John Glossop On Drums - He Can Play Anything
John Glossop is a legend among local drummers and musicians. It's impossible to find a style of music he hasn't mastered. Young drummers come often to hear him play and learn.
John was born in Galveston in 1942. His mother, Irene Glossop was a talented piano player. His father, George Arthur Glossop, was an Army Drum Major stationed at Fort Crockett. John grew up listening to big bands and Texas swing, and was influenced early by Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa, The Texas Troubadors, The Brazos Valley Boys, Bob Wills and other popular music. As a small child he took to playing drums on cardboard boxes. In fourth grade, he started singing in the choir while attending catholic school. At 12, John's parents took him to jam sessions at Galveston's Wagon Wheel Bar (corner of 58th and Ave. S) where he first met bandleader and sax player Benny Brasket Sr. It was intoxicating for the young man to listen this talented group of musicians, and Brasket and the other players encouraged the "kid".
John bought his first drum kit for $350 at Ginsberg Music. Within two years John was a full member of the Benny Brasket (Sr.) band, earning $5-7 dollars per gig. Around the same time, John and some friends formed The Crystals, one of the area's original rock bands. The Crystals were a sensation with the young people, and played often at the Galveston Pleasure Pier.
In high school John was kicked out of the band for being a southpaw. Band directors at Kerwin and later at Steven F. Austin High School would not allow left-handed drummers in their marching bands. John became discouraged with school and found a regular gig at the Imperial Tavern at 23rd and Postoffice. John stayed until Hurricane Carla hit on Sept. 10, 1961.
"I had to wade in to get my gear. I started walking down Market Street, had no idea where I was going, and then I heard some music from an upstairs room." It was the Showtime Bar at 21st and Market Street. Upstairs, John met Pianist Chuck Hill, Thomas Guillory, and Pee Wee Kershaw - the band already had a drummer, but they hired John to play bass guitar, and instrument he had picked up along the way. Chuck Hill and the Explorers became the hottest band on the Island, and bookings at Houston's top nightclubs soon followed, including: La Rivera, The Copa Cabana, Guys and Dolls, 66 Club, the Big Mamou, and the Turf Club.
After playing around Houston for awhile, the band decided to relocate to Oklahoma City, where the music scene was starting to take off. Five guys loaded up a trailer full of gear and headed up to OKC. They arrived that day, and had a gig by nightfall. Over the next few months, the boys from Texas became one of the hottest acts in town, but egos intervened, and the group split up.
John next joined Johnny Guitar and The Checkers which quickly became the best draw in town. John was making $100 a week, which was big money in those days. The band's jam sessions brought out famous musicians like Grove Holmes and members of Count Basie's band. One night at the Outrigger Club, agent Herb Payloff (Ray Charles agent) from New York City heard John and keyboardist Ron Gornall playing an ethereal version of the theme from Goldfinger in 6/8 time. Payloff was blown away, and brought John and Ron to New York City, where they became part of the Signatures. The Signatures became famous in the Big Apple, appearing at the Hawaii Ki on Broadway and rubbing elbows with celebrities like Carol Channing, and Gene Krupa, John's boyhood idol. The Signatures toured major venues all over the east.
When the band finally split in 1968, John went back to Oklahoma City - where he appeared with the Champs, later known as Seals and Croft. Later in 1969, John received a call from buddy Harold Jenkins in Nashville. Jenkins had been a regular at some of John's jam session a few years earlier, and was now going by the name Conway Twitty. Jenkins flew John to Nashville for studio sessions that featured Floyd Cramer, Buddy Emmons, and Boots Randolph. John and Twitty recorded the song Hello Darling in a single take. During this trip, John also recorded For the Good Times with Ray Price and Help Me Make It Through The Night with a young Sammi Smith. These legendary recordings are among the greatest classic country hits of all time. John made $1,000 for his studio work.
Over the next couple of years John moved back to Galveston where he took a "day job", playing weekends at the Anchor Inn with Danny Smith and the Evertones. After a chance meeting with bandleader Buddy Kirk he started playing at Kirk's Steakhouse, where he backed up famous shows by celebrities like Sally Rand, Diamond Lil, and other top acts. After Kirk's death, the band gradually became known as the Aubrey Tucker Band. John still plays with the group. The band recently released a double CD titled Night Train. John also appears with the Manny Green Orchestra, the Amigos (hosts of Katies Sunday jam); and on Thursdays with the Benny Brasket (Jr.) Band. He stays busy, sometimes playing 5-6 nights a week. John is happy that he has had the opportunity to perform with the great musicians already mentioned, as well as stars like Floyd Tilman, Vic Damone, and Leslie Gore.
John's range includes all of the Latin beats, which are the most difficult for drummers. He is a master of timing, and young drummers sit awestruck at his version of "Wipe Out". John Glossop has played everywhere from Broadway to Bacliff, but he still likes to learn new tricks. While so many of the musicians of his generation fell to drugs and alcohol, John's vice has remained the same - playing music.
Drummers in the music world are somewhat similar to Rodney Dangerfield - they get no respect. All the attention and glory usually goes to the lead singer or guitarist. However, once and a while, a drummer of such skill comes along that they must be mentioned. We are proud to induct John Glossop, a world-class drummer, into the Texas Hall of Musical Excellence.