Jim Chapin R.I.P.


Silver Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

This is indeed very sad news.

One of the masters.


Platinum Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

If we look back on the posts in this forum we will see posts about coordination, Moeller, teaching, motivation, etc... Jim was a pioneer and master of those concepts long before most of us were born. He was a spark that ignited a surge in drum education.

Jim wrote a coordination book that was considered unplayable by many. He carried around a pad and sticks so he could play the examples for people to show them what could be done. He paved the way for the Thomas Langs and Marco Minnemanns of our day.

Jim studied with Moeller. I mean - he learned the Moeller technique from Moeller himself! Not only is that amazing, but he spread the knowledge of that technique to students, audiences, and those who bought his video. Would we really know about the technique if it weren't for Jim?

He loved teaching. Watching him explain something was like watching a child with a new toy. He absolutely loved drumming and sharing his skills.

He was also the happiest person I have ever seen. I only took one lesson with him, but even from that brief encounter you could tell that he loved life. He was so full of life. That is why it is so difficult to see that he's gone. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and those who were closest to him.

Thanks Jim for all that you've given to us.


king fail

Senior Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

We've a great ambassador of the moeller technique, and of the instrument in general... this is a great shame. He helped so many people... heck, Jojo Mayer probably wouldn't be anywhere near where he is today without Jim.

"If they tell you no pain, no gain - shoot them."

RIP Jim Chapin :-(


Senior Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

A true pioneer and one of the most selfless human beings I've ever had the honour and pleasure to meet.

RIP Jim.


Platinum Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

A lovely man and one that all drummers are deeply indebted to.

My thoughts are with his family.

RIP, Mr. Chapin.


Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

RIP Jim!

Very big loss for the whole drumming community.

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

This one hit hiome for me...

At Dom Famularo's encouraging, I flew down to Florida a few years ago and spent a day with Jim. We sat in his yard and played on the pad and kit in the shed. He was so kind and encouraging, He signed my copy of his book with " Keep it up Jeff, soon you'll be a monster"

He could barely walk and needed supplemental oxygen (I think that's what the setup was) yet his hands were those of a master and his playing was elegant and forceful. I have it all on video as well for posterity.

He analyzed my playing with a depth of knowledge that simply was beyond my scope. I mean, he told me that my right hand motion was just like Sonny Emory's. Who in the world even knows what Sonny's right hand looked like? I heard that he had a eidetic memory and from what I saw, it was true. The man was sharp as a razor.

But beyond all of that, I saw the genuine love for humanity emanating from him. Look, I've studied with many legendary drummers and I know many pros. They are all incredible musicians yet not all of them are happy or kind. Some of them are miserable people. Jim, however, was like the Zen Master who loves all life. It wasn't a fake put on either, this man was a true light in the darkness. He looked for good and saw it in people.

I realized then why Dom loved him so much.

God Bless You Jim...

Drummer Karl

Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

Sad news indeed. Very sad news...just looked at the photo on Drummerworld`s starting site.

What a great musician, what an awesome teacher. Wow, this really makes my day.

R.I.P. Jim



Silver Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

....I remember as a 11 year old getting the "music minus one series" for drums on LP,along with my first snare drum for Christmas....the LP had this "mod" sounding 60's rock stuff on it. Jim Chapin was the guy who was on it,playing a talking . This was way before I worked on his "Advanced Techinques for the Modern Drummer" ( jazz independence bible)...which had been out for year by the time I tried it.


Platinum Member
Re: Jim Chapin died - July 4, '09

The first time I was at a NAMM WFD, I was approached by someone who said Jim Chapin wanted to talk to me. At the time I had no idea who Jim Chapin was. I was brought over to this eternally happy wheel chair bound man who was an instant funnel of information. Apparently he had watched about 10 minutes of my warmup and had already spotted 3-4 gigantic gaps in my technique that he jumped right into immediately. That day, he only talked to me for about 5 minutes, but every word turned out to be big time dead on the money. The improvement was immediate. It was one of the greatest private lessons of my life and it had come from nowhere and was free. I saw him again a year later. He watched me for a while then gave the thumbs up. That meant the world of course, because by this I had jumped on the Jim Chapin bandwagon and like everybody else saw him as an icon. Then he gestured for me to come over where he started asking what I was planning to do with my playing, then went right into a followup about what we had talked about before like no time had passed. The fact that he even remembered me was amazing. But I got one of the greatest honors ever when in an interview he mentioned me very positively. I used that quote on my video press kit. I'm no fool.

Our thing has lost so many guys lately, so you can only hope that the passings will drop off for awhile. But in Jim Chapin's case his life was long, he was happy and he touched millions of people directly and otherwise. I'd like to imagine him somewhere sitting at a table with Louie Bellson as they positively obsess about technical issues over a cup of coffee. To me that's a good way to leave it.


Silver Member
Great story Matt!!! Nice to read stuff like that. RIP JC.....interesting becuase I've been going thru my Jojo DVD alot this week and he mentions and thanks Jim as the biggest influence on his technique.

The Colonel

Silver Member
VERY sad to see this (I fell asleep at the computer while typing this last night around 4am...finishing it up)

I met Mr. Chapin in 2000, I think...It was the IAJE convention in NYC - I was with my college on a "field trip" for the whole festival - we stayed at a shady hotel on the upper west side, and it was one of the best times in my life - I hooked up with Nasheet Waits for some lessons - got to hang with Elvin at his apartment - and met at least 20 legendary drummers and just hang/chill with musicians I absolutely loved/worshipped. And if there weren't any decent performances going on, me and my buddy would hop in a cab and find something good around the city (I think I spent more time at Tonic than I did the convention)

So one day, I'm at the building/hotel (what was the venue again?) and I see a crowd gathered in a non-crowd-gathering spot and decide to see what's up.

I come upon an older gentleman explaining the Moeller technique to a bunch of eager drummers and giving inciteful critiques and sharing tips on increasing speed and the such. I say to myself "That's gotta be Jim Chapin" (I'd heard the stories)

My classmates decided to ditch me as I waited at least 30 minutes to get to approach the man (the legend!) and when I did, we hit it off immediately. I told him my teacher (now deceased) was a student of his WAAAAAAAY back in the day - and he says, without even needing to think for a second - "I love Ron! How's he doing?" (Dowd - amazing musician - studied with Chapin, Moeller, George L Stone, Morello, Billy Gladstone - the who's who of modern drumming technique fathers). At some point here, I called him "Mr. Chapin" and he yells back "Call me Jim!"

He then says "Okay - let's see what you got - just play for me a bit" and I proceed to play some singles, and some one-handed stuff with both the right and left hand. He says "Ron did a good job on you"

While most people were getting a quick 2-3 minute evaluation, maybe up to 5 minutes - Jim/Mr.Chapin spent a good 30 minutes with me, asking me about Ron (who wasn't doing well at the time. Alzheimers...), talking technique, and playing and I felt like I was playing for a dear sweet grandfather that I didn't want to let down.

Jim/Mr.Chapin went on to explain that, despite my being right-handed, my left hand had a better Moeller than my right - the reason being that my right hand was using a French grip whilst my left is more traditionally "Matched" (actually has a slight quarter turn towards French)

End-of-the-lesson-evaluation-time comes up (there was quite a crowd of eager drummers waiting their turn, some working on pads to get warmed up) Jim/Mr.Chapin tells me that my hands were faster than 95% of the drummers he's seen (which blew my head up pretty good at the time), and that if I listen to his advice in turning my right hand over to a more "matched" grip there's "no stopping [me]" - So I'm doing cartwheels in my head AND I gotta say: I felt pretty cool at the time hogging up all of Jim's attention.

We set up two more lessons/chats, away from the hoopla of the IAJE crowds, and he kept trying to get me to turn my hand over till I could "see the butt of the stick coming out of the bottom" of my hand.

And finally he signed my cymbal (I always bring it with me - especially when I think I might run into someone. "You'll be even greater, Erik! Thanks! - Jim Chapin"

(Ack! It's telling me the file is too big...how do I make it smaller? Do I need to download photoshop or something? 1200x1600...I put it as my avatar picture)

Mr. Chapin was a fantastic educator and a fantastically enthusiastic drummer who loved sharing his knowledge with people. From stories I've heard from others, he was like some sort of Johnny Appleseed for drumming technique - going around to festivals and talking and teaching to any and all comers.

Writing this got me thinking a lot about my old teacher, Ron. I - and I don't feel good saying this - probably hadn't thought about Ron in-depth honestly in a long long while, and I've been replaying old lessons in my head and it's been great. It just bums me out [now] that it took a loss like this in the drumming community to make me think about him...

RIP, Mr. Chapin
Miss you, Ron.


Platinum Member
Sorry to hear of Jim's passing. I knew he had been gravely ill for some months now, so this is not unexpected.

We all owe a great debt to Jim who for many was the great inspiration for their drumming. He wasn't a drum pioneer. He was the drum pioneer who who spoke and wrote about hand technique, coordination and developing your personal style long before they were catch phrases on internet drum forums. I can't imagine the number of drummers who we learn from today who passed through Jim's tutelage either personally of through his students. We have all been touched by his grace, wealth of knowledge and depth of humanity in some way. He will be missed but surely not forgotten.

God speed Jim


Junior Member
I was fortunate to have a lesson with Mr. Chapin back in 1997, his knowledge and passion for drumming were unparalleled. He was very gracious and shared some interesting stories from earlier in his career, he also had a very good sense of humour too.

I am very sad to hear of his passing, my condolences go out to his family.


I don't have an anecdote like many on this thread, but the sheer fact that so many do have anecdotes so heartwarming and genuine speaks more about the man than I can put into words. A sad loss.


Platinum Member
I just read the news.....This took the wind out of my sails. Thank you for your life's work Jim.