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616870 Posts in 24875 Topics by 3535 Members - Latest Member: doodledoo September 22, 2017, 10:45:20 PM
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Author Topic: RIP Frank "Frankie" Capp, Session Drummer & Percussionist  (Read 646 times)
guitarfool2002
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« on: September 12, 2017, 06:55:07 PM »

Just got word that Frank Capp passed away today. For those unfamiliar with his name, guaranteed you know his work. He was a jazz drummer, great friend of Buddy Rich, played with the best big bands of the era including Woody Herman's "Thundering Herd", Sinatra...film soundtracks including many Looney Tunes cartoon shorts and Mission Impossible...and damn near everyone cutting pop records in LA in the 60's. He became known, according to Frankie himself, as first-call percussionist in LA almost by accident or default. Phil Spector used him on dates regularly, and like other Wrecking Crew members, as soon as Phil got those hits, everyone else came calling. But Frankie was a full-kit drummer, yet he became known for and in great demand for adding percussion.

Chances are if you hear some percussion on a 60's hit cut in the LA studios, it was probably Frank Capp. He also played full kit on "I Got You Babe", for Sonny and Cher...after remembering Sonny Bono as the guy who would raid his equipment trunk for any percussion item he could find and add to the studio session with Phil...because he'd get paid scale as a musician no matter what he picked up and played! Sonny was still a runner (or go-fer) for Phil in the early days.

And in the early days, Frank remembers another young guy always being around the LA studios, before he became really, really famous...Brian Wilson. This had to be around 62-63 when other reports have pegged Brian as being there observing other producers making records at the usual studios like Gold Star, Western/United, etc...learning his own trade and craft by observing and studying how to make records on the spot. Some say Brian did that a lot more than what gets noted...Frankie backed that up.

And of course...much of the famous Brian Wilson "sound" from 65-66 like Pet Sounds features Frankie playing percussion. In Frank's own words, "Brian Wilson was a brilliant composer."

And that sums up the contribution of musicians like Frankie Capp, those players we've all heard on hundreds if not thousands of recordings but whose skill and talent made those brilliant compositions come to life in the studio. It's a shame but again time marches on and we lose another legendary musician whose work we all enjoyed and will continue to enjoy.

RIP

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guitarfool2002
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« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 07:08:57 PM »

Just want to add...for those with a penchant for listening to session tapes, official, semi-official, and unofficially released...listen for Brian on the talkback saying "Frankie" during the session. Same with Spector. Then imagine the final track without the sounds Frankie added. In some cases the percussion was as vital a sonic hook for those tracks as any other key instrument. Once again, tribute to guys like Frank Capp who played those parts so well.
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"Every single person who criticized Brian for having She & Him, Kacey Musgraves, Sebu and Nate Ruess guesting on his solo album can now officially go heartily f*** themselves." - Wirestone

"I will never change with what I think happened in here and you will never convince me otherwise." - Dr. Beach Boy.
"There was no up front fees, period. swedishfrog  and I paid for the domain name. As of June 19, 2016 at 4:32pm edt, that is all I was charged for." - Dr. Beach Boy
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« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 07:36:47 PM »

Every year it seems something like this happens to someone close to this music. Rest In Peace, indeed. On the bright side, it is an incredible achievement to have your own talent on some of the greatest songs ever recorded...something like that ensures that even after your passing you have made a near permentant mark in this world.
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« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 08:28:06 PM »

Didn't he play the shaking keys on Surf's Up?
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« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 10:41:51 PM »

He did play on "Surf's Up," and maybe his finest hour on a Beach Boys song was "Wouldn't It Be Nice," where he played timpani, tambourine and celeste.

Here is a clip playing the hell out of the triangle, and then drums on "The Pink Panther Theme," with Plas Johnson, who played on Beach Boys songs, featured on sax.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBupII3LH_Q
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Hickory Violet Part IV
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« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 11:46:34 PM »

Oh man. Bit by bit the Crew are leaving us

Who else feels like they know these people after poring over hours of session recordings?
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« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2017, 02:17:42 AM »

Oh man. Bit by bit the Crew are leaving us

So many of them are of that age. Inevitable, really. But yes, a great shame...

"Frankie, you forgot 'Here Comes The Bride'!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygi4mOuuevU

Eighty-six is a pretty good age. Rest in peace, sir.
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« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2017, 04:18:25 AM »

He did play on "Surf's Up," and maybe his finest hour on a Beach Boys song was "Wouldn't It Be Nice," where he played timpani, tambourine and celeste.

Here is a clip playing the hell out of the triangle, and then drums on "The Pink Panther Theme," with Plas Johnson, who played on Beach Boys songs, featured on sax.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBupII3LH_Q

I think it was actually a glockenspiel, rather than a celeste, that Frankie played on "WIBN" (in addition to the tambourine and tympani, as mentioned). The AFM sheet for that session lists that instrument as "bells", which normally meant glock. And yes - he shook a set of car keys ("like jewelry", as Brian put it) and played the hi-hat via  the foot pedal on "Surf's Up". And I've always enjoyed the session banter between Brian and Frankie!

The man's legacy will live on in the music he helped bring to life!  R.I.P.
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« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2017, 05:16:31 AM »

I think it was actually a glockenspiel, rather than a celeste, that Frankie played on "WIBN" (in addition to the tambourine and tympani, as mentioned). The AFM sheet for that session lists that instrument as "bells", which normally meant glock.
Sounds like a glockenspiel to me too (two A's just after 4:50 here). I reckon it's too percussive and"ringy" for a celeste.   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofByti7A4uM
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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 08:09:15 AM »

Thanks for the clarification. I was calling it a celeste based on the otherwise excellent "Behind the Sounds" video on YouTube.
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« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2017, 11:11:14 AM »

That's sad to hear. He played on so many classic BBs recordings and more.
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2017, 09:59:10 PM »

In some cases the percussion was as vital a sonic hook for those tracks as any other key instrument.
Well said. Agree 100%.
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