By Paul Rogne:
On this episode of the Minnesota Drummer Podcast, I had the opportunity to talk with Ollie Manley, who has been entrenched in and enhanced the Minnesota drumming scene since the 1960s. Playing up to 300 gigs a year since the 60s, Ollie made a name for himself as a quiet drummer with a light touch, which has constantly kept him working. Now in his 80s, he is still playing out with over 50 performances a year and offers advice to aspiring working drummers.
Ollie paints a historical image of the hopping local music scene from the 1960s through the 1980s. We chat about his time at Dahlgren’s/Floyd Thompson’s Drum Shop where he rebuilt and repaired equipment for touring drummers like Louie Bellson, Art Blakey, John Bonham, and Jeff Porcaro. While at the shop, he made Medicine drums for different tribes and mastered the processes of rolling calf skin. And he even explains to us how to repair a Vistalite shell.
We briefly talk about the history of the Martin Fleet Foot Pedal, which eventually became the DW 5000, and how he would convert pedals to chain-drive before being the norm.
There is so much in this episode that there isn’t enough room to put it all in this summary, so please take a listen to this fascinating episode. I feel privileged to know Ollie and I’m thrilled to have you learn a bit about his drumming history.
Opening beats provided by Alec Tackmann: www.AlecTackmann.com