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Gary Doughman: The Extended Cut

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R.I.P. Gary Doughman

"I started my music journey in Weisbaden Germany in 1964. I actually started on guitar in Germany and then after laying eyes on a Red Sparkle Ludwig set that was the end of the guitar as my main focus.  I’m a military brat as my dad was a career Air Force Officer. My older brother was the musician--a guitarist playing mostly surf and contemporary music in the ‘60s. He had a couple bands before I joined him in my first band. Later on we were stationed In Arlington, VA in 1965. After playing in my first band in 1968 I played many styles of music of the day--anything from Bubble Gum Pop to Progressive Rock in the early ‘70s. Then came Fusion Jazz in 1973 and that changed my style and sound completely.


My first professional paying gig was in 1977 with an average local group that didn’t last. I started my professional drumming in 1978 and have played every style in various groups since. My technical development didn’t start until my late teens studying with different teachers anywhere from one lesson to three years and everything in between. On top of playing drums I never stopped playing guitar and added bass playing early in my life. I play both quite a bit with bass as a side professional venture.


Much later I met Michael Feldman at one of his gigs and struck an instant dialogue musically. Much to my surprise he knew some of the musicians I knew locally. This struck up a friendship and musical continuation of our musical chemistry. This led to the formation of Dirty Soul through the introduction of folks from my side of the woods. Plus David Norod and I go back some 45 years and played music together though most of the ‘80s and ‘90s. I met Tish Martinez around 2014 and then met John V shortly thereafter and here we are playing together in Dirty Soul."  - Gary Doughman

Words From Michael Feldman

Last night we lost our good friend, bandmate, and one of the most humble, and gifted people this world has produced, Gary Doughman.

I loved Gary like a brother, though he was also a mentor, father, and friend. The entire time I knew him, I remained in absolute awe of his incredible talent, humility, and spirit.

What I will miss most is his "feel."

Whether on bass, drums, vocals, or in everyday life, he provided a foundation we could always count on; knowing, no matter where something was headed, he would always be right there, exactly where everyone needed him to be. He would interact musically with six people simultaneously and make each person feel that they had his full attention. His musical communication was effortless and yet incredibly poised, studied, and far beyond "playing the song." He filled each song with life, from a thundering storm to the almost imperceptibly gentle, whispered "ting" of the bell on a ride cymbal.

I met Gary multiple times over the years and when we finally had the chance to put a group together, it was magic. He knew exactly what sound we wanted and was the force that brought Tish, David, John, Dave, and me together. The band's original name was literally "Gary's Fault," and at the time I registered the domain name ""

He drove my desire to improve on my instrument, simply to have more opportunities to play with him. I focused on learning new styles and new skills, trying to absorb as much as I could from the man. We talked all the time but usually said nothing, unless it was important. Every show felt like a new present I couldn't wait to open to see what new musical ideas and other goodies he was going to throw into the song this time. On more than one occasion I would stop playing simply to watch him work. It brought me joy beyond measure.

As his health deteriorated, he refused to let it interrupt his love of music. Through surgeries, chemotherapy, and all the other stuff one goes through on these journies, his playing somehow got even better. On the ride home at 3 AM from one of our last gigs together a few months ago, I said, "it kinda weird that you're going through all this shit and still playing better than I've ever seen" to which he replied with a wry smile, consisting of the slightly upturned corner of his lip, and then snoring.

I'm grateful he is at peace now. He will never be far from my heart as he has changed the way I hear and thus play music, forever.

Gary Wayne Doughman - Rest In Peace

Love you,


Words From David Norod

What's on my mind Facebook asks me. The short answer is Gary Doughman who, for those of you who don't already know, passed away Friday night. As you can imagine, I am having a great deal of difficulty trying to process that. I've known Gary since he was 19 years old and he has been my good friend and drummer for well over 40 years, probably closer to 50. Michael Feldman posted an absolutely beautiful eulogy about him yesterday on Facebook. His description of Gary the person and Gary the musician was perfect, so I suggest everyone read it. Everybody who knew Gary loved him and every musician who ever played with him appreciated his talent not only on drums but on bass and guitar too.


Many years ago I explained my banjo style of picking the bass to him and he took it an ran with it. I was actually a bit jealous of him because he was getting all these gigs as a bass player! I owe him so much though, if not for him I never would have met all the Maryland friends I have and all the Maryland musicians I've been so fortunate to play with.


Gary and I have been through a lot together, both personally and professionally. I first met him at Desperados during one of their Sunday jam sessions. I was in the Brad Smiley Band at the time and Gary got up and played a few tunes with us. I knew right then that he had a special gift. A few years later he actually subbed in that band but to this day I just can't recall that. Fast forward a few years and he suggested that Mixed Company audition me when their bass player was let go. I got the gig and over the next 18 years Gary and I crafted a truly memorable rhythm section in that band.


His knowledge of my instrument and my knowledge of his is what made it work so well. He would do a fill and I would climb up under a note to meet it. Or I would start a run coming down on a note and he would be there to finish it. That's the best way I can explain it but it was truly magic. Fast forward several more years and he suggested I join the Jeff Carmella Band which included Larry Patterson who was our keyboard player in the Brad Smiley Band thirty years prior. Through Jeff I met all kinds of musicians and friends of the band which eventually led me to become a member of Dirty Soul. Also during that time, I had orchestrated Gary's joining Off The Record where we played all kinds of horn-driven classic rock together for 8 years. It was an incredible band but eventually ran its course.


Meanwhile, Gary and I subbed out our rhythm section to The Capital Blues Ensemble, Tom Blood's band, Reggie Right Eye's band and we also became part of the Greg Meyer Project. And all because of Gary. Together, we made some fabulous music over the years. After one especially kickass gig with Dirty Soul he told me that I was “a force to be reckoned with”. That was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me, and it meant more than I can possibly explain coming from one of the most humble and most talented human beings I have ever known. God I'm going to miss him.

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