|File:Eddie Rubin on his drums in the 1960s.tif|
|Birth name||Edward Donald Rubin|
|Born||January 26, 1935|
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
|Died||April 24, 2014 (aged 79)|
Los Angeles, California
|Genres||Rock and roll, jazz, pop, R&B, blues, folk|
Eddie Rubin (born Edward Donald Rubin; January 26, 1935 - April 24, 2014) was an American jazz and rock drummer, and composer. His repertoire includes rock, jazz, pop, R&B, folk, and blues, although he had a preference for jazz drumming. Rubin is best known for his performances and record recordings during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with artists Neil Diamond, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Johnny Rivers, Dexter Gordon, Ornette Coleman, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Don Randi, among numerous other well-known jazz, rock, and pop artists and musicians. Rubin was also known by and friends with many of the big drummers in the industry such as Ringo Starr, Stan Levey, Freddie Gruber, Gene Stone, and many others.
Rubin was born as Edward Donald Rubin in Cleveland, Ohio, to George and Betty Rubin. He relocated to Venice, Los Angeles, California with his mother when he was ten years old. Rubin's interest in drumming and percussion began and developed by pounding on boxes and playing rhythms on pots and pans in his parents’ kitchen. His parents started him on drum lessons at the age of five. After several years of continuing his pastime of drumming informally at home, Rubin joined band class when he entered junior high school and continued taking band classes throughout junior high and high school when he attended Venice High School in Venice, California. He also played in rock bands he formed with friends beginning in junior high school, and began playing outside gigs in high school. Eventually Rubin met and became a student of Freddie Gruber, a highly respected drum teacher and jazz drummer who performed with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and was close friends with legendary drummer Buddy Rich.
After graduating Venice High School in 1953, Rubin entered college to study music. He took performing arts and musicianship courses at a local community college for a couple years and then quit, deciding he just wanted to go out and get whatever work he could find as a drummer. Rubin began his career as an on-call drummer performing gigs with bands at various local clubs and gradually over the course of a few years developed his reputation in the music industry and among musicians. In 1958, Rubin met bassist legend Scott LaFaro and eventually the two played a gig together.  Lafaro, known best for his work with the Bill Evans Trio and who eventually became Ornette Coleman’s bassist, had settled in Los Angeles in 1957 after leaving Buddy Morrow’s orchestra. During this time Lafaro would often sit in on performances at The Lighthouse, a well-known jazz club in Hermosa Beach California where jazz fans can still go to hear the latest jazz artists perform.   It was here at The Lighthouse that Rubin and Lafaro met. Although little known today, Rubin and Lafaro’s gig was recently documented in the book Jade Visions written by Lafaro’s sister Helene Lafaro. Due to Lafaro’s life being cut short by a fatal car accident just a few years later, Rubin and Lafaro didn’t have any opportunities to play future gigs together. Although Rubin only knew Lafaro for a short time he always admired and remembered Lafaro’s exceptional bass playing. In a telephone interview on August 6, 2007 included in the book Jade Visions, Rubin says, “Scotty was a virtuoso, he just had it. No one played the bass like he did.”
In Los Angeles in early 60s, Rubin performed and recorded with Don Randi, a pianist, keyboard player, and composer who moved to Los Angeles from New York City. Randi worked with artists The Jackson 5, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys and is also known as the founder of the nightclub The Baked Potato in Studio City California.  In 1962 Rubin was working with Randi as a band member of the Don Randi Trio, and together they recorded the album “Last Night.” “Last Night” was recorded on December 14, 1962 at Sherry’s, a club in Hollywood California, and released in December 1963.   Rubin also would sometimes perform with Don Randi in Las Vegas. In 1963, they played at venues such as the Kon Tiki lounge at The Castaways, a Polynesian themed resort on the Las Vegas Strip that occupied the site where The Mirage resort now stands.
Later that same year, in 1963, Rubin was contacted by singer, songwriter, and guitarist Johnny Rivers, who made an offer to Rubin to play what was initially thought to be just a two or three-night gig with him. Rivers had relocated to Los Angeles from Baton Rouge Louisiana around 1961. After a couple years without much success making it as a singer and musician, Rivers was asked to perform at Gazzarri's, an Italian restaurant and music venue first located on La Cienega Blvd. in West Hollywood California until it later found its home on the Sunset Strip. Gazzarri’s house band was leaving and Bill Gazzarri, the venue owner, had no other band at the time to replace them. Rivers accepted Gazzarri’s offer to perform temporarily until a new house band was found. However, Rivers didn’t have anyone to perform with and needed to find other musicians to put a band together. Rivers met and knew Eddie Rubin from sitting in and watching his performances with the Don Randi Trio at Sherry’s Lounge, and decided to contact him to be his drummer. Rubin accepted River’s offer. Eddie Rubin and Rivers, with no time to rehearse, performed together as a duo (just guitar and drums) at Gazzarri’s and word quickly got out.  In the book Straight Whisky, author Erick Quisling states, “The two men set up their instruments at Gazzarri’s,” began playing, and “what happened after that was pure magic.” Much to their surprise, by the second night people watching got up and started dancing. By the third night or later of performing, huge crowds and celebrities started gathering in Gazzarri’s to hear them play. One notable celebrity that showed up was Natalie Wood and she started dancing too. In his book The Music of Johnny Rivers, Robert Reynolds described the sound of the music as “being driven with a catchy pulsating rhythm.”  After initial success, Gazzarri offered Rivers more work and allowed bassist Joe Osborn to join him and Rubin. Elmer Valentine, a club promoter, caught on to Rubin and Rivers’ popularity at Gazarri’s, and asked the band to perform on opening night at his new club he was planning to open on the Sunset Strip. The new club planning to open was called the Whisky a Go Go. The band accepted. On opening night Eddie Rubin and Johnny Rivers were the the very first artists to ever perform at the Whisky a Go Go, which sparked the Whisky’s rise to one of the most famous music venues worldwide.   On opening night on January 15, 1964, the line of people waiting to get in stretched all the way around the block. Inside, there were go go dancers in cages on an elevated platform above the stage. Rubin and Rivers became the Whisky’s house band for the next two years with a packed house every night, attracting both locals and numerous celebrities. Notable celebrity fans known to show up at the Whisky to see the band perform included Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen, Jayne Mansfield, and The Beatles. The Beatles showed up to the Whisky a Go Go one evening in the summer of 1964 after performing at the Hollywood Bowl, during their first tour in the United States. The Beatles were visiting Sunset Strip and wanted to see what all the hype about Eddie Rubin and Johnny Rivers at the newly opened Whisky a Go Go was all about.  During this first year run at the Whisky in 1964, Eddie and Johnny recorded two albums together live at the Whisky. The first live album, At the Whisky a Go Go, was released in February 1964 just one month after the Whisky’s opening. The album received a Gold award, and the hit single “Memphis,” included on the album, was certified as a Gold single. The second live album, Here We a Go Go Again!, was released in April 1964, and included the hit single “Maybellene.” The album also included the song “Walk Myself on Home,” which was composed solely by Eddie Rubin and bass player Joe Osborn. 
After years of performing and touring with Johnny Rivers throughout the United States and foreign countries, Eddie Rubin was in demand as a drummer. From 1969-1971, Eddie Rubin performed and recorded with singer and songwriter Neil Diamond. Neil Diamond wrote his famous hit song “Sweet Caroline” in 1969 and after its massive success that same year, Diamond’s success was taking off. Diamond was in need of a promising new band he could tour with. In July 1969 Eddie Rubin was contacted by Diamond and his manager, who wanted Rubin as the band’s drummer. Rubin agreed to join, and immediately Rubin, Diamond, and the rest of the band prepared to go on tour.   In late September 1969 they did a six-night performance at the legendary Troubadour club in Hollywood California, and before the end of the year toured throughout the United States in Maryland, Utah, Texas, Pennsylvania, and many other states throughout the south. In the beginning of 1970, Rubin toured more states with Diamond and then in March 1970 throughout Canada. Later in the summer, July 1970, Eddie Rubin performed with Diamond at the Troubadour (West Hollywood, California) once again. It was here at the Troubadour on July 15, 1970 that Rubin recorded the hit live album Gold with Diamond's band.  This album, released on August 22, 1970, included the hit songs “Sweet Caroline,” “Solitary Man,” and “Cherry Cherry.” The album was certified Gold by the RIAA in November 1970, and eventually went 2x Multi-Platinum.
1980s - Retirement
After numerous years touring and performing throughout the United States and on-tour in different countries around the world as a drummer, in the late 1970s Rubin decided to take time off from his career as a musician, and pursue his side interest of photography and love of animals. He joined forces with his wife, Dai Leon, and they both began shooting pictures at American Kennel Club (AKC) dog shows. They had two children, Eli and Celena Rubin. After his divorce with Leon, Rubin continued work as a photographer for the American Kennel Club, and it was at one of the dog shows that Rubin met his second wife, Sandra Royal. He had his third child with Sandra, Brian Royal-Rubin. Rubin continued his career as a professional dog photographer for American Kennel Club dog shows and for various private clients for many years through the 1980s and 1990s. Notable private clients include American actress, singer and dancer Paula Abdul and her husband, actor, director and writer Emilio Estevez, who starred in movies such as The Breakfast Club. Abdul and Estevez, who were married from 1992 to 1994,  needed a professional photographer to take photos of them and their pet dogs, so they were referred to Eddie Rubin. Later in 2003, after retiring from his work as a professional photographer, Eddie moved back to Venice California, the place he grew up as a child.
In the late evening of April 24, 2014 Eddie Rubin suddenly and unexpectedly passed away from cardiac failure in his home in Venice Beach, California at the age of 79. Several years before, in 2007, Rubin underwent a second open-heart operation for heart valve repair, and had to remain hospitalized for 7 consecutive months after the operation due to post-surgery infections and other complications during his post-surgery hospital recovery. Among the post-surgery complications were sepsis and lung failure. Eventually after 2 months in an intensive care unit and another 5 months of general hospitalization, Rubin successfully recovered. Rubin's doctors all doubted he would survive the illnesses, calling his recovery a miracle. After recovering he was discharged from the hospital, and up until his passing in 2014, was receiving continued medical care by his physicians as an outpatient. A few months before Rubin passed away, on January 15, 2014, Johnny Rivers held the 50th anniversary celebration event “When Rock and Blues Hit the Sunset Strip” to commemorate the night that Eddie and him performed opening night at the Whisky a Go Go (January 15, 1964), however Rubin unfortunately could not attend due to his illness. The 50th anniversary event took place at Saban Theatre on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, California.
Drumming technique, style, philosophy
Rubin usually held his drum sticks with the traditional grip, using his right hand with an overhand grip and using his left hand with an underhand grip. He always struck the drums with his sticks with minimal force. Rubin strongly discouraged and criticized “hard hitters” that strike drum heads excessively hard, emphasizing that you can’t get the sweetest sound out of a snare drum when hit too hard. When Rubin would observe bands with “drum abusers” perform, he would often stand there, staring at the drummer and shaking his head in disapproval. When Rubin practiced drumming he said focused more on actually playing than on practicing specific exercises from a drum rudiment book. He could read music, but relied more on how a rhythm sounded in its execution rather than on how the rhythm was musically written.
Eddie Rubin cited drummers Buddy Rich and Gene Stone as two of his many influences. Rubin was friends with Gene Stone, whom he met through his drum teacher Freddie Gruber. Aside from the aforementioned drummers, Rubin was a long-time fan of jazz greats such as Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and Ornette Coleman.
- 1963: Last Night, Don Randi Trio
- 1964: Here We a Go Go Again!, Johnny Rivers
- 1964: John Lee Hooker, Johnny Rivers
- 1964: Maybellene, Johnny Rivers
- 1964: Aleluya – Tu Seguro Servidor (Walk Myself On Home), Los Apson (LP)
- 1970: Gold: Recorded Live at the Troubadour, Neil Diamond
- 1979: MUH Vol. 1 Live Aus Dem Musikalischen Unter Holz In München (LP), Various
- 1983: Love How You Feel, Sharon Redd
- 1994: Totally Live at The Whisky a Go Go, Johnny Rivers
- 1995: Only Wanna Be with You: The Definitive Collection, Obsession
- 1996: In My Lifetime, Neil Diamond
- 1998: The Yellow Balloon, The Yellow Balloon (band)
- 1998: Simply the Best [Central Station] (Various Artists)
- 2000: Love Insurance, Richelle
- 2000: Love – Mr. Life EP, Eddie Rubin – Love Insurance (Dub Mental) (Electronic, House)
- 2003: Stages: Performances 1970-2002, Neil Diamond
- 2006: Bar Jazz, Various
- “Walk Myself On Home,” Eddie Rubin (composer, drums)/Joe Osborn (bass)
- “Love Insurance,” Eddie Rubin (composer, drums)/Richelle (vocals)
- "Sherry Blue," Eddie Rubin (drums), Don Randi Trio
- "Love How You Feel," Eddie Rubin (drums), Sharon Redd (vocals)
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- Harris, George W. “Johnny Rivers: A Life of Danger.” Jazzweekly.com, 1 Mar. 2014, https://www.jazzweekly.com/2014/03/johnny-rivers-a-life-of-danger/.
- “Johnny Rivers Biography.” http://johnnyrivers.com/jr/biography.html
- Junior, Chris. “Johnny Rivers Lets the Whisky Flow.” Goldmine Magazine, 25 Sept. 2012, https://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/johnny-rivers-lets-the-whisky-flow.
- Kelemen, Matt. “Q&A: Johnny Rivers.” The Magazine - Las Vegas Weekly, 19 Feb. 2016, https://lasvegasmagazine.com/interviews/qa/2016/feb/19/q-a-johnny-rivers-golden-nugget/.
- Lowman, Rob. “Johnny Rivers, Jimmy Webb Celebrate Whisky a Go Go’s 50th Anniversary, plus a Look Back at the Sunset Strip.” Daily News, Daily News, 10 Jan. 2014, https://www.dailynews.com/2014/01/10/johnny-rivers-jimmy-webb-celebrate-whisky-a-go-gos-50th-anniversary-plus-a-look-back-at-the-sunset-strip/
- Martino, Alison. “Vintage Los Angeles: How Go Go Dancing Took Off at the Whisky.” Los Angeles Magazine, 13 Jan. 2014, https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/vintage-los-angeles-how-go-go-dancing-took-off-at-the-whisky/
- Phill. “Will Johnny Rivers Ever Flow into The Rock Hall of Fame?” Goldmine Magazine, 14 Apr. 2011, https://www.goldminemag.com/blogs/will-johnny-rivers-ever-flow-into-the-rock-hall-of-fame
- Ragogna, Mike. “From Whisky a Go Go to the Royal Studios: Conversations with Johnny Rivers and Paul Rodgers, Plus Roy Orbison Reissued.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 31 Dec. 2013, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/from-whisky-a-go-go-to-th_b_4521991
- Randi, Don, and Karen Nishimura. You've Heard These Hands: From the Wall of Sound to the Wrecking Crew and Other Incredible Stories. Hal Leonard Books, 2015
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- “Secret Agent Man.” Jerry Reuss Las Vegas, NV Jerry Reuss, 2009, https://www.jerryreuss.com/johnnyriverssecretagentman.html.
- “The Original Neil Diamond Home Page, since 1995.” The Original Neil Diamond Home Page, since 1995, http://www.neildiamondhomepage.com/band.htm.
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