Stanley Krell’s Rogers Drums, A Once In A Lifetime Find

by Robert Bernhardt

 Recently I acquired a set of Rogers Holiday drums from the Covington, OH era.  I bought Stanley Krell's drums.  He was a Rogers endorser in the early 60's.  I think these drums were stored in their cases for the past few decades at least.  The snare drum with this set is a very early/rare pre-oval badge Dynasonic.  According to one of the resident experts at the Rogers Owners Forum, this is a once in a lifetime find.

 I found these advertised on Craigslist. With the ad already posted for six days I didn't expect to even get an email back from the seller. Sure enough I got a phone call within thirty minutes of my emailing him. I arranged to go have a look at the drums that afternoon, knowing I needed to act quickly if I wanted to have a chance at buying these. Luckily, because of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I was the first person to see these. I'm new to the Rogers addiction, so I hadn't even seen a Holiday set in person. The second I saw these I knew these were different than the Fullerton script logo drums I just bought a month ago.

 I bought these four cases full of vintage drums and drum equipment. The name on all the cases, as you can see, is Stan Krell. I got them from a wonderful guy named Joe, who buys estates. He got these with the rest of the contents of a home out on Long Island. The homeowner told Joe she bought these drums for her son, back in the sixties, from Stan Krell.

 As you can see on the tag, the Dynasonic is serial number 3660. No oval badge, just the script logo. It seems to have the original reso head on the bottom. Needs a good cleaning but seemingly in very good shape for a fifty year old drum. The 12" tom seems to be the oldest, but I'll leave that for the experts. It's got a Cleveland sticker, serial 10880. The 13" tom has a Dayton sticker, with serial 88281. The 16" floor tom has a Cleveland sticker, serial number 42570. The 22" bass drum has a Dayton sticker, with serial 80690.

 All drums seem to have the original Rogers heads still, with the exception of the snare. There is one beat up, 14" head in that rolling case though. Hard to tell if it's a Rogers now, but it's there nonetheless. I included a picture of a T-Rod and Claw as an example of the condition this entire set is in. I have a feeling these have been sitting in their cases since the sixties.

 Camco bass drum pedal, Swivo HH stand, two 18" Zildjian Rides, 14" Zildjian hi hats, and what seems to be a Ludwig 10" splash cymbal. (Did they call them splashes back then?) The Rogers woodblock is interesting. Didn't do much research on it. I have to imagine that's rare. The cowbell seems very well made. No name on it, but it says Ludwig on it's hardware. A half dozen pairs of Regal Tip sticks from that time period. Some no name brushes, heavy and wiry. A Rogers drum key and a Ludwig drum key. The custom road cases themselves also just really add to the completeness of this find.

 I'm going to play these drums. I'll probably re-skin them after an hour of light playing to preserve the heads, but I can't wait to get some time behind this set. I will never break any of this up either. That woodblock will not go up on eBay just because it's probably rare. I really think that Dynasonic should remain with the rest of this set too. Like I said in my original post, this is really like a time capsule. I definitely intend to keep it that way.

 I welcome any info any of the experts would like to share regarding these drums. From what I can tell from the dating guide, the 12" was possibly made in 1957?!?!? The FT is early/mid sixties Cleveland while the 13" and the BD are mid/late sixties Dayton. That's all the research I've done so far.

 

My Drums - Their Story

I got to thinking the other day about my drums and their stories. Or is it about my stories attributed to the drums. Either way I believe that each drum, if it falls into the hands of a professional player, ends up with a story to tell. I am not a vintage drum collector but I have many drums and each has a tale to tell.  Their story can range from how I got the drum, where it was used or the individual or company that made the drum.

I have already written about my 6 ½” X 15” single-tension Leedy Snare Drum - (March 2014). It opened the Eastman Theatre in 1922 with a fortissimo snare drum roll played by William G. Street for the Star Spangled Banner. The drum was then used by Oliver Zinsmeister in the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band and probably spent a few gigs at the White House. The drum is now here with me at the Eastman School of Music and has been used for many formal occasions involving the Eastman Theatre. Not a bad history for such a drum.

In another article for Not So Modern Drummer, I have written about the Rogers Drums that are part of the Eastman School of Music Percussion Department -  (September 2014). I would like to single out one of the Rogers 6 ½” X 14” drums that is my personal snare drum. The Rogers Drum Company gave the drum to me since I was endorsing the drums and supplying the Eastman Percussion Department with their equipment. Now why is one drum so important?  This drum was in my studio and played on by all the students for their lessons. It also had another function. It was the drum used for all the auditions at the school. I auditioned 1,618 students in my 49 years of teaching – only 258 of those who auditioned were accepted. This drum has seen the best and the worst. If it could talk, I am sure it would have stories to tell.

In 1976 the Eastman School of Music played host to the first Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC). The Premier Drum Company was exhibiting at that convention and was featuring a rope tension drum 19 ½” X 17”. Jim Coffin was the man in charge of this exhibit and he being a friend of mind suggested that I buy one. I did and have had it ever since. I have played it on several occasions and each time I use it I am reminded of the convention and what a great event it was and the drums position in the history of drums.  Inscribed on a plaque on the shell of the drum is the following:

REPLICA DRUM AS USED BY 71st (HIGHLAND) REGIMENT OF FOOT – FRASER’S HIGHLANDERS – 1776-1787 – LIMITED EDITION NO. 233- MADE IN ENGLAND BY THE PREMIER DRUM CO. LTD.

Having a son who is also a drummer/percussionist has its rewards upon reaching milestones in your life. When I turned 55 years old he had W.H. Reamer make me a replica of The Grand Army Republic (GAR) Drum with the emblazonment of the Eagle clutching arrows and a shield – 21” X 17”. Since I was also in the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band, W.H. Reamer emblazoned the shell with the Marine Corps Globe and Anchor, my name and dates I served in the band. This is a beautiful drum that sounds as good as it looks. I have used this drum on countless occasions for rudimental demonstrations, clinics, parades and lectures. Inside the drum across from the vent hole there is plaque that reads:

PRESENTED TO JOHN H. BECK BY JOHN R. BECK – FEBRUARY 1988

I also had W.H. Reamer make the same drum for my son. Now we have matching father and son drums. He was also in the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band and has the Eagle and the Globe and Anchor on the shell.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph about having a son who gives great gifts at milestones in my life, the 6 ½” X 14” Orlich glass drum was a gift when I retired from playing timpani in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra after 43 years. As you can see the plaque reads – JOHN H. BECK – ROCHESTER PHLHARMONIC ORCHESTRA  - 1959-2002. This drum was a big surprise to my students as well as some auditioning students. I always had my Rogers Drum for them to play on but had the glass drum there so they could experience its tone and feel that I might add is great.

There you have the story of MY DRUMS – THEIR STORY. You can decide if drums have a story or the player gives them their story – I think it is collaboration between the two or said in another way – IT IS A WIN WIN SITUATION.

1960 English Rogers Set

It is hard for me to believe we are already in to February. Where did January go? My Mother told me when I was young and wishing for my birthday, Christmas, or school to be out that time would go a lot faster when I grew up. She was right, as always, and time now really get away in a hurry. I am looking forward, but not wishing my life away, to some great drum shows this year. I hope you can attend one in your area this year. Keep watching for the places and dates to be listed here in the magazine. Getting together with other vintage and custom drum collectors and players is always fun and educational. I am constantly learning information about vintage drums from my drum collector friends. A lot of my contacts and friends were made at drum shows.

I decided to feature a set this month for your enjoyment that I recently acquired. It's an early 1960s English Rogers set in rare Madi Gras finish. I have wanted a Rogers or Slingerland set in Madi Gras finish for years. I just love that finish. By the way, Madi Gras is this month in New Orleans. I've never been to Madi Gras, but I have that trip on my bucket list, but back to my desire for a Madi Gras drum set. I have been looking for a Madi Gras set to add to my collection, and as I was searching E-Bay a few weeks ago a set was there for sale. I really wanted them and had decided to place a bid when the end of the sale came around. I usually wait to bid until the end of the sale. I have jumped in right at the beginning, but usually I wait. Maybe you could leave a comment and share your E-Bay bidding strategy. The Madi Gras set on E-Bay was a Rogers set and that was fine with me. It's no secret to my readers that I love Rogers drums. While I was watching that set, another Rogers Madi Gras set showed up on Facebook. The set for sale on Facebook was the English Rogers set I am showing you. Yes, I made a deal with the seller and he shipped them to me from Canada. I am so excited about them.

English Rogers drums were made in the 1960s at the Boosey & Hawkes drum factory in London. They had Ajax three ply shells with reinforcement rings. The interiors are clear coated not painted like American Rogers. The lugs are Bread and Butter style, and the mounts are Swivomatic style, but they are different from the USA parts. The Madi Gras finish is also different from the American version, not as busy. The script logo badges also look different. The sizes of this set are: bass drum 20"X15", floor tom 16"X16", mounted tom is 12"X8", and the matching snare is 14"X5". Many of you know that Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five played English Rogers drums. English Rogers drums were not a huge success, but they are very cool drums. Many collectors want to have a replica of John Bonham's set or a Ringo's set. I would like to have a red sparkle English Rogers set with a Dave Clark logo head. He was one of my greatest influences.

My set was owned by a member of the Toronto Symphony who brought them from England. When he returned to England to retire he left the set in Canada with a new owner. There is a cool Drum City London sticker on the bass drum. I was tempted to try to finish removing it. It looks like someone started to take it off but didn't go through with it. I have decided to leave it. It has been there fifty years, and it adds to the story of the drums, so for now the sticker stays. The man who helped me buy these drums from the owner who acquired them from the symphony percussionist was a super guy. He did a great job handling the sale and shipping the drums from Canada to my door. I want to thank him again for the great job he did. Leave a comment if you have an English Rogers set or if you liked Dave Clark Five. Keep looking in those unusual places for a great old drum.

 

Rogers Drums at Eastman School of Music

In 1962 I was asked to present a clinic with Louie Bellson at a local hotel in Rochester, NY. I was teaching at the Eastman School of Music and a local music store – Music Lover’s - was sponsoring the event. Ben Strauss of Rogers Drums contacted me and the date was set for November 7, 1962. Louie did the drum set and I did the classical snare drum. Since I also played drum set Louie and I traded fours etc. It was also at this time that I was teaching Steve Gadd and he was in the audience. I told Louie that he should hear this kid play. Louie invited him to the stage and Steve blew Louie away. It was at this moment that Steve, Louie and I became good friends for life.

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Rogers Canadian Catalog

Rogers Drums were made in three factories. The first one was in New Jersey, when the family owned the company. When Rogers was purchased by Cleveland based Henry Grossman (of Grossman Music) he moved operations to Covington, Ohio in the 1950s. In 1969, Rogers, as a division then, of CBS Musical Instruments consolidated production in Fullerton, California.

During the Covington years, finished product was shipped to Grossman Music headquarters in Cleveland for warehousing and sales. Once CBS owned Rogers, in April of 1966, the warehousing was done in nearby Dayton, Ohio.

Today's feature was created during the Covington time period when Rogers also used the Toronto firm of H&A Selmer for Canadian distribution. I've had this undated catalog for quite a few years and I would date it about 1962 since some of the pages are exactly the same as the US catalog.

The Canadian version has a few differences and pictures of sets and descriptions were minimized to save space.

The catalog is about one third the total size of the US counterpart, leaving out a number of products. What we do find are the various Rogers sets, snare drums, tom toms and basses, marching drums, Swiv-o-matic hardware, stands, cymbals and heads and percussion items. No prices are listed.

You can see the front cover - an illustration of a silhouette of a matched grip drummer. The inside front and back covers have pictures of international endorsees - Charles Botterill of England and Mark Bowden of Australia are in both the US and Canadian catalogs, but Canada's own Ron Rully and Ray Reilly are pictured with their sets. Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson are also on the back cover in gleaming black and white.

The only color shot shows us the 14 plastic wraps and two lacquers available in 1962. If I could go back in time, I would get every Mardi Gras drum I could get from the factory and warehouse. The only problem with Rogers in 1962 was that the company was in the final two years of using the beautiful but fragile drawn brass lugs. We needed another year for Rogers to introduce their nearly indestructible beavertail lugs and then the drum set war was really on.

I have not seen another Rogers Canadian catalog. Let me know if you have one or have seen one.

 

The Rogers Holiday Set

Holiday Greetings,

It's the Holiday season, and I have a great Holiday drum set to show you this month. Rogers drums are very cool and so collectible. I am always on the search for a nice Rogers set, and love the history of this great drum company. In the beginning this company was a drum head manufacturer. Rogers became the makers of some of the best drums ever made. By the time this featured drum set was made, Rogers drums were the most expensive of all their competitors.

I will tell you how I came to own this set after I describe them. They have script badges. There is a script badge on both sides of the mounted tom. The shells are maple with reinforcement rings. The lugs are Beavertails. The Beavertail lugs were a great improvement over the Bread and Butter lugs which would crack very easily. The Swiv-o-matic tom mount is factory placed in the center of the bass drum. The floor tom has a factory extra knobby. The bass drum is 20"X14", the floor tom is 16"X16", the ride tom is a 13"X9" and the snare is a matching 14"X5" Powertone. The finish is a vibrant gold sparkle. The interiors of the drums are painted solid grey. That indicates that they are early 1960s. The tags inside indicate that they are Holiday Model drums. The Cleveland tag means the drums were warehoused and sold from Cleveland. After CBS bought the company in 1966 warehousing was moved to Dayton. All these drums were made at Covington, Ohio. The Dayton drums have grey speckled interiors. There is no difference in the quality of pre-CBS and post-CBS drums made in Ohio. The factory was later moved to Fullerton, California.

The drum salesman at the music store gave me the number of the man who was selling some Rogers drums. He said he had several Rogers sets and wanted to sell some of them. We set up a time that I could come to see the drums and hopefully get a set. When my wife and I got to his home it was very upscale. To make a long story short, he took us to a room filled with beautiful Rogers drums. There were red onyx, grey ripple, and other beautiful kits in there. I soon learned that none of these sets were for sale. He took us to a cabinet where there were five Powertone snares displayed. White pearl, blue sparkle, gold sparkle, red sparkle, and I'm not sure about the last one. I think it was black diamond.

The guy said he had the full kits to match each of these snares and everything is in pristine condition. I said “great! Let's see them”. He said, “Which one?”. This was most unusual for me. I wanted to see them all, but I could tell he really didn't want to drag out all those drums, so I said “Let's see the white ones”. He said, “Follow me” and we went downstairs and into a closet. He pulled out a case then two. Inside were the tom toms and they were very nice. I said, “You know, I would like to see the blue ones too”. He put the toms back in the case, put them back in the closet, and said, “Follow me” again. I began to feel like if I wanted to go to the next one there was no turning back. My wife was still in the big drum room and I was going on the hunt through the house with the owner. We got to the blue ones, also in a little room in cases. It was the same as before. “Do you want these?” “I would like to see the gold ones.” He packed everything back up and led me away to another room. By this time I was getting concerned about my wife, and I began to think I better pick one or else I would lose my chance. When I saw the gold ones - this set I'm showing you - I said “that's it!.” He was pleased that I didn't have to see them all. We made a deal and I loaded them up. It was really a fun experience.

I hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season. Keep looking for those great attic finds.

Later, Phil Wilson