For former veteran drummer Robin Russell, no gig tops Griffith Park

November 6, 2015 - Picnic Time

For 14 years now, infrequently 3 times a week, Robin Russell has gotten adult around 3 a.m. and driven his maroon outpost from Pasadena to a same mark in Griffith Park, not distant from a zoo. In a dark, he rakes out a tiny clearing underneath an ash tree, unpacks a six-piece drum pack and sets up, all in a place on an aged square of red carpet.

And he plays. He plays if people are there to hear. He plays if a birds and coyotes are a usually ones listening. Often he starts underneath a stars. He plays by morning and on into a afternoon. He leaves before dark, a time depending on a season.

“Drums were done to play outdoors. That’s what they were for in a beginning,” Russell says.

At 63, he’s got robust arms and a sweet, open smile. His uniform is black pants and a black tank top; he wears dual pendants, a assent pointer and an ankh, a ancient Egyptian pitch for almighty life. There’s also an ankh swinging from his left ear. He keeps his phone in his sock.

Russell has played for crowds in London’s Wembley Stadium, on debate with Little Richard. He’s achieved on “Soul Train” as a drummer for a renouned 1970s soul-funk rope a New Birth.

Live pitter-patter keeps a kick in Griffith Park

Live pitter-patter keeps a kick in Griffith Park

Drummer Robin Russell, who once played Wembley Stadium furloughed with Little Richard, keeps a solid kick outside during Griffith Park.

Drummer Robin Russell, who once played Wembley Stadium furloughed with Little Richard, keeps a solid kick outside during Griffith Park.

See some-more videos

SIGN UP for a giveaway Great Reads newsletter

It’s not acclaim he’s looking for in a park.

“He is during his top pleasure when he is out there personification a drums,” says his mother of 30 years, Angela. “His tie with his drums is like a voice is to a singer. They are one.”

Plenty of other people play song in Griffith Park. There’s a Sunday drum circle, and guitar players uncover adult all a time. But each week? For so many years?

And why, exactly?

“The sourroundings here is ideal for creativity, usually unequivocally inspiring,” Russell says. “Out here we feel connected with Mother Nature, with a universe, with a elements.”

Russell’s mark is strictly famous as NYC1, after a Great Society module called a Neighborhood Youth Corps. It’s during a corner of a tiny field, with 3 cruise tables during a side of a road. One comfortable morning, owls hooted as he wheeled his instruments from a outpost to his mud round theatre underneath a full moon.

As he sets up, he puts on a Brazilian thespian Bebel Gilberto, softly. He centers his drum drum in line with a tree, together to Griffith Park Drive.

“I like to be there in a dark as prolonged as possible,” he says. “It gets so splendid out there. we don’t need a light.”

And he doesn’t need assistance environment up.

“It’s a small like a crossword puzzle. For a many part, it’s improved if we do it myself,” he says.

He’s meticulous. Once a drums, a tone of his van, are in place, he lays a barrow on a side and piles on his cases — stenciled with his name from his furloughed days. Three board director’s chairs are set out in front, one for him during breaks, one for a contributor and one usually in case. He brings breakfast, lunch, ice and water, additional sticks and sleet boots.