Couple of days ago, drummer Ami Traibetch passed away suddenly. He was 62 when he left us.
Maybe his name wouldn’t be familiar to most of you out there, but the band he played in, The Churchills maybe familiar to
psych rock fans out there.
The Churchills were a psych band, who released one album in 1969 in Israel, after that they changed their name to Jericho Jones and recorded another album called Junkies, Monkeys and Donkeys which left the psych area and moved into the hard rock territory and they ended their career after another name change – Jericho and released another album, this time it was more prog oriented.
The line up changed throughout the years but Ami Traibetch was there through all the changes.
He was a terrific drummer, a savage in the school of Keith Moon and Ginger Baker yet in Israel he was little known, as he left the music business after Jericho disbanded and opened a meat factory yet remained a cult icon to a small group of people.
I asked Issar Tennenbaum, drummer of Israeli rock band Rockfour, and whom I see as one of the best rock drummers in the world, to say couple of words about Ami. Issar agreed and sent me the following.
Silently, quietly, powerless…
Ami Traibetch, aka The Churchills drummer.
This week, a powerful, little known musician and drummer, passed away quietly.
This legendary drummer was no doubt a big inspiration on me as a musician, and The Churchills (throughout their different phases), as a real band with authentic songs, presence and style, left a big impact on me years after they disbanded.
I was sad to hear about his death. I never met the Israeli drummer who was so close to me mentally and stylistically. I took comfort
of his presence in the audience in one of my gigs. In my soul I dedicated the entire show and couldn’t stop thinking about him
in every drum part I played. It was stressful yet uplifting.
His playing showed influences from John Bonham, Ringo, Ginger Baker and Ian Paice – some of my (and other local rockers in the
end of the 60’s/early 70’s) most admired drummers, as proven in his playing in his bands.
The guy was a fuckin rock star. With reputation of a debut masterpiece, working with Shalom Hanoch and Arik Einstein in their most
fruitful days, worldwide tours with an international level band, opening for Deep Purple in Europe and a legendary show in the Israeli
Chamber Of Culture (Israel’s most known and sacred concert hall – S.T.R) with the Israeli philharmonic orchestra, playing Bach compositions.
Rumors say he quit playing altogether, after Jericho ceased to exist. That he opened a butcher shop. Aside for a few Churchills reunions, no one heard from him or of him.
If I remember correctly, he didn’t even participate in all the reunion shows. People said he’s not well. They said – but no one really knew, and still among the musicians – his name was treated with huge respect.
I had the honor to sit on his chair, behind Danny Shushan (singer of Jericho Jones – S.T.R), three years ago for a number of shows
that brought back the good ol’ days of Jericho, in London. The drum parts were not easy at all, it was a big challenge to revive the times, the spirit and the playing of Traibetch. He left his mark for generations ahead.
From his talent and modesty I learned. An entire generation was between us. Maybe it’s not too late to follow his path.
Rest in peace,
From a fan.
Rockfour – Song From The Sea (The Churchills Cover)
The Churchills plays in Israeli Chamber of Culture
The Churchills – She’s a Woman