Former George Jones, Johnny Paycheck Drummer, Big Arnie, Has Died

Former George Jones, Johnny Paycheck Drummer, Big Arnie, Has Died | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos


Roland ‘Big Arnie’ Adams has passed away at the age of 86.

Arnie grew up around Greenfield, Ohio, the birthplace of Donald Eugene Lytle, also known as Johnny Paycheck. Arnie and his brothers, Don and Gary, met Lytle when he was just 4 years old. A friendship instantly formed and the boys eventually started playing music together in their teens. One of the places the boys would play was called The Club 28 which was owned by Paul Angel, a local music fan. This connection with Paul Angel eventually made Johnny Paycheck and The Adams Brothers famous.

Angel had a recording studio in the basement of his home where Johnny Paycheck recorded his first album with The Adams Boys backing him up. Adams and his brothers eventually became Johnny Paycheck’s touring band. Paycheck was not very well-known at the time, and he was trying hard to get his big break any way he could. George Jones had a few hit records, but the up-and-comer did not have a touring band. Paycheck pitched the idea to Jones that he should hire them, and Jones agreed. The Adams Boys became The Jones Boys, with Arnie on the drums, Gary on lead guitar, Don playing bass and rhythm guitar, and Paycheck playing pedal steel and bass. This was a turning point for Jones, Paycheck and the Adams brothers.

In the mid-1960s, Arnie and his brothers recorded with Jones on The Race Is On album.

The Jones Boys recorded with George Jones on his album called The Race Is On. This was actually out of the ordinary at the time because most albums were recorded by studio musicians not touring musicians. I guess that goes to show how talented the Adams Boys really were. Pappy Dailey also recorded an album with the Adams Boys, George Jones, and Buddy Emmons. The album, George Jones Live in Texas 1965, is arguably the best live recording of The Jones Boys.

Roland achieved some notable accomplishments in the music industry over the course of his life.

“To say Arnie led a colorful life would be an understatement. He had a long life of love and adventure. His early years were filled with music as he and his brothers, Don and Gary, formed the core of what was widely considered one of the best country bands in the industry. That is attested to by the fact that at varying times they were the touring backup band for nearly every country star of the day, including George Jones, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and of course, lifelong friend Johnny Paycheck,” says the musicians obituary.

Adams was featured in episodes of the Mike Judge Cinemax series “Tales From the Tour Bus,” and he was recently honored with the presentation of The Ameripolitan Music Awards “Founders of the Sound” award in Memphis, Tennessee and induction into the Ohio Country Music Hall of Fame.

 “Following his retirement from the road and the grind of being a traveling musician, he gave his life over to Christ. It was then that he received the fulfillment that he sought. His remaining years were devoted to his family and his other great passion, breeding and training paint and quarter horses. He was a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan and rarely missed a game,” his obituary reads.

Roland loved reminiscing on decade-old stories, even telling of what George Jones referred to as “the wild times.” “Though the frequency of “the wild times” diminished with age, his love and devotion to family and friends never did. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him,” his obituary continues.

Arnie passed away in the comfort of his home surrounded by friends and family.

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