Buckwheat Zydeco & Jamie Oldaker

Influences: Buckwheat Zydeco & Jamie Oldaker

Stanley Dural Jr., better known as Buckwheat Zydeco, got his start playing organ and piano for the late King of Zydeco Clifton Chenier. The Lafeyette, Louisiana native has been nominated four times for a Grammy with his Creole-French rave-ups and soulful breakdowns. His latest album Jackpot is his fourth for Tomorrow Records, a label he started with manager and collaborator Ted Fox. Together 26 years, he and his band performed at both Clinton inaugurals and were featured at the closing ceremonies of the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

Jamie Oldaker plays drums on Eric Clapton’s hit “I Shot The Sheriff” and has appeared on 11 of Clapton’s albums. Clapton returns the favor on Oldaker’s summer Concord Records release Mad Dogs & Okies along with such other high profile artists as Willie Nelson, Taj Mahal and Vince Gill. The 30-year Tulsa native has been performing, producing and discovering talent since he first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show with Phil Discoll. He’s on Bob Seger’s classic “Turn The Page,” recorded two albums with Freddie King, was a session musician for Leon Russell’s Shelter Records and played for an audience of two billion people with Phil Collins in Philadelphia for the Live Aid concert.


Elmore: What are you listening to now?

Zydeco: I listen to everything on the radio while we travel. I listen to reggae, especially Bob Marley, but I also love Toots. I often try to get old school blues on the radio around the country. I appreciate a good jazz station, too.

Oldaker: Well, you mean at this very moment or in general? At the moment I am listening to JJ Cale Live but also listen to jazz and classic rock radio when I can. (I listen to) some new groups, but not many out there.

What’s the first record you ever bought?

Zydeco: Fats Domino and Little Richard. I bought 45s of “Blueberry Hill” and “Tutti Fruitti.” I also loved Jimmy Smith’s early albums and bought them all.

Oldaker: Meet the Beatles, I also pasted my photo on the album cover wanting to be in a band like them…….pretty funny.

What’s the first instrument you ever played?

Zydeco: I started playing piano when I was five.We had one on the porch of my house. I used to try to play like Fats and Little Richard.

Oldaker: Drums!

Who would you like to write with that you haven’t?

Zydeco: Al Green would be the one. That’d be something special.

Oldaker: Most of my heroes are gone, but if I could, I would have played with the Count Basie Big Band.

What brought you to the instrument that you now play?

Zydeco: My dad played the accordion, and I tried to get into it for years, but I wasn’t interested. I dug the piano and B-3. Then, Clifton Chenier finally got me to one of his gigs to play B-3 for him, and I was blown away by what that man did with an accordion. After playing with Cliff for a couple of years I decided to take time off and really learn the accordion. That’s when I started Buckwheat Zydeco.

Oldaker: Well,when I was in the sixth grade, I tried out for band.Wanted to play violin or trumpet—shiny instruments get girls!!! But all the chairs were full, so the band teacher gave me a practice pad and said I was the percussionist……. Yikes.

Who would you like in your rock & roll heaven band?

Zydeco: Definitely Jimi Hendrix,we could play “Hey Joe” together. Jimmy Smith, too. Man, what a jam! Oldaker: Everyone!

What’s your favorite album of all time?

Zydeco: Bob Marley Babylon By Bus.

Oldaker: There are too many to pick justone. I guess I might pick Benny Goodman Live at Carnagie Hall 1937-38 Jazz Concert with Gene Krupa, my hero. Also, Lush Life … John Coltrane, any bebop record from the ’50s and early ’60s, anything that came out of the Mississippi Delta…..blues all the late ’60s and early ’70s music from England and the USA. I like most all music and don’t really have a top 10 list. I love it all and respect it all.

Where do you buy your music?

Zydeco: I like the good independent stores like Waterloo in Austin because I’m an independent kind of guy, you know what I mean? Also the big stores with a big selection like Virgin, Barnes and Noble, Borders and Tower.

Oldaker: Available at fine retail stores in your area or online !!

What was the song that made you realize you wanted to be in music?

Zydeco: Any of Fats and Little Richard, they were my heroes, and I loved their piano playing and wanted to play like them.

Oldaker: A couple of songs got me going early on: “Sing, Sing, Sing” by Benny Goodman with a mighty fine drum boogie from Krupa, “Peppermint Twist” by Joey Dee & The Starlighters, and the one that got me going was the The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show 1964. I saw that and said, “I want to be on that show one day,” and I was – in 1971 with Phil Driscoll.

What musicians influenced you most?

Zydeco: Fats and Little Richard, and of course, Clifton Chenier.

Oldaker: I grew up listening to every type of music I could find from jazz, rock, country, blues, African, reggae, Indian. Basically, I was influenced not by any one in particular, but by listening and understanding all groups of music which allowed me to develop my own style of playing. I had tremendous respect for all the artists and musicians I grew up listening to.

What’s your desert island CD?

Zydeco: Probably a Fats Domino best of collection or a Marley collection.

Oldaker: Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.

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