A Los Angeles Diary Part Two
Andrew And Phil's Excellent Trip To Yamaha
- By Phil Hood
- Published November 20, 2012
We got down to LA last week to spend a day with Yamaha, visting their corporate office in the morning and their stellar artist relations facility in Hollywood in the afternoon.
Yamaha's Buena Park, California headquarters houses sales, marketing and corporate offices for all its US divisions, including guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, recording, band and orchestra. Drums have a big room to display all their main offerings for artists and dealers.
Jim Haler and Dave Jewell (lower left) were our hosts. Dave's got a tough job which forces him to get out of his cubicle and demonstrate drum sets every few hours. By the way, that finish is paint, not a wrap.
The beauty of a room like this is that customers can really hear the product in a cleaner listening environment than a typical music store. The oak customs sound amazing when A/B'ed against woods you're more familiar with. Electronic drums and other instruments are demonstrated here as well.
In the back warehouse there are parts, some backline kits, and rare treasures such as kits formerly played by Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes and other greats This was Elvin's last kit, from his final gig in San Francisco.
Some of you may remember that twenty years ago Premier Drums was briefly owned by Yamaha. This tall tom carries a "Made in England" label. Neat purple stain, too.
After a morning in Buena Park, Andrew Lentz and I drove north to Hollywood, to see Yamaha's latest artist services facility. Here they try out prototypes, customize guitars and drums, and generally take care of their artist endorsers.
Greg Crane handles drum set artist relations at the facility; Darryl Anderson is the drum designer who customizes, builds, and prototypes kits.
In the drum room Darryl has set up four drum sets with identical trim. It helps artists evaluate different drums without being swayed by finishes and appearance.
That's not all the drum room holds. In addition to some rare color options we saw an amazing new model that will be introduced in January. We'd show you but Yamaha's security Ninjas take a dim view of product leaks.
DRUM! Assistant Editor Andrew Lentz checks out the artist lounge outside the guitar room. Kitchen (hey, you gotta eat) lower right.
Great drummer (and human) Kirk Covington of Tribal Tech dropped by in mid-afternoon to hang with Greg Crane. A long-time Yamaha endorser, Kirk says, "Endorsements are not just about drums. They're about relationships."
In the back we saw lots of parts and instruments that are kept on the premises. Andrew reminisced about his time playing this 3" piccolo snare with Chick Corea. Oh wait, that wasn't Andrew, that was Dave Weckl!
A Los Angeles Diary: Part One
Our trip to Tycoon, Paiste, and Taye
- By Phil Hood
- Published November 19, 2012
Last week we had the opportunity to spend two days in Los Angeles, visiting manufacturers and artist relations facilities. On Wednesday we landed in Ontario, California and headed off for a day exploring what's new at Tycoon Percussion, Taye Drums, and Paiste Cymbals. Come along, and see what we found.
Last year Tycoon moved into a new larger warehouse in Ontario. This office houses US sales, artist relations, and shipping.
First contact: Nicole Abucejo holds down the marketing coordinator position at Tycoon.
Ivy Yu, shown here at last month's PASIC event, must be about the youngest company President in the DRUM! business. She is responsible for Tycoon's US operation.
Next stop, the conference room, which also houses an artist demo space. By the way, if you ever need a nine-foot tall Khong Yao drum, Tycoon is the place..
One of the best things Tycoon has introduced are high quality, carvings, shavings, and other techniques for finishing their high-end congas.
Tycoon manufactures all its products at its own factory in Thailand. It offers a dazzling array of cajons, including acrylic models.
Into the warehouse. Tycoon's facility is large giving the still-young company room to grow. This is Tycoon Music's 30th year, but as a global percussion brand it is much younger.
No trip would be complete without the ever-popular wall of cajons. Maybe they should rename the warehouse!.
Looking slightly forlorn in a corner of the warehouse, seconds, and artist's instruments in for repair, await attention..
After visiting Tycoon we headed just down the road to Chino, California to visit Todd Trent at Taye Drums. Todd was formerly the music of Ontario Music and now handles marketing for Taye. It's also a woman-run firm: Katy Chen is the US President.
"What is that sweet mirror-finish kit?" you might be wondering. It's one that Taye endorser Charles Streeter used last year on the Jennifer Lopez tour. He's currently out with JLo on the road until January.
After leaving Taye we grabbed a quick bowl of Pho for lunch and headed south to Brea, California, US home of Paiste. From left to right, that's Andrew, Julie, Arturo, Kelly (Paiste), Jace, and April. Paiste's US office includes a warehouse, in-house sales, dealer services, accounting, and artist relations. In short, all these people have pretty cool jobs. Our powerful female theme continues: Erik Paiste, great grandson of the company founder Michael Toomas Paiste, lives in the US but commutes regularly to Switzerland and the Paiste factory. His wife Kelly Paiste works in all phases of the business from store sales to events to being the company ambassador. She's been called the "first lady of cymbals."
In one corner of the warehouse they have a drumset with families of cymbals (Alpha, Signature, etc.) set up for artists to educate themselves on Paiste sounds.
Andrew Shreve who handles marketing explained that though the Twentys have been popular the company has been experimenting with more focused ride sounds, and a wider array of sounds. A dozen rides are setup for testing. We'd love to hang around with our Paiste cohorts but there are stories to file and plans to make. Tomorrow we have to be up early for a daylong visit to two Yamaha locations.
Austin Drummer Wins V-Drums Championship
- By Radim McCue
- Published November 8, 2012
It started with online competitions among hundreds of drumming contestants in June. That was followed by eight regional events held in music stores across the US. And, finally, on Halloween, the Roland V-Drum Championships (US) took place at the Austin, Texas Convention Center, on the eve of the annual Percussive Arts Society Convention.
This event, the third annual US competition, serves to promote the drumming and programming skills of percussionists across the US. Each contestant performs for approximately five minutes, using a Roland TD-30 kit and SPD Sampling Pad. Winners are judged on creative use of the electronics as well as chops. The winner was a hometown boy, Austin's Patrick Kennedy, a band director and drummer who won the judges with a powerful chops-filled but melodic set. In addition to fabulous prizes, he'll represent the US at the V-Drum Finals in Frankfurt, Germany, next March. The runner up was Philip P.J.
Hill. Youngster Ashton Leverett also won a Roland kit.
The show opened with Roland endorser Johnny Rabb playing a scorching set of funk and hip-hop inspired rhythms for the crowd. That was followed by
performances by the eight finalists. While the judges deliberated Thomas Lang came on for a monster set that showed off the authentic acoustic sounds of the V-drums. Thomas played one of the standard Roland drum kits, and just wailed for the audience. Monstrous!
The Roland V-Drums Championships are sponsored in the US by American DJ, DRUM!, DW Hardware, Remo, and Vic Firth, in addition to Roland.
Johnny Rabb played a stylistically diverse, emotional set.
With the lights dancing off the Roland sets, the stage presented a vision of sonic power.
Contestant DeCarlo Davis of Winston-Salem, NC
Eventual contest winner Patrick Kennedy of Austin, Texas.
P.J. Hill was the runner-up.
Thomas Lang was in his usual incredible form.
Master of Ceremonies Tim Root of Roland, with Ashton Leverett.
Tim Root represents his favorite magazine sponsor.
Warbringer and Destruction
Many nu-skool thrash brands tear it up, but we were unprepared for Carlos Cruz of Warbringer. Although super-tight and fast, he dug an impressively deep groove and big sound on a compact setup.
It was back to the old school with German thrash legends Destruction. Vaaver, the fifth in a long line of drummers, looked masterfully in control as he doled out beats from 30 years and 10 albums' worth of tunes.
DRUM! Night 2012 In Slides: A Night To Remember
- By Jordan Liffengren and Phil Hood, Photos by Dave Constantin, all images copyright Enter Music Publishing, Inc. 2012
- Published August 28, 2012
DRUM! Night 2012 was the third annual clinic, concert, and benefit raffle held by DRUM!, in conjunction with San Jose Jazz SummerFest.This year it featured San Jose Taiko, Nate Brown, Street Drum Corps, Tim Yeung, Cora Coleman-Dunham Trio, Kenny Aronoff, Paul Bostaph, and other artists.
San Jose Taiko (http://www.taiko.org) opened the event with a street performance of original compositions.
DRUM! Groove Analysis Video Teacher and Alfred book author Nate Brown, conducted a stick tricks clinic in the lobby prior to the show. Nate runs onlinedrummer.com when he's not playing drums.
Mike Snyder held forth in the Roland V-Drum Lab at the event.
The silent auction (to benefit high school music education) featured snare drums, cymbals, sticks, and recording gear from the sponsors.
The merch table was hopping, thanks to DRUM! staffers Jordan Liffengren (left) and Cristina Strombotne (center).
Street Drum Corps emceed the event, and involved the crowd in their performance.
6. Street Drum Corps in action at the 2012 Drumnight concert.
Street Drum Corps at Drumnight 2012. I can feel it.
Tim Yeung opened his segment of the show with a furious performance.
Tim Yeung came to fame for his work with Morbid Angel and Divine Heresy.
During chats with the crowd, Tim emphasized the role of listening, even when playing at massive decibel levels.
“Music” says Tim Yeung, “is about relationships between musicians and the audience.”
Cora Coleman’s trio, featuring husband Josh Dunham on bass, delivered a high-powered set of funk, jazz, fusion and more.
Cora opened the set with a melodic piece that highlighted the range of her perfectly-tuned set.
Cora Coleman-Dunham in action – an amazing musician.
Keep practicing, kids. Cora Coleman-Dunham at Drumnight 2012
Cora Coleman-Dunham: beauty in motion.
Former Slayer and Testament star Paul Bostaph picked up the 2nd Annual BADAAS (Bay Area Drummers Achievement Awards) presented by Andy Doerschuk of DRUM!
Seeing Kenny Aronoff in the San Jose Repertory Theatre setting – like a small opera hall – was a treat.
Kenny regaled the crowd with tales of playing the Kennedy Center, and the inauguration.
To the students in the crowd, Kenny Aronoff advised, “Hard work is not four years in college. Hard work is your whole life. Everything I got I got through hard work.”
Aronoff is without doubt the only drummer to have played with Fogerty, Dylan, the Stones, John Cougar, and Springsteen, not to mention hundreds more.
Yeah! That's how you do it.
Cora Coleman-Dunham pitched in to draw the raffle prizes, including this Sabian cymbal.
The annual event benefits Lincoln High School music programs. Marian Ross and Yvonne Reddy of Lincoln High accept a sponsor plaque from DRUM!
Backstage after the show, VIP ticketholders hang with the artists. A fan asks Tim Yeung what 260 bpm feels like.
Kenny Aronoff and Louie Bellson’s wife Francine Bellson trade stories.
“You think I'm giving you all my secrets?”
Pre-show dinner: Josh and Cora with DRUM! Publisher Phil Hood
Pre-show dinner. Cora Coleman-Dunham, DW Artist Relations Rep Juels Thomas, and DRUM! Office Manager Cookie Williams