1. Ludwig Team Position and Time Served:
Current position: Percussion Business Manager. Also served as served as Marketing Manager and Director of Marketing since 1983. First started in the percussion industry with Premier Drums in 1978, Slingerland Drums from 1981 - 1983.2. Things you love about your job:
All I ever really wanted to be was a drummer and percussionist. This job is more of a "calling" than a "job." I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to turn my avocation into a vocation. Plus I have seen the world in my years at Ludwig. I like to say that because of Ludwig, I have walked along The Great Wall of China, sailed down the canals of Venice and scaled to the Top of Europe in The Alps. Plus I have met so many great drummers and business associates from around the world, all united by Ludwig Drums.3. Challenging aspects:
Challenging aspects of the job are time pressures, to many meetings, constant change and time away from family. Plus keeping current on trends is a challenge, as I get older. This is the entertainment, technology and fashion industry, all rolled into one.4. Drumming experience, and how it all started:
I was originally a trumpet player in 4th grade. Then in 5th grade on February 9th, 1964, I saw and heard Ringo Starr of The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan TV Show. That was it. I told my folks right there, that I wanted to be a drummer, wanted to play Ludwig Drums and said, "I can do that." So... I did. Not many people can follow through on their dreams that were developed at 10 years old, but I'm one of the lucky ones.5. Were there any experiences before you came to Ludwig that you feel prepared you for what you do now?
There are many experiences in drums, music and education that prepared me for my career at Ludwig. Being a percussionist in the school band, playing snare in drum corps and playing drum set in local garage bands in my native Pennsylvania, prepared me for what I do today. But I also took percussion very seriously and earned a BS in Music Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Music from The University of Notre Dame. Being a complete percussionist as a drummer, mallet percussionist, hand percussionist and timpanist were all goals of achievement. To this day, I continue as an active performing percussionist. While at Notre Dame for grad school I learned much about business and I met several people from the music industry. This smoothed the way to one day earn an opportunity in the music industry. One of those people was Jim Coffin, who worked for Selmer / Premier Drums. He gave me my first break and to this day is my mentor. I owe him so much. He taught me to keep a sense of humor, work smart and have passion for this business.6. Most memorable experiences while "on duty" with Ludwig:
In my 30 years at Ludwig, I've experienced so many moments. One highlight was coordinating drums for the 1984 LA Olympic Games. Meeting Ringo Starr was a major highlight too. I also once got to sit behind Neil Peart's Ludwig Kit at an arena in the late 80's and take it for a spin. I got to "trade 4's" in Europe once with Nick Mason (Pink Floyd), Joe Morello and Max Weinberg, all at the same time. But I think the most impactful aspect of my Ludwig experiences were the times spent learning from "The Chief", William F. Ludwig II. We traveled the world together and I got to know the stories behind the stories from the original source. He had a profound positive impact on my 3 decades now at Ludwig. You could say, "I got to walk with a legend" and I am forever grateful.7. Current Drumming Gig outside Ludwig:
I am a very active drummer and musician in the Northern Indiana region. I play vibes in my own jazz quintet called VibeNation. I am also a big band drummer in 2 area big bands, Truth in Jazz and Jazz Assemblage. Plus I love being a jazz combo drummer and playing drums in the praise band at my church. I even keep up my symphonic percussion chops by performing in area symphony orchestras and with a symphonic concert band. I even enjoy playing hand percussion accompanying area guitarists in their casual coffee shop gigs. If there's music and percussion needed, I'm there. It keeps me young, active, relevant and connected to the market.8. Favorite "Ludwig Era" of drum making:
I can honestly say, that the current era is the time in which I feel the most confident about Ludwig Drums as far as design, quality, products, staff and marketing. This does not take away from the "glory years" of Ludwig in The Beatles Era of The 60's, but we make drums so much better today than we did in that era or the 70's or 80's. Technology helps, but our current craftsmen, a brilliant design engineer and visionary marketing / sales staff are really focused on quality, process and serving the customer. We have a "perfect storm" of the "right team."9. Strangest thing that has happened on the job:
I guess the strangest thing that happened to me while at Ludwig was when I first joined Ludwig I was informed early on that I was in charge of the brand. This was in 1984 and I was 30. I kind of did not expect to be in that position until I earned some more stripes and experience. But now years later, it all worked out.10. Do you collect Ludwig Drums? Favorite Piece:
I've been collecting Ludwig Drums since 1983. My favorite is a "Ludwig & Ludwig" Mahogany Shell Dual Snare that "The Chief" gave to me. But I also have a few 1st run proto-type snares and a good collection of Engraved Black Beauty Snares from several eras. I also collect rope drums.11. Your current playing set-up, and what you dig about it:
As a jazz drummer my current set up is as follows: Super Classic Series Maple Drums in Cherry Stain; 14x18" Kick, 12x14" Floor, 8x12" Tom, 5x14" Super Classic 3 ply Maple Snare. As I age, I don't see this set up changing from here on out. It works for every musical performance experience. "It's the sound.....man."12. Favorite concerts/gigs featuring a Ludwig Artists:
In my 30 years and counting with Ludwig, I've been to 100's of concerts featuring Ludwig artists. I can't even tell you which ones stand out. It was an honor to witness them all. We have some amazing drummers playing Ludwig Drums.13. What drew you to Ludwig?
What drew me to Ludwig Drums are the artists that played them, like Ringo Starr. Plus Ludwig is a heritage American brand and there is a definite sound of Ludwig Drums that appeals to me. That's it.14. What, to you, makes Ludwig unique?
Ludwig is an American Brand with professional drums "Made in the USA." Ludwig was founded in 1909 making it almost 104 years old. Ludwig was founded as a family business and we treat it the same way today. We are a family of drummers making drums for drummers.15. Any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about?
Upcoming projects that I am really excited about include the rounding out of our Atlas Hardware accessories, drum mounting systems and add-ons. I told our Design Engineer, Josh Allen that if Bill Ludwig Senior or The Chief were alive today, they would be very impressed. So there, without spilling more about what is coming, let's just say to the market.... this will be a game changer.16. Who are you major drumming influences?
Of course today I am more of a jazz drummer, but I was highly influenced in my development by Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Ed Shaughnessy, Joe Morello, Roy Haynes and Louie Bellson. But bringing it to this era, my influences today are Butch Miles, Clayton Cameron, Peter Erskine & Jeff Hamilton. Not all of them play Ludwig, but I admire their drumming anyway.17. What are your five favorite albums (drumming or otherwise)?
I have 3,500 tunes on my Ipod currently. To narrow it down to 5 albums is problematic because I like so many, but here we go.