On January 8th Ramon Sampson was crowned as winner of the 2009 Drum-Off. Performing in front of a capacity crowd at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theater the 19-year old form Cordova, Tennessee beat out all finalists to earn more than $40,000 in prizes and gear, and earn the title of Guitar Center Drum-Off champion. Ramon was chosen by a panel of judges that featured some of today's most respected and distinguished drummers including the legendary Peter Erskine (Steely Dan), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Drew Hester (Foo Fighters / Joe Walsh), Thomas Lang, Jason Sutter (Chris Cornell), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp / Sessions Legend), John Tempesta (The Cult), Tony Royster Jr. (Jay-Z), Nisan Stewart (Jamie Foxx / 50 Cent) and Ray Luzier (Korn).
Hosted by Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), the Drum-Off finals also paid homage to the drum greats of past, present, and future and featured exclusive performances by many of today's drumming elite. The evening began with a collaboration by Danny Carey (Tool) and Brann Dailor (Mastodon), followed by the Drum-Off finals where the top five undiscovered drummers in the nation competed for the drum world's ultimate prize. Following the Drum-Off finals was a performance by Jason Bonham and special guests Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple) and Joe Bonamassa as they paid tribute to his father, the legendary John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. Next came a performance from drum legend Billy Cobham, who was inducted into Guitar Center's Drum Legends. The finals culminated in with Tommy Lee and the Street Drum Corps' Frank Zummo presentation of "BEZERK." The wild production, exclusively commissioned by Guitar Center, featured some of the world's most accomplished drummers including a phenomenal duet by Max Weinberg (Bruce Springtsteen's E-Street Band / NBC's The Tonight Show) and his son Jay Weinberg, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sorum (Guns 'N Roses, Velvet Revolver), José Pasillas (Incubus), Abe Cunningham (Deftones), DJ Aero, Sully Erna (Godsmack), BANG! and more.
Your host, Stephen Perkins, left, and Brann Dailor of Mastodon.
The evening’s competition was the culmination of months of local and regional competitions held at each of Guitar Center’s 214 stores across the country – competitions that resulted in selecting the top five undiscovered drummers in the nation from nearly 5,000 competitors. As Guitar Center’s Drum-Off champion, Ramon takes home a grand prize package worth more than $40,000 including $25,000 cash, a Roland TD-25 electronic drum kit, a custom designed drum kit by Tama, a set of custom signature cymbals from Zildjian, drum, stick, cymbal, and drum head endorsement deals. along with a VIP appearance @ NAMM 2010 and a Monster Energy Drink endorsement deal.
In the crowd. Peter Erskine, left and John Tempesta.
Jason Bonham and family.