behind the scenesWhen I think of recent weeks here at Behind The Scenes it makes me want to thank the people who just put on the recent mind-blowing PASIC show in Indianapolis. What an event. The classes, clinics, performances, concerts, and exhibits were all first-rate.

It Takes A Village To Raise A Convention

Out of curiosity, I wrote to Percussive Arts Society director Joshua Simonds to see how many employees of PAS and volunteers were involved in putting the event together. It turns out that just about 300 cool humans help to put on the event. That number includes the staff, volunteers, logistics team, board members, committee members, and other key personnel to help things run smoothly. But it hardly stops there.

Drum companies also send a few dozen personnel to handle artist relations, schlep all the gear, and set up all the clinics. Many more come to run the exhibit booths. The convention center has dozens or hundreds of staff as well. I ran into a small platoon of people in a back room staging area who were busy offloading all the food that goes toward feeding 5,000 or 6,000 hungry drummers. Really, if you think about it, for us to attend an event like this we depend on thousands of people, from the airline crew that flies us, to the hotel staff that keeps us housed, to taxi drivers, cops, restaurant workers, and many more keeping our little corner of the world going around. To everyone involved, from the biggest star artists to the team behind the counter at the coffee bar (you know who you are): Thanks.

Also, I’d like to thank Lipushiau. Why not? She was a Mesopatamian priestess who lived in the city-state of Ur in 2380 BC. She was the first drummer in history for whom we have a name. Her image tells us the role of drumming and music was just as important then as it is now. I’m sure she rocked. On this Thanksgiving, I’d like to remember the late Layne Redmond, the author and obsessive drummer-scholar who made the ancient female history of drumming come alive for so many people. She also was an awesome musician who reminds me that civilization, as well as music, is pushed ahead by relentless, curious souls who want to know more and do more.

Keepers Of The Dream, Keepers Of The Flame

I also want to thank and congratulate all the recent Drummies! winners. At PASIC, Drum! editor Nick Grizzle had a chance to congratulate many of them in person. These are the people who make the gear you can’t live without. Peer recognition is a big driver of everything we do in our lives, both personal and professional. It’s important. A product manager who toils away with a team for two years to deliver a new product is delighted to know that someone out there, like all of you who voted, thinks he or she did a good thing. [Editor’s note: The gratitude expressed when we handed out the awards still puts a smile on my face a week later. Drum people are the best people.]

Zildjian swept several cymbal awards: (L to R) Debbie Zildjian, Sarah Hagan, Director of Artist Relations; Christian Lyman, Cymbal Innovation Specialist;  Paul Francis, Director of Cymbal Innovation’ John Stephans, President.


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A lot of times an established company is limited in what it can do that is really new. Paul Francis of Zildjian pointed out that the company doesn’t make radical changes to the Zildjian K line. The fans look at Zildjian as keepers of a flame. The responsibility for the K line is not given to them, it’s entrusted. So he was gratified that the K Sweet models introduced in 2018 were such a hit with players, and not perceived as something that pushed the line too far from tradition.

Heading Yamaha’s ace drum team: Steve Fisher and Joel Tetzlaff.

Ditto for Yamaha, the company that seemingly makes every type of instrument and every category of musical gear. Steve Fisher talked about how every product that carries the Yamaha name reflects on every other product. Even though Yamaha motorcycles and Yamaha pianos are separate companies, a good experience with one of them impacts all the others. Hats off to all the winners of the 2018 Drummies! Gear Awards.

Pearl’s Malletstation was one of the most innovative products of the year. Matt Jordan, Chris Flatt, Steve Armstrong and Nick Grizzle, editor of DRUM!

Ludwig Crew: Jim Catalano, Rob André, Josh Touchton. Love that raw brass.

Tama’s pedal award presentation. DRUM!’s Nick Grizzle, Product Designer Masaki Mizuno, and Sales Strategist John Palmer.

Remo won for their Colortone heads. Left to right: Nick Grizzle, President Brock Kaericher, VP Bob Yerby.

Sabian’s FRX won. Cymbal maestro Mark Love, with Bob Rupp, and Nick Grizzle of DRUM!

A&F drums team of Chris and Zack with DRUM! senior ad rep Ref Sanchez.

Sonor wins. Product maven Gary Ingraffia with Nick.

Vic Firth team: Chuck, AnnMarie, and Andy, won for best new pedal accessory (beater).

Coopergroove won for their stick design: Carlo Cooper with Ref Sanchez.

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