At the age of ten my beloved parents Angelo & Grace Guglielmo,
surprised me with a blue sparkle Slingerland drum set. Prior to this, I had been playing the kitchen sink, pots and pans, and outside metal garbage cans. Soon I discovered the sounds on the street corner post office mailbox and stop sign, as well as explored harmonics and created melodies with the tones in Queens & Manhattan neighborhood wrought iron fences and metal sculptures.
Tom Guglielmo (first born and oldest brother) in front of our Mom’s birth place in the Bronx. Her original home/vegetable market still stands today bearing spiritual fruit; transformed into the Prince of Peace Baptist Church…Praise God!
My oldest brother Tom gave me the gift of my first drum lessons with local drum teacher “Paradiddle Joe” Johnny Morris (drummer in the Sammy Spear Orchestra with the Jackie Gleason Show in NYC).
He fervently drilled me in single, double, triple ratamacues and paradiddles, as well as the other rudiments. Open-minded Paradiddle Joe educated me in showmanship drumming; I utilized and incorporated “vaudeville traps” into my drum set (hand carved Chinese temple blocks, wood ratchet, Ludwig Billy Gladstone cymbals, etc). Paradiddle Joe was a beautiful man with a giving spirit; full of joy and life. Attending Power Memorial Academy High School from 1969 to 1973, gave me the opportunity to perform in Gene Morra’s Concert Band and march in every St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
My parents bestowed another enlightening gift;
I studied privately with Norman Grossman (free-lance Jazz drummer, symphonic percussionist, composer, author, & Mannes College of Music percussion professor), at Frank Ippolito’s Professional Percussion Center on 50th st. & 8th ave in NYC. Through my studies I came to understand the root of Jazz drumming radiated from a spiritual source of Divine Love.
Warren “Baby” Dodds
“Father of Drumming”
Norman prepared me with impeccable drum instruction; I utilized Modern Reading Text by Louis Bellson and Gil Breines, Portraits in Rhythm Study by Anthony Cirone, Modern Rudimental Swing Solos For The Advanced Drummer by Charley Wilcoxon, and Snare Drum in the Concert Hall by Al Payson. Norman opened me up to many idioms and encouraged me when I extensively composed avant-garde percussion scores. I wrote Nixon’s Dream and dedicated it to Norman; one percussionist utilized a snare drum, 25 metronomes, an 18 inch riveted cymbal, 2 U.S. Divers Tanks (one with air and one without), 40 inch gong, and an old style fire extinguisher.
Norman also introduced me to Papa Jo Jones, Elvin Jones, Jim Chapin, and countless other drummers from all over the world. When Frank Ippolito introduced me to Papa Jo at my first lesson in the shop of the Professional Percussion Center, I travelled further upstairs and Norman invited me to meet Elvin in the adjacent teaching room. I asked Elvin, every great drummer African American and their last name Jones? Elvin replied joyously there’s another one, Philly Joe Jones!
Papa Jo Jones
“Father of Modern Drumming”
I later worked at Frank’s place with Al Duffy (custom drum inventor) and Shelton Gary; I had seen Al customize snare drums for Billy Cobham, etc… as well as his state of the art Hinger timpani creation. Shelton gave me the gift of his time and shared his wealth of knowledge about life, drummers, and music. Ringo’s front bass drum head “THE BEATLES” hung on the shop wall and greeted me to work each day. Frank had sent me out to Madison Square Garden to set-up a drum set for David Bowie’s band; the stage at MSG inspired me to keep on pursuing the dream of performing.
After studying with Norman Grossman, I began to help Elvin Jones set up his drum set at concerts; prior to this Keiko, Elvin’s devoted wife set up his kit.
My fondest gig with Elvin brought me to Carnegie Hall where he and his brothers Hank (piano) and Thad (trumpet & flugelhorn), along with Andy McCloud (bass) backed up Betty Carter. This historic concert led me to other hip NYC venues; I experienced Jazz music weekly at the Village Vanguard and had many conversations with owner Max Gordon.
Max Gordon with Woody Shaw
For years I gave Max a close ride home to share the amazing stories and to show him my gratitude for what he gave me. When I entered the Vanguard and heard Jazz, the timbre of the instruments levitated me; I felt that same transcending feeling walking into a concert hall with a full orchestra, and being uplifted by the string section. My brother Peter brought me over from AM (WABC & WMCA) to the FM radio dial; AM radio opened me up to the historic drummer Hal Blaine
and all the top ten hits he drummed on. I found a new home on WNEW. On November 27, 1974 my brother Peter invited me to a Town Hall concert. I went into the concert hall in the early evening and came out in the early morning daylight. The show opened: Michal Urbaniak and Ursula Dudziak with Gerald Brown on drums, Roy Buchanan who was recording a live album “Livestock” with Bryd Foster on drums, and Larry Coryell and the Eleventh House with Alphonse Mouzon on drums. The musicians giving hearts and soul, gave the audience an awe-inspiring, unforgettable show.
All inspired, I joined local NYC bands:
from right to left:
(John Prescott-guitar, MG-drums, Carlos Burgos-bass, and Kevin Hennessy-keyboards)
(Kenny Agosta-guitar, Mike Kobetitsch-guitar, Tommy Farrell-Hammond B3/acoustic piano, and Drew Karch-bass)
The bands gigged at local dances, private parties, and travelled to ski resorts and upstate NY mountain jam type events. This was the time period I travelled to Washington D.C. on a bus from St. Francis Prep to see 3 bands in one concert that would forever change my life;
Grateful Dead with Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart
The Band with Levon Helm
The Allman Brothers with Butch Trucks and Jai Johanny “Jaimoe” Johanson
These groups led to an all original progressive rock band:
top center: Bill Barber
(Bill was not in the band; Bushe performed a long set of music at Queens Theatre in the Park, then backed up Bill)
(MG-drums, Ken Paresi-vocals, Brian DeMars-keyboards,
Jimmy Dolega-bass, and Walter Moormann-guitar)
Bushe performed at Queens Theatre in the Park, and My Fathers Place (opened up for The Good Rats, Elliot Laurie of Looking Glass, Alessi Brothers, and others. Brian DeMars (keyboardist) composed enlightening compositions with odd-time time signatures and compelling changes. The greatest performing moment of my life gave me endless joy; my parents came to Queens Theatre in the Park (World’s Fair grounds). All of the Joy & Harmony that poured forth from my heart into my drumming, then into the music was due to the space of Love that my parents created for me.
Bushe’s unique sound and music led to opening up for major acts including the Good Rats, Looking Glass, and many other acts. Soon after Rocket 88 blossomed;
from left to right:
(Walter Moormann-guitar, Jimmy Dolega-bass, Ken Paresi-vocals, MG-drums, & Tommy T-Bone DeMicco-guitar).
Rocket 88 opened up for Roy Buchanan, Gregg Allman, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and many other acts thanks to Michael “Eppy” Epstein and his historic club in Roslyn, NY.
My Father’s Place
My oldest brother Tom’s dear friend Ron Rebhuhn,
suggested to me to go see a master drummer from India that was performing in Manhasset at the Institute for Self-Development. Ron stated, “perhaps you can meet Swami Nadabrahmanada and take lessons from him.”
At the concert I experienced miraculous music; Swami Nadabrahmananda performed on the harmonium, tabla, and swarmandal (Indian Zither). Swamiji performed Nada Kumbaka; retained his breath for 30 minutes while he performed a tabla solo. Before Swamiji played the swarmandal, he explained that he was playing music from the spheres. The melody resonated in my being and I felt Divine Love. Later I discovered Swamiji’s recording Science of Thaan.
I showed up early for my first drum lessons with Swamiji and had set up my complete drum set. When Swamiji entered the room, he couldn’t believe a full set of drums in a room with his harmonium. My intention was to learn classical Indian rhythms and apply them to the drum set. He encouraged me to continue playing the drum set utilizing four limbs, and expanded my horizons to include studying tabla. Swamiji taught me how to play bhajan rhythms while singing sacred, Hindu spiritual hymns. He invited me to deepen my devotion to God and gave me precious spiritual gifts. At the lesson, Swamiji set up a humble altar with a picture of Lord Siva on it.
May 5, 1896 – May 30, 1993
“Om Namah Sivaya”
On December 4, 1982 my dreams came true, I married the sweetest of all sweethearts, Tina.