KHS America, the parent company and distributor of Sonor drums, Mapex drums, and NFUZD electronics, hosted L.A. Drum Day this past April at Swing House Studios. The event was packed with clinics, performances, gear demos, giveaways, and one-day-only special deals. Performers included the Sonor endorsers Tal Bergman (Joe Bonamassa) and Danny Carey (Tool), as well as the Mapex artist Aquiles Priester (Hangar). A jam room housed a prototype Sonor double bass drumset equipped with Zildjian A Custom cymbals, as well as a Mapex MyDentity hybrid set with NFUZD pads and triggers. Another, larger room held an even balance of Sonor and Mapex kits.
Gary Ingraffia, U.S. product manager for Sonor and Mapex, offered insight on the event. “It gets so difficult to support clinics,” he said. “Our idea is to hold four events a year where we get three or four artists together and put on a show for the public. A lot of people have never played a Sonor Vintage series, SQ2, or SQ1 kit. It’s good to have the opportunity for drummers to come check them out. You can make a great product, but if nobody knows about it, it’s not going to sell. This is a really great opportunity for people to check out what we do.”
Bergman opened the performances. “I had to play some stuff that’d be a crowd pleaser to grab the audience’s attention,” he said. “But underneath it all, my goal is always to play what’s good for the music and to play a consistent groove, which is the drummer’s main job.” Bergman played along with tracks from his band Rock Candy Funk Party and soloed over ostinatos that were loaded onto a multipad.
Next, Priester performed along to songs from Hangar’s latest release, Stronger Than Ever, including “A Letter From 1997,” “Reality Is a Prison,” and “The Silence of Innocent.” Priester then played a solo before ending his set with “King’s Rhapsody,” a song he recorded with guitarist Tony MacAlpine.
Carey closed out the performances with his group Volto. “Volto is like a jazz band,” the drummer said. “Everything with Tool is a composition; it’s more like classical music, and there’s not that much improvisation. So this is a different experience.” The group played Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” which Carey has also played with Tool. “That’s one of the few songs that all my bandmates know, even in Tool,” he said. “I know that song inside and out, but it’s a whole different experience playing it with Volto. It’s such a cool vehicle [for improvisation], and you can stretch it any way to appease everyone.” Carey capped the set with Billy Cobham’s “Spectrum.” “That song is kind of like a meeting spot for the Volto guys,” he said. “We all listened to that, and I love all of Billy’s stuff. He’s one of my heroes, so any homage I can pay to him is cool.”
Other drummers who made appearances at the event included Ryan Brown (Dweezil Zappa), Jonathan Moffett (Michael Jackson), Chase Brickenden (Butcher Babies), Jordan Burns (Strung Out), and Joey Heredia (studio). KHS also conducted a giveaway of a Mapex Armory Daisy Cutter 6.5×14 hammered-steel snare, which was won by Kimberly Salazar of Alhambra, California.