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Megalithica Books Catalogue

Russell Buddy Helm

Russell Samuel Buddy Helm, born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, began his musical studies at the age of eight in Elkhart, Indiana, east of Chicago, close to musical instrument manufacturers like Selmer saxophone and Ludwig drums. Buddy’s first drum teacher was Alleen Trafford, a woman known for turning out exceptional drummers. Buddy earned many medals in rudimental drumming and national championships in drum and baton corps competition.

His family moved to central Florida when he was thirteen where he concentrated on blues, country, folk, salsa, Caribbean and rock n roll. He toured the South with many great musicians and recorded for several labels including Atlantic records, and released two albums on Capricorn/no exit records with his band Bethlehem Asylum, a psychedelic folk rock jazz ensemble with sax player Charlie Dechant who plays with Hall and Oates. Buddy performed with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley.

He moved to California in 1971, working with Frank Zappa, briefly then recorded and toured with Tim Buckley through England, Europe and the States. After Tim’s murder in 1975 Buddy left LA. attending San Jose State, focusing on conceptual performance Fine Art. He returned to LA working in film and television, on the first live rock show, “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, recording with blues legends, Big Joe Turner and Mike Bloomfield, and composing a rock opera for Peter Brown from Apple records. He drummed on Ron Howard’s first movie, “Grand Theft Auto”, composing for art performance events.

Rusell was in the first Punk New Wave era in LA appearing in the documentary, “Decline of Western Civilization” and in “Jeckyle and Hyde-Together Again” a rock comedy for Paramount pictures. He worked on “New Wave Theater” USA cable with Peter Ivers who was also murdered in a downtown loft in 1982. He video documented Hollywood nightlife, “At Sunset” precursor to MTV, shown at the Kennedy center National Festival of the Arts, Washington D.C. in 1984. KROQ aired his single, “Dancing on the Titanic”. He wrote the Star Wars comic strips for George Lucas syndicated in over three hundred newspapers. He was archivist for the Playboy Channel then Post Production supervisor at Lorimar Telepictures for Knotts Landing, Falconcrest, Dallas, and Hunter. Tim Buckley’s widow reappeared with a bootleg of their live 1973 show at Knebworth Festival. He secured royalties for Tim’s widow and orphan, quit the film business, traveled to Bali, Indonesia, received an exorcism of sorts, then returned to teach healing drums at Cathy Javier’s Seasons in Santa Monica. He drummed with master African drummer Olatunji, taught drumming meditation in Nagoya, Japan and developed healing drumming using African djembes with simple rhythms based on the New Orleans Downbeat as the healing anchor note for rhythmic reprogramming. He produced a public access drumming TV show.

Streaming on, his website is Other books and recordings include: “Way of the Drum” on Llewelllyn, and “No Second Chance”, a Martial Arts Drumming CD for Dan Inosanto, (Bruce Lee’s partner). Russell Buddy Helm continues to drum, write, perform and tour, teaching Helmtone Healing Drum Protocols around the world.

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