Theus was born in Los Angeles on the first day of summer in 1952. By the time he was twelve, he had played the flute, violin, trumpet, and piano before deciding that the drums were his true calling. At sixteen Sonship recorded an album and began a long-running house gig at an L.A. jazz club with pianist Larry Nash, a schoolmate. While still in school, Theus began getting calls to play with jazz artists like saxophonist John Klemmer. Another sax great, Charles Lloyd, called Theus’s mother and told her that as soon as the young drummer graduated, he wanted to take him on the road. Sure enough, once Sonship was done with school, he joined Lloyd, playing with him on and off for eleven years.
Among the qualities that made Theus unique was his unrelenting energy. He insisted that his intensity and volume—a classic image shows him stretching to play his high-mounted China cymbals—had nothing to do with insensitivity or an attempt to overwhelm the music. Rather, he made a literal connection between his aggressive approach and Psalm 150 of the Bible, which states that God likes to be praised with “high-sounding cymbals.”
Though this sounds like the behavior of an irrational or self-centered person, people close to Sonship knew him as an intelligent, sensitive, giving, sane musicianSince the early 1980s, Sonship had battled kidney problems and spent a good amount of time on dialysis, though he continued performing and recording long after most others would have given up. Eventually he succumbed to his health issues, but not before leaving an indelible mark on every musician he played with and befriended.
This was a very special interview. I wasn't able to do a part 2 with Sonship, but stay in contact with other and consider him a friend. He Is truly miss, This interview was recorded in the mid 80's at KLXU radio station in LA, CA.
songs in order 1 "The Greeting" McCoy Tyner, 2 Horace Tapscott Live, 3 "Eric Tunes" Henry Franklin 4, "Winds Through the Tree" Charles LLoyd
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