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© J.F. Moreno/epa/Corbis
“I have a feeling that the music you hear between the ages of 13 and 19 ends up really influencing the rest of your life. Jeff Porcaro is the drummer on Secret Combination, a record that has had a huge impact on me. It’s really a master class on groove and how to play a song. I still listen to it today and marvel at A) his sense of time and B) the dynamics and sense of shape he gives the songs.
“This is something I think about a lot: How can I shape the songs into something better, more musical and dynamic? And really, all of the answers are on this album, as Jeff Porcaro spells it all out, if you know what to listen for.
“There’s no flash drumming on it at all – no flash fills, nothing that is going to send you running for the hills. There’s so many great recordings of him, and this is just one.
“There’s another record called Windsong, which came out the following year, and I used to have a cassette with Secret Combination on one side and Windsong on the other. I played this cassette in my car for what felt like years. I couldn’t eject it – it was so good, so nice. That was the great thing about cassettes: you couldn’t really skip over songs, so you wound up listening to the whole album.
“These two albums are almost identical bands, both Tony LiPuma productions, with Jeff Porcaro on drums. I would just cycle round and round on them forever.”