Drummers who have changed brand affiliation the most??

drumhedd

Senior Member
The gentleman who owns Premier and is now the sole director, Ken Tonkin, has owned it for the better part of a decade. During the early part of Tonkin's ownership Keith Keogh, who is the builder behind BDC was running KD Drums, based in Stockport near Manchester. When Premier moved all of their manufacturing to Taiwan they decided that they wanted a more bespoke and British type offering and basically subsumed KD drums, setting them up in a factory just north of Manchester with snares introduced in 2012 and kits and in time for the 2013 catalogue. All the One series/later Modern Classic drums and kits are fundamentally KD Drums builds with a different badge.

However as I understand it (happy to be corrected re this) Nicko's last couple of Premier kits were Taiwanese shells, with outsourced wraps from a UK designer (this continued with the Sonor and BDC kits), other than his signature sycamore snare which he'd worked with Keith on. At least one of these kits was recycled with new wraps for a different tour. He's on record as wanting to use British drums if possible so I suspect Sonor was always just a holding exercise until BDC had enough support and distribution to properly support him on tour.

Keith and co parted ways with Premier after a relatively short period and formed BDC in late 2015 with financial backing from a successful UK comedian called Al Murray. Premier still just about exists, producing marching gear and orchestral stuff in small quantities, though many pipe bands and UK military bands that for decades used Prem stuff have now moved to BDC too. They haven't produced kits in any real number since 2015 and haven't had kit distribution in any major market since a similar time.
That's the first I've heard of any of Nicko's kits being having Asian-made shells, and the first I've heard of them recycling kits with new wraps.

Nicko's always said he left Premier because they stopped British product and he wanted a British-made kit, so I doubt he would have settled for an Asian-made kit even for just a couple years.

I also know for a fact that the wrapped premier kits from the 2006-07, 2008-09, and 2010-11 tours still exist - and the last tour with Premier was 2012-14, so I highly doubt they recycled any kits with new wraps.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've known "high profile" drummers that get basically everything for free, and other "low profile' guys that get good discounts. As far as I know, nobody gets paid.

Largely true.

The only times I've heard of payments made to endorse were some years ago when Ddrum went on a buying spree, and they got Dave Lombardo, Ray Luzier, and many others payments to endorse Ddrum for a year. But as soon as the year was up, there were no payments offered again, and many of the drummers moved on.

Other than that, I've never heard of any direct payments for endorsements.

There may be indirect benefits, such as custom gear, signature product, or free stuff the company makes that aren't drum products (i.e. Yamaha, Tama/Ibanez) or such. But 99.9% of the time, it comes down as Bermuda posted.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Re_Nicko and Premier.

One year (I forget which year) I went to NAMM, and there was a big spot for Premier drums, and it was empty, save two folding chairs. It was just sad. Not a single drum in sight.

And soon after that was the announcement Nicko went back to Sonar.

And then Premier at nothing at NAMM from a while, Then eventually, a small section on someone else's booth.

I own (and love) my Premier Signia. It's sad the company is essentially no longer, other than the name.
 

brushes

Well-known member
I really hope that Premier will survive and get back to respectability given its history, but it is more likely that it will end like the Slingerland-Saga. Only the name and memory remains
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member

Didn't watch. The fact that he says "sponsored" means he has very little (more likely zero) experience with companies.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I've known "high profile" drummers that get basically everything for free, and other "low profile' guys that get good discounts. As far as I know, nobody gets paid.

There are some very high profile drummers who indeed get whatever they want, whenever they want. At Ludwig, that would be Ringo, Alex Van Halen, and I would think Questlove. At Yamaha, Steve Gadd, at DW it would be Terry and Abe Jr., and so on. But there aren't too many that get an unlimited free ride. Comped gear is typically limited, either annually, or the artist gets one kit free up front and a discount thereafter. Smaller items like sticks and heads are more likely to be handed out more liberally, but there's often a limit on those as well.

Last person I heard of who was paid directly for his endorsement was Carmine with Istanbul, and it was a stupid low number. I would be embarrassed to jump ship for that amount. He eventually came back to Sabian, where he is not paid.
 

s1212z

Well-known member
Didn't watch. The fact that he says "sponsored" means he has very little (more likely zero) experience with companies.



Essentially the take away, many no name drummers have been approached to as a 'sponsor' to have all the glory of a name on a website with the feeling that "they made it" as a pro. In reality, there is not actual sponsorship or cost savings to the point their cannibalizing their own customer base. This is the other side of sponsorship and Nate talks about being approached with these deals and also saying he isn't high profile enough to get a zildjian profile given his small channel traffic.

Like him or not, it's a discussion worth having as more people are likely to deal with this rather than negotiating their 40th anniversary Sonor signature kit.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Like him or not, it's a discussion worth having...

I don't know him, and yes, it is a discussion worth having, but only with someone who knows enough to use the correct term. I didn't watch the video specifically because he used the wrong word for the relationship between an artist and a company, so there's no telling what other information in the video is also wrong.

I'm being picky, because it's important to get this stuff right. That's why I posted an Endorsement FAQ online back in 1998, well before the companies put the info out there (and likely before Modern Drummer wrote about it.) A few companies liked what I wrote well enough to adopt it as their FAQ (with my permission of course!) That was the seal of approval that told me I got it right. But with over 35 years endorsing various brands and getting to know the people in the companies, I have learned a few things. :)
 

Living Dead Drummer

Platinum Member
I have worked both sides of the coin, as an Artist Relations Manager for a major brand, and as a full time professional player who endorses a number of major brands.
To echo Bermuda, it's never about money.

9 out of 10 times it's relationship based. Someone who you worked closely with and befriended quits or leaves said brand. Artists tend to follow them. That's how I ended up with my first cymbal deal.

I've changed drum and cymbal companies over the years, so I can at least share my own personal experience.

My first official deal was with Peace Drums. I was an artist for them for around 7 years. 10 Years ago I left and signed with Yamaha.
The reason:
While Peace's high end drums and US office staff were outstanding, I was at a place in my career that had me flying around the world more frequently. They simply didn't have the market footprint and I count't get their kits as backline anyplace. The staff was really understanding and didn't get offended when they saw photos or video of me at a festival playing Tama or DW, or Yamaha. But it bothered me. If I give you my endorsement, and support your brand, then I am in 110%.
I grew up playing Yamaha. My teacher had a beautiful set of 80's RC's that took lessons on, my first books in middle school band were Yamaha books, and really really always loved everything they had to offer. Plus you can get them anyplace in the world! That was the deciding factor. The I could get on a plane to Germany and get a kit that was the same as the brand I was backing.
 

toddmc

Gold Member
The only times I've heard of payments made to endorse were some years ago when Ddrum went on a buying spree, and they got Dave Lombardo, Ray Luzier, and many others payments to endorse Ddrum for a year. But as soon as the year was up, there were no payments offered again, and many of the drummers moved on.
That may be true but Lombardo stated at a drum clinic I went to that his Ddrum kit:
Quote "Looked like Robocop had taken a shit after every gig" Unquote

Fortunately he was back with Tama by the time I saw him ?
 

s1212z

Well-known member
I don't know him, and yes, it is a discussion worth having, but only with someone who knows enough to use the correct term. I didn't watch the video specifically because he used the wrong word for the relationship between an artist and a company, so there's no telling what other information in the video is also wrong.

There is no relationship between artist and company here....wouldn't even call it an endorsement. Companies are 'sponsoring' no-name players with shabby discounts so there can get free marketing when they do their instagram videos or YT channels and make it look like they have an artist roster. Far as I see, it resembles nothing from I see in a traditional endorsement relationship. They may put their their photo on their website (no one will actually know them nor anyone cares if they are a quality player) but it's not they are actually endorsing their product because their never really had a platform to begin with. And if near 20% of the YT (per video poll) are getting offers of shady 'sponsorships', than I going to assume that some here have either been offered or even partake on this forum as well. So there you have it, the play-by-play since people won't bother watch because he is a 'douche' and uses improper drum endorsement nomenclature.
 

brushes

Well-known member
I grew up playing Yamaha [...] Plus you can get them anyplace in the world! That was the deciding factor. The I could get on a plane to Germany and get a kit that was the same as the brand I was backing.
Antonio Sanchez said pretty much the very same thing. He started with Yamaha and later wanted to be backed up by a company that has the necessary gear available in any place on the planet. Which is absolutely understandable.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Carl Palmer has done a lot of brand hopping in his career.

Ludwig, British Steel, Premier, Remo, Paiste, Brady (not sure if he was endorsed) and back to Ludwig. I'm not sure what he used in the Arthur Brown days or the early ELP gigs. I've seen footage but I can't remember. Chester Thompson also springs to mind.

The only 'endorsement' as such I have are my sticks (Pellwood) which involves paying a one off fee for them to set my profile up on their computers/machines and then you get a big discount buying in bulk which is great if you're a working drummer. As others have said it's not the company you're loyal to it's the guys associated with them who have a real infectious enthusiasm. I've been using their sticks for 10+ years now.
 
"Sponsoring" is a pretty good name for some contracts. You get a discount on buying their products and maybe some support on social media. The company might keep an eye on your profiles - if they never see you playing their cymbals, they might not be too happy. If you want to stick with a given brand anyway and you need a new set of cymbals or you regularly buy their sticks and heads, that might be a good deal.
 
Well, I'm certainly no business expert but "sponsoring" seems to be used at least in a similar way in some fields. I would guess it's used here to differentiate from what drummers think of when they hear "endorsement", so that they think about if those contracts are a good deal for them.
"If an organization or an individual sponsors something such as an event or someone's training, they pay some or all of the expenses connected with it, often in order to get publicity for themselves. "
 
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