Ch1_BOHP_Richard Appleman_2012-05-17-H.264 800Kbps
FB: We've had people on this Berklee Oral HIstory project over the years that have had pretty extensive tenure at Berklee, but I don't think anyone has matched Rich Appleman for sitting in the driver's seat of the bass department for thirty eight years. And a member of the staff for forty. Rich welcome to the cameras here at the Getz Library. Its so nice to have you on board. RA: yeah, it's a pleasure. Thank you. FB: This is sort of the exit interview. haha RA: yeah, it is. yeah FB: You can let it all hang out. Everything you've always wanted to say about Berklee, now can be revealed. RA: Ok. Two weeks from today is my last day. FB: Nothing's going to interfere with your permanent sabbatical. RA: haha, right? FB: And your Barge Cruise up to Rome in October. haha RA: Yeah. yup. So yeah i'm looking forward to it, but I mean it's been a magical forty years I think. FB: You've seen a lot fly by. RA: Yup. I mean I was telling you earlier, I was here in the Navy in 1968. I went in the Navy in 64'. I got out of high school and at the time I didnt know what I wanted to do. My band director said "If you don't do something, you're going to be carrying a rifle in Vietnam." So he recommended that I audition for the Navy Music Program. I passed the audition and spent three years on aircraft carriers doing concerts close to Vietnam and Southeast Asia. But my last year I wound up here in Boston. I met my future wife in April of 68'. She was going to Simmons College. Blind Date. I changed my mind about going back to Pennsylvania, Altoona, Pennsylvania where I grew up. I was thinking about going to Penn State and getting a music ed degree. I changed my mind and decided to come to Berklee. By December between my first and second semester we got married. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I think by having the four years in the Navy, I had gotten a lot of musical experience, both on sousaphone, tuba and upright bass. Started playing electric bass near the end of the Navy. It was Jimmi Hendrix, The Beatles, The Cream and all that kind of stuff. FB: Sure, Steve Swallow? RA: yeah, exactly. Yeah. And so, getting to Berklee at age twenty two and getting married made me, I think, a more serious student and FB: You know, I wish the kids that came in had that extra year or two to kind of chill out, get a little bit of life feel, a few experience, negative or positve. RA: Yeah FB: Before they hit the decks here. RA: Mmhm. It definately helped me. FB: It helped a lot. RA: Yeah FB: Most of the kids that are twenty one and twenty two have really different attitude. RA: Yeah. FB: They're much more focused. They're more into their studies. RA: Yup, yeah. FB: It was good that you did it that way. RA: Yeah, and like I said, either luck or, luck is when opprotunity meets preparation, haha FB: Mmhm RA: And so I was prepared and I got the opprotunity. And so, after four years here, and we can talk more about that, I was lucky to play in the Dues Band with Phil Wilson, had Ray Santisi for small group, Charlie Mariano, and I also studied arranging with Herb Pomeroy and played in, in his what they called the "recording band" back then. They offered me a job because I was a good student. Haha. So they, they offered me a job. I graduated in May of '72 and I started teaching here in June of '72 so FB: Those were big ramp up years for the school. RA: Yeah FB: They were really starting to feel their muscle and RA: Yeah FB: Starting to expand past the Big Band era. RA: Yes FB: And new horizons here. RA: Yes FB: And um, uhh Bob Share was still RA: Yeah FB: You know, in, in expansion mode. RA: Yeah FB: That wouldn't happen now would it? You don't hi, you don't hire guys right out of the gate. RA: Not as often. No. I mean, the only one we hired right out of the gate is Esperanza Spalding. Haha. FB: God bless RA: Haha, yeah FB: That she wanted to stay teaching RA: Haha. Yeah, exactly. And, and we had her for I think three years, almost three years, and she just got too busy. You know what I mean? FB: Yeah RA: But that, that's, that was a real unusual one. You know? But, like I said, yeah myself, a couple years before, Larry Monroe went right from the FB: Yeah RA: To teach here. Uh, Rob Rose was a student here, Larry Bethune, all those, those people pretty much graduated and moved from, from uh student to the faculty. FB: Yeah RA: And the thing that was good about that, it was good and bad I think, the good thing about it was the school was growing so fast, the higher, good students we knew the cirriculum. So, my first couple years I was teaching harmony, arranging, ensembles. We would all, most of us would teach a little bit of everything because we knew what, you know, week two in harmony, diatonic harmony, or secondary dom, whatever it was, we knew what was, uh, we had already gone through that cirriculum. FB: And the structure was pretty well set in those days. RA: Yup FB: And I guess it still is with the core classes. RA: Yeah. Yeah it is, but I think back then there were more people teaching what we call across the curriculum, teaching a few different departments. It's not unusual now to hire a teacher, like for instance I, my first couple hires were Whit Browne and Bruce Gertz. Bruce was a student here, but Whit had gone to the conservatory. But they pretty much had taught their whole career in the bass department FB: Mmhm RA: Where as, and I hired them in '76, where as, uh, now, a lot of times now you get hired to teach in a particular department and you can branch out a little bit, but I think you tend to commit to that department and, not teach quite as much, to cross over. FB: I think that's, that kind of cross fertilization is very very healthy. RA: Yup FB: It's like, you know, not narrowing your gene pool too much RA: Yup FB: With a species. A lot of us would love to be able to co-teach a class with people in art history. RA: Yeah, sure. FB: and play them Coleman Hawkins' "Picasso." RA: Yeah FB: That kind of stuff. RA: Yeah FB: But the opportunities are few and far between now cause everything is so stratified. RA: Yup. Yeah. The department likes FB: It's too bad. It must have been nice in those days. RA: Yup. Yeah. The, I forgot what I was going to say.