The first of these is the best-known drum engraver of our time, John Aldridge. Some years ago, John Aldridge wanted a hand engraved drum. When he discovered he couldn't afford it, John learned how to do it himself, and brought this lost art form back to the drum industry.
Ramy Antoun, the designer of this wonderful drum, is a well-known drummer (Seal, Black Eyed Peas, Alexi Murdoc…), songwriter, producer and entrepreneur. Given this combination, it is no wonder that he applied his creative talents to drum design.
In my relentless pursuit of vintage drums, I came across an interesting Ebay listing: “Early 1900's Vintage Ludwig Drums, Black Beauty Snare, Zildjian, Zenjian Cymbals”. While the pictures weren’t very sharp, I could definitely see a 1920s-1930s engraved Ludwig Black Beauty in what appeared to be the original case. There were four cymbals, a bass drum and clearly a bunch of assorted hardware, all in De Luxe finish. Normally, I just collect snare drums but in this instance, I decided to make an exception. So I pulled the trigger.
In the end, I did not find a rare silver Stipelgold Ludwig snare drum. Indeed, what I received was an even rarer gift, a beautiful circa 1930 brass Ludwig drum that was passionately played by a war hero and kind friend to many.
So with the help of the master boat builder and much trial-and-error, Johnny began making his own one-ply drum shells. By 1984-85, Johnny had started to perfect his technique. Word of his drums spread until it caught the attention of Billy Gibson (Huey Lewis & The News). Billy asked Johnny to join forces with him to form a drum company, the Select (later changed to “Solid”) Drum Company.
A little over 13 years ago, I came across a picture of Alan White (YES) playing what looked to be a set of glass and brass drums. Being a drum nerd, my curiosity got the best of me. Were these gimmicks, art, or perhaps something more? I became obsessed with finding out more... So in 2001, I contacted John Orlich to learn about Orlich Percussion Systems. I later had the opportunity to speak with Alan White and Tris Imboden (CHICAGO) about their Orlich glass drums. After that, I was hooked. I wanted a set of these drums! But let me tell you the whole story from the start…
So the drum was given to Levon by Ringo, clearly played and signed by Levon to the son of another tremendously influential drummer, Richie Hayward. Four degrees of separation, perhaps? I was happy to win the auction, securing both drum for its history and the ability to help Seve in my own small way.