I'm happy that I succeeded in doing
two things: I made the drummer a high-
priced guy, and I was able to draw more
people to jazz."
The above quote of drum master Gene
Krupa was not an example of unsubstan-
tiated ego. Krupa was merely aware of the
facts he was the leader among
drummers, the first to bring any semblance
of esteem to the instrument. This is the
reason drummers today revere Krupa and
hope to, in some way, hold onto a small
part of the Krupa legacy.
Adoration and fame was something that
Krupa knew throughout his career. The
teeny-boppers and swing addicts couldn't
get enough of the handsome drummer who
could drive any band to new heights of innovation.
Krupa was an original and as
such, notoriety followed him like a
shadow. No facet of Krupa's background
or career escaped media attention, not
even from the motion picture industry In
1959, Columbia Pictures released the Gene
Krupa Story' starring Sal Mineo.
was considered an artistic failure. Critics
found the exaggerations, anachronisms
and dramatics, characteristically stamped
on film bios, a detriment. Mineo, however,
was lauded for his mastery of Krupa's
facial expressions, but little else in the film
was found praiseworthy. It is difficult to
understand why Hollywood scriptwriters
found it necessary to alter the events of the
drummer's much acclaimed career.
Gene Krupa was born on January 15,
1909 and raised on Chicago's South Ride
He was the son of Polish-American
parents. The youngest of six children.
Gene Krupa and his mother originally planned
that he would become a priest. Subsequentally,
Krupa was educated at St.
Bridges and Immaculate Conception
schools. Bowen High School and St.
Reprinted with permission of Modern Drummer Magazine.