I had hoped it was an internet hoax, but apparently it’s real: one of the great rock ‘n’ roll drummers, Jerry Allison, has passed away. He started with Buddy Holly and the Crickets in Lubbock, Texas, in the mid-1950s, went on to Hollywood and then Nashville, where he played on tons of records by people like Eddie Cochran, the Everly Brothers, Lee Dresser, and a million more you never heard of. He had his own minor hit under the name “Ivan,” a great song called “Real Wild Child,” later covered by Jerry Lee Lewis and Iggy Pop.
He had a particular style that I don’t think anyone has ever quite duplicated (though Chris Sprague could come damn close). One of the great thrills of my life was getting to play “Peggy Sue“ with the Crickets at my Guitar Geek Festival in 2009. I was so busy running the festival, I didn’t get to hang out with my hero as much as I had hoped to, but I still remember a detail that cracked me up then, and now: the only thing on the Crickets’ rider was a case of “cold Coors beer, on ice” (which they pronounced “Cuurs” like the good Texans they were). Thanks for all the musical greatness, J.I.