Question for the Professionals

coolhand1969

Senior Member
Just out of curiosity, what happens or does anything happen, when a drummer endorses and gets paid by let's say a cymbal company, but he is out using cymbals from another brand?

I watched a video about a minute ago of Scott Rockenfield, a long time Paiste player, and he is using 2 Zil Chinas, you cannot miss the logo.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Just out of curiosity, what happens or does anything happen, when a drummer endorses and gets paid by let's say a cymbal company, but he is out using cymbals from another brand?
1st point, hardly anyone gets paid (directly) to endorse a product in the drums industry, although agreements vary widely from free gear + global support for the elite few, down to preferential discounts off gear for the majority. Promotional work is often paid though, or at least, expenses covered.

An artist has an obligation to publicly play & promote the gear they endorse whenever possible, but there will always be occasions when that's either impractical or counter to the gig requirements. In the studio however, or otherwise out of public view, the artist can do whatever they want so long as credits aren't made in favour of a competing brand.

Companies will enforce fidelity differently, & that will be reflected in the agreement between two parties. Most companies take a realistic view of the general music environment, & don't have an issue unless there's blatant transgression of the agreement or spirit of the understanding between artist & manufacturer.


Edit: I'm not a professional drummer.
 
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bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Companies will enforce fidelity differently
Exactly, and there are a few factors that govern what action (if any) the company might take. Mostly, it depends on the level of the artist, their credibility, the length of the relationship, and especially their marketing value to the company. Example: when Steve Gadd was pictured on the cover of Modern Drummer many years ago, his Ludwig Supra was clearly visible and recognizable among the rest of his Yamaha kit. While that must have been embarrassing to Yamaha, Gadd's marketing value still trumped that oversight in choice of photos.

But a company may take a much a harder line, and the best-known example was when Carmine was dropped from Ludwig for appearing in Oui magazine with some Ludwig drums as props in a hotel room. There's a little more to the story, but basically, Ludwig (Selmer, actually) didn't find that kind of association very flattering. That was around 1981 or so, I dare say it wouldn't be an issue today for most companies.

As for Scott Rockenfield, he doesn't possess the marketing value that Gadd or Carmine had, so it's hard to say what Paiste would do. My guess is, nothing, as long as they're confident that he sufficiently supports the brand. That is, if there are plenty of Paiste logos visible, Scott's doing his part.

Frankly, many artists are kept on board despite petty transgressions - or their exposure level declining - because they are also "contractual" customers for that company (that is, they're not spending their drum dollars on competitors' products.) But don't confuse that with the many small drum and cymbal companies today that are notorious for direct-selling product, then labeling those customers as "artists". Different business model altogether.

Bermuda
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Let me add that the particular product often determines the severity of the infraction.

Snares enjoy more of a "blind eye" when it comes to using competing brands. It's hard to argue with the fact that a lot of pros prefer Supras and Black Beauties, regardless of their drum company endorsement. But those drummers should still be careful when it comes to photos. So that shot of Gadd with Yamahas and a Supra wasn't as scandalous as it would have been if he was caught playing Ludwigs with a Yamaha snare.

I'd say that cymbal companies are more possessive, and there's an additional twist: the relationship between Sabian and Zildjian. So, while a Paiste artist using a Zildjian might not be a deal-breaker, if he was a Sabian artist shown with Zildjians - or vice versa - that's a genuine problem (compared to the S or Z artist being seen with an Istanbul, for example.)

Also, the vintage of the gear is usually forgivable. A Gretsch artist isn't going to lose his deal because he's seen recording with a 1940s Slingerland kit. The status of the brand also comes into play somewhat. The fact that Slingerland, Camco, Rogers et al aren't currently available brands, makes such infractions less of a concern to the endorsed company.

Bermuda
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So I guess the fact is, is that you gotta be somebody. I wish my life could be so dramatic ;)
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
And, one more note - because a company tolerates an infraction, it doesn't mean they're happy about it. I've encountered a few of these myself.

Without naming the brand or product, one of my endorsed companies noticed that, on my web site, I list all of the brands in my collection. While this was simply my way of bragging a little about my collection, listing competitors' names could raise some questions about my loyalty to the endorsed companies. Truth be told, only one company actually said anything, no fellow players ever mentioned it, and I still have my deal with the company.

I had another more flagrant issue though. At the Chicago show in 2012, I was pictured on a banner with another brand of drums, something that Ludwig doesn't exactly make. It wasn't an endorsement, although I know that someone strolling by the booth would probably view it as such. I had a little explaining to do to Ludwig, and I realize I should have handled things differently.

But in my 30 years of endorsing brands, those are my only regrettable moments.

Bermuda
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
They send over the drum police and you get your knackers whacked. And since they also double as the mattress police you'd better not tear off those mattress tags because for that, you go to jail.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
As mentioned, almost no one gets paid for the endorsement, so money is not a factor.

Cymbal endorsements have often been pushed.

When Tommy Lee was still endorsing Paiste, he clearly had Zildjian hi-hats in the live footage in the "SOS" music video.

The late Jeff Pocaro was pictured with Zildjian K/Z hi-hats, and said that those were among his favorite hi-hats, despite being a Paiste endorser.

Lars Ulrich is a Zildjian and Tama endorser, but there is plenty of footage of him in the studio playing Gretch and Sabian.

And sometimes stuff just happens.

Chad Smith was seen in a video playing all Zildjian despite being a Sabian endorser. His explanation was the company producing the video was in charge of supplying the gear, and when Chad showed up, they had supplied the wrong cymbals, but due to their location, there was no way to drive home and get the right gear.

A lot of guys, when on tour, are not always using their own gear. Much of the time it's rental gear. And sometimes the correct gear isn't always supplied or readily available.

Sometimes a particular cymbal cracked, and there wasn't enough time to get another one of the right brand in time for that nights show.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Sometimes a particular cymbal cracked, and there wasn't enough time to get another one of the right brand in time for that nights show.
So you mean eventually all those SoulTone guys would end up with a Sabian/Paiste/Zildjian set because as they break them, there's NOWHERE to get replacements while out on the road? No way!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
So you mean eventually all those SoulTone guys would end up with a Sabian/Paiste/Zildjian set because as they break them, there's NOWHERE to get replacements while out on the road? No way!
I'm pretty sure the only "road" in question's the one they can see from their bedroom ;)
 
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