Drumrock - an Editorial

I get a lot of questions regarding what Drumrock is all about – where we came from, where we are, where we’re going.  Why do we do things the way we do them?  What’s the purpose and motivation?  All questions easily and not easily answered. 

A Little History

Drumrock came online as a forum in December of 2003.  There was really no sense of direction associated there I was just playing around with some discussion forum software and decided to give a drum forum a go.  I’d been active on Pearls forum for a while and the idea struck me as fun.

We really didn’t get a lot of activity as a forum until April of 2004.  At the same time I decided that we could do more with it so we added a front page and started adding content.  Not much content, really, but some.  Some editorial based articles and our first interview with Scott Rockenfield.   

At some point I decided to integrate Drumrock the site and Drumrock the forum into the online e-zine format you see today.   The software sitting under Drumrock continues to evolve and as it does our presentation gets better and faster.   Getting content online fast – when it’s still relevant – is part of what we’re about.

Our first NAMM coverage was in January 2005.  Since then we have been there every year – the only one I’ve personally missed was January 2006 due to health reasons.   We’ve settled into a format for these shows that may or may not get tweaked as time goes on but it’s one that works.

There’s been a few staff members that have come and gone all have contributed something to help move Drumrock along.  Currently, our staff consists of me, Jack, Michael, Mike, and Chris (Jonah Hex, Hitsme, Opus138, Fussnfeathers, and Drum Moose respectively).  While Keith (Deepthought) was an integral part of Drumrock for a long time, he’s moved on to a different place in life and his time is being better utilized elsewhere, and while no longer staff, he will always have a special place at Drumrock, even if his visits are infrequent.

Ok, so why?

That’s a very easy question to answer.  We love to play drums.    None of us are “professionals” and will probably never make our living sitting on a stage in front of 10000 people rocking our asses off.  So we put ourselves out there in other ways.  For me, and the guys that help, Drumrock is a way to do that.  We’re passionate about playing drums and drumming.   This gives us another outlet to express and try and pass on that passion and hopefully inspire someone along the way.    We’re not in this for money.
 

Not in it for money?  What’s wrong with you?

Don’t get me wrong – making money is nice.  Money is what the world, as much as it shouldn’t be, rotates on.   If I had the time and the means to devote 100% of my focus on Drumrock, then it would be a lot bigger, and more profitable, than it is.  We run this site for nothing – the staff doesn’t get paid, I out of pocket 90% of the expenses associated with the site with some assistance here and there from the other guys.  I could devote 100% of my attention to Drumrock, and I would love to, but I choose the path of family and responsibility over music early in life.  I don’t, and never will, regret that decision, however it does mean that Drumrock doesn’t get full time attention.  The money is not there for us to be able to do that.  Does it mean I wouldn’t want to run it full time and constantly pump out reviews, interviews, articles – of course not, I most definitely would.  For the foreseeable future, unless the Gods of Lottery or Obama writes me a huge stimulus check, Drumrock is a free site, with content as we can get it and get to it. 

You’ll notice –there are no ads anywhere on Drumrock.  We experimented with Google’s adwords but even that’s gone.   I have plenty of space on the site to post ads, I just choose not to.   Same with the donation box that once inhabited the front page.  Again, this stems from choices.  We can if we want to, perhaps someday we will run ads, and charge for them, however until I can dedicate more time and resources to the site, I won’t do it. 

What about that content?

Let’s look at content by type and I’ll tell you my philosophy on each. 

Interviews

Interviews are, in my opinion, the chance for an artist to say what he wants to say.  That’s why when you read the in-person interviews they’re long and detailed.  Interviews like Dom Famularo and Ryan Hoyle are word for word what these fantastic drummers had to say during our conversation.  If Drumrock’s end of the conversation seems light, well, my answer is the interview is not about Drumrock, it’s about who we’re talking to.  So if you don’t see a “typical” interview question in a given posting, it’s not because I didn’t have it down to ask, it’s because the conversation didn’t go that way, and as the interview progressed the “typical” question fell out of context of what the artist was saying and was made irrelevant. 

Email interviews are a lot more typical – we send questions to the artists, they send us back answers.   I always request that the artists answer in as much detail as they want and toss in whatever they feel they want to say.  Email interviews are tad more impersonal than I like, sometimes they’re unavoidable.  We do the best we can with those. 

Either way an interview goes, we, as a small site are ALWAYS appreciative of the artists time.  These guys have lot on their plates and its good to know they’re willing to share some of that time with us.

Reviews

This is the subject that actually inspired this “On Drumrock” article (which will become a linked page).  

My approach to a product review is very clinical.  Give me a product, I will break it down, analyze, abuse, test, and then write my findings.   Good or bad.  This is how a review should be.  Reviews are not about trying to make someone’s product look as good as it can, glossing over the flaws and downsides to a product.  Reviews are about informing a potential buyer of that product what they can expect from it.  Good and Bad. 

So if you put a product in our hands, expect just that.  We will always try and find an upside to a negative aspect of a product, and I will frequently insert my opinion in the review.  However,  I, nor my staff, will never hide or gloss over a potential issue with a product just because a manufacturer doesn’t want that aspect to be highlighted.  We will always strive to be constructive and as positive as we can be with an issue, but at t eh same time, its a fundamental responsibility of a reviewer to also make sure potential issues are known.  This benefits the consumer and the manufacturer. 

So if you’re a manufacturer, and reading this, the challenge to you is to wow us.   Wow our readers.  Send us a product that you feel confident about and are willing to have put through the wringer.  You may not like or agree with our findings, but we will ALWAYS take a clinical and analytical approach to what we review.  If the product measures up, we’ll make sure it’s known, if it falls flat, well, we have to make sure that is known too. 

Education

This is an area we are severely lacking on, as much as I hate to admit it.  We should have a lot more available to drummers in this regard and I’m really hoping we’ll be able to expand on that this year.  Drumming education, drum education, hearing conservation education (HUGE in my opinion), and anything else related to advancing people knowledge regarding drums, drumming, and music in general, should be a focus. We’ve so far, not ignored, but sidestepped this important piece and I’m hoping to remedy that shortly.

General Articles and Editorials

From time to time we’ll post general articles (drumming, recording, concert reviews) and editorials.  We haven’t  had a lot of this activity recently but expect more as the next year or two wears on. 

A short conclusion.

Drumrock is a labor of love,  a passion.  It’s been around now for over five years in one incarnation or another, and will not be going anywhere anytime in the future that I can see.  Drums are what we love.  Playing, looking at, tearing apart, hell, even breaking.  Would we like to be bigger?  Absolutely.  Will we be bigger?  Without a doubt. 

Time and focus are two keys.  Participation and cooperation by manufacturers and dealers is another key.  Artists who are willing to look over our small stature are yet another.    We’ll get there whether it’s this year or next, who knows.  But we will – so please join us for the ride, keep coming back, frequent our forums, and we’ll do our best to provide quality insight into the world of drumming for many many years to come.

Tim Robinson
February 2009


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