The Hollywood Custom and Vintage Drum Show

Classic and Modern Drumming Dazzles at the Latest Edition of the Perennial Festival

Since its inception nearly two decades ago, the Hollywood Custom and Vintage Drum Show has built up a reputation as a national premier drumming event. This past October 13, drum enthusiasts flocked to the Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale, California, for the eighteenth edition of the annual show. Kerry Crutchfield, the event’s producer, sponsor, and emcee, organized a day of informative clinics and performances, gorgeous vintage and modern gear, and bonding among fellow drummers.

Dave Weckl

The day’s exceptional clinicians and performing artists included Jimmy Ford (Lionel Hampton) and Randy Caputo (Randy Caputo as Gene Krupa show), the Jeff Hamilton Trio, Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction, Hellflower, Porno for Pyros), and the Dave Weckl Trio.

Ford and Caputo opened the performances with dueling solos, resurrecting the feel of the famous 1952 Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa drum-battle recording, The Drum Battle—Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich at JATP. Ford was playing a vintage Slingerland Radio King drumkit once owned by the legendary Irving “Irv” Cottler (Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald), and Caputo played a Slingerland kit that he said was given to him by Buddy Rich. The vintage vibe was heavy in the air—as if Ford and Caputo were channeling both Rich and Krupa—and their performance was energetic, entertaining, and well choreographed.

Jeff Hamilton

The Jeff Hamilton Trio, with Tamir Hendelman on piano and Jon Hamar on bass, performed next. Hamilton, who’s played with Woody Herman, Oscar Peterson, and Ray Brown, among many others, displayed his technical prowess, fluid style, versatility, and dynamics throughout the set. The trio played several truly captivating tunes, including “Hammer’s Tones,” on which Hamilton showcased his impressive brush skills. When asked about his specific tuning approach during a Q&A, Hamilton said, “I tune a drum to where it sounds good, but not to exact pitches, because they don’t sound the same in every room. I tune to the room.”

After Hamilton’s set, Perkins took the stage barefoot behind a sizable DW drumset. Together with bassist Blas Perez, they ripped through several tunes, including some from the Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros catalogs. The duo also switched it up a bit by playing creative interpretations of classics like the Beatles’“Come Together” and the Meters’“Cissy Strut.”

Dave Weckl and his trio, featuring Steve Weingart on keys and Benjamin Shepherd on bass, closed out the performances. In his clinic, Weckl dazzled the audience with his impressive skill, playing a multitude of technically challenging parts with ease and musicality. At times his sticks seemed like a blur, virtually hovering over his gorgeous Yamaha kit.

Stephen Perkins

In addition to the clinics, fantastic vintage and modern drums abounded at the show, including tantalizing instruments by Acoutin Custom, A&F, Billy Blast, Canopus, Crush, Doc Sweeney, Dunnett Classic, DW, Fever, George Way, Gretsch, Jenkins-Martin, Ludwig, Mayer Bros., Noble & Cooley, Oriollo, Pork Pie, RBH, Sonor, Woods, and Yamaha. Relatively new manufacturers included Muro Drums, which was founded in 2017 and donates a portion of profits to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Muro displayed one of its flagship snares, the Millennium, which is an eye-catching walnut drum with a real turquoise inlay. Another newcomer, the Las Vegas–based Cogs Custom Drums, featured its SuperSix six-ply maple snares with the company’s Parallelogram seams and MC-63 six-ply maple/three-ply cherry hybrid snares.

Among the show-goers, interest in vintage drums and drum history remained strong. Some vintage highlights included a 1920s 5×14 engraved DeLuxe Super-Ludwig snare, a 1930s Duplex drumset with a trap table, an early 1960s Rogers kit in a Mardi Gras Pearl finish, and a massive Rogers 1970s double bass kit in a block finish. In addition, Ronn Dunnett exhibited a series of original drum-design drawings by George Way along with some photographs from Way’s archives.

Many modern and vintage cymbals were on display and for sale, including products from Istanbul Mehmet, Sabian, and Zildjian. For those stocking up on accessories and looking to try out the latest gear, wares from Aquarian, Evans, Promark, Regal Tip, Remo, Vater, and Vic Firth were ripe for the picking. And the retailers Drum Flip, Guitar Center, and the Professional Drum Shop offered significant discounts on gear.

The event was a success from start to finish. “I really think that this was our best show ever,” Crutchfield told MD after the event wrapped up. “There was something there for everyone, and we’re going to have a tough time topping this one come October 2019.”

Caputo and Ford