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|Birth name||Bruce Gary|
April 7, 1951|
Burbank, California, United States
|Died||August 22, 2006
Tarzana, California, United States
|Genres||Rock, Power pop, Blues-rock, Blues|
|Years active||1969 - 2006|
|Associated acts||The Knack|
Born in Burbank, California, the young Gary was a bundle of energy and for that reason his parents allowed him to set up the drum kit that his cousin had offered him after getting bored with it. Gary left home at 15 and was drawn to the musical scene of Topanga Canyon, California. He made friends with guitarist Randy California. In the 1960s and early 1970s he played with bluesman Albert Collins. By the time he was twenty-four he was touring and recording with former Cream bassist Jack Bruce and guitarist Mick Taylor, who had just left the Rolling Stones. This stellar lineup also included jazz pianist Carla Bley. Gary also worked with Dr. John in the 1970s.
In 1978 he found himself in a band with singer Doug Fieger, guitarist Berton Averre, and bassist Prescott Niles. Fieger and Averre brought in a tune they'd written about Sharona Alperin, a teenage girl Fieger was obsessed with. Despite his initial reservations about the song, Gary came up with a beat to match "My Sharona"'s stuttering style. He later said he approached the song like a surf stomp. As he explained, drummers in surf bands often play songs using no cymbals, just kick drum, snare drum, and toms. He also borrowed from the drum part to "Going to a Go Go" by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. The final ingredient, he said, was the drum rudiment called a flam, in which one drumstick strikes the drum just before the other does; the flam registers as a single beat, but with a particularly full sound. Gary's immediately recognisable kick-and-snare-drum intro helped propel the power-pop anthem to the top of the US charts.
The Knack's debut album Get the Knack sold 6 million copies.
After the breakup of The Knack in the early 1980s, Gary became an in-demand drummer for studio work and live performance with some of the premier musicians of the era including Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Stephen Stills, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Harry Nilsson and Doors guitarist Robby Krieger. He also worked with blues masters Albert King and John Lee Hooker.
In addition to his work as a drummer, he achieved recognition for his work as a producer - recording new albums with The Ventures and co-producing (with Alan Douglas) a series of seminal archival recordings of Jimi Hendrix including the Blues compilation.