Oral History -
Hal Blaine was perhaps the most recorded drummer from the California recording studios of the 1950s-'70s. His influential style can be heard on more than 170 number one hit songs and 450 tunes that made the top 40 on the charts during those decades.
Bill Xavier was introduced into the music products industry while working with Hartley Peavey. Peavey became a strong mentor to Bill and was like a second father to him. Bill has often said that much of the passion he has for the music products industry was developed as a result of working with Mr. Peavey.
Bert Turetzky likes telling stories in his playing. He likes to make his listeners think about new ideas and in doing so he often creates a way for people to feel something they may not have felt without his music. When Burt plays his bass your soul needs to listen. As a teacher and educator, Burt has few equals.
Peggy Sexton and her husband, Bob, formed Tactus Press to publish books on early percussion. Peggy’s passion for research and the social history surrounding the development of musical instruments added a captivating aspect to their publications. Their first book was “Castanuelas Ole! A book about Castanets.” Bob created the graphic designs and layout of the books.
Carol Kaye can be heard on such landmark recordings as “La Bamba,” the Mission Impossible theme, and scores of hits produced by Phil Spector. She started playing jazz guitar in a big band during the early 1950s. Within the decade, she gained employment at the studio where she would later meet Spector and became one of the most prolific studio players in Los Angeles.
Chubby Jackson was the 1947 Down Beat magazine’s reader poll winner for the best bassist of the year. When the Kay Music Company of Chicago told Chubby that they would be presenting him with a new bass to mark the occasion, Chubby had one request – add a fifth string.
Charlie Gorby was a true visionary for the music products industry and the founder of Gorby Music in West Virginia. As a lone store retailer, Charlie was a regular attendee at the NAMM shows beginning in the 1940s when the industry was trying to get back in swing after World War II. He spoke at a series of industry meetings along side his dear friend William Gard. Gard was the CEO for NAMM who often referred to Charlie’s forward thinking ideas in speeches and industry addresses during much of the 1950s and 60s. Mr.
Gary Burton, the renowned vibraphonist, provided wonderful and detailed insight into the Musser Company that he has been linked with for most of his life. He traced the company’s history through the Ludwig purchase and included his thoughts about the company’s percussive product line. He also spoke about PASIC and his memories of the NAMM Show.
Bob Bull held many positions throughout the music products industry over his long career. However, he is perhaps best known as the president of the Steinway & Sons piano company during the early 1970s. At the time, Steinway was owned by CBS Musical Instruments.
Herb Brochstein had a million stories about his long and successful career in the industry. One of these stories was about how he developed a new drumstick and formed ProMark, one of the leading innovators in the music industry.