Drummer’s departure leaves The Chill with one original

Published 11:45 am Tuesday, May 1, 2012

After 28 years of keeping the beat, a founding member of The Chill is putting down his drumsticks.

Daniel Gilbert of Clinton said Monday that the band’s April 20 performance at RiverFest was his last show with the group he helped form in 1984.

“I thought that would be a good one to end with,” he said.

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During the past year, Gilbert has given a lot of thought to retiring from the drums, he said.

“Drumming is a younger man’s instrument, especially for four hours,” he said Monday.

RiverFest was a fitting farewell show, Gilbert said, because The Chill has played the annual festival 23 times.

While he’s giving up the drums and regular performances with The Chill, Gilbert plans to continue making music.

“I’m not going to leave it totally,” he said. “I’ve been doing it so long.”

The band will introduce its new drummer, David Cummings of Jackson, at a performance from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday at Monsour’s at the Biscuit Company, said bassist John Howard Dennis of Vicksburg.

Cummings is an accomplished drummer who will fit in well with The Chill, Gilbert said.

“I really feel good about his coming in to the band,” Gilbert said.

The Chill has had a lot of previous members who fill in occasionally, and Saturday night will be an example of that, Dennis said.

“I’m going to bring in some of the old Chill members to sit in with us,” Dennis said. One expected to appear Saturday night is Johnny Crocker, who went on to a solo career.

Gilbert won’t be playing this weekend, but he hasn’t ruled out guest appearances in the future.

“I think I can still remember everything after playing it for 28 years,” he said.

The fact that the band is still functioning after three decades is a testament to the friendship of the members, Gilbert said.

“I truly miss those guys,” he said. “Bands that can stay together for any length of time are like a family.”

“We were the only two originals left in the band,” Dennis said of himself and Gilbert.

In the 1970s, Gilbert was a member of Fatback with Dennis and Mark Prewitt, also of Vicksburg. The band eventually added a handful of members and became The Chill.

The six-piece weekend warrior band plays dance shows across the South.