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Frank Capp
Frank Capp

(A drummer, Frank Capp's first job and his heart have always in jazz. His breakthrough gig was when he took Shelly Manne’s place in the Stan Kenton band in the early '50s. Throughout the decade, he played with numerous other bands, backing artists as Peggy Lee, Betty Hutton, Tony Bennett and Dorothy Dandridge. In the late 1950s, he decided to settle down in Hollywood, Andre Previn got me a job with the Warner Bros. contract orchestra. When those orchestras were discontinued, we became freelance, which is what I've done ever since. From Spike Jones to country, from rock to jazz, from Frank Sinatra to avant-garde. I worked on hundreds of motion pictures, including ‘Porgy & Bess,’

Frank has played on countless hits like "I Got You Babe" and album he's especially proud of, Lena Live and Lovely. Frank has a recorded twenty albums under his own name, including five as Frank Capp Juggernaut, which he describes as a Count Basie-oriented big band. Frank begins his story back in the early '60s, when he "did rock 'cause it paid a lot of bills.")


FRANK: "Back in the early '60s, rock was so amateurish and dumb. But Brian was so far ahead of his time. He had good chord changes and good voicings and harmonies in the group; it was a much more intellectual kind of rock than the three-chord garage rock 'n' roll of the day.

"At that particular time, the main and busiest drummer was Hal Blaine; he did 99% of the drumming on Brian’s records. I played percussion. For Brian's, that would usually be marimba, bells, timpani, and rhythm instruments such as tambourine and shakers.

"He would know pretty much what he would like to hear, although he would sometimes just give us a chord sheet and together, we would have to improvise or invent a part. For example on a piece of music, he would say 'I want orchestral bells at this section,' and if he didn't have the part already written out note for note, we would contrive something together. He was a little more inventive musically than the run of the mill rock groups.

"The one thing that stands out from those dates is that he knew what he wanted, and he would keep us there until we got what he wanted. At a lot of dates, you didn't go overtime. But for Brian, money was never an issue.

"I was particularly proud to have been on those dates, whatever small contribution I could make to it. I have fond and hazy memories of working at United Western with Brian. He was very complimentary to everybody. He knocked out by everybody's talent, and he was very generous in his appreciation of us. Those were happy days."

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