Modern Drummer Magazine - Your Thoughts

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
How far back do you guys go with Modern Drummer? When did you read your first issue? What did you like about the magazine? Do you still like it?

My first issue was around 1984 or so. I remember the covers with Andy Newmark, Roger Taylor (Duran Duran), Art Blakey...and so on.

I loved Roy Burns' "Concepts" column. I loved Rick Van Horn's "Club Scene" column. I loved Rick Van Horn's interviews and reviews. I never threw an issue away and had hundreds of issues. I used to read them at bedtime, or when I woke up. And in between. I'd even read old issues years later.

And now in 2015, for some reason, I'm just not interested anymore. I stopped reading the hardcopy years ago and have the app and subscription that I read on my ipad. I know things change, times change, people get old, but I miss Rick Van Horn's contributions.

It's fun to go back and look at the old issues and ads sometimes.

As a kid, when I'd read it, I couldn't wait to get the next issue and look at everything.
 

The Modernist

Senior Member
I've never bought one, but occasionally flicked through it in WH Smiths whilst in the airport or waiting for a train.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I never subscribed, but occasionally I'd buy an issue if it had something interesting to me. Like the OP, over time there seemed to be less content of interest, and I can't remember the last time I bought a copy. Even at NAMM where there are complimentary stacks of the latest issue, I won't take one unless there's something I want to read about.

Bermuda
 
G

Ghostnote

Guest
.y parents started getting me subscriptions in the mid 80's. My first issue had Rick Marotta on the cover. I stopped subscribing in the early 90's when I started to just look at the gear ads.
 

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
I never subscribed, but occasionally I'd buy an issue if it had something interesting to me. Like the OP, over time there seemed to be less content of interest, and I can't remember the last time I bought a copy. Even at NAMM where there are complimentary stacks of the latest issue, I won't take one unless there's something I want to read about.

Bermuda
My memory isn't the best but weren't you in a Corder Drum ad holding a snare drum saying "it isn't this big it just sounds that way?"
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I had a subscription from the late 80's until about a year and 1/2 ago.

And I used to have a large collection of back issues going back to their early days.

As a young drummer, I used to read every article, every interview, often twice. It didn't matter if the subject matter or drummer being interviewed was interesting or not, I'd read it anyway to just absorb the knowledge.

But as time went by, I stopped reading articles or interviews that weren't interesting. And then as more time went by, I'd get issues and realize I had never even heard of most of the people in it. And then my subscription lapsed.

I do think about renewing now and then, but I don't seem to get around to doing it.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I use to read MD in the early 80's (as well as other drums magazine), I never subscribed though, I still got the copies, I read them from time to time.

I read an article about Simon Phillips a few weeks ago, the fact that he was described as "unknown" and a "up and coming" drummer made me chuckle :)
 

poppies

Senior Member
I relate to your changing interest in MD, and I think it's partly a function of how info is consumed these days. I can get exponentially more info from drum forums, manufacturer sites, etc., than can be found in any magazine.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I use to read MD in the early 80's (as well as other drums magazine), I never subscribed though, I still got the copies, I read them from time to time.

I read an article about Simon Phillips a few weeks ago, the fact that he was described as "unknown" and a "up and coming" drummer made me chuckle :)
Who is this Simon Phillips anyway? You sure talk about him a lot.

I haven't had a MD mag since the 80's, I think Larry Londin was on the cover. He drummed on Oh Sherry by Steve Perry. I'm pretty sure.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I haven't bought MD in years. I used to buy it fairly regularly but the content-to-advertising ratio got to the point where I started to question the value. Then the price went up. Not playing that game.

Here's the issue. As copies develop a lower circulation, then they have to rely more on the advertisers than the cover price to garner income. That develops a vicious cycle whereby even fewer people will buy it because of the advertising ratio, so they put more ads in to cover the cost. Then the price is raised and they lose more circulation and thus it continues.

I applaud them for making an online subscription, that's a good idea - but these magazines really need to start making interesting editorial content. There's a thread active at the moment about how no magazine will ever publish a negative review of a product because of the potential risk of losing advertisers but the reality is that a lack of integrity will lose readers as well.

There are 'free' papers in London that exist purely on the advertising revenue. They hand them out at Underground stations to commuters and they litter the streets. They are absolute rags and I will actively refuse copies and refuse to read them because of the complete lack of quality content. It's a race to the bottom and unfortunately we, as consumers, lose out.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Yep, me in the Corder ad, either end of 1984 or beg of 85. I had an "up & coming" feature in the January 1985 issue, and there was an update some years later in the August, 2000 issue. I think that was the last time I bought a copy (perhaps they sent me a copy?) When they feature my obituary, I guess I'll buy that, too.

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
MD was one of my only rare contacts with the world of drumming outside my own head. I got it regularly starting from the mid seventies until I took my "gotta learn how to make money" break in 1984.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I had a subscription from the late 80's until about a year and 1/2 ago.

And I used to have a large collection of back issues going back to their early days.

As a young drummer, I used to read every article, every interview, often twice. It didn't matter if the subject matter or drummer being interviewed was interesting or not, I'd read it anyway to just absorb the knowledge.

But as time went by, I stopped reading articles or interviews that weren't interesting. And then as more time went by, I'd get issues and realize I had never even heard of most of the people in it. And then my subscription lapsed.

I do think about renewing now and then, but I don't seem to get around to doing it.
This describes me perfectly except my subscription was more sporadic. I used to love MD but have since lost interest. I guess because internet.
 

Mcdonap

Member
I subscribed a couple of years ago when I got back into drumming after a long layoff.
Like a lot of you, I have very fond memories of MD from the 80's.
I feel like the magazine has changed, but maybe it's I who have changed...
I also had the archives for my computer - it was great to be able to look at all the old magazines! Unfortunately, it doesn't function on OS X after the last couple of OS X upgrades.
I do pretty much read the whole issue, and I do look forward to it coming in the mail.

(I was given a subscription to Drum! as a gift, and I actually look a little more forward to getting that one.)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
MD has certainly changed. Initially, as the first-ever drumming publication, they had some catching up to do with the legends and recent heavy-hitters in the business. Eventually, after those players had been suitably covered, there had to be a shift towards up&coming and lesser known players, with an obvious leaning towards a younger readership. Well, after all, the magazine is called Modern Drummer...

Judging by the nominees in MD's current reader's poll, their readership consists of younger players, listening to different drummers than the older guys for the most part.

But, that's where Classic Drummer (originally Vintage Drummer) filled a gap, featuring older pros who have aged-out of MD's reader demographic, as well as more obscure players from the past, before MD existed, and who weren't quite worthy of inclusion.

DRUM! is another magazine altogether, and I kinda dig what Andy's done/doing with it.

And there's Drumhead, Jonathan Mover's magazine, which seems to be less interested in the flavor-of-the-month, and more dedicated to serious players and playing, career advice, etc. very no-nonsense, and therefore a breath of fresh air.

And those are just in the States. There are other great drum mags around the world.

Online, there's also Tom Tom and Not So Modern Drummer, not to mention countless sites from educators and players, dedicated to technique, developing ideas, practice, etc.

Anyway, Modern Drummer is facing more competition than ever before, particularly when it comes to selling ad space. Even the big companies with familiar and consistent ad placement in certain publications have to make choices when allocating their ad budget. Way back, MD was the only game in town, but they don't always get the same advertisers in every issue like they were able to count on in the past.

A niche readership such as drummers is a tough business, even without 2 or 3 other printed publications breathing down your neck. I wouldn't want to be the editor who has to decide how to grow or simply retain readers with extremely diverse drumming interests. There's no way to please everyone in a single publication anyway.

Bermuda
 

Derek

Silver Member
I thought Traps was a class publication. Wasn't it an off - shoot from Drum magazine?

I was sorry that it was so short lived. I really liked it.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I think Modern Drummer and Drum! both suffer from the problems of the music business as a whole.

There are no huge bands selling millions of albums or being heavily featured on the MTV that can thrown on the cover. Even the guys who don't sell millions like Weckl, came to prominence through playing with other name musicians. The magazines had an easier time figuring out who should be interviewed.

Where as now, few bands sell millions, but thousands of bands sell a few thousand records each. Youtube has made it so numerous technical drummers can get their name out without needing a high profile gig.

The magazines have far more drummers to select from, but with far fewer people interested in any one of them.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Traps was DRUM!'s answer to Classic drummer. There really wasn't room for 2 such magazines, and Classic Drummer already had a solid following.
 
Top