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Gene Krupa was born in Chicago Illinois on January 15 1909 He was the youngest son of Bartley and Ann Krupas nine children His father died when Gene was very young and his mother worked as a milliner to support the family All of the children had to start working while still young Gene was only eleven His brother Pete worked at Browns Music Company and secured Gene a job there as a chore boy Gene started out playing the sax in grade school but took up drums at age 11 since they were the cheapest item in the music store where he and his brother worked I used to look in their wholesale catalog for a musical instrument - piano trombone cornet - I didnt care what it was as long as it was an instrument The cheapest item was the drums 16 beans I think for a set of Japanese drums a great high wide bass drum with a brass cymbal on it a wood block and a snare drum Klauber 86 His parents were very religious and had groomed Gene for the priesthood He spent his grammar school days at various parochial schools and upon graduation went to St Josephs College for a brief while Genes drive to drum was too strong and before long he gave up the idea of ever becoming a priest In 1921 while still in grammar school Gene joined his first band The Frivolians He obtained the position of drummer for the band as a fluke when the regular drummer was sick The band played during summers in Madison Wisconsin Upon entering high school in 1923 Gene became buddies with the Austin High Gang which included many musicians who would eventually be on Genes first recording session Jimmy McPartland Jimmy Lannigan Bud Freeman and Frank Teschemacher In 1925 Gene began his percussion studies with Roy Knapp Al Silverman Ed Straight Under advice from others
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