Friday, August 23, 2013

Drum World Misses A Beat: Joseph F. Pulice, Sr. May 19, 1928-August 18, 2013

If you play drums and grew up in Southeast Wisconsin during the 1970s or 1980s odds are pretty good you learned how to play from "Papa" Joe Pulice or at least had some lessons at his drum store, Pulice Music Unlimited in Racine.  A member of the Drum and Bugle Corps and Racine Music Halls of Fame, the beloved drum instructor and big band drummer passed away on Sunday, August 18, 2013, in Racine, following a brief illness. Joe Sr. was 85 years old.

Although a talented drummer who played part time professionally for over 60 years, Joe Sr. first love was teaching others to play the instrument he loved.  In an interview with the Racine Journal Times in December of 1999, Pulice reminisced about his music store:

"At one time, I had 11 teachers there and up to 90 drum students overall. Personally, I had 45 students per week at one time."

First and foremost among Pulice's talented and successful students are two of his three sons, Mark, long time drummer for Carmen McCrae and his youngest son, Joe who played in Woody Herman's Thundering Herd as well as  a veritable who’s who of music greats as one of the top on call drummers in the Twin Cities. 
Joe Sr.'s  other notable students include Victor  DeLorenzo of the Violent Femmes, Darrel Damrow of Dead Fly Boy and Level and Don Baldwin of Harry James and Frank Sinatra fame .
To read further about the life of Joseph Pulice Sr. along with quotes from his students and friends see Lee B. Roberts article in the Journal Times “Drummer remembered for his skill and his generosity”.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, August 24, 2013, at 11 a.m. at St. Rita Catholic Church, 4339 Douglas Ave.  Private interment with Full Military Honors will be held at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans' Memorial Cemetery, Town of Dover, at a later date.  Relatives and friends may meet with the family Friday at the funeral home from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. (Roma Lodge service at 6 p.m.) and Saturday at the church from 10 a.m. until time of Mass at 11 a.m.

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