By Bobby Reed, Editor of DownBeat

The Percussion Marketing Council held its PMC Members Meeting and Percussion Industry Gathering on Jan. 19 at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel’s Vista Lounge during The NAMM Show.

Among the speakers were the four executive officers of the organization: Brad Smith, vice president MI products at Hal Leonard; Dave Jewell, marketing communications manager, customer sales and marketing group at Yamaha; Stacey Montgomery-Clark, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Sabian; and Karl Dustman, co-executive director at Dustman & Associates.

In his opening remarks, Smith explained the main goal of the PMC: “What are we trying to do at the Percussion Marketing Council? It’s to make more players. That mission statement is pretty simple. So how do we do it? It’s through programs year after year, in the community, in the schools and with retailers.”

Montgomery-Clark reported that the 2016 International Drum Month “Roadie For A Day” campaign was the organization’s most successful contest yet. She also announced that the professional musician who will mentor the winner of the 2017 contest will be Matt Greiner, drummer for the band August Burns Red.

Rich Redmond, who plays drums for country superstar Jason Aldean, discussed his fun, fulfilling experience of mentoring the winner of the 2016 “Roadie For A Day” contest’s Henry Saad, a 12-year old from Raleigh, North Carolina.

PMC executive officers Karl Dustman (left), Stacey Montgomery-Clark, Brad Smith and Dave Jewell pose during a meeting on Jan. 19 at the Hilton Anaheim Hotel during The NAMM Show.

Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, told PMC members, “We are now working very hard with states across the country to make sure that the gates are wide open for music education to be strong on the community and district level. I encourage you, anywhere you go, to be an ambassador for music education and its benefits. Talk to people about its benefits and make sure that school districts are adequately funding music education, that they include it in their core education budgets, and that they’re including funding for highly qualified teachers [just] like they would for math or reading or social studies or anything else.”

Jewell recounted the successful efforts of the NAMM music lobbying “fly in” to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress. ESSA is a really important bill that was passed, and it will affect everyone in this room,” Jewell said. ÒESSA is [the acronym] for the Every Student Succeeds Act. It will come into play in 2018. For the first time ever, music and arts are called out as stand-alone subjects, as part of what’s called “a well-rounded education” that every child is entitled to. That’s a huge win. That language, “a well-rounded education,” originally came from NAMM, from language that they submitted to Congress. And that is part of a national bill.” He added, “Everybody in this room knows that music makes a person better.”

During The NAMM Show, the PMC also hosted a brainstorming and dialogue session for members on Jan. 22 at the San Simeon Room, located in the Hilton.



A guitar riff can launch a craze, and a drumbeat can inspire a kid to pick up drumsticks. There may be no drummer who has influenced more young drummers than Hal Blaine, one of most recorded musicians of all-time. Blaine most famously drummed with Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” studio band. Nicknamed the Wrecking Crew, the band dominated the recording industry, playing on more than 40 number one hits. One of the most popular songs they recorded was “Be My Baby,” sung by Ronnie Spector of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted The Ronettes. On Saturday night, January 21, at the NAMM show, members of the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) arranged for Spector to perform this song on the Nissan Grand Plaza Stage with two drummers—Blaine and Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel’s drummer for more than 30 years).

“Ronnie looked exactly like she looked all of those years ago—absolutely gorgeous. She sang absolutely gorgeous. I had goose bumps and my beautiful new DW drums and Zildjian cymbals had goose bumps too. The audience was covered with goose bumps! Liberty played his goose bumps off! The performance at NAMM was a holistic adventure that brought me back to Gold Star Studios in Hollywood in the ’60s. Thanks for the opportunity of my life to have had the pleasure of reliving those memories and thanks to the wonderful PMC members. What a fabulous night for all of us. All the fans were thrilled at NAMM!” says Blaine.

“As a teenager from Spanish Harlem, on my very first day in LA, in 1963, we recorded ‘Be My Baby,’” recalls Spector. “Hal created the most recognizable drum intro in the history of rock and roll on that record, and to be able to reunite with Hal 54 years later at NAMM was more than a dream come true—it was my career coming full circle. Those were magical times in the studio with Hal, making some of the most loved recordings from the ’60s. It all came back to me that Saturday on stage—turning around and seeing Hal behind the kit—Wow! And having Hal next to Liberty, it doesn’t get any better than that.”


PMC members Drum Workshop, Zildjian, and Hal Leonard made the reunion possible by contacting Ronnie’s management in December and arranging for Blaine to have his drum kit available for the duet. The PMC consists of drum and percussion companies who share the mission to go outside the industry and make more players by implementing programs with schools and retailers.

PMC Director Karl Dustman says, “The PMC strives to bring inspiring events to the next generation of players. Hal Blaine’s playing on ‘Be My Baby’ made a generation of kids want to pick up sticks and experience the joy of drumming, creating thousands of new drummers. He was one of the best ambassadors of that time and today! We felt it was worth the effort to have him play with Ronnie Spector when the opportunity was presented. We are grateful to Spector, her manager Jonathan Greenfield, Liberty DeVitto, and drummer Dennis Diken who suggested the idea. That song continues to inspire people to become musicians.”