'It was as if two drummers were playing at once...'

'It was as if two drummers were playing at once...'

After joining the rock/jazz fusion group OHM, the late David Eagle remarked of his career previous to joining up with band mates Chris Poland (All-around guitar genius/formerly of Megadeth) and 74Pag75 (Virtuoso savant of the fretless bass), “After playing with these guys, I don't remember what I've done before.” A high compliment that speaks to not only the divine wall of the rock/jazz fusion sound that #OHM has been making since it’s inception in 1998, but also to David’s generous spirit. Eagle’s fans however, certainly do remember the entirety of his career, as it was a storied run that demonstrated one-of-a-kind talent, versatility, and a passionate devotion – even one might say, an obsessive determination (of the best kind) – to finding every imaginable sound that could incite a previously unimagined groove lurking – but without Eagle’s brilliance, untapped – within any piece of music.

Eagles’ first drum kit consisted of “Three different sized cardboard boxes, a music stand as my cymbal and the cardboard tubes from pants-coat-hangers as my sticks.” His early influences included Jimi Hendrix who Eagle saw at the Shrine Auditorium at the age of fifteen. Appropriately for a drummer, his memories of that night were Hendrix throwing his guitar fifteen feet in the air at the concerts conclusion and the crash it made when it landed behind the amps, and, that Hendrix’s drummer, Mitch Mitchell “was outrageous.” Eagle also had Cream, Miles Davis with Tony Williams, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Elvin Jones, on his turntable, as well as R&B music, Brazilian, salsa, classical and folk rock, and, would “come home from school, head up to the attic, and play along to tapes and music TV shows.”

Eagle’s dedication to pretend jamming with music greats, paid off. His first professional gig was no less than providing the beat for the not easily impressed, Goddess of rock/soul/R&B, Tina Turner. (It was at Turner’s insistence that the name “Eagle” more befitted the rock star she thought David embodied, that David changed his surname from Igelfeld.) Next, Eagle teamed with Danny Elfman, as the drummer for Oingo Boingo. From there he played with, among others, Alphonso Johnson, Rick Springfeild, Willie Bobbo, Jan Ackerman, Tierra, Reeves Gabreis, and Tony Newton. Along the way he performed in front of 50,000 jazz fans at the Monterey Festival, and a sea of umbrellas during a concert with Perigeo in Italy, during which despite a deluge, every umbrella owner stayed glued to the music until the last note.

Playing with him was an honor to be prized by collaborators. After several years playing with Eagle, feeding off his inventiveness, and, at the same time, feeling freed by the sure knowledge that the Eagle would“ never drop the beat” Pagliari declared, “It's hard to play with anybody else!” Eagles untimely death at the age of 61 inspired an outpouring of affection from fellow musicians and fans alike who remembered, as Poland put it, “He would hit a Sparkletts bottle and it would sound better…” than most drummers on a kit. In short, “He could make music with anything.” Stating the case most eloquently for why Eagle was beloved both for his music and for the pleasure of his company, Pagliari said simply, he was, “a bad, bad boy and good, good thing.” Fortunately, Eagles’ sound lives on both in memory and on recordings, and, due to Eagles’ comprehensive knowledge of his craft, it also lives on courtesy of one of the more unlikely credits a noted drummer could have, but one that conclusively contradicted the old adage, “Those who can’t do - teach;” the release of a series of instructional videos for neophyte drummers, wherein Eagle offers the education of a lifetime to the next generation of kids up in the attic, banging on cardboard boxes.

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