PRELUDE: The last time I got to hang out and chat with a famous drummer was a few years ago when Stewart Copeland, drummer for The Police, visited his daughter on a campus where I teach drums. It’s ironic that Stewart is someone Roger Guth, long-time drummer for music legend Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, greatly admires.
While I did name drop a friend of Roger’s in helping to arrange the Zoom meet-up, I never knew if he was actually interested until an obscure email arrived one day from an old AOL account. Does anyone even use AOL anymore, I first thought, suspecting possible identity fraud? His non-invasive, cheerful note of acceptance was a true blessing.
When Roger actually showed up on my songwriter Q&A interview video podcast, “Tiki Tim’s Trop-Roc Tributes”, on May 16, 2021, my many questions were well researched. The story below paints a wonderful picture behind the man, drummer, songwriter, and fisherman that is Roger Guth. He’s one of the most humble, reserved and nicest people I’ve ever met.
To tell the story of Jimmy Buffett’s Drummer Roger Guth, one must travel back in time to when he was 10 years old living with his family on a St. Louis, Missouri farm. His dad was a talented accordion player in a local wedding band. While many family members played instrument – his sister was classically trained on piano – none of them entered the industry professionally.
Roger started playing drums at age 7 and also dabbled on the keys around the house. His family fully supported his choice to enter the music industry, but also warned him of its many perils and high rate of failure. It didn’t deter him. Roger dreamed of making it big as a drummer after seeing legendary jazz-big band drummer Buddy Rich play on the Tonight Show hosted byJohnny Carson a beloved comedian of Roger’s. Ironically, that teenage dream actually came true after Roger and Peter joined Jimmy Buffett on tour in 1989. They all performed together on the Tonight Show in 1990 where he met Carson in person.
While Roger is first to admit he would not play piano too well live or in studio, he was entranced by its “magical” voicings. When he a grew a bit older and met another one of Jimmy Buffett’s long-time guitarists, Peter Mayer, at age 16, the two eventually formed a jazz and pop-infused trio along with Peter’s bass playing brother Jim.