|Kansas City Drum Company
- Kansas City, Missouri |
I want to start by saying thanks to Vaughn and E-Dog at GhostNote
for giving me the opportunity to tell you about Kansas City Drum Company.
And I can't forget my good friend Phil Dorman, of the band Bucksnort,
who has gone above and beyond the the duty of helping hand. Thanks Phil!
started playing drums when I was in high school. It was nothing serious
but I had a good set of Ludwigs and I had a blast. After school I quit
playing drums for a while until I stumbled upon a shop known then as Kansas
City Drum Works. I was looking for a set of used drums and the guy said
he could build them for me. It was love at first sight when I first caught
a glimpse of a raw drum shell. I actually did the finish on that set of
drums and still have them to this day. I changed one of the rack toms
to a floor tom added a 10" tom and a 13" snare...what a killer kit! Two
years went by and in 1988 I bought into the business and have been playing
and building ever since. I now play in a traditional blues band, called
Ron Teamer and Smokin Guns, and two rock bands; Full Tilt Boogie and Whiskey
Dick and the Swingers - all while I continue to build drums. I got my
hands into this old three story building in down town Kansas City, MO
with a recording studio on the second floor. The rest of the second and
third floors are dedicated to rehearsal space and we have about 6 bands
rehearsing and a couple of us actually live there. It's a music building
for sure and we have a blast doing what we do -- good people doing good
first drum I built was actually sounded quite good. It was a Septembri
Drum and was created by Glen Robinson. He got the name for the drum from
the French word "sept" which means "seven". This Septembri Drum has three
strainers which incorporates wire, cable and gut snares, and it's one
great snare drum! If I am not mistaken, most of the percussionist from
the Philadelphia Philharmonic have one of these drums, and Christopher
Lamb from the NY Philharmonic has two (Billy Cobham has one also).
Getting back to the story...I built this drum from top to bottom
and it really is a beautiful drum. I loaned it to a friend of Geoff Collins
who attended the University of Kansas School of Music. There was quit
a buzz going on about it there. It was a different start to building because
this snare drum has a double snare bed to accomodate the three full sized
snare wires. I am planning on getting this drum back into production --
Glen and I are getting together soon to talk about it. I knew I could
build very good drums after that and it has just gotten better and better.
I entered a drum in the Snare Drum Olympics and actually won in my class!
I am quite proud of that accomplishment. This is one of my favorite drums,
I think that might be because of its uniqueness and the thought that went
into designing it. Good job Mr. Robinson.
I think the person that has inspired me the most since I meant
him is Go-Go Ray. The way he approaches the instrument is so positive.
He attended University of North Texas and quit to go to work on the road.
He has been working ever since and has 40+ students and is a member of
the Vic Firth educational program. When he twirls his sticks I think he
is going to take off, he looks like a helicopter! You can check him out
I keep plugging all of these people but you must understand, we have created
a family here in Kansas City and we are all very close. You are only as
good as the people you have around you and the people I have around me
are "custom people"
As far as the new builders popping up all over the world, it has
certainly driven the price of custom drum down. I think it's good for
the younger player that doesn't have a lot of money to spend because it
has opened up the market for them. They can get great sounding drums for
a very reasonable price. That goes for the hardware market also. It has
also made company's like Pearl, Tama, Drum Workshop and Yamaha work harder
to concentrate on detail and quality. Something I think the buyer should
be aware of is the longer you do something the better you get at it. I
am going on 17 years now and I just can't stop doing it! The more I build
the more I want to build and the better I want the outcome to be.
The market in this area is very competitive. There are people
all over making drums. I can think of three in the KC area alone. I am
sure there are plenty more in larger cities in Kansas and Missouri. This
is great, it just makes me work and think harder to try to be better.
This, again, is beneficial to the buyer. I have been asked to do all kinds
of crazy things like use argyle sweater as a wrap for example. I will
do just about anything they want; it just takes more time and a bit more
Most of my business is generated by word of mouth. Advertising
and marketing is the key but if it isn't done right it will break you.
The Internet is a great business tool. But again, if it isn't done right
it does not work. All of these things take time and here at KC/DC we are
working on all of it. It just takes time, patience and a lot of help from
good people that believe. Again, thanks to all of you who trust and believe
in my products, they are only going to get better!
Kansas City Drum Company
Kansas City, MO 64108
Contact KC/DC at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on the web at www.kansascitydrumcompany.com.