Peart Drum Giveaway 1987

Updated: 03/24/2018

Modern Drummer, March 1987

Win Neil's Drums


Official Rules

  1. Cassette tapes only; no microcassettes or reel-to-reels.
  2. Solo must be two minutes in length or less.
  3. Solo should consist of a drummer's performance only; no accompanying musicians, sequencers, drum machines, etc. Also, no overdubbing.
  4. Solo must be original in nature; reproduction of previously recorded or printed solos are not acceptable.
  5. Only one tape per drummer will be accepted.
  6. No spoken material allowed on tape.
  7. Cassette must be clearly marked with drummer's name, address, and phone number. (Please mark the cassette itself — not the box.)
  8. A signed official entry form must accompany cassette (original or photocopy). No other written material, photos, etc., will be accepted. (If contestant is under 18 years of age, the contestant's legal guardian must sign the entry form.)
  9. Entry must be postmarked no later than April 30,1987.
  10. Tapes become the property of Modern Drummer Publications and cannot be returned.
  11. Winners will be announced in the October 1987 issue of Modern Drummer.
  12. Void where prohibited.

Mail entry forms to:
Modern Drummer, Attn: Neil Peart Drumset Giveaway
870 Pompton Ave.,Cedar Grove, NJ 07009

Letter from Neil

Fellow Drummers:

I have recently put together a new drumset for myself (about which more will appear in the next issue of MD), and I'm starting to feel like I have too many good drums just sitting around. (You should have such problems, right?) Now, I'm not greedy, and all these drums are more than I really need. If I have one drumkit for touring and recording, and one at home for practice and recreation, what use can I possibly have for all these others? The answer, I've decided, is none; thus, I have decided to give the extra ones away.

Some of you may recall that a few years ago I gave away a nice Tama kit by means of an essay contest here in MD. This worked out quite well, as I was able to choose a deserving winner by way of his words, and he in turn was generous enough to pass his drums along to the person I chose as runner-up. The only trouble was that I had to read 4,625 essays, which took up rather a large portion of my holidays! It was more than I bargained for, I'd have to say, though I'm glad I did it — once!

So this time, I put my ideas together with the people here at MD, and we decided to do it a little differently. We would like to hear a taped drum performance from you. We have determined a limit of two minutes, to be recorded on a cassette tape, in which you can express what you feel is your best work. If you wish to make it shorter, that's fine (we judges won't mind!), but please don't bother to make it longer, as we judges won't be listening!

Recording quality will not be taken into account, so don't worry too much about that. We will be looking for things like originality, technique, structure, imagination, musicality — the intangible qualities that together make a good musician. Play any style, any approach you like; there are no limitations save your own (and the two-minute one!)

So give it your best thought, give it your best shot, and put it in the mail slot. (This guy writes lyrics?) We await your entries with open ears.

First Prize — One Candy Apple Red Tama kit (the prototype Artstar shells), with two 24" bass drums, 6", 8", 10", and 12" concert toms, and 12", 13", 15", and 18" toms. All the drums have brass-plated hardware. There is also the "satellite" kit consisting of an 18" bass drum, four matching red Simmons pads, and a Simmons SDS 5 module. Oh all right, I'll throw in a 13" wood-shell timbale and a 22" gong bass drum, too. (This setup was used in the recording of Power Windows, Grace Under Pressure, and Signals, as well as the subsequent tours.)

Second Prize — One Black Chrome Slingerland kit, with two 24" bass drums, 6", 8", 10", and 12" concert toms, 12", 13", 15", and 18" toms, and a pair of 13" and 14" brass timbales. (This kit was used in the recording of A Farewell To Kings and Hemispheres, and the endless tours which followed them!)

Third Prize — One Chrome Slingerland kit, with two 22" bass drums, 6", 8", 10", and 12" concert toms (copper finish), two 13" toms, one 14" tom, a 16" floor tom, and a chrome timbale. (Used in the recording of Fly By Night, Caress Of Steel, 2112, All The World's A Stage, and on those equally endless tours.)

All the kits are complete with basic mounting hardware and heads, and even a few stands as well. I'm sorry there are no snare drums for any of the kits, but I'm keeping the one snare that all those kits had in common! (Some things you just can't replace!)

To quote once again from one of the entrants in the last contest: "Good luck is when preparation meets opportunity."

So, Good Luck!

Yours truly,

Neil Peart 

Modern Drummer - October 1987

Here's To The Winners: Peart Drum Giveaway Results

By Neil Peart

Well, I have to tell you, this has been a very interesting and rewarding contest! 1,767 entries — from places as far off as Zimbabwe and Finland — came flowing into the offices of Modern Drummer. They represented many different styles and approaches. One of the more unusual entries was sent in by a female drummer with a minimalist credo: The whole tape contained just a single tom beat. Boom. She should have known I am not one of those who believe that "less is more"!

The first time around, each of the tapes was listened to by the individual editors of MD. Once the entrants were narrowed down to about 150, these were listened to by a panel consisting of Ron Spagnardi, Editor/ Publisher, Rick Mattingly, Senior Editor, Rick Van Horn, Managing Editor, and Bill Miller, Associate Editor. Together they scored each one and then sent on the hightest-scoring 46 to me.

Then my part of it began! I sat down with my Walkman and played each one of the tapes, making notes as I listened. Also, I was careful not to listen to more than 10 or 12 at a sitting, so I wouldn't get burned out or overlook anything. I just closed my eyes and listened hard, and then I wrote down what I liked and didn't like about the performance. When I was particularly impressed by one, I put a big "star" beside the name.

After I'd listened through once to each of them, I went through my notes, choosing the "starred" ones for reevaluation, and checking to see if any of my written comments on others seemed to merit a second listening. After this, I was left with a lucky 13 semifinalists.

I have to say that I was very impressed with the overall quality of these 46 performances. In the little paragraphs that I wrote about each tape, almost every drummer got a good review. (You won't find that out in the real world!) All of these players had very good technique, very musical sounding drums, and there was plenty of imagination and excitement. There is no question in my mind that there are a lot of very good drummers out there.

The question might be raised: What did I judge them on? I must admit the criteria were necessarily pretty subjective. Of course, I was aware of technique and ability as I listened, but what moved me and the other judges, too, I'm sure, were more subtle qualities of imagination, rhythmic feel, and arrangement. I listened through those 13 tapes once more, this time a little more critically, and once again made notes as I listened, this time a little more analytically. That got me down to four finalists — and now the judging got really tough. I listened to those last four again and again — but I just couldn't decide. I really liked then all, each for different reasons. They really couldn't be qualitatively compared. Sure, one of the things I'm happiest about is that these final four were all so different in every way — in musical style, indiviual style, and overall approach. But it didn't make deciding any easier.

For three days, I just kept coming back to those four and trying to make up my mind — which three, and in which order? They are all great, but none of them is entirely the perfect choice. Who should be number one?

Well, I decided, there really can't be a number one. What I have here before me are four number ones. But I only have three prizes. So what else? I'll have to get another prize!

At this point, I decided to call my good friend Lennie DiMuzio at Avedis Zildjian, to see if he might be willing to help me out in this. Sure enough, Lennie came through for me, and now there is a "Fourth First Prize" — consisting of a set of Zildjian cymbals. My sincere thanks go out to Lennie and the good people at Avedis Zildjian for their help in this (and other) matters.

In keeping with the idea of "four number ones," my ranking of these four is somewhat arbitrary, based on the slenderest of prejudices, as is the awarding of the prizes, so I won't degrade their efforts by that kind of distinction here. These are some of the reasons why I like the winners.

The entry by Jack Hess of Indianapolis is very original, in that he spiced up his performance by triggering occasional synthesizer sounds. He was one of a few entrants to think of this — a very imaginative idea, but he was the one to carry it off the best. He obviously spent a great deal of time working on this piece, and the work pays off in the tightness and integrity of the whole performance. The playing is first-rate, the rhythms are very modern, and the dynamics are effectively varied both by tough and by some tasteful rim playing. Overall, it's an excellent piece of music, and it is very satisfying to listen to.

I like the one by Wayne Killius, because it has such a nice approach to a traditional, but abstract, form. His playing demonstrates a lovely touch. It is also one of very few to use a bit of brushwork — and is very musical and unusual. The groove is very sophisticated, based around a funky, walking kind of rhythm, and there are some great sections of what I call "stiff-armed" syncopation — a difficult style to control so smoothly. This is a superbly restrained and deceptively simple piece of work.

Mark Feldman of New York City sent in a nice tape also. I liked the dark mood, the interesting construction, his smooth technique and combinations of nice tonalities. I thought it was technically and rhythmically quite sophisticated and very smoothly performed. Again, this is not an easy style to pull of as well as Mark has done. The refrain of the intro is a tasteful idea, and frames the whole piece nicely, making it, like the others, truly a piece of music.

The fourth one — one I just couldn't leave out — is by Mikel Masters of Clearwater, Florida. I was impressed most of all because it is such an exciting solo, but it also shows great technique, is smoothly delivered, and is thoroughly bombastic and overplayed. I like that! The arrangement revolves around an excellent melodic tom pattern, and I like the sound of his drums very much, too. Part of my second set of notes reads: "interesting, original, flashy..." and that about captures this one, a very flamboyant and exciting performance, firmly in the Gene Krupa tradition.

HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order) Each of these was an exception entry, and if I'd had more drumsets to give away, these people would surely have gotten one, too:

Terry Carleton, Palo Alto, California; Scott Cutshall, Meadville, Pennsylvania; Roli Garcia, Laredo; Texas, Christopher Gately, Haverford, Pennsylvania; Kevin Hart, Bourbonnais, Illinois; Scott Hobgood, Norman, Oklahoma; Jari Kettunen, Iisalmi, Finland; Joey Nevolo, Neptune City, New Jersey; Yuergen Renner, Roosevelt Island, New York


Thanks to PowerWindows for the transcript!