Glen "Bummer the Drummer" Ward was born in Fayette, Missouri in 1947. He studied music and learned to play the clarinet, saxophone, and sousaphone in Fayette High School. Along the way he also learned to play the drum kit, conga drums, the resonator bottleneck acoustic guitar and the electric guitar as well as the electric bass guitar.
As fate would have it, the drum kit and conga drums turned out to be his predominant instruments of choice, with his guitar work following a close second. As the story goes, the nickname "Bummer" came from family and friends who gave him the name because of a brief stint he spent as a youngster as a prizefighter. They stole the 'Brown Bomber" nickname from legendary heavy weight champion prizefighter Joe Louis, shortened it to Bomber and immediately corrupted the pronunciation into what we now know as Bummer. Naturally in later years when the drumming and singing came into being, the name "Bummer the Drummer" was the end
Bummer started touring in the mid-sixties at the time when "soul music" was taking the world by storm. He cut his formative teeth touring and playing covers of the great soul artists like Wilson Picket, Don Covay, Percy Sledge, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave and the king himself, James Brown, to name a few. Horn bands were in big demand, so you had to hit the stage singing and playing hot arrangements with a horn section doing choreography.
Bummer cut his teeth covering the drum parts of these great soul artists, and by now he had become a lead singing drummer as well, Paying his dues, building up his chops Bummer was in the trenches playing the infamous
Many miles and more dues later, Bummer started doing freelance work and in 1968 he landed a gig in New York City and was living in a second floor apartment in Greenwich Village on the corner of Bleaker and McDougal streets. He had been hired to play in the backup band for "Roulette Records" folk recording artist "Don Cooper". That gig included playing showcases, nightclubs and festivals playing on shows with "The James Cotton Blues Band", female folk legend "Joni Mitchell", and folk artist "Tim Hardin (who wrote the "Bobby Daren" million seller song "If I Were a Carpenter"). Contractual obligations for that gig came to an end in 1971, so Bummer left for greener pastures and moved to Columbia, MO. He hooked up with folk guitarist "Jack Williams" and the two of them headed to Summit County and Breckenridge, Colorado.
By 1973 Bummer was in Los Angeles, California recording with RCA Records with another legendary song writer "Harry Nilsson" and producer "Richard Perry". Richard Perry is best know for producing "Barbara Streisand", "Tiny Tim", "Carly simon", "Art Garfunkle", "Derek & The Dominos" (featuring Eric Clapton), and "Johnny Mathis".
The recording sessions at RCA Records gave Bummer the priceless opportunity to record and sing two of his own songs, (Uncle Roody's Pipe and Afraid to Tell Ya So) and have them produced by Harry Nilsson for "Nilsson House Productions". Those sessions had Richard Perry as engineer with backing vocals by "Sally (hot lips) Kellerman" of "Mash" movie fame, "Mickey Dolans" of the "Monkeys", and comedienne "Albert Brooks".
The proverbial record deal with RCA Records got shelved due to some corporate shuffling, so undaunted, Bummer took his tapes and moved on.
The next few years found Bummer doing more freelance work. As 1977 rolled around Bummer was back in Missouri living in Kansas City, MO, where he started his own horn band, "The Kansas City Streetband" consisting of guitar, bass, drums, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. Bummer and the streetband worked the Kansas City, MO nightclub circuit and toured extensively throughout the Midwest. The band developed a reputation as a top-notch "rock n soul" act playing cover songs interspersed with originals, mostly written by Bummer. As the word spread Bummer got called and asked to be musical director for "Mr. Birds and Bees Jewel Akens". He accepted the gig and Bummer and his band began touring across the country with the streetband opening, doing inside sets and playing for the "Jewel Akens Oldies Show Tribute to The Coasters ".
Since The Kansas City Steetband's inception Bummer and the band have evolved into a dynamic "rock n soul" force that has toured all over the USA, playing nightclubs, concerts and music festivals. Bummer and his band have opened shows for blues guitar legends "John Lee Hooker", Buddy Guy", "Albert King", and "Robert Cray" as well as harmonica virtuoso "Charlie Musselwhite", and "The Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor".
"Bummer the Drummer and The Kansas City Streetband" brings to the stage the kind of intensity and showmanship that can only be attained by years of touring. They have released two compact discs and have a third set to be released sometime later this year. Bummer and the streetband delight audiences everywhere, playing the "in the pocket grooves", "hard driving blues shuffles", "danceable upbeat funk" and some of the best "ballads" this side of heaven.
Recently Bummer has put together an optional "Deluxe Kansas City Streetband" consisting of five horns, keyboards, guitar, bass, conga / percussion and drum kit. This ten-piece "deluxe unit" is also available for bookings as well as the six-piece unit. With either unit you will get the same top-notch show. It doesn't take long to realize that "Bummer the Drummer and The Kansas
City Streetband" is truly the "Hard-edged Rock n Soul of the Midwest".