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Author Topic: D. J. Fontana - R. I. P.  (Read 986 times)
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« on: June 14, 2018, 04:57:02 AM »

For many people he was probably the first Rock-drummer they knew.


REUNITED WITH ELVIS DJ Fontana dead at 87 – Elvis Presley’s legendary drummer and last surviving band member passes away, his son reveals

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6526790/dj-fontana-dead-at-87-elvis-presleys-legendary-drummer-and-last-surviving-band-member-passes-away-his-son-reveals/


Elvis Presley's legendary drummer DJ Fontana, 87, dies peacefully in his sleep following a glittering career alongside 'The King'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5843509/Elvis-Presleys-drummer-DJ-Fontana-87-dies-peacefully-sleep-following-glittering-career.html










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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 06:15:30 AM »

For many people he was probably the first Rock-drummer they knew.


REUNITED WITH ELVIS DJ Fontana dead at 87 – Elvis Presley’s legendary drummer and last surviving band member passes away, his son reveals

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6526790/dj-fontana-dead-at-87-elvis-presleys-legendary-drummer-and-last-surviving-band-member-passes-away-his-son-reveals/


Elvis Presley's legendary drummer DJ Fontana, 87, dies peacefully in his sleep following a glittering career alongside 'The King'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5843509/Elvis-Presleys-drummer-DJ-Fontana-87-dies-peacefully-sleep-following-glittering-career.html

DJ Fontana was a class act. May he rest in peace.

Cool pics, Rocker.
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 06:42:46 AM »

For many people he was probably the first Rock-drummer they knew.


REUNITED WITH ELVIS DJ Fontana dead at 87 – Elvis Presley’s legendary drummer and last surviving band member passes away, his son reveals

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6526790/dj-fontana-dead-at-87-elvis-presleys-legendary-drummer-and-last-surviving-band-member-passes-away-his-son-reveals/


Elvis Presley's legendary drummer DJ Fontana, 87, dies peacefully in his sleep following a glittering career alongside 'The King'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5843509/Elvis-Presleys-drummer-DJ-Fontana-87-dies-peacefully-sleep-following-glittering-career.html

DJ Fontana was a class act. May he rest in peace.

Cool pics, Rocker.


Thanks. I only did a quick google search, but I thought it would be nice to have some pictures.
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 07:16:52 AM »

Sad to hear but it looks like he passed peacefully, which is the best we can hope for.
RIP.
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 08:18:22 AM »

Major bummer.... now the classic 50s line-up of Elvis's band has gone the way of The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the original Ramones line-up
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« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 09:10:45 AM »

For those with Sirius XM, the Elvis channel (channel 19) is doing tributes today for Fontana. They've been playing some old recordings from the Louisiana Hayride, where Fontana was employed and how he met Elvis. There have also been interviews with him.
For those with DISH Satellite the Elvis Channel can be heard on channel 6019.
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"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 10:02:28 AM »

For those with Sirius XM, the Elvis channel (channel 19) is doing tributes today for Fontana. They've been playing some old recordings from the Louisiana Hayride, where Fontana was employed and how he met Elvis. There have also been interviews with him.
For those with DISH Satellite the Elvis Channel can be heard on channel 6019.



Thanks for the heads-up!



Scotty and D.J. released an album in the 90s called "All the King's men". Very cool album of new material. Here's the opener:


Levon Helm, Keith Richards, Scotty Moore, D. J. Fontana & The Band: Deuce & A Quarter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0jpqF1uolk








Edit:

D.J. Fontana, Elvis Presley's drummer, dead at 87

https://eu.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2018/06/14/elvis-presley-drummer-d-j-fontana-dies-87-jailhouse-rock-heartbreak-hotel/700860002/
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 10:19:55 AM by Rocker » Logged

a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 10:23:26 AM »

Scotty and D.J. released an album in the 90s called "All the King's men". Very cool album of new material. Here's the opener:


Levon Helm, Keith Richards, Scotty Moore, D. J. Fontana & The Band: Deuce & A Quarter

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0jpqF1uolk

Very nice! Three generations, I suppose. And once again, some great pics. Like they're all really having fun.
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 11:02:55 AM »

Rolling Stone also reports. And like so many of the current articles, it uses a picture from 1968, identifying Charlie Hodge as D. J.  Roll Eyes


Elvis Presley Drummer D.J. Fontana Dead at 87

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/elvis-presley-drummer-dj-fontana-dead-at-87-w521520
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

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« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 05:41:10 AM »

Elvis Presley's drummer DJ Fontana dies in his sleep

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-44481217
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2018, 11:51:02 AM »

Max Weinberg's tribute to D. J. Check out the link for a couple of pictures.


R.I.P. D.J. FONTANTA (March 15, 1938 - June 13, 2018)
Max Weinberg remembers his hero and friend, Elvis Presley's drummer

D.J. Fontana was the drummer I saw that made me want to be a drummer. Before Ringo. When I first saw D.J., I was five. I had older sisters, and I'm so grateful they were aware of Elvis Presley before The Ed Sullivan show. He was on The Milton Berle Show and The Dorsey Brothers [Stage Show] way before Ed Sullivan. There was only one camera, and they had to get everybody in one shot. I actually have a kinescope of that. So it looked like four guys: Elvis, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and D.J. Fontana. It wasn't just Elvis, it wasn't just the singer — it was four guys playing.

Bruce has said that the snare shot in "Like a Rolling Stone" was like an explosion that kicked open the door to his mind. As a five-year-old, D.J.'s drumroll in "Hound Dog" was an explosion for me. That drum roll, that triple roll, was shocking. So D.J. Fontana is someone who I was aware of as a little boy, and that's what got me started playing the drums. D.J. Fontana was my hero. And of course this is still kind of a surprise; it's a shock to have D.J. gone, the last member of that quartet.

I don't think that it's an understatement to say that he created and made famous rock 'n' roll drumming. What Elvis was to rock 'n' roll music — D.J. was the first guy. The archetypical rock 'n' roll drummer.

First, he was a Big Band drummer. Big Band drumming became rock drumming, and D.J. was the personification of everything that had gone on in drumming before. He absorbed all of that. In the '30s, Gene Krupa was the guy who drew attention to the drums. D.J. would speak about Don Lamond, who was about 15 years older and an amazing Big Band drummer — he played on all the Bobby Darin records, like "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea." Don Lamond, Buddy Rich… D.J. brought all that to rock 'n' roll music. He was an original.

D.J. was also very strong — a physically strong guy — so he had the big beat. As Levon Helm has said, D.J. added some architecture. D.J. had chops, he had power, he had taste... when he played the drums, no matter what he played on, it sounded like an Elvis Presley tune. It really did.

One of the greatest things I've ever seen was at that show in Red Bank that Garry [Tallent] put together [Alliance of Neigbors benefit, October 2001]. Garry was the musical director, and he had the Sun rhythm section come to play with Sonny Burgess. So Bruce came up to play a song with them, and they went into "Tiger Rose." As soon as D.J. hit the beat, the biggest smile came across Bruce's face — it sounded exactly like Elvis's rhythm. Nobody played that kind of music like D.J. Fontana.

Being a great drummer... he would have been a great drummer under any circumstances. But D.J. was a great drummer, and he played with Elvis Presley. It's so important to have the right platform, to have great songs to play. Otherwise, you can be a great drummer, but no one will know about it! I myself was so fortunate to connect with Bruce and the band, and to have that platform; I've had a number of great platforms during my career. So D.J. had it all — the chops, the passion, and the platform.

My son Jay and I went to see him, not too long ago, in Nashville. More than just my biggest influence and hero, D.J. became an extremely close friend of the family. In his kitchen, he has all these pictures — polaroid camera, old '50s pictures — that you've never seen before, of Elvis and the band, traveling around together. They've never been in a book. It just makes you realize… I mean, the lead singer of that group of musicians was Elvis Presley. Arguably the greatest singer in the history of rock 'n' roll.  What a position to be in — to know Elvis Presley. To be in those close quarters with Elvis before he was successful… there are only three other guys in history who knew what that was like, and we just lost the last one.

And this is really crucial, a lot of people may not realize: they were a band. It was Elvis, sure, but it wasn't like Elvis was "Elvis Presley" yet. On a daily basis, it was the four of them in car, driving 400 or 500 miles, with only each other to count on. Taking turns driving, playing all these little honky tonks and small places — those guys were dependent on each other. Plus, D.J. was four years older than Elvis. Elvis was only 19 or 20, and D.J. promised Gladys, Elvis's mother, that he'd look out for him. And he always did.

One of my favorite stories of D.J.'s is in my book [The Big Beat: Conversations with Rock's Greatest Drummers]. I asked him about his drum tuning, about the snare tuning on "Jailhouse Rock" and how he got that sound. Elvis bought him that drum set. They were driving through Houston, and there was a big music store, kind of like Manny's [Music] in New York, and it was called Brochsteins. They go there, and he sees this copper-colored set, and it had the animal skin on it that you'll see in the old pictures. And DJ told me, "That's how it sounded when I got it from Brochsteins!"  The greatest drum sound ever, and he didn't do anything: "That's the way I got it from Brochsteins!"

I think they made about $100 a week when they were playing. A lot of people don't know this, but the band broke up when Elvis went into the Army. Basically, Scotty and Bill quit when Elvis went into the Army, because they weren't making any money. Which is understandable. But D.J. said, you know, I'm here. He did something — even if it was just tambourine — on just about every Elvis project until Elvis died.

In my book, he tells the story of the last time he saw Elvis. Elvis was standing by a horse rail fence, and he was in jeans. He never wore jeans in public; he wore a track suit or slacks. He never really dressed down. But here in private, he was in jeans and T-shirt. And he said, "D.J., sometimes I get so tired of being Elvis Presley."

But D.J. was a very successful session drummer for many years, and he did all the Elvis conventions. D.J. was softspoken, but he loved to talk about all those years, and he loved to sign autographs. For 45 years of his life, every day of his life, Elvis Presley. Always that guy, always happy to share his stories of the band, and fans loved him. He was a true gentleman.

It wasn't that long ago that D.J. wasn't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Scotty Moore was, in the Sidemen category [2000], but D.J. was not. So I talked to Ringo, Charlie Watts, and Levon Helm — they were already in the Hall of Fame — and I said, "How about if I write a letter, and you'll all sign it? My signature might not mean much, but you all, as Hall of Fame members...." All three of them had a lot of weight. So I wrote this letter, and we all signed it. And I got a form letter back. "Gentlemen: We thank you for your interest in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At this time, we have no plans to continue the Sidemen category...." It was a form letter.

But everyone I ever talked to about it thought the same thing: D.J. should be in! Even if he'd only played on "Jailhouse Rock," he should be in. Llong story short, we finally got him in, in 2009. D.J. was still healthy — quite vigorous, actually — and it was the greatest honor to be asked to induct him. I really labored over the induction speech. And the first minute-and-a-half of the induction speech was just a list of the songs he played on.

Garry inducted Bill Black that night; he wasn't in either. One of best parts of the night was as the crowd was mingling before the event, we were standing near the stage, away from everyone else — D.J. Fontana, Scotty Moore, Garry, me. And suddenly, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck come running over to Scotty Moore and genuflect. I mean, like 12-year-olds. I don't know if they'd ever met him. It was so cool to see Jimmy Page, with all that guy has done, and Jeff Beck, too, suddenly become 12 years old again and listening to Elvis Presley. And of course Scotty was a gentleman, too. They were gentlemen.

D.J. had a bit of multiple sclerosis, which would come and go kind of like shingles. But about a year ago, he got laid up — he was in bed. He never got out. I was playing Nashville, and I called Karen, his wife, and we had a friend on our crew pick him up — and this guy's big and strong, so I mean literally pick him up. He had a big truck, so we went over to D.J.'s house and picked him up out of bed, put him in the truck, and they both came to the whole show. D.J. hadn't been out of the house in a year. I made a very impromptu speech about him, and he got a huge standing ovation from the crowd. We played "Jailhouse Rock" in his honor — Garry was there too, and he came up and played bass. But D.J. was not doing well. He was 87 years old, and still the sweetest guy, but it was not a fight he was going to win.

He had a wonderful life, and a wonderful wife in Karen. And he had a card: "D.J. Fontana, Hall of Famer." It took years to get him in, but to have him recognized... that was certainly one of the highlights of my personal and professional life, to be up there for the guy who made me want to be a drummer when I didn't even know what it meant. He moved me. He transmitted that thing to me, and it stuck. So here we are 62 years later, and I'm proud and privileged to call him my good friend. And I miss him.


- June 22, 2018 - Max Weinberg, as told to Christopher Phillips



Source:
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


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To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2018, 01:20:14 PM »

My dad and I always said that Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys were the first rock&roll "supergroup". I'm glad that the other guys were inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I think they should have been inducted along with Elvis.
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« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2018, 01:55:50 PM »

My dad and I always said that Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys were the first rock&roll "supergroup". I'm glad that the other guys were inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I think they should have been inducted along with Elvis.
Unfortunately, the Crickets weren't even inducted with Buddy Holly - despite the fact that there were records of the Crickets with Buddy released as just "the Crickets".
But I am glad that DJ, Scotty and Bill were finally recognized by the HOF. When I listen to those early records, I am always impressed with their playing, even though it was not on a virtuoso level. It was just what those records needed, not a wasted note anywhere.
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« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2018, 04:02:54 AM »

Quote
One of the greatest things I've ever seen was at that show in Red Bank that Garry [Tallent] put together [Alliance of Neigbors benefit, October 2001]. Garry was the musical director, and he had the Sun rhythm section come to play with Sonny Burgess. So Bruce came up to play a song with them, and they went into "Tiger Rose." As soon as D.J. hit the beat, the biggest smile came across Bruce's face — it sounded exactly like Elvis's rhythm. Nobody played that kind of music like D.J. Fontana.


I guess this is the performance:


Tiger rose

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPY4nX3nWLY
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a diseased bunch of mo'fos if there ever was one… their beauty is so awesome that listening to them at their best is like being in some vast dream cathedral decorated with a thousand gleaming American pop culture icons.

- Lester Bangs on The Beach Boys


PRO SHOT BEACH BOYS CONCERTS - LIST


To sum it up, they blew it, they blew it consistently, they continue to blow it, it is tragic and this pathological problem caused The Beach Boys' greatest music to be so underrated by the general public.

- Jack Rieley
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