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Robert Easton – An Appreciation – Nov. 23rd 1930 – Dec. 16th, 2011

Wild Bill Hickok……..this was my immediate impression when my wife Heather, first introduced us. Long white hair and beard, a big, broad, commanding presence and a booming, authoritative baritone voice belied the gentle interior that was at the heart of this man. People often use the term, “bigger than life”, and Robert Easton towered above almost everyone, literally and figuratively.

Genius. Everyone has heard this word used all too casually, too often and not always completely merited by the individual who is accorded this unique status. I have encountered only a handful of true geniuses in my life and he was bona fide. As befitting his nature, his genius was only matched by his humanity, compassion and keenly perceptive eye, ever observant of human nature and life’s frailties.

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Jethro Tull World Tour Program Interview

From the 2007 World Tour

What was your musical background before you joined Jethro Tull?

DP – If you really want to start at the earliest point where I began to be aware of music, I suppose I was about four or five years old. At that point, I was only aware of classical music and some jazz being played around the house. Pop music was really on the periphery of my radar. I didn’t hear the radio much until we moved to New York City, at which point I was given a little $5.00 AM transistor radio and used to scroll through the stations, listening to anything that caught my ear. Suddenly the Beatles burst upon the scene and disrupted my quiet little universe. I literally thought they invented pop music, having had no idea of the rich history that had preceded them.

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Mink Hollow Muse

“Mink Hollow Muse” – A Story and Cornbread Vindaloo Recipe
From, “Give Them Love, Give Them Bread”
An Anthology Of favorite Recipes, In Tribute To The Works Of Todd Rundgren

Some wonderful, vivid memories come to mind when I think of the 6 weeks during a typical New York winter in 1986 that I spent with the colorful, eccentric, unpredictable Todd. I was recording the “Dreams of Ordinary Men” record with the Australian group Dragon, or confusingly, Hunter, as they were named everywhere else in the world except Australia! Todd was producing, playing some guitar and doing some co-writing with the band. We were great admirers of his work and glad that he was interested in working with the band.

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Tale of a Hat

Originally printed by St. Bernard’s, Fall 2004

Doane returned to St. Bernard’s on April 19, 2004, to talk to the boys at Upper School assembly. He spoke about life as a musician, a band member, and composer. Doane described a day in the life of a drummer on tour and all the components of making a successful show. He was thrilled to be back on stage at his alma mater. We are pleased to share the story Doane wrote in honor of the centennial year.


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The Early Years

Hello Readers,

I recently wrote this piece originally for publication in a centenary book for St. Bernard’s, my old alma mater.

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"Reflections" – reprinted from Modern Drummer

Clive Bunker-one of my earliest and most important influences. He was an amazing stylist with a combination of technical facility and feel unlike anything I had ever seen before in rock music and what a great soloist! He played with great sensitivity and dynamics and yet was incredibly powerful when he needed to be. As far as I’m concerned he was the drummer that bridged the playing of Ginger Baker and Billy Cobham. I was surprised when I met him, at his modest, humble nature and the fact that he was largely a self-taught player who had only been playing for a few years when he made the first Jethro Tull record. Ask anyone who saw him live during that period and they will attest to what an indelible mark he left. We have become good friends over the years and I felt very honored when we performed together at a fan convention in Italy with Tull this last summer. We played together and traded solos on one piece, which was really a personal highlight for me. I owe quite a lot to Clive.

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Mark Craney: Sioux Falls Sage of the Skins

We don’t get many in this life. Genuine, true friends, in the deepest and rarest sense. The best of friends with whom you can talk about everything. Mark and I shared a rich, colorful history together which began in 1976 and crossed all borders of common interest. He had an enormously wide circle of friends, one wider than I ever imagined, until recently. I began to hear about and from people that I never knew, from his past who had heard about his condition and began reaching out to see what they could do for him.

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Scandinavia — September, 2001

I am in my hotel room in Stockholm, feeling a very long way from home. Sometimes the road can be a lonely place even when you’re traveling amongst friends and colleagues, but it feels particularly lonely right now. The sad, tragic events in America two weeks ago heighten the degree of homesickness that I am feeling. After growing up and living in New York City for 35 years it is heartening to see, amidst such devastating tragedy, the genuine empathetic concern and support that Americans and people the world over, with a few notable exceptions, have shown towards their fellow men and women. But watching the news still continues to be just overwhelmingly heartbreaking and fills me with an inexpressible sorrow. Knowing some of the people who perished high up in the South Tower, I find it still grips me with horror as I try to imagine what must have been going through their minds and the thousands of other poor souls in those final moments. I still seem to have very little control of when these thoughts will randomly grab and shake me down. The paralysis and powerlessness that many of us feel through our inability to change such an inexorable event is tempered, I suppose, by the knowledge, that to ultimately give in to those feelings would mean that we really have lost to those evil bastards. Most people are far too hurt and angry to allow those emotions to gain a permanent foothold, although the process of grieving and rebuilding is going to be a long, slow, painful one. 

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From a Stretch Limo to a Tijuana Taxi

Oh, the changing fortunes of traveling musicians. One minute Donald Trump’s white stretch limo is shuttling you silently into New York City in garish and slightly embarrassing style with a full refrigerator of drinks and hors d’oeuvres and the next moment you’re in a tin can of a taxi, held together with bungee cords, wire ties and superglue, hurtling through the streets of Tijuana in one gut wrenching swerve after another. I’m not sure if sitting in the business class section of the Sea Cat ferry from Tallin to Helsinki getting tossed from side to side by the rough waters of the Baltic Sea are any better however. It’s just a more European version. The sea hostesses were considerately handing out sick bags to any needy passengers while kindly informing them that it was “going to get a bit worse”. Typical European understatement. This is a bit like the doctor informing you that ”this is going to hurt us a little bit”. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The long, slightly perilous and at times even comical journey from Los Angeles to Oslo was an adventure worthy of an S.J. Perelman travelogue. I am not being dismissive of or minimizing the incredibly sad events that necessitated such a journey as it certainly was not one I would have freely elected to undertake in less stressful times. But we had a tour that we were committed to doing.

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Europe and America-Summer 2001

We had a fantastic European tour taking in sights and places, old and new in Western and Eastern Europe. This time we had the colorful and charismatic Young Dubliners with us, introducing them to a new Euro audience who seemed to take to them as instantly as they took to the local beer. I had the dubious distinction of being the official Young Dubs tour photographer by default, as all their cameras seemed to break as soon as they got to Europe. Must be the voltage. Never mind, that gave me a good excuse to break in my new digital camera and turn into a really intrusive nuisance to one and all. In the process I got some really good shots and some truly awful ones which you can probably find displayed on the Dubs and our website.

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