Drum enthusiasts from around the globe convened at the Glendale Civic Auditorium in Glendale, California, this past October 7 to check out informative clinics and a plethora of new and vintage drumming gear. The stellar performance lineup included Jason McGerr (Death Cab for Cutie), Jason Sutter (Cher, Dee Snider), Clayton Cameron (Count Basie Orchestra), Virgil Donati (Planet X, solo), and Thomas Lang (Paul Gilbert, educator).
Packed vendor booths featured drums from Acoutin Custom, Anderson International Trading, Barton, Billy Blast, Cumplido Custom, Dunnett, Doc Sweeney, DW, Fever, George Way, Gretsch, Jenkins-Martin, Ludwig, Mayer Bros., Pork Pie, Q Drums, RBH, Sako, SJC, Superdrum, and Yamaha, among others. Promark, Vater, Vic Firth, Evans, Remo, Beato, and Low Boy displayed their newest heads, sticks, and accessories. Cymbal vendors included Sabian, Zildjian, Paiste, Istanbul Mehmet, and Meinl. The drum repair and rental company BoneYard Drums was on hand. And the music instrument retailers Guitar Center, Lone Star Percussion, and the Professional Drum Shop offered show-exclusive deals.
Jason McGerr took the stage behind a sleek Satin Flame Gretsch kit and presented an encouraging and supportive clinic. McGerr demonstrated a few Death Cab for Cutie tracks and explained his trademark shuffle beat from the band’s song “Grapevine Fires,” in which he plays hi-hat upbeats with his foot on the “a” of beats 2 and 4. The clinic focused on playing solid and consistent time, and at one point McGerr invited a drummer from the audience to play along with him onstage.
Jason Sutter flawlessly slammed through tracks by Cher, Chris Cornell, and Foreigner on his stunning Ludwig and Dunnett titanium kit. And while Sutter has certainly made a name for himself as a prolific rock drummer, he surprised many by demonstrating impressive brush and rudimental skills on a vintage 1920s Ludwig brass snare.
During an inspiring clinic, Clayton Cameron shared some of his innovative brush rudiments, including the parasliddle, flexadiddle, friddle, and parafriddle. Cameron also taught a bit of drum history on a gorgeous Ludwig kit by demonstrating Warren “Baby” Dodds’ “shimmy” beat—accented press rolls on beats 2 and 4 with a four-on-the-floor bass drum pattern.
Virgil Donati and Thomas Lang capped off the show with a duet on two beautiful red DW kits. Known for their immense chops, both drummers mesmerized the crowd with flurries of hand and foot work, intricate ostinatos, and complex independence. Their co-composed duet, which they played to a backing track, was well coordinated, and it could be argued that it alone was worth the price of admission.
After the show, producer, sponsor, and emcee Kerry Crutchfield reflected on the event. “I had so many people come up to me and tell me that this was the best show ever,” Crutchfield told MD. “We had a great selection of exhibitors—several for the first time. A very cool mix of highly talented drummers was on the stage throughout the day. I can’t wait for next October!”