Richie Hayward

2004 - Individual Artist

Born Feb. 6, 1946, Richie Hayward exhibited an independent spirit and aversion to schooling from the onset. Hayward says his first memory is of running away from school on his first day of kindergarten in Clear Lake. The family moved to Ames when he was six.

An epiphany of sorts struck Richie one day when he saw Count Basie on a television show. Sonny Payne was drumming his way into Hayward’s subconscious. He began hitting sticks on an orange crate in beat to records. Ray Charles, Bobby "Blue" Band, Sonny Rollins, Dave Brubeck, and others soon had him adding more crates to his “set up.”

At 10, Hayward owned his first set of drums. He played his first gig on New Year’s Eve of 1959 at nearly 13 years of age. The gig was at the Moose Hall in Nevada, IA.

Along with drums, he soon discovered girls and thought the two went well together. He made the decision that music would be his way of life.

He purchased a one-way airplane ticket, stuck 85 ‘ducats’ in his pocket and flew to California. In 1965 he saw an ad in the “Free Press” saying “Drummer Wanted, Must Be Freaky.” He applied and joined Lowell George and “The Factory.” He recalls the band as “painfully hip.” The band broke up two years later.

Next stop on the music ladder was the band called “The Fraternity of Man.” Later on Lowell George would re-enter Richie’s life fresh from working with Zappa. George, Billy Payne and Hayward became Little Feat. The band went through over a dozen bass players before Roy Estrada joined the band and a record deal was struck.

Two records later Estrada left to go with Captain Beetheart. Hayward was joined by Paul, Kenny and Sam and Little Feat hit the road. Between tours, Richie recorded on the side with Ry Cooder, Van Dyke Parks, John Cale, the Doobie Brothers, Arlo Guthrie, Peter Frampton, Carly Simon, Robert Palmer and others.

He enjoyed many musically productive years until June of 1979 when, as Richie put it, “Lowell George was gone. Loss, sorrow, confusion and farewell.”

Hayward continued to work with the likes of Joan Armatrading, Robert Plant, etc.

Then, lo and behold, Little Feat re-united. They continue to tour today. Richie also tours with other artists between Feat tours. The first part of this year, he was on the road with Bob Dylan, returning to California in April to join up with Little Feat again.

Richie Hayward comes into the Hall of Fame for 2010 as one of the most talented and sought after drummers of his era. Hayward passed away in August 2010. You can read about his legacy by the Los Angeles Times here.

 

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