The Life of a Legend
For over forty years Jamie Oldaker has built a career in the music industry as one of the worlds most respected drummers, producer and a discoverer of talent.
Jamie was raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma and was inspired by his father, a former drummer, to take up the drums. As a boy, he grew up listening to Benny Goodman’s drummer, Gene Krupa, as well as John Phillips Souza. After seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Jamie knew his calling. Both of his parents were supportive and tolerant of the never ending line of musicians jamming in the family’s household.
After high school, Jamie left Tulsa for St. Louis to perform with Phil Driscoll at the upscale Chase Park Plaza Hotel’s famed music hot spot, “The Basement”. It was with Phil Driscoll that Jamie got the opportunity to perform on the The Ed Sullivan Show. This was the same stage that The Beatles performed on which had inspired him earlier.
Jamie returned to Tulsa and started performing with the group, Tulsa County. They played the local Tulsa scene and then headed out on their first road trip. This time they headed to Detroit where fellow Tulsa musicians and friends, Teegarden and Van Winkle, had also been playing with Bob Seger. Seger had just finished recording Smokin OP’s. During that time Bob Seger decided to form a new band in order to record a new album and Jamie was hired to join the band. They recorded the album “Back in 72”, which contained the original Bob Seger classic “Turn the Page”.
Jamie returned to Tulsa and continued playing the local scene in between touring. During this period, singer/songwriter JJ Cale, writer of “Cocaine” and “After Midnight”, would come down to the clubs where Jamie was playing and sit in with the band. Cale had been signed to Leon Russell’s newly formed Shelter Records and Leon was in town looking for musicians to hire and record with him at Shelter.
Leon hired Jamie as a session musician to work at the Shelter Records famed Church Studio located in Tulsa. While at Shelter, Jamie recorded the albums, “Stop All Jazz” with Leon Russell, “Magicians Holiday” with The Gap Band and an album with Georgie Fame. Jamie worked on many other projects in between touring with Leon Russell and The Gap Band.
During this period, Jamie was also working with legendary Tulsa bassist, Carl Radle. Carl was a gifted musician that had played with Leon Russell and Eric Clapton’s ‘Derek and the Domino’s’ project, which produced the hit “Layla”.
Carl had sent Eric some of the live recordings he had of Jamie playing with Bob Seger and others. Radle was trying to inspire Clapton to get back into the studio and on the road again.
Over a year had passed by since Carl had sent the tapes to Eric and Jamie was preparing to go out on the road with Leon Russell and The Gap Band. Two weeks before Jamie was scheduled to leave, Carl contacted Jamie to say he had received a call from Eric, who was preparing to make another record. He told Carl; “Bring Jamie and the other kids from Tulsa with you”.
Jamie headed to Criteria Studios in Miami and recorded “461 Ocean Blvd”. The 461 album included the hit, “I Shot the Sheriff” and was the first of 11 albums and a long-standing friendship that still exist today. Jamie played on classic Clapton albums that include: “Slowhand”, “There’s One in Every Crowd”, “EC was Here”, “No Reason to Cry”, “Backless”, “24 Nights”… and others.
This was a hectic and creative time for Jamie as he was dividing his time between touring with Eric Clapton and playing with Bob Seger, who had unexpectedly lost drummer Charlie Martin to an automobile accident. In between two major tours, Jamie still found time to record two albums with blues artist Freddie King for RSO Records. While in the Bahamas, Peter Frampton had heard one of the tracks from Clapton’s “Slowhand” album on the radio, which included the classic hits, ”Lay Down Sally”, “Wonderful Tonight” and “Cocaine”. He decided that whoever was playing the drums for Clapton on that album also needed to be playing with him in his band. Frampton instructed his road manager to track down Jamie and get him to join Peter on tour. Jamie joined the band and went from touring with Eric Clapton to touring with Peter Frampton with only a week in between and no rehearsals. Once again, Jamie was touring around the world and recorded the album, “Where I Should Be”, with Frampton.
The Bee Gee’s were experimenting on a project at their own studio in Miami and hired Jamie along with Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro and Russ Kunkel to emulate drum machines and assemble drum tracks. The tracks were within 9 milliseconds of a mechanical click track. These tracks are believed to have ended up being used on the various future albums, although no one really knows for sure. Jamie resumed drumming for Clapton in 1983, replacing Roger Hawkins and soon left for Dallas to meet up with the band. The band included Chris Staton and the great Donald “Duck” Dunn. They rehearsed one song and later headed out to eat some BBQ, one of Eric’s favorite meals. Clapton, Jamie and the rest of the band left for Monserett to record Eric Clapton’s album, “Behind the Sun”. The album was produced by Phil Collins at George Martin’s famed recording hideaway, AIR Studios. During the tour of “Behind the Sun”, one of Jamie’s most memorable stops was in Philadelphia for The Live Aid concert. Live Aid was broadcast worldwide to an audience of approximately 2 billion people. Phil Collins finished his Live Aid performance in England, jumped on the Concord and flew to Philadelphia to perform onstage with Jamie.
In 1986 local Tulsa artist, Ronnie Dunn, asked Jamie to help him with his career. Jamie entered Dunn into the Marlboro Country Music contest and Dunn attained national recognition by winning the finals. Jamie performed with and managed Dunn during the Marlboro Country Music tour and recorded the original versions of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”, “Neon Moon”, “She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind” and “She Used to Be Mine”. Dunn later became the Entertainer of the Year along with partner Kix Brooks as the duo Brooks and Dunn.
In 1988, Ace Frehley’s bassist, John Regan, asked Jamie to join up with Ace where he replaced Anton Fig, who was performing full time as the drummer on the David Letterman Show. Jamie’s tours with Ace included Frehley’s Comet, Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper. Jamie also performed with Ace on the video, “Live in London”, which was recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon to support the album Second Sighting. Peter Frampton asked Jamie to rejoin him for another worldwide tour and Jamie again went back and forth between Clapton and Frampton. Jamie performed and recorded 2 years in a row with Eric Clapton at the famous Royal Albert Hall. These shows were recorded for the album and video “24 Nights”, where Jamie performed with blues artist Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughn, Albert Collins, Johnny Johnson and Robert Cray.
Once again, bassist and friend John Regan called Jamie to come join him on tour, this time for a tour with Stephen Stills. Several of these tour dates were co-headlined along with Chicago, followed by another short run with Peter Frampton and English rockabilly artist Dave Edmunds. As a founding member of the Tulsa based group The Tractors, their debut album for Arista sold over 3.5 million albums, won the CMA Video of the Year and contained the Grammy™ nominated hit “Baby Likes to Rock it” (Like a Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train). The Tractors toured with Brooks and Dunn, John Michael Montgomery and played live on Late Night with David Letterman and The Jay Leno Show. The Tractors also recorded a Christmas album entitled, “Have Yourself a Tractors Christmas” and “Farmers in a Changing World”.
Jamie also has been co-producing Texas singer/songwriter Willis Alan Ramsey’s new album “Gentilly”. Jamie has finished his own album featuring some of the friends that he has worked with through the years; Eric Clapton, Vince Gill, Tony Joe White, Willis Alan Ramsey, Taj Mahal, Peter Frampton, Bonnie Bramlett, Ray Benson, JJ Cale, Willie Nelson and others. It is entitled: “Jamie Oldaker’s Mad Dogs & Okies” and features artists or musicians that are either from Oklahoma or have been involved or influenced by Oklahoma music over the years. The album will be released on Jamie’s own imprint label, Mint Blue Island Records, along with JamOkie Productions. All information will be available through Jamie’s website along with other updates and interests.….Recently, Jamie was Musical Director for the PBS / HDNET TV special entitled, “ The Outlaw Trail”, which featured artists Raul Malo, Ray Benson, Rodney Crowell, Carlene Carter, Russell Smith, Jesse Colter, Joe Ely, Ray Wylie Hubbard and others. Jamie recently finished producing a 34 Track Texas based CD entitled “Voices”, which is a benefit album to help raise awareness for our returning American Veterans and their families. In 2010 Jamie was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame joining such artists as JJ Cale, Vince Gill, Leon Russell, Ronnie Dunn, Toby Keith, Carl Radle, Merle Haggard, Carrie Underwood and others. He is also the recipient of more than 40 Gold and Platinum awards. Jamie has spent most of 2011 and 2012 recording and producing new artists and is working on finishing his book of memoirs, “The Best Seat in the House”, which is scheduled to be released in 2016. Also during 2013 and still today, Jamie has recorded with and continues to tour with Bluegrass legend Peter Rowan. In September of 2013, Jamie was honored to be involved again with his old friend and bandmate, Eric Clapton, along with Tom Petty, John Mayer and other great musicians in a recording project honoring Tulsa artist and songwriter, JJ Cale. Jamie continues touring, recording and is actively planning various interactive multimedia seminars in partnership with the Oklahoma History Center and the OKPOP Museum to help promote Arts and Culture in his home state of Oklahoma. The seminars will include Jamie’s own band, his memoir book along with the CD / DVD, “ Jamie Oldaker’s Mad Dogs & Okies”. It will include a multimedia video journey through his musical career as well as a timeline of events that effected our society during those years….….stay tuned for more new projects coming soon…..