It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Little Feat drummer Richie Hayward who died of liver cancer last week.
Hayward was, for me (a huge fan of drummers), one of the true giants on the skins. His grooves were always startlingly original, unique, and funky. Regardless of the song, or genre of music, isolating a Hayward drum track always offered surprises.
Not only was there technical mastery going on like ghost notes, 16th notes, or mixed syncopation between the hand and the foot – but there was also the intense groove all this technical skill combined to create. The sound he made was uniquely his and very organic sounding.
Little Feat’s songs Dixie Chicken, Day and Night, and the live Fat Man in the Bathtub are clinics for how to lay back yet still provide power. I have to say; he was a genius on the drums.
Hayward’s drumming was appreciated by artists like Robert Plant (and many others), who used him on his solo records. More importantly, his appreciation extended to the far more discriminating crowd of fellow drummers. Over the years, I was surprised how many times Hayward’s name popped up when speaking to drummers about their influences. He, indeed, was the drummers’ drummer.
What Hayward could do to a groove was terrific. Waiting for Columbus, arguably one of the finest live recordings ever, is a showcase for Hayward playing through the Lowell George-led Feat catalog.
Please give it a spin soon in the memorandum, paying close attention to the drumming. It will impress you!
Thanks, Richie; groove on…