Ronnie Tutt is arguably the best rock drummer in the worlld, and between 1969 and 1977 he performed on stage with Elvis during almost every show. This weekend, he was kind enough to provide a short interview (below) for this site and for that, Ronnie, you have my thanks.
He is still performing with the TCB band and details of their forthcoming shows can be found at www.tcbfanclub.com.
Here's a rare filmed solo from the 21st June 1977 – almost 30 years ago – where his incredible talent is on full display.
Ronnie Tutt drum solo (LOW quality – 7.4MB, 2 minutes, 32 seconds)
Ronnie Tutt drum solo (HIGH quality – 17.2MB, 2 minutes, 32 seconds)
INTERVIEW WITH RONNIE TUTT – 20 APRIL 2007
Are you (or were you) an Elvis fan, generally or was he simply an employer?
I was not a fan at first, but upon first meeting and experiencing his incredible amount of charisma and later on developing a personal relationship, I learned to love the man.
What other musical artists interest you?
I've always admired James Taylor's music, Paul McCartney's, Sting's and the Eagles, to mention a few.
Were there ever any memorable mishaps on stage with Elvis?
Yeah, I've been using 'Regal Tip' drumsticks since I started with EP in'69. They are made of wood with nylon plastic tips or beads on the end, and one night I was playing along and he was standing not too far in front of me when one of the tips flew off - barely missing him. When the song was over he turned to me and said something like: "I thought you were firing bullets at me Ronnie" and laughed.
It's well documented that Elvis often sang songs which weren't expected by the band, and they just had to dive in and play. Did Elvis ever 'trip you up' with a
surprise number you were unfamiliar with?
Not really, at least one of us knew enough of it to get by.
Do you keep in touch with any of the concert musicians?
The TCB Band is in touch as we still work together - occasionally seeing singers like Terry Blackwood and Joe Moscheo and the Sweets and have dinner with the great Italian chef, Joe Guercio.
Where were you when you heard Elvis had died and who told you?
At home in South California - my mother-in-law called to say it was on the news. I called Graceland to confirm and Felton Jarvis answered and I said : "Is it true Felton?" And he said: "Yes, it is Ronnie".
Did you enjoy playing in the 'Elvis The Concert' shows and how did you feel
performing in the first one (with EP not being there)?
I enjoyed the challenge to reproduce what you did that many years ago - It's a labor of love.
Will you be planning to do anything to mark EP's 30th Anniversary of his death, this coming August?
We're performing in Memphis-check our schedule on tcbfanclub.com.
Will you ever retire from drumming. If so, would you miss it?
It's all I've ever done so I'll keep doin' it as long as I'm able - there's so many wonderful fans out there who appreciate our music. TCB.
Sincere thanks to the great Ronnie Tutt for this impromptu insight. It's much appreciated. Thanks.