned how to play from listening to, like, Charlie Watts, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Monte is a good, steady timekeeper. I studied with a a couple of different people, mainly Mark Morris in Nashville. He did percussion work on the last two Allman Brothers albums. I probably learned more from him than any teacher I had other than myself. Just about everything I’ve done over the last ten years has been self taught. I’ve taught myself more through trial and error than I’ve learned from any other teacher. Mark Morris is a very competent percussionist. He plays with symphony orchestras, he plays tympani, and he can read anything.

SF: Does he play drumset?

DD: Yeah. He taught me to read, although at the time, I hated it. I was not interested so it was a struggle just to get to the next lesson. It was like, “Sit down and work this crap out,” just so I could play it right and not be embarrassed when the teacher came. I didn’t realize how much it would do for my playing if I’d taken it more seriously. Now I know! When we’re on the road it’s hard to find practice time, so it’s good for me to get out the Morris Goldenberg book, for example, and start going through that to refresh my memory. I’m getting my reading back together to where I can move onto some of the more complicated stuff. Then a tour break will come, I’ll go home and put the book away, and forget about trying to polish up on reading!

SF: There’s the school of thought that if your interest is in playing backbeat material, why hassle with learning jazz and reading?

DD: That’s true. You don’t have to, but any extra time spent other than actual playing with the band is bound to benefit you. It may not benefit you within the confines of what you’re doing. You wouldn’t think it’s going to help me with The Outlaws to sit with a book trying to learn a snare drum piece. But, it improves your time and your technique. Even though you may never play anything near as difficult as what’s written on the paper, it’s going to help you. It’s going to filter through. Let’s put it this way: It doesn’t hurt! As to how much good it does—that would vary from drummer to drummer.

SF: Did you ever get a chance to play jazz?

DD: I’ve always wanted to and I know I can, but I’ve never actually played a jazz gig. From playing in Vegas with different lounge groups I had quite a bit of experience playing swing. That was a lot of fun. I’ve played with a lot of different kinds of bands. There was a show band I played with called Deep South. That was like a rock and roll show band and real interesting. I got to play everything from rock and roll to funk to jazz. But, I’ve never had the opportunity to work as a part of a jazz or jazz/rock group. Hopefully, one day I’ll get the chance.

But, I’ve got to do what’s going to pay the bills, particularly because I have a family now. That makes a big difference. The traveling I was doing before The Outlaws was tougher. The Outlaws go out for three weeks and then we’re home for ten days to two weeks. Before, I’d have to go out for eight or nine weeks at a time, and that’s a long time to be away from home. I’m lucky my wife understands. The Outlaws was a blessing in that respect. Even though I’m away more total days in a year, it is broken up into smaller segments.

SF: Can you take your family on the road with you?

DD: I could. My wife doesn’t travel with me, number one, because she holds down a full time job of her own. And now that we have the baby, I don’t think the guys would appreciate it too much. I think the dirty diapers would get to them!

SF: Do you play any instruments other than drumset?

DD: About three months ago I decided I was going to take guitar lessons. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been taking lessons but it’s coming very slow. I’m just approaching it as a hobby, hoping one day I’ll get good enough to where I may be able to write, or at least be able to play for my own enjoyment.

SF: What is your contribution to the albums? Let’s use Ghost Riders as an example.

DD: I’m not a writer. To write songs you have to write lyrics or music, and to write music you have to play something melodic. Lyrics is a whole different story. I think lyrics are harder to write than music. I try to contribute ideas towards arrangements and the feel of the songs. We might be working on something and I’ll think of how it would sound with a different feel or tempo. The next day I’ll present it to the band. A lot of times we’ll end up changing a tune completely just from a suggestion like that. That’s about all I can contribute in that respect.

SF: Are you still playing double bass drums?

DD: Yeah. When Monte left the band I decided to give it a try.

SF: You never played double bass drums prior to that?

DD: No.

SF: You must’ve had a few rough nights!

DD: Oh yeah! Initially I didn’t try to incorporate it into what I was already doing. I wanted to incorporate them into my solo. I’d start from there and still…I use them very sparingly. It’s a very fine line between tastefully playing what needs to be there, and sounding like a guy that just went out and bought an extra bass drum and wants to use it desperately! Before I used two bass drums I thought it was stupid that guys who did use them played nothing but “dugga-dugga-duggadugga.” That was until I got two bass drums and tried to do it myself! You’ve really got to learn to do that before you can take it any further.

SF: You record with double bass drums?

DD: Yeah. There’s two ways to use them: Within the time figure that you’re playing or with fills. I want to work them into my fills by starting off with simple things like ruffs, and gradually moving to where they’re more a part of the fills until I can use both bass drums within the time framework of what I’m playing. So far, the opportunity hasn’t presented itself. On Ghost Riders I think there’s only one small fill where I use the second bass drum. But, I tell the producer I might decide to use it on something so put a mic’ on it.

SF: Do you have any role models for double bass drum playing?

DD: Tommy Aldridge is the first guy that really impressed me. Pat Travers was on one of our tours so Tommy and I got to be real good friends. I’d watch him every night do some amazing stuff. I’d ask him for things to work on. He said, “Man, I don’t know. I really don’t know.” He’s just one of those kind of players. He just knows what he knows. He doesn’t really know how to get it across to anybody else.

Louie Bellson was the pioneer in that sort of thing. I haven’t heard Billy Cobham live in a while, but he doesn’t use them as much as I thought he would. He has a lot more room to use them in the music he plays than he does. Simon Phillips is really good, too.

SF: Do you have trouble hearing your bass drums onstage?

DD: I use my own mixing board right next to me. I was tired of trying to wave or signal at soundmen/monitor guys to say, “More snare! Less kick! Put the toms in!” That’s impossible. I like the idea of having control over it.

SF: So you have the option of having everyone in the band coming through your monitor?

DD: If I want. Some nights I can hear everything onstage and other nights I can’t even hear myself. Other nights it’s the opposite. It all depends on the hall. If you’ve got your own mix it’s so much simpler. When I first joined the band I was used to playing in bars and lounges. The volume of this band was incredible! When I tried to use monitors, that only seemed to add to the confusion. For a long time I didn’t use monitors at all. I just got stronger and played harder. For a while I had a headphone mix. I liked that but felt like I was too removed from the rest of the band.

SF: What did you hear in the headphones?

DD: Usually I’d have the whole drumset, probably bass guitar and one or two of the guitars. No vocals. I don’t even listen to vocals onstage.

SF: That seems strange.

DD: Usually I can hear enough of the vocals from their sidefills and individual monitors to know where I am. I find it easier to concentrate on what I’m doing without the vocal in there.

SF: Who do you listen for mostly?

DD: Bass and usually Hughie. He’s the easiest for me to hear. I try to key on everybody, but mostly the bass player.

SF: How is it different with Harvey and Rick’s bass playing?

DD: Harvey’s a good bass player, but I prefer Rick. Rick comes from the same background as me. He’s played in a lot of different kinds of bands, different kinds of music, and he’s capable of adapting to any kind of musical situation. Harvey was a rock bass player. That was it. Then again…we play rock! But, Rick seems to lay in that pocket. We both like a lot of the same things musically, so we hear and feel things a lot alike.

SF: The Outlaws have been through several personnel changes. What are some key things you look for when you replace a member?

DD: Someone’s adaptability to our thing. You want to have somebody who wants it and is not doing it just for the gig or the money. You want somebody who’s into it.

SF: How did it affect The Outlaws going from using a single drummer, to two drummers, and then back to a single drummer?

DD: They were a little bit apprehensive about it at first.

SF: Did they try to replace Monte?

DD: Well, that was the original plan. But, at the time Monte left we were winding down a tour and only had a few dates left. It would’ve meant getting together in Tampa, Florida to rehearse to break in a new guy. I knew that if they’d just give me a chance it would be better in the long run if they just kept it with one drummer.

SF: Who decided to use two drummers? The guitar players?

DD: Yeah. At the time they added me they wanted to get more of a powerhouse band going. I needed the gig so I wasn’t asking any questions! I was glad to have it. The first couple of gigs we did it was real strange for everybody, simply because they were having to focus on one drummer. But after seven to ten shows it started to click and it got much tighter. Everything was smoother, tighter, and it worked out better all around. I was very mentally prepared for the situation when it happened. When Monte left I thought, “Alright. Here’s your chance. Don’t blow it.” I think they were a little bit surprised that it went as well as it did with just one guy.

SF: I would think that with all the mic’s on the drumset they could just turn the drums up if they were looking for sheer volume.

DD: Without Monte there was a definite loss in the presence of the drums. But, it was quickly made up, I assure you!

SF: How are The Outlaws different today than they were in 1977 when you first joined?

DD: This combination of people is the best the band’s ever had, not only in terms of playing ability, but also in being able to get along personality-wise. There’s a cohesiveness now that was not there four years ago. The band’s just playing more together.

SF: What kind of personal commitment does it take to put together a band like The Outlaws?

DD: I guess it depends on what you want out of it. The band is a well-known band and it is successful, but there’s still a long way to go. I feel like we’re really just starting to realize our full potential. So, the last thing you want to do is blow it with wine, women, song or whatever! I’d like to think I’ve been serious—but I want to get more serious.

SF: Now you’re in the thick of a successful band. How is it different than you imagined it would be when you were fourteen or fifteen?

DD: When I was fourteen or fifteen I thought it would never happen. It wasn’t that I didn’t have any confidence in myself. When you’re that age, or even twenty years old playing lounges and bars, and you have musicians that you idolize and emulate, you think, “Damn. I’ll never get there.”

SF: Who were you idolizing?

David Dix
Photo by Lissa Wales

DD: I like everybody from John Bonham to Buddy Rich, David Garibaldi, John Guerin, Steve Gadd, Harvey Mason, and Michael Walden. Jeff Porcaro is one of the best rock drummers I’ve ever heard because he’s inventive. With most rock drummers there’s no color and not a whole lot of finesse. I mean, there’s more to do than just play steady time! It’s good that somebody like Porcaro came along who, when he plays with Toto is a rock drummer in every sense of the word, but he’s very innovative about it at the same time.

For the most part, record producers don’t like drummers who can play. It poses more of a challenge to them. They want a guy to sit back there and play a good backbeat.

SF: Do you get that when you’re in the studio?

DD: Yeah. We did an album called Playing To Win produced by Mutt Lang. He’s done AC/DC and Foreigner. Their drummers basically play time. They really don’t like to do things with the band. At the time I was kind of brash and there was a lot of stuff I wanted to try. Mutt didn’t want to hear about it. In the end it worked out good. You get in the studio and you’ve got all these ideas and want to get them on tape, but you realize after a while that there’s only so much you can put down. Again, you get into the fine line between showing off and playing with the band. I can look back on that and see that I was trying to do too much, maybe. But my intentions were good! Now I know how to go about getting what I want to do with a band. I don’t want to be just another colorless rock drummer. It doesn’t have to be that way.

SF: Yeah, there are a few of those out there, aren’t there?

DD: Yeah. If that’s all I was interested in, I wouldn’t waste time practicing. To just play the good old solid backbeat, you don’t need to practice.

SF: When you record an album, what’s the line between the artist and the producer in deciding what songs will go on the album?

DD: With us, that’s been a running battle. The bigger the band, the more artistic control they have. That’s only natural, I guess. On Ghost Riders we had two different producers. The project was started by Ron Nevison. He let us have a lot of freedom as far as what we wanted to play. He figured, “These guys are the players. They should be competent enough to know what works and what doesn’t.” He would not come to me and say, “Don’t use that fill there. Don’t use that lick,” unless it was something really bad. He’d give you a chance to work with the idea and get it right.

Gary Lyons finished the album and mixed it. He also produced the newest album Los Hombres Malo. He’s the type of guy that will give you a certain amount of freedom. If a producer respects the musicians and their ability—he’ll give you room to work.

SF: Does a producer choose songs? “Ghost Riders In The Sky” is a pretty traditional pop song. Who decided to record that?

DD: Every time we’d go into the studio, Hughie would play that. Nevison was the first guy that let us try it. We fooled around with it for a few days. The hardest thing was getting the feel for it. At first we wanted to do it instrumentally and real up. You know how the song ends on the album? That was how we were going to do the whole thing, but that didn’t work. Somehow we fell into the groove we used and it worked out real good. My point is: Where other people laughed at us with the idea—Ron didn’t. He said, “If you get it right it’ll be a mother!” As it turned out … it was!

SF: From a fan’s perspective, do you think it changes things when old members leave a band and new ones are added?

DD: There’s always going to be people that ask, “What happened to Henry Paul? What happened to Monte Yoho? Why did Harvey leave?” At the same time, if what you’ve done is an improvement, it’s just bound to work out. The Eagles went through some personnel changes. It certainly didn’t hurt them at all when Bernie Leadon left and Joe Walsh joined. Or when Randy Meisner left and Timothy Schmidt came in to play bass.

There’s always going to be a certain amount of people who lose interest in the band because their favorite person is not there anymore. But, if the change is for the best musically—it’s going to pay off for you. All the personnel changes we’ve been through have all turned out for the best. We’ve still got to do a lot of the material from those first albums because that’s The Outlaws. At the same time, we’ve got a different bunch of people together and we want to take that into a direction also. We’re trying to get a balance. You can only ride an old horse for so long. “Green Grass and High Tides” will always be part of the band’s set, but we don’t want to be a “one song” band.

SF: I see a large percentage of rock audiences who come to concerts to party, almost like the music is secondary. Do you ever look at an audience like that and wish they could just be there for the sake of listening to your music?

DD: That was hard to come to grips with because I’d have nights where I’d play atrocious. Just terrible. And these fans would say, “God, man! You were just cooking and kicking ass, man. That was great!” Then when you play something on a good night, something really brilliant, nobody says anything! That doesn’t bother me anymore. If you play mediocre… okay. To your fans it may still come off good. But, if you play great then they’re going to be more aware of that. If you play bad—they’re going to assume that’s the norm and that it’s really good. If you play great you jump to another level.

A lot of people subscribe to the theory that it doesn’t matter what you do or how well you do it, because your audience doesn’t know the difference anyway. I can’t buy that. Most musicians want to be respected by their peers. If a famous drummer came to hear me—even if he wasn’t particularly fond of rock and roll—I’d still like him to walk away thinking he heard someone who was proficient; that he heard a good player doing the best he could within the framework he had to work with, rather than being just another hacker. I want to be a respected musician.

Confidence is half of it, too. It took me a while to develop that. I went straight out of playing clubs to playing this. When I met the band we set up the drums, ran over a few tunes, and went out to do the show that night. I faked the rest of it. There was no really intense concentrated rehearsal. A lot of the live album is real disappointing. I can’t stand to listen to it now because it’s so loose.

SF: How long had you been with The Outlaws when that album was recorded?

DD: About four months. There’s a couple of things on that album that I’m real pleased with, but for the most part it’s so sloppy that I listen to it now and think, “Damn!” It just takes a while. We were all green then.

SF: What do you feel is the band’s responsibility to its audience?

DD: With any kind of a rock crowd, if you just go out there and play your tunes and expect them to sit down and listen to you—that ain’t going to happen. What you play has to be presented. Instead of just tune after tune there’s got to be some interesting segues. Otherwise, it’s like you’re back to playing in a bar again. You’re up there saying, “Oh, here’s one that our bass player wrote. Oh, here’s one that our guitar player wrote.” It really needs to be presented in a show fashion.

SF: Do you plan the concert sets?

DD: Generally we’ve got a set and we don’t deviate from it too much except to shorten it. Our show is usually an hour and a half. There are certain songs that are always going to be in the set that we group together, back to back, to go with the flow.

SF: I have a quote from The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock And Roll. It’s written that the plane crash of the Lynyrd Skynyrd band “marked the virtual end of Southern rock as a vital source of new music, even though many of its early exponents continue performing.” Do you consider The Outlaws a Southern rock group, and how do you feel about that statement?

DD: We do consider ourselves Southern rock, but a more apt description would be “rock and roll from the South.” A lot of the material we do has a very Southern tone to it, but at the same time, there’s material that we do, particularly on Los Hombres Malo, that’s in a much harder rock and roll vein. The phrase “Southern rock” has been overused and abused. If you’re a band from Los Angeles they don’t call you “Western rock.” Or, if you’re from New York they don’t call you “Northeastern rock.” You’re a rock and roll band! But, if you come from the South, all of a sudden you’re a “Southern rock and roll band.” That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that. The Outlaws are not trying to disassociate themselves from that, but at the same time, we don’t want to be known for that alone. We feel we’ve got a lot more going for us.

SF: Did you have friends in high school who were musicians?

DD: Yes and no. In high school we were always working weekends. It was great but it was a little strange because you didn’t go to football games and all that crap. So, you were sort of an outsider. If you had long hair in those days it was all you could do to keep from getting kicked out of school. Growing up a musician was definitely different than being just a regular kid.

SF: Were there drummers in your peer group who played better than you that have since quit playing music?

DD: There were a couple of guys like that.

SF: Why do you think you went on to become a successful player and they didn’t?

DD: Probably it was just timing. I probably had a better opportunity than they did. There was a guy that used to play drums with Blues Image named Manuel Bertimatti, from Tampa, Florida who was just a monster! Now he’s in L.A. or something working for one of the movie studios. He gave up playing completely. I used to sit and watch him and think, “Man! That’s how good I want to be.” All of a sudden, a few years go by and you find yourself playing with a well-known band, touring, and then you hear about this guy who’s given it all up. You wonder about it and think, “Damn. As good as he was, he gave it up. Where does that leave me?” It must be a question of the right place at the right time.

SF: Why did you hang in there? Was there ever a time when you felt like throwing in the towel?

DD: Yeah, there’s been a couple of times. Particularly before I was with The Outlaws. I was practicing a lot because I always had in the back of my head, “If you practice and realize that what you’re doing is to make a living, and that you’re trying to step up, and if you keep that in perspective, then you’ll do okay.” But, there’s times when you become so depressed about what you’re doing because all you’re doing is making a living. There was a lot of times when I thought, “Maybe I ought to just go sell shoes or something.”

SF: What kept you going?

DD: Ultimately what kept me going was that I got with The Outlaws. I was twenty-five at the time and that’s really when you start to grow up. Had I had my choice about what I wanted to play, I’d be out playing with a funk band in the vein of Tower of Power, Stuff, or Spyro Gyra. But, none of that ever came my way. This is what came my way so I’m going to do this. Even if you’re at least a part of something that’s successful—even if it’s not exactly what you hoped for—at least you’re not playing in a copy band someplace in a bar playing five sets a night. I can pretty much do my own thing with The Outlaws.

SF: How important to your career is it to have a supportive family?

DD: It makes me take everything a little bit more seriously. If you want to achieve any lasting success, then you’ve got to take it seriously, whatever you’re doing. Having a family makes me think less about having a good time and more about accomplishing something.

SF: There’s a myth that you can’t have a successful career and a successful marriage.

DD: Well, it’s hard. I used to wonder about that myself. Then I found myself in that position and I just had to learn to deal with it on a daily basis. It comes with the job. What’s the alternative? The alternative is to stay home and work locally. In the end that’s going to grow old. Doing something like this you are away a lot and it puts a stress and strain on your home life, but at least there’s a chance of a payoff for you.

SF: What can you tell me about your current drumset?

DD: I’ve been using Yamaha drums for close to three years. I don’t have an endorsement with them. I’m not really interested in having an endorsement. I want to play a good set of drums. I figure they’ll come to me one of these days. Before that I was using a combination of Rogers and Pearl. A Rogers bass drum, rack toms, and floor tom, some Pearl concert toms, and a Pearl snare drum. I finally stopped using the concert toms because I wanted to go for a more rock power type setup. I went to bigger drums. I’m using two 24″ bass drums, 9 X 1 3 and 10 X 14 rack toms, and an 18″ floor tom. I’m using a Tama snare drum that’s 6 1/2″, I think, standard wood. I do have an endorsement with Zildjian. When I got that it really meant something to me. I’m using a 22″ Deep Ride and four crash cymbals. One is a 16″ and the rest are 18″. The hi-hats are Quick-Beat 14″. And I’ve got an Earth Ride and a Swish. At one time I was using two ride cymbals and the Swish with the crashes, but I’ve just modified it.

I’ve been using muffling inside the bass drums. When I was playing clubs I wouldn’t put anything in them at all. I’d just muffle the head itself with felt strips, tape, or both. If you get the head muffled down enough with that you don’t have to put anything inside the drum and it really kicks! When you take a 24″ bass drum and put something inside—you don’t have a 24″ drum anymore. The main reason I’m still using stuff inside my bass drums is because of the soundmen. It’s easier for them to get a sound with a heavily muffled drum. That’s the same set-up I use in the studio, too.

SF: Is it helpful to be in a band with people you can communicate with?

DD: It helps a lot. For instance, the band was passing demo tapes around amongst themselves, stuff they’d done on vacation that they were submitting for Los Hombres Malo. I’d get a tape and listen and maybe get an idea for one of the tunes. I could call them up and say, “You know that tape you gave me? Well, you ought to try this, maybe.” When you’ve got that kind of a relationship, that’s much nicer than when you’re just a member of a band and you don’t really give a shit. It’s a much better feeling, and it’s a lot more fun to be a part of a team than just a member.

The drummer is basically the quarterback. You control the intensity a lot of times. It’s really the most unique instrument in the band. A drummer who can do more than just play time—a guy who can play at different levels of intensity and with a real good sense of dynamics—can make all the difference in the world to a band. There are subtleties that come out while you’re playing, and you really don’t discuss things like that—at least with this band. There’s a lot of spontaneity. You’re playing, and when you’re excited about something and say, “Okay, I’ll take it here”…when you’ve got guys that can respond to that—that’s my ideal situation.

SF: Do you ever think about what you’re going to do when you’re sixty years old?

DD: Yeah. I’d like to be playing drums when I’m sixty. That’s probably the true mark of any musician—his longevity.