1. Ludwig Team Position and Time Served:
Product and Artist Relations Manager; 4.5 years.2. Things you love about your job:
The fact that I would never believe it if I weren't living it. I get to work for the most iconic name in drums, working with the most iconic drummers in drums, and have a direct impact on the drums that will shape the lives of players worldwide. Knowing that the product you have created will have a place in the playing history of players is such an amazing thing to fathom, and I am blessed to be able to do it for a living. And I love the Ludwig Team; there is an amazing brotherhood that exists with the guys in this crew, and with the drummers we work with.3. Challenging aspects:
The fact that we don't have more time to give to everyone in the fold. We fully realize what a brand like this means to drummers, and how much they want to be as much a part of it, as it is to them. That is a responsibility we take really seriously, and we literally work around the clock to be worthy of it. One of our goals this year is to build a community for Ludwig drummers, so everyone can have a voice in our future. But, despite Ludwig's appearance as a "Major" drum company, we really have a small crew steering this ship. That is a huge challenge.4. Drumming experience, and how it all started:
Been playing drums since 1986, but always wanted to play drums after seeing Peter Criss, Jay Osmond, and Buddy Rich (on the Muppets!) on TV as a kid. It was cemented for me after seeing Stewart Copeland with the Police (and later, Ringo.) At 12, I started taking lessons from my sister's friend, who owned a Tama Techstar kit (original, analog electronic drums! Awesome.) My uncle Jerry owned a music store and loaned me a 60's-era Japanese Ludwig copy Downbeat kit (I think they were called Cosmo drums, in Pink Strata Pearl!) I made a lot of neighbors really angry with all the noise, but my family was very supportive. My second kit (another Japanese Ludwig Copy, this time a Big Beat in Red Sparkle,) came with a big box of parts, and I did a lot of tinkering to expand my drum set. This is where my love for the gear came out.5. Were there any experiences before you came to Ludwig that you feel prepared you for what you do now?
I managed a drum and guitar store in Salt Lake City in the late 90's, which transitioned into a wholesaler of drums by a company from Taiwan called Peace. After moving to LA to head up their operation and seek 'rock stardom' with my band, I did a lot of networking in the club circuit with drummers, and got a taste of what working with artists is all about. Though my band didn't really 'happen', working with drums and drummers became my true mission.6. Most memorable experiences while "on duty" with Ludwig:
Getting to create the Ludwig 100th Anniversary documentary DVD in 2009. Presenting a Black Beauty to Ringo Starr for his 70th birthday, and later presenting a similar drum to Paul McCartney at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Swapping out the drum kit on Aerosmith's Rock n'Rollercoaster at Disneyworld was a really big deal for me personally, because I love the Disney parks (and Joey Kramer.) Developing Atlas Hardware with Josh Allen last year was pretty awesome, and seeing everyone's reaction to it at the Atlas Event at NAMM 2012 was the icing on that cake. Any interaction I get to have with our artists, dealers, and team members leaves an impression.7. Current Drumming Gig outside Ludwig:
I have been writing and playing music with my pal Jesse Anderegg for over 20 years now. Our project, Checkpoint Charley (in which I sing and play guitar,) gets to play about one gig a year, and is deep in the throws of our second record. For years I played a stand-up drum kit and sang lead for the band, and I played all the drums on the first album, but the new record needed a more solid clock at work, so we got Jim Riley to record all the tracks in Chicago a few months ago (amazing.) Apart from that, I occasionally get to play with KevRock-a-Lano, an acoustic trio with Ludwig's Jim Catalano, and I intend on teaching my son drums when he is old enough.8. Favorite "Ludwig Era" of drum making:
I really like the "Transition" Era of the late 50's, when Ludwig was changing back from the WFL Drum Company. But honestly, Ludwig is making drums today better than it ever has. We are creating some really "next-step" kinda stuff right now for launch in 2013, and taking the word of the working drummer even further into our development process to make sure we are making a truly personal instrument.9. Strangest thing that has happened on the job:
Was visiting an artist who had an opening slot for a major arena tour. When the main act hit the stage, it was plain to see that the drummer was playing a Black Beauty. In trying to speak to the drummer after the show, Security viewed me as a potential breach and I was escorted from the building. Never happened to me before or since.10. Do you collect Ludwig Drums? Favorite Piece:
A 10x15" gold marching snare drum from the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics (one of hundreds coordinated by Jim Catalano,) that was given to me by Bun E. Carlos. Love Ludwig, the Olympics, and Cheap Trick, so that is pretty special. My 100th Black Beauty will never depart from me, and I also have one of five pieces of the LAST 2009 100th Anniversary Gold Triumphal. When the last drum was made, master drumsmith Adrian Kirchler cut it into five pieces, engraved the name of each person that was at our initial meeting on one piece, and sent it to each person. It is humbling to have been a part of these projects and know these people.11. Your current playing set-up, and what you dig about it:
I have a Silver Sparkle Classic Maple Zep Set with a 6.5x14 Supra that I play most often. The thing just oozes tone and power. I tend to hit a little on the heavy side, and these drums match my playing in fine style. I also really like my 8/10/12/14/16/20 Centennial Maple kit for more pocket-based playing.12. Favorite concerts/gigs featuring a Ludwig Artists:
All of them, for certain. Seeing Sting with Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, and being able to listen to Vinnie's mix during the show was pretty amazing. Being on stage with The Roots while Fallon filmed during the Superbowl in Indy this year was a blast. Teching for Jason Bonham and Matt Sorum during the 2010 GC Drum Off Finals at the Wiltern was pretty sweet, and I got to walk the Red Carpet at the 2012 Critic's Choice Awards with John Wicks and Fitz and the Tantrums. Any time I get to visit Ludwig Artists at the CMA Fest and Bonnaroo is always a whirlwind experience.13. What drew you to Ludwig?
The Legacy of such a timeless brand; and Ringo Starr. Joining this team after my previous gig was the equivalent of going from High School Basketball to the NBA Finals, so it was a big adjustment. But the more I learned about the love Ludwig Drummers - from the Vintage Drum community to the modern collector to the session hound - have for their gear, the more I felt a sincere responsibility to be true to the company's roots, and at the same time focus on taking it forward.14. What, to you, makes Ludwig unique?
Making drums is kind of like being a DJ: you draw from what others have done previously and you try to put your own spin on it to make it unique. The fact that we have more than a century of back-catalog and experience to draw from is staggering; but we have by no means hit our peak yet. I also just love the personal touch that goes into the making of each drum. It is all about making everything from square one and making it personal that makes each one a work of art.15. Any upcoming projects that you are particularly excited about?
We are in the middle of developing several big artist collaboration pieces that will be pretty sweet when they are done, but the big one is coming at NAMM 2013. Can't really talk about it just yet, but it really is something players have been waiting for.16. Who are you major drumming influences?
Ringo Starr, Stewart Copeland, Mark Brzezicki, Gary Husband, Phil Gould, Neil Peart, Ben Sesar, Todd Sucherman, Buddy Rich, Vinnie Colaiuta, Andy Sturmer, Eric Skodis, John "Vatos" Hernandez, Dominic Howard17. What are your five favorite albums (drumming or otherwise)?