About NSMD, George Lawrence and George's Drum Shop

Not So Modern Drummer is an institution dedicated to researching and documenting the history of modern drums, the art of drum building, and the legendary drummers who played them. The writers and contributors are some of the top vintage and custom drum experts from around the world. NSMD serves as an online gathering place and marketplace for the worldwide community of drummers who collect, preserve and play these instruments. It also hosts drum related events that are attended by drummers from all over the world.

Not So Modern Drummer was started by John Aldridge in 1988. John is one of, if not THE, world's foremost engravers of metal drums. It began as a small four page newsletter with classified ads for a small circle of vintage drum enthusiasts, then quickly developed into a quarterly magazine with articles from the experts and ads from most of the drum industry. John added a yearly drum show and a snare drum contest. Bill Ludwig III bought NSMD from John in 2005 and published it through 2008. Bill is the grandson of William F. Ludwig who founded the Ludwig Drum Company in 1910 and is now the manufacturer of WFLIII Drums. Bill sold NSMD to current publisher George Lawrence in 2008. The quarterly print magazine was discontinued in 2012 and converted to a monthly email newsletter. 

Not So Modern Drummer's mission today is to preserve the body of knowledge that it has published over the last 27 years (since 1988) and expand that knowledge base in the future.

George Lawrence is a professional drummer from Nashville Tennessee whose career highlights include:
-Recording sessions on major label rock, pop, country and jazz albums in Nashville, L.A. and Muscle Shoals.
- From 2004 to 2015, Recording and Touring drummer for legendary country rock pioneer band POCO
-Owner of George’s Drum Shop, Not So Modern Drummer Magazine and the Nashville Drum Show.
-Teacher of many high profile pro drummers including Keith Carlock, Gregg Lohman and Seth Rausch.

Hailing from Jackson Mississippi,

George has lived and worked in the major music centers of Los Angeles, Nashville, and Muscle Shoals Alabama, recording and touring around the world with some of the best musicians and major recording artists. He is known for his “deep pocket groove” and his ability to inspire other musicians to play their best. During the nineties he built a reputation as one of the top sub drummers in the Nashville music scene and nation wide. Able to fill in with national recording artists on a moment’s notice with no rehearsal, George has been working constantly as a “ringer” or “pinch hitter”. He subbed a couple of gigs with POCO in 1999 which led to his becoming a member of that band from 2004 to 2015.

A truly versatile jack of all trades and “master of some”, he has played funk, R&B, soul music, blues, country, classic rock, pop, big band jazz, be-bop jazz and jazz-rock fusion music. He has spent many years as a recording studio “session cat” and reads standard transcription and Nashville number charts flawlessly. He has played drum set in every imaginable setting including concert arenas, videos, TV, clubs, churches, symphony orchestras, and clinics.

A professional sideman, George is available to work anywhere in the world for gigs large and small. “Sometimes people are hesitant to call me because they think I only play for Poco or that I might charge too much to play. I am a working drummer and never have too many opportunities. My only criteria for accepting jobs are great music and great people. The money is secondary. I play recording studios, coliseums AND honky tonks”. To contact George about playing a gig or tour or playing on your recordings (your studio or his) email him at george@notsomoderndrummer.com or call him at 330 338 6035.

 

George is very active in the drumming community both locally and nationally, attending drum festivals and conventions around the country as a performer and clinician. He owns Not So Modern Drummer magazine and produces the Nashville Drum Show every Fall. He is one of the administrators for the Nashville Pro Drummers Facebook Group and has organized and hosted the monthly Nashville Drummer’s Lunch. He has taught hundreds and hundreds of students, many who have gone on to become professional drummers and some who have become famous drummers. Of special note is student Keith Carlock, also from their mutual hometown of Jackson Mississippi, who is now recognized as one of the top drummers in the world working with the likes of Steely Dan, Sting, John Mayer, James Taylor and Toto. Pro and aspiring pro drummers from around the country seek out George for the highest level of instruction.. George owned and operated George’s Drum Shop from 1985 through 2010. In 2006 George and Joe Partridge started the Famous Drum Company which manufacturers pro level snare drums and drum sets. In 2008 George bought Not So Modern Drummer magazine from Bill Ludwig III and works as editor, publisher and photographer. He is currently writing the Blue Book of Drums for Not So Modern Drummer.

George's work resume

Q. Who are you and what have you done that is so dang wonderful? 

A. "Nothing all that important really. I consider myself just a journeyman working drummer who graduated from the school of hard knocks. I spent thousands of week long gigs in night clubs during the seventies and eighties learning how to function in a rhythm section and create drum parts for bands’ and writers’ songs. Fortunately I found my niche with some people who like my “Big Mississippi Beat” groove and the funny little fast notes I paint the holes with. I’ve recorded thousands of publishing and songwriter demos, hundreds of custom label and independent albums, lots of major label albums, and dozens of great band album projects that never saw the light of day. A partial discography is posted at this site http://www.allmusic.com/artist/george-lawrence-mn0000265757 "

In Nashville TN and Muscle Shoals Alabama

...since 1993 until now I played gigs and/or recorded with: • Tanya Tucker • Diamond Rio • Poco • Little Milton Campbell • Johnny Taylor • Bobby Blue Bland • Shirley Brown • The Kinleys • Georgia Middleman • Delbert McClinton • Susan Tedeschi • Peter Wolf • The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section: David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Clayton Ivey, Will Macfarland • Percy Sledge • The Wilkinsons • Reggie Young • Larry Stewart • Keb’ Mo • Dave Alvin • Vince Gill Tour • Lucinda Williams • Terry McBride and the Ride • Great Plains • Thrasher Shiver • T. Graham Brown • Buffalo Club • Russ Zavitson • Tony Haselden • Jim Horn • the Muscle Shoals Horns • Fred Knobloch and Radio Free Nashville • The Tennessee Jazz Orchestra, and Kelly Pickler, Steve Rutledge

…..and before that in L.A. and other far flung regions

....were: • Micheal Brecker • Gary Herbig • Icarus Johnson • Alex Harvey • The Seawind Horns • Brent Bougois • Larry Tagg • Uncle Rainbow Jim Messina • Kenny Loggins • Steve Lukather • Mike Porcaro • Lenny Castro • Margaret Allison and the Angelic Gospel Singers • The Jackson Southernaires • The Christianaires • Thrasher Shiver • The Buster Brown Band • The Williams Brothers • Uncle Rainbow • Noel Haggard • The J.D. Borman Band • North Texas State Jazz Lab Bands • The Royal American Showmen • Richard Page • Steve George • Thom Rotella • Lee Ritenour • Eric Tagg • Don Alias • Phillip Kennard • Phillip Claypool • The Lonesome Romeos • G. C. Cameron • Yazoo Beach • Mose Allison • The Guy Smiley Blues Exchange • Semmes Blurton Big Band …and others that escape my memory at the moment. Sorry if I left anyone out.

Timeline :

1964-1972 Elementary through high school marching and concert bands in Grenada and Jackson MS.
Started teaching at age 15 and began playing professionally at age 17.
Left on the road with a pro rock band after graduating high school in 1972 (sound familiar?).
1973 Attended Hinds Jr. College and Milsaps College in Mississippi.
1973-1974 Attended North Texas State University, Denton, Texas.
1975-1976 Attended Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
1977-1982 Session musician in San Fransisco, L.A. and Santa Barbara, California. Major record label recording artist in Northern California Bay Area with “Uncle Rainbow” (which evolved into Bourgeois-Tagg) and in L.A. with “Pages” (which evolved into Mr. Mister). Funny how those bands became successful after I left! :-)
1983-1993 Based out of my hometown Jackson, MS. to raise my kids, lead my own band, “Chemistry”, teach private students, operate George’s Drum Shop #1, and record at Malaco, Muscle Shoals and the other famed studios of the Deep South.
1993-2001 Worked out of Nashville touring with pop country acts. Long stints with Larry Stewart, the lead singer from Restless Heart during his solo career, McBride and the Ride, T. Graham Browne, the Kinleys and the Wilkinsons. Lots of subs, one-offs, and short tours with many country recording artists listed above. Recorded albums and publishing demos in Nashville, Muscle Shoals, Memphis, Atlanta and L.A. I was also associated with Fork’s Drum Closet in Nashville as a private instructor and wrote a couple of instruction books that have been reviewed in Modern Drummer and sold steadily.
2002-2010 Operated George’s Drum Shop #2 in the Akron / Cleveland, Ohio region. Joined Poco in 2004 playing gigs with Poco around the world.
2011 Moved back to Nashville where I work as a freelance musician, teacher and publisher.

George at 18 w Johnny Barranco


The history of George’s Drum Shop

George’s Drum Shop was in business almost constantly in one form or another since 1985 but it actually started in my bedroom when I was in high school. I was always buying drum sets and refinishing and refurbishing them, reselling or horse trading them, mainly just to satisfy my jones for the next great new drum set I thought I had to have. During my late teens and twenties I used to visit, hang out, teach and work in drum shops and music departments all around the country as I moved and traveled from place to place. I was involved with the B&S drum shop in Dallas, and Mike’s Drum Shop in Santa Barbara California. I also frequented Frank’s Drum Shop in Chicago, Skip’s Music in Sacramento, the original Guitar Center in LA., The Pro Drum Shop in Hollywood, Brook Mays Music in Dallas and many others. I was always in love with drum shops. I think a drum shop is a romantic business because creative people are involved as staff and customers. I enjoyed hanging out with the other drummers and talking about playing drums, checking out the latest gear, our music careers, etc. My mother and I talked often about opening a drum shop and after my stint in the California music business, George’s Drum Shop was started in earnest in 1985 when I settled down in my hometown of Jackson Mississippi. My mother put up a couple of rental houses for the collateral for a business loan.

 

Jackson Mississippi 1985:

The first George’s Drum shop was located in an old house on the edge of the large Meadowbrook Mart shopping center in North Jackson. This enterprise lasted three years and, thanks to Reaganomics and the poor economy of the state, there just wasn’t enough drummer business in the area to sustain a stand alone drum shop. I closed that location down in 1987 and operated out of a building in back of my home teaching students, repairing and building drums and selling them to students on the side. I also published a mail order catalog for a while.

I moved to Nashville in 1993

...where I worked briefly at Tommy Winkler's now defunct Pro Drum Shop, taught and sold drums at Sam’s Music in Brentwood. Starting in 1996 taught at Fork’s Drum Closet, one of the premier drum shops in the country run by my good friend, Gary Forkum. I started my online drum retail business, DrumGuru.com, in 2000 selling just a handful of brands.

I moved to Akron Ohio in 2002

..., my ex-wife's home town (brrrr) where I resurrected George’s Drum Shop and started GeorgesDrumShop.com e-commerce site in the funky and eclectic Walterville Warehouse complex (Walterville isn’t really a place, it’s a state of mind).  In 2004, I moved the store to neighboring downtown Cuyahoga Falls Ohio when my friend Jim Mothersbaugh offered me cheap rent in the big 1830 storefront building his family owned. Jim was the first drummer in Devo. His brother, Mark Mothersbaugh, and cousin, Bob Mothersbaugh, of the Devo band  used to practice and shoot their videos early on in my drum shop's building. It was located on a pedestrian mall next door to the downtown ampi-theatre, so I threw three yearly drum festivals there which reached an attendance of 10,000 in 2006. I also joined Poco in 2004 playing 50 dates a year with them AND running the shop full time. Whew! In 2007 the economy started going south so I downsized the business back to the small Walterville warehouse quarters and ran it as an internet sales operation with one full time employee. After nine years, I finally closed the shop in December 2010 when the recession and unemployment won. I moved back to Nashville in 2011, continuing to tour w Poco and running Not So Modern Drummer. 

I had a good run with George’s Drum Shop. It was very successful and people have fond memories of my little traditional drum shop. It was “home” for a lot of professional drummers, teachers and students. I have no regrets and wouldn’t trade the experience for all the tea in China.

In 2015 I resurrected GeorgesDrumShop.com online 

...selling vintage instruments and parts, drum building parts, and some new gear. I still build custom drums and do drum repairs for pro drummers in my backyard workshop.