Music Educator

Glen “Bummer The Drummer” Ward was born in 1947 in Fayette, Missouri . He picked up the nickname “Bummer” when as a budding young prizefighter he was given the nickname associated with world heavy weight boxing champion “Joe Louis”, “The Brown Bomber”. He was given the nickname “Bomber”, but very quickly it became “Bummer” due to numerous mispronunciations by his toothless playmates. He was enrolled in the first music classes to take place in the all black “Lincoln Public School” in Fayette Missouri and learned to play the clarinet, saxophone, the sousaphone, the guitar, the piano, the drum kit and conga drums. Bummer helped put together a band that played “blues” and “soul music” on the “Chitlin Chain Circuit” in towns all over the state of Missouri and in every “juke joint” within a 150 mile radius of Fayette, Missouri. After graduating from Fayette High School Bummer moved to Columbia, Missouri and later got a gig in New York City as a studio musician with “Roulette Records” (whose stable of artists included “Tommy James & The Shondells”, and “Johnny Mathis”). As a Roulette Records studio-stable artist, Bummer played showcase gigs in New York City’s Greenwich Village and shared the billing with the legendary folk singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell and Tim Hardin (who wrote the Bobby Darin hit song “If I Were a Carpenter”). Bummer’s travels soon took him to Los Angeles, California with RCA Records recording with the legendary songwriter/recording artist/producer Harry Nilsson. In 1977 he moved to Kansas City, Missouri and put together “Bummer The Drummer & The Kansas City Streetband” as a vehicle for his singing and songwriting. Bummer has recorded numerous records and compact discs of his own songs and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the music business. They include blues guitar legend “Buddy Guy”, the queen of the blues “Koko Taylor”, legendary country music songwriter and performer “Jerry Jeff Walker” (he wrote to song “Mr. Bojangles”)the late great “Albert King”, harmonica virtuoso “Charlie Musselwhite”, “The James Cotton Blues Band”, “Chuck Berry”, “John Lee Hooker”, and the ever-popular “Robert Cray Band”. Bummer the Drummer and The Kansas City Streetband have played all over the USA and performed for the military doing USO shows in the Caribbean Islands, Panama, Puerto Rico, Antiga in the West Indies, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

Glen Ward

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