This webpage is intended as a tribute to Phil Seamen who was probably the greatest ever drummer to come from the UK. It has been assembled to collect together the memories of fans and musicians who worked with Phil so we can better appreciate his talent.
Phil Seamen was one of many professional drummers who were, to an extent, interchangeable. These included British drum luminaries like Jack Parnell, Don Lawson and my old teacher Jack Peach, who was a 'fixer', ie. somebody who booked the musicians for recording sessions. This made him a powerful figure in the pop music heydays of the sixties.
We will attempt to preserve some of the details about the way Phil Seamen played and taught drums so that other drummers might benefit and learn from the unique level of professional experience that he achieved.
visited your website with interest, particularly in the following:
<Drummer, Steve Banning, was an Orchestral and Theatre drummer in London's West End during the sixties and told me this story concerning a drum extravaganza in the Talk Of The Town or somewhere similar circa 1971.
The unique event featured Buddy Rich, Louis Bellson and Kenny Clare, all with their individual drum kits set up. Louis Bellson's, of course, with the double bass drums. Buddy Rich walked out and sat down at Louis Bellson's double bass dum kit and started to play on the bass drums.... boom....boom....boom....boom and the tempo gradually sped up to double and double that again till the bass drums were playing a roll many of us would like to be able to play on a snare drum. When he finished there was a tremendous round of applause and Buddy Rich walked over and sat at his own kit where he repeated the exercise, reaching the same crescendo of notes with one bass drum - .the roof lifted.
At the climax of the session the spotlight was put on a figure in the seated crowd, the MC asked for order and announced that the gathering had a great respect for Phil Seamen who was in the audience. The gathering acknowledged this with a huge ovation, bringing Phil to tears.>
The event was actually at Queen Elizabeth Hall on 5 December 1971 late on a Sunday afternoon. It was a benefit for drummer Frank King and I came up from Dover to go with my Dad, drummer Scott (Jock) Cree who was among loads of drummers there. The event was recorded and released on the Parlophone LP "Conversations: a drum spectacular" (PCS 7151) in 1972. Buddy also, generously, put the spotlight on Carl Palmer. I was talking to drummer Bobby Orr at the Coda Club recently about it and he reminisced about the double bass drum pedal episode. I also spoke to others on that gig - sax player Duncan Lamont and trumpeters Stan Reynolds and Ronnie Hughes who recalled, separately, that Buddy arrived late for rehearsal, having played at Ronnie's until the small hours. After 2 runs through to capture a particularly complicated Bobby Lamb composition, Buddy turned round and said "Hey, you guys ought to play in my band". A wag, who shall be nameless, responded "You couldn't ****ing afford us". A great event, for drummers as the recording testifies.
In 1968, when I was living in earls Court, I took Dad to see Phil Seamen, at the Bull's Head, Barnes with the Tony Lee Trio with Terry Smith guesting on guitar. Phil had the trade mark fag hanging from the corner of his mouth and sweated profusely. He towelled his face between and during numbers, keeping the rhythm going with his free hand. At one point I wondered how he would reconcile this activity with the burning cigarette in his mouth. When he removed the towel, the cigarette had disappeared. I was distracted for a while.
John December 28th, 2007 by John Scott Cree