Trixon: A Strange Tale Of An Odd Drum Set

According to modern drum mythology, a young lad named Ringo walked into Drum City in London, with a pocketful of money, fully intending to buy a drum kit – probably a Trixon. He had recently returned from Hamburg, where he had been playing with his new band, the Beatles. However, he had been to Hamburg before with other bands and he was well acquainted with Trixon drums. He had been playing a set of Premier (just like most of the other blokes back home) and he fancied something different.

Ivor Arbiter, the owner of Drum City, was the exclusive agent and importer for Trixon drums in the U.K. However, Arbiter had just recently acquired the sole U.K. distributorship for Ludwig Drums from America. The Trixon line was already selling pretty well, and Arbiter had gotten Freddy Marsden, the drummer from the popular band Gerry And The Pacemakers, to purchase a set. But Arbiter had just received his first display kit of Ludwig (in Oyster Black Pearl) and he felt like he really needed to give his newly-acquired line a push. In a masterful bit of salesmanship, Arbiter convinced Ringo to buy a kit of Ludwigs, based on their comparative rarity in England and the supposed superiority of American manufacturing. So swayed was young Ringo by the salesman’s pitch, that he special-ordered a front bass drumhead with a Ludwig logo that was larger than what was typically offered. But that is another story.

How different would our lives be if Ringo had appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” behind a Trixon Speedfire kit?

In the first few years of the Beatles’ worldwide popularity, they were well known for using Vox amplifiers and occasionally Vox guitars. St. Louis Music Supply Co., the licensed importer of Trixon drums for the U.S., presumably hoped to cash in on this by leasing the Vox name from the Thomas Organ Co. and, by agreement with Trixon, renamed a majority of their Trixon imports “Vox.” The plan was not a success, and Trixon/Vox did not achieve much popularity in the U.S. as a result. The kits were too bizarre, cheap looking, and not hip enough, and there was just too much competition from all of the U.S. drum makers operating at the time. By the late 60’s, Trixon/Vox had lost most of its appeal, both here and abroad, even though the drums were briefly endorsed by Buddy Rich. A story circulates that St. Louis Music Supply Co., during the “Back To The Land” wood-hued 1970’s, was literally throwing unused Trixon/Vox kits into the dumpster because nobody – not even the stores – wanted them.

The Trixon company ceased drum set production and somehow managed to linger on until its demise in 1977, specializing in children’s mallet and percussion instruments. But there is one final Trixon story. Herr Weimer, the company’s founder, became rather eccentric in his old age. During his lifetime, he had amassed an extensive personal collection of his own products, including drum sets. When he died several years ago, under direction of his will, heavy earth-moving equipment was called in to drive over and crush his collection of Trixon sets and memorabilia. It was then all buried in a landfill outside of Hamburg.

What will archaeologists make of that site in several thousand years?

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