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Born in Dallas, Texas, Tutt is a native Texan and was involved with music and performing arts for most of his childhood. As a child, he played the violin, trumpet, drums, ukulele, and banjo. Tutt spent his early days playing the banjo in Rusty Brown's Cell Block 7 Dixieland Jazz band (based out of Dallas).
Tutt auditioned for the TCB Band ("Taking Care of Business"), the Elvis Presley touring and recording band, upon the recommendation of TCB keyboardist Larry Muhoberac. Tutt's drumming incorporated cues from Presley's stage moves during the audition. Presley liked what he heard, and Tutt was thereafter a permanent member of the TCB Band. Tutt participated in Presley concerts and recording sessions until the death of Presley in 1977.
The example of Ron Tutt's best drum work may be the studio recording on March 29, 1972 on Presley's "Always on My Mind" (video recorded in RCA Studio C, Hollywood, CA). Recorded during the period when Presley's marriage to Priscilla Presley was failing, the lyrics and arrangement made for a poignant and dramatic recording. This is an example of uncommon teamwork between a recording artist and his drummer. Tutt's drumming starts in his routine TCB Band style until Elvis' performance lifts into an emotional and energetic level at the instrumental bridge, whereupon Tutt "throws all the switches" to match Presley's intensity. Presley usually allowed Tutt open discretion in the area of drumming. In the video, Elvis shows he is performing off of Tutt's building, authoritative drumming (and with smiles, nods, and head shakes, Elvis shows his approval).
A second example of Ron Tutt's skillful drumming collaboration in the TCB Band was his intricate drum work on the Dennis Lynde composed 1972 Elvis Presley hit song "Burning Love".
Jerry Garcia Band
Around early 1974 Tutt began recording and touring with the Jerry Garcia Band, and also Jerry Garcia's and Merl Saunders' brief Legion of Mary (band). Starting with Garcia's studio album Compliments (1974), Tutt would play drums for the Jerry Garcia Band for four years before moving on. During this time, Tutt also played drums on Garcia's studio albums Reflections (1976), and Cats Under The Stars (1978). In 1982, however, Tutt would return to the studio with Jerry Garcia to help record Run For the Roses.
Neil Diamond Band
After the TCB Band disbanded upon Elvis Presley's death and a number of years recording and touring in 1974-78 with Jerry Garcia, Tutt was invited by Neil Diamond to become Diamond's permanent concert and recording session drummer. Tutt's drumming has become a feature to Diamond's concert shows, punctuating moments in the Diamond concert with his TCB Band style drum fills and cymbal crashes. Tutt is a workman celebrity drummer, and routinely receives concert crowd applause when he first appears on stage and takes his seat at his drum kit. Noteworthy during concerts is Tutt's soaring drum work on the song, "Holly Holy". Tutt recorded and toured with Diamond until Diamond's career retirement for health reasons in 2018.
- Ron Tutt Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2011)
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