It's great to welcome Bill Ludwig III back to the NSMD writing staff. Of course, most drummers know that "B3" is the grandson of Ludwig Drum Company founder, Wm. F. Ludwig Senior. He was the artist relations person for the company during the late seventies and eighties. His dad sold that company to Conn Selmer during the eighties. Bill was also the owner and publisher of Not So Modern Drummer during the 2000s. I have been after him for years to write a column and now was a good time for him to start.
Bill's latest venture has been the start up of WFLIII Drum Company. Bill will be posting a lot about this third generation of the Ludwig family drum saga which has been going on for over 100 years ever since his Grandfather started Ludwig & Ludwig Drums in the first decade of last century. I was around Bill during the idea stage for the name for his new drum company and I will never forget the moment that the name entered his mind. Bill was at my house in Ohio in 2010 doing a drum show with me and we were drinking coffee in my kitchen one morning. I had bought Not So Modern Drummer from him two years prior and we had become friends. We talked frequently about his wanting to get back in the drum manufacturing business. I asked Bill if the old WFL name was included in the sale of Ludwig to Conn-Selmer by his father in the eighties. He said he didn't know and I recommended that he have a lawyer look into it because it would be the perfect name for him to use in the drum company venture he wanted to start. I will never forget the "light bulb" moment he had. He looked up into the air , and waved his hand across as if writing in the clouds, and said " WFL Three Drums". I still get goose bumps thinking about it. History in the making. And the story of his new drum company is being written here. I wish Bill and his family another hundred years of success.
I don't think Bill would mind me telling that he did not inherit a fortune as many people would assume. In fact, I and his friends have seen him go through some difficult trials. But Bill is a persistent scrapper and . He started this new company on a shoestring, selling one at a time. During the 2014 Chicago Drum Show Bill was giddy about showing the new prototype WFL III Drum and I was so proud of him. He looked happier than I've ever seen him. He started taking orders and now the business is developing swimmingly. He is currently running a Kick Starter campaign to raise funds for capital to increase production. I encourage you to get involved with this new Ludwig company, be a part of something great and check out his fund raising campaign. Bill is a great story teller and I'm sure his column will always be a great read. Welcome back to NSMD, Bill. -George Lawrence