The story of ‘Seinfeld’ and the famous Buddy Rich tapes

The famous Buddy Rich tapes went viral before there was an Internet. Rich, who today is regarded as one of the best Big Band drummers the world has ever seen, would perform with his bands onstage and when they didn’t play up to his standard he would take them back to the tour bus and berate them. But it wasn’t just yelling.

They were the type of rants that would inspire Rich to get into a groove of pure, vitriolic rage. It’s easy to picture him standing at the front of the bus absolutely blowing his stack and reminding himself of other things that annoyed him, then go into a violent spasm about that, too.

Well, one of his band members – maybe more, no one is quite sure of the exact details – had the good sense to start recording Rich when he flew off the handle. The tapes was passed around and somehow made its way into the ears of Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, who used the recordings as a source of inspiration for Seinfeld. The comic rage was put to good use in “The Opposite” (when George discovers every instinct he’s ever had is wrong), “The Understudy” (where Elaine hires Frank Costanza to translate what the Korean women are saying about her) and “The Butter Shave” (when Jerry intentionally bombs onstage to sabotage Bania).

Below is some of the audio from Rich’s ranting followed by Jerry’s explanation of he used it for the show.

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