Vogel with his daughter, MD contributor Lauren Vogel Weiss

The Lone Star Percussion founder changed the way we get gear

Harvey Vogel, passed away at the age of eighty-three on August 1. In 1978, Vogel founded the iconic percussion mail-order business Lone Star Percussion in a 400-square-foot storefront in Dallas, Texas, with a tiny showroom just large enough to hold one display case. Known for an unassuming “discount price list”—which was printed in pastel colors and updated every six months—Lone Star sold percussion implements, accessories, and instruments at discount prices, often shipping orders the same day they were placed.

“Harvey had one of the most innovative concepts in getting merchandise to drummers,” said Vic Firth, the late stick and accessory manufacturer, in a May 2001 Drum Business article. “His stocking of inventory was complete. His pricing was always favorable, to the young player in particular. And his service was second to none in the industry. Mail orders were his primary source of doing business, and that was a new concept in 1978. His efficiency and effectiveness as a businessman were outstanding.”

“There’s no question that Harvey Vogel changed the way the consumer viewed retail percussion,” said Michael Balter, founder of Mike Balter Mallets, in that same 2001 DB article. “He wanted to make quality percussion instruments and accessories available to everyone. He wanted people from small-town America to have the same access to percussion products as those near the big city.”

Years before people ordered merchandise online, percussionists from all over would call the store to get Vogel’s advice on what to buy. “I first met Harvey in 1978, when I was a sophomore at North Texas State in Denton,” remembers Gregg Bissonette, who recently completed a U.S. tour with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. “A friend of mine told me I could get a great deal on Bunken 5B drumsticks at this new shop called Lone Star Percussion. Even though I was nervous, I called and asked for Harvey. ‘Hi! My name is Gregg Bissonette, and I’m the drummer in the One O’Clock Lab Band…’ and before I could finish my question about buying a brick of sticks, Harvey interrupted to ask, ‘Is that your official title on your business card?’ That was my hilarious introduction to my longtime friend. God bless you, Harvey!”

“Harvey will always be an icon of our music industry,” adds Jim Catalano. “Although he intimidated the heck out of me in the early days of my time at Ludwig, he became a trusted friend, business colleague, and someone I highly respected.”

“My father was not a musician, but he loved learning about percussion and the music business, and he was always generous in sharing that knowledge with percussionists young and old, students and professionals,” stated Lauren Vogel Weiss, his daughter and a longtime MD contributor. “What started as a way for him to buy mallets and equipment for me as a high school percussionist became one of the most successful drum shops in the world. He also introduced me to the Percussive Arts Society and people who would become my extended percussion family. Thank you, Daddy!”