NICKOS RETURN TO SONOR WHAT ABOUT PREMIER

So Nicko has gone back to Sonor after many years and will be playing a sq2, what about premier why did he leave? Good for sonor not so good for premier. Would all their kits being made in China not England be a factor or were they not looking after him? I know the one series and the like are made in England by Keith Keogh but there vintage specs and not nickos style.
 

Souljacker

Silver Member
I had a gawk at a Premier fan club page on Facebook after it randomly popped up at the side of the page the other week

The diehard Premier lovers aren't happy campers to say the least. In a nutshell they are displeased at the new executives of the company who they think are in it for the money and have no passion for drums.

Premier have also been inept at marketing their drums to potential customers for quite a while despite the ability of their drum craftsman Keith, who is regarded as one of the best out there. He's out of a job now (with Premier at least) since the UK closure.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
My teacher is a former long term endorsee. The stories he's told me in private, well I won't go into as it's not my place, especially not on a public forum.

My own personal view when taking everything on the public domain into consideration and seeing who has left?

It seems very much from the outside Premier is a sinking ship, again. Hence why all most of their working artists who need tour support (for example) have moved on.

It's sad but it's their own downfall really.
 
I really hope they bounce back again! They have a lot of history and made very reliable work horse kits that were very popular at one time. The first kit I ever had was a old beat up premier. The old APKs were every where when I was growing up, I Still have an old premier snare and a couple of and couple of toms.But I suppose you can't blame the endorses for leaving if things aren't right. I have seen some of their lower line stuff in shops in the last while and taught they were on the way up, but obviously not.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
I really hope they bounce back again! They have a lot of history and made very reliable work horse kits that were very popular at one time. The first kit I ever had was a old beat up premier. The old APKs were every where when I was growing up, I Still have an old premier snare and a couple of and couple of toms.But I suppose you can't blame the endorses for leaving if things aren't right. I have seen some of their lower line stuff in shops in the last while and taught they were on the way up, but obviously not.
Under the current owners/business model I don't know how they will survive.

They obviously can't support any high name artists and with little/confusing market presence, with hardly any international marketing, they don't look in good shape.

Maybe the marching line will slow their decline but on their current trajectory it's just buying time, it seems.

Their best bet is to be sold to new owners but with a string of endorsers leaving and their brand in a mess then who's going to offer them a way out at a price that would be tempting?

If the owners look to sell who knows but other mass producing UK drum companies (Natal for example) are already taking their place in the UK and international market. The British drum company has risen out of Premiers ashes recruiting their main drum builder but won't be mass producing for a while, it seems.

It's a real shame regardless of what happens, they seemed to be back on the up just a short while ago but beware what happens behind the scenes I guess.
 
It seem the are in decline for quite some time. A few years ago when some of their stuff went up on thomann and musicstore the reissue genistas apks etc,it looked good but that never gathered any momentum and were swallowed up by other main brands.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Their best bet is to be sold to new owners but with a string of endorsers leaving and their brand in a mess then who's going to offer them a way out at a price that would be tempting?
Exactly! I wouldn't buy Premier for 1p. Unfortunately, I'm privy to the inside track on this, & it's shameful. Keith with British Drum Company are using the previous UK Premier workshop because of enlightened historical Premier management decisions left over from the purchase of KD drums with Keith in the package. There's just too much baggage associated with the brand.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I've always had a soft spot for old Premiers, they go under the radar big style, I really want an old 70's Elite, they're great drums. The early 70's ones were African Mahogany I think.

Sadly it's not economically viable to make mass production kits in the UK anymore and compete with the far east same as the US in that respect. They're then left competing with the big boys for the high end stuff and if you're in the UK we're spoilt with custom drum builders and you see and hear the difference in workmanship.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
I really hope they bounce back again! They have a lot of history and made very reliable work horse kits that were very popular at one time. The first kit I ever had was a old beat up premier. The old APKs were every where when I was growing up, I Still have an old premier snare and a couple of and couple of toms.But I suppose you can't blame the endorses for leaving if things aren't right. I have seen some of their lower line stuff in shops in the last while and taught they were on the way up, but obviously not.
I love Premier (I have two original Genistas) and in common with lots of Brits an old Prem was what I learnt to play on. However, and I say this with genuine sadness, I rather hope they don't bounce back (again). The last 10-15 years have been chaotic to say the least, poorly managed with some, in marketing terms, poorly conceived drums (The Beast snare, as an example with a street price of £2000 GBP) and a company with not the slightest idea of what they actually wanted to be.

There's no real way they can compete in a modern market place with just made in China kits, other people do it better and cheaper and The British Drum Company is, in effect, the only viable bit of the Premier kit drum business but operating on its own now with a new investor.

I suspect that Sonor (a very similar company in terms of range and heritage) is only viable now as it is part of a much larger company with Far eastern ownership.

As sad as it makes me, I'd like to see Premier kits slide off into history with their reputation for high quality kits in all price brackets intact rather than watching any more slightly desperate relaunch attempts with incompetent managers that end up circling the drain (again) within 5 years.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I'm surprised Premier haven't jumped on the modern vintage bandwagon like Ludwig did, all they'd have to do is change the tuning rods from slotted to square!

Some of the old hardware was great, a friend of mine has a mint condition premier kit which he brought from new in the 70's big concert tom thing, not a million miles away from Nicko's set up. The cymbal stands are seriously strong plus they have the counterweight on them which I think is a really cool retro look. I used it to audition for a Genesis tribute. Looked well cool, sounded the part too!
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I'm surprised Premier haven't jumped on the modern vintage bandwagon like Ludwig did, all they'd have to do is change the tuning rods from slotted to square!
I agree, I remember when I first started becoming a gear head in like 2004, Ludwig had nothing. They had their entry level Accents, but I never heard anything about any of their other lines.

Then they had Bonham and Ringo reissue sets in like 2006, so I thought cool, they got nothing new so just riding on nostalgia.

Now all of a sudden in the past 5 years Ludwig has bounced back big time. Everybody has gone to tiny toms and deep as shit bass drums, and Ludwig doubled down and reintroduced big rock drum packages, and have been killing it.

Its sad that Premier can't do the same. They'll end up just like Slingerland and Rogers.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
I'm surprised Premier haven't jumped on the modern vintage bandwagon like Ludwig did, all they'd have to do is change the tuning rods from slotted to square!

Some of the old hardware was great, a friend of mine has a mint condition premier kit which he brought from new in the 70's big concert tom thing, not a million miles away from Nicko's set up. The cymbal stands are seriously strong plus they have the counterweight on them which I think is a really cool retro look. I used it to audition for a Genesis tribute. Looked well cool, sounded the part too!
This, again, illustrates the marketing problem. They DID jump on the modern vintage theme with a range of kits called Modern Classic in 2013, using one of their best known UK endorsers, Steve White, as the ambassador for the series. That said they were just brown drums unfortunately (no offence to fans of natural finishes!), with no real attempt to use sparkles or other interesting finishes until right at the very end, when a red sparkle was shown at NAMM 2015.

They were great sounding drums but looked rather underwhelming.

The other problem was that they were all built to order so finding one to actually see or hear was dependent on a shop taking a punt and ordering one in. As the UK doesn't have any large chains of shops few were willing to do it, although one or two had a couple of kits on display for a while. One shop still has them both, two years later.

In terms of tribute kits many of Premier's endorsers played fairly normal looking kits, there wasn't anything particularly iconic about anyone's except Keith Moon's or Nicko's kits and the problem is that the famous ones were all very large kits. Prem did do a re-issue of the Pictures of Lily kit, using wraps made by the same company, Greenshires, that did all the wraps for Nicko's tour kits. But the cost £8,000 GBP new.

There's also a proper Nicko Ed Til I'm Dead tour kit tribute, introduced in 2013 as well, with a street price of £9,000. I'd be interested to know if they sold a single one....

The few Spirit of Lily kits that did sell eventually went for far less than their street price as the actual market for a double bass drum kit with three 14x8" toms or those Who fans with deep enough pockets and enough space for it is vanishingly small.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
This, again, illustrates the marketing problem. They DID jump on the modern vintage theme with a range of kits called Modern Classic in 2013, using one of their best known UK endorsers, Steve White, as the ambassador for the series. That said they were just brown drums unfortunately (no offence to fans of natural finishes!), with no real attempt to use sparkles or other interesting finishes until right at the very end, when a red sparkle was shown at NAMM 2015.

They were great sounding drums but looked rather underwhelming.

There's also a proper Nicko Ed Til I'm Dead tour kit tribute, introduced in 2013 as well, with a street price of £9,000. I'd be interested to know if they sold a single one....

The few Spirit of Lily kits that did sell eventually went for far less than their street price as the actual market for a double bass drum kit with three 14x8" toms or those Who fans with deep enough pockets and enough space for it is vanishingly small.
I forgot the Modern Classics, they were really nice kits but very badly marketed which is why I've forgotten about them! I do like natural looking drums.

There's probably some fanatic who has the Nicko kit somewhere, he did a big clinic tour where all he did was try and flog Premier and Paiste. £9000 for a kit is on the vertical side of steep!

You could build a Keith Moon kit for next to nothing, Premiers are free to a good home on ebay. I remember about 12 years back when I was refinishing an old Hayman and I asked for a quote on the Moon Red sparkle and it wasn't cheap.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
I forgot the Modern Classics, they were really nice kits but very badly marketed which is why I've forgotten about them! I do like natural looking drums.

There's probably some fanatic who has the Nicko kit somewhere, he did a big clinic tour where all he did was try and flog Premier and Paiste. £9000 for a kit is on the vertical side of steep!

You could build a Keith Moon kit for next to nothing, Premiers are free to a good home on ebay. I remember about 12 years back when I was refinishing an old Hayman and I asked for a quote on the Moon Red sparkle and it wasn't cheap.
A few years ago there was a chap on the Dolbear forum who did exactly that. Interestingly the Moon red sparkle lacquer that Prem used latterly was nothing like the original wrap. One of my Genistas is a one up two down in Moon sparkle lacquer from 1998ish and it's a very fine sparkle compared to the red sparkle Delmar wrap that I put on my other Genista (and the wrap used on earlier Prems). They sit together happily enough but it's clear they aren't the same.

Drum Shop in Washington CD (County Durham rather than DC!) still have one of the £9k Nicko kits. Note that this price excludes hardware other than tom stands and holders.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
A few years ago there was a chap on the Dolbear forum who did exactly that. Interestingly the Moon red sparkle lacquer that Prem used latterly was nothing like the original wrap. One of my Genistas is a one up two down in Moon sparkle lacquer from 1998ish and it's a very fine sparkle compared to the red sparkle Delmar wrap that I put on my other Genista (and the wrap used on earlier Prems). They sit together happily enough but it's clear they aren't the same.
Was it this guy?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrBOySN7rK8

The old premier sparkles were really nice. I came close to buying another Richmo off an old endorsee which was finished in old Premier Green Sparkle which Alan Gilby had 'borrowed' from the Premier factory.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
It wasn't as it happens, and can't find the thread as whilst the Dolbear site is really good the search function is horrendous!

The one on there was completely redone in red sparkle, all correct sizes and all the correct hardware down to the tom bracket/holder that Moon used to hold the bass drums together and four legs on one of the BDs.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
They did sell at least one of the Nicko Ed Til I'm Dead Kits. I went into the Drumshop in Washington (County Durham, UK) one day a few years back and it was set up on their stage ready for the buyer to collect it. It was such a big deal to me that I got my non drum playing son out of the car to look at it and even he was gob smacked by it, it was one of those "you'll thank me for this when you're older" moments.
I sat behind it (didn't touch a thing just in case the buyer is reading this) & was mightily impressed. It seemed that no matter where you moved your arms you'd hit a tom.....whether the result if I had moved my arms would have been listenable or not is of course another matter altogether.

On the wider subject of Premier, my first ever kit was a Premier Royale and I currently own a Premier Projector. Things have changed over the years, Premier was defined by their "made in England" image, and now that it's impossible to build a competitively priced kit for beginners or intermediate players in England the marque has lost it's usp. I've had a couple of the Far Eastern made Genistas and they were great kits, however they were no better than an equivalent Mapex, and because I didn't also get the "feel good factor" of owning a kit that had been made in Leicester by blokes wearing brown overalls (the same men who made Keith Moons kit may well have been the same men involved in building my Royale or Projector kit) then the "point" of owning a Premier was lost.
 
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