John French

John "Drumbo" French (born 1948) is an American drummer and musician. He played on Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica and on various other Beefheart recordings: Beefheart dubbed him "Drumbo". During the Trout Mask Replica sessions, French transcribed the musical ideas Beefheart played for him on piano for the rest of the band. French lived in Lancaster, California, in the same area of Southern California as Frank Zappa, Don Van Vliet and other members of The Magic Band and The Mothers of Invention. He was interested in the local music scene as a teenager, hanging out with Doug Moon and watching The Omens on stage. Around 1964, he played and recorded with Merrell and The Exiles, a band led by Merrell Fankhauser and featuring Jeff Cotton on guitar. French and Cotton joined Mark Boston in another band in 1966, never recorded, called Blues in a Bottle. Bill Harkleroad aka Zoot Horn Rollo joined later; thus the nucleus of the Trout Mask Replica band was formed. French was invited to join Beefheart and the Magic Band in late 1966, as a replacement for Paul Blakeley.


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