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#1
speady1

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Let's hear the professional's endorsement stories...Why are you with your companies?  Please note: most endorsement contracts prohibit mentioning specific rates or discounts, but I'd love to hear why everyone is with who they're with.  You don't have to mention specific A&R contacts to avoid filling up their emails, but A&R folks are big reasons to sign a deal.  I'll add my stories in the next few days.


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#2
speady1

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Ok, so 90 views and no replies...I'll go first.

 

My first relationship was with Bowie Custom Drum.  Bowie is a small shop in Bowie, Maryland.  The craftsmanship at this custom builder is second to none, and I mean none.  Every single detail is thought through to perfection.  I bought a couple of snares there and asked if there was any room for an artist endorsement.  This relationship was at least 5 years old before we agreed that we could help each other.  I've never looked back.  Kevin (who is a member here) has allowed me to challenge him to build exactly what I'm looking for sound-wise time and time again.  He is currently building another custom kit for me that everyone will see soon.  If you do a quick search here, you'll see some of the snares that I've picked up over the years from them.  10-ply, steam-bent single ply, black nickel over brass, etc.  Anything I've ever dreamed up, Bowie has delivered beyond my wildest imagination.  Truly custom from top to bottom.  And beyond perfect.

 

Dream Cymbals came about through my friend, Chad Gamble, of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit.  I reached out to Chad to ask what cymbals he was playing after thinking that his cymbal sound was quite unique.  At that time he was with Dream.  I bought a few Dream cymbals through retail outlets and fell in love.  I had replaced most of my Sabians with Dreams by the time I actually applied as an artist.  They welcomed me with open arms and since then, I've bought at least 4 different sets from their various lines, and I can honestly say that they are fantastic pies in every situation that I've played in...The support I've received is beyond anything I've ever expected.  A wonderful company that treats me like family.  I cannot say enough about their product or how they treat their artists.  They support every piece of social media that I put out and treat me like a star even though I am certainly not one.

 

I picked up a pair of Los Cabos Drumsticks (Red Hickory Jazz) and actually played 3 gigs with the same pair.  They just felt fantastic and lasted forever.  I had played another stick company for over 20 years and couldn't believe how great the Los Cabos sticks were in comparison.  When I reached out to them directly to ask if there was a way to apply, I ended up on the phone with the A&R rep for almost an hour just talking sticks, drums, and life in general.  This is a great family business that just makes fantastic sticks and loves to talk drums to ANYONE...I can't imagine ever playing another stick now.  These folks get it and are helpful beyond words!  Again, I'm treated like a star by the Guay family even though I'm certainly not.

 

As an older drummer, my feet often hurt after playing a 4 hour cover gig.  I started searching for drum shoes online.  I bought a pair of Vratim shoes along with several other brands that claim to be "drum" shoes.  Every pair went to Goodwill but the Vratims.  The Vratim shoes were absolutely perfect for me.  Light, breathable, great grip, and super-supportive.  I simply sent an email to them to say how much I loved their shoes and asked them to check out my site.  After a few calls and emails, we began an endorsement relationship that has been wonderful on every level to this day.  I will not play a gig without their shoes on my feet.  I even wear them as "everyday" shoes often.  They are that comfortable.

 

Finally, I'm a guy that mounts my rack tom on a snare stand.  I tried everything available to not kill the sustain.  I finally landed on the "Little Booty Shaker" by TnR Products.  Once I found these, I was blown away, so I tired the "Booty Shakers" for my floor toms.  Again, my head almost exploded at how much these little things affected my drum sound in the best way.  I talked to the founder of the company a few times and we decided to make things official a little while back.  I'm so glad that we did.  The first time I used these on a session, my usual producer/engineer came out of the control room to ask what the hell was going on with my toms...He thought I had stolen a Bonham kit from the Smithsonian.  True story.

 

These are the companies that help me beyond words.  I can't recommend any of them enough.  Feel free to PM me with any questions.  I'm happy to tell you why I use these products exclusively.


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#3
Fungus Amungus

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I had a "Partial Endorsement" with Rogers and Paiste as a Kid. Wasn’t because I was a Prodigy, it was because I was a Kid and the "Flavor of the Month". For my age (15), guess I was as good as a lot of Ham’n Eggers out there, but was no "Born to Play" Guy...I had to work really hard to become a Solid Player.

 

It was kinda a fluke how it happened...was at a Friend from Schools house, whose Dad had a couple Stores, and Guitar Teaching Studios around town & they were Partying and Playing Music. I knew that their Drummer always got too Drunk to make it past a couple hours, so I was waiting for him to pass-out. "FLOP" He went down behind the Kit & I took over...as it happened, the distributor Hardy bought from was at the Party and Playing Bass...next thing I knew I had a new Kit and Cymbal Set on the way.

 

A Partial Endorsement meant I (my Folks) got everything at Cost, which was still a hell of a deal...but hell, I was 15 and none of it mattered a diddly-damn to me! LOL! Wish I’d hung onto some of those Old Drums! Funny but I once met several other endorsee’s and we ALL HATED The Dynasonic...remember the first thing I did was pull that damn Frame off there...just too much for a 15 year old! LOL! Did LOVE those Paiste Cymbals though...every Drummer in Birmingham wanted to play those 2002’s when they arrived! 


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#4
speady1

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What a cool, cool story!  Let's keep this going!


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#5
TheMattJones88

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I was offered an endorsement after buying a company's products at retail price and loving them, but ended up turning it down in the end because in order to get the endorsement they wanted me to buy promotional products from them (a bass drum decal, a t-shirt, and a few other things) before making me an endorser. It just didn't feel like a great deal to me, and if seemed slightly one sided. Any thoughts on that? 


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#6
K.O.

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I was offered an endorsement after buying a company's products at retail price and loving them, but ended up turning it down in the end because in order to get the endorsement they wanted me to buy promotional products from them (a bass drum decal, a t-shirt, and a few other things) before making me an endorser. It just didn't feel like a great deal to me, and if seemed slightly one sided. Any thoughts on that?


Any "endorsement" that requires the endorser to spend additional money is more of a marketing scheme than a true endorsement.
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#7
Rich K.

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I had a "Partial Endorsement" with Rogers and Paiste as a Kid. Wasn’t because I was a Prodigy, it was because I was a Kid and the "Flavor of the Month". For my age (15), guess I was as good as a lot of Ham’n Eggers out there, but was no "Born to Play" Guy...I had to work really hard to become a Solid Player.

It was kinda a fluke how it happened...was at a Friend from Schools house, whose Dad had a couple Stores, and Guitar Teaching Studios around town & they were Partying and Playing Music. I knew that their Drummer always got too Drunk to make it past a couple hours, so I was waiting for him to pass-out. "FLOP" He went down behind the Kit & I took over...as it happened, the distributor Hardy bought from was at the Party and Playing Bass...next thing I knew I had a new Kit and Cymbal Set on the way.

A Partial Endorsement meant I (my Folks) got everything at Cost, which was still a hell of a deal...but hell, I was 15 and none of it mattered a diddly-damn to me! LOL! Wish I’d hung onto some of those Old Drums! Funny but I once met several other endorsee’s and we ALL HATED The Dynasonic...remember the first thing I did was pull that damn Frame off there...just too much for a 15 year old! LOL! Did LOVE those Paiste Cymbals though...every Drummer in Birmingham wanted to play those 2002’s when they arrived!

Off topic...can you explain your system of random capitalization?
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#8
TheMattJones88

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I was offered an endorsement after buying a company's products at retail price and loving them, but ended up turning it down in the end because in order to get the endorsement they wanted me to buy promotional products from them (a bass drum decal, a t-shirt, and a few other things) before making me an endorser. It just didn't feel like a great deal to me, and if seemed slightly one sided. Any thoughts on that?


Any "endorsement" that requires the endorser to spend additional money is more of a marketing scheme than a true endorsement.

 

 

That was my thought as well. I figured that the small discount wasn't worth having a picture on a website. 


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#9
Halldor L

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Back in 2012 I was performing with Swedish/American/Icelandic drummer Petur Östlund (Toots Thielemans, John Scofield a.o.) at the Reykjavik Drumshow. At a rehearsal I was looking through his sticks and noticed these Wincent Drumsticks I had never heard of before. Those stick really floored me. They are waxed, not laquered and they just felt so right and good in my hands.  He noticed I liked them so he gave me a few pairs and told me he endorsed them. A few weeks later we were on the phone (he lives in Stockholm) and he offered to put me in contact with Wincent. He did and I became an endorser and they were being made available in my country. 

 

In 2014 I was at the Meinl dealer going through some cymbals (I already owned and played a few) and in a discussion with the guys at the drum department we decided to send the Meinl company my CV. A week later I signed with Meinl. I would like to say that the Meinl company treats you like a family member and they have melted my heart with their support, friendship and generosity. Yes I am biased but trust me, they are truly a wonderful company.  

 

Since I was already signed by two wonderful companies I thought to myself; heck, why not give it a shot and send the drum company whose products I know inside/out and admire the most, Tama, my CV? I did and in 2015 I signed with them. I remember my early days of drumming, drooling over photo´s of Stewart Copeland on his Tama kit, Preston Heyman (Kate Bush) and Earth Wind & Fire drummers Ralph Johnson and Fred White. So, it´s a bit of a dream come true to sign with Tama. I´ve had a few kits through the years and I´ve always missed my 80´s Superstars. Great drums. impeccable quality and great support. 


Edited by Halldór L, 30 August 2016 - 08:59 AM.

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#10
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I had a drumstick endorsement through one of the major companies for about 2 years. I walked up to my artist rep at PASIC, introduced myself, and stuck my hand out. He replied, "Thanks for coming out." and turned and walked away. Didn't even shake my hand. Prior to that, all of our interactions (primarily phone and email) had been nothing but pleasant. I emailed him the next week and dropped the endorsement.

 

When I was managing George's Drum Shop, someone from an up and coming cymbal company came in to show us the line and hopefully get an order. I went through about 50 cymbals he had with him and they all sounded like warmed over ass. I told him I appreciated his time, but we probably wouldn't be doing anything. He replied, "What if we got you an endorsement?" Seriously?


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#11
BillyGoodness

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My first endorsement came from ProMark in 1986. I had been playing their sticks for years before that. The way the endorsement came about was interesting. I was out touring with RVS and happened to be in Houston TX. I had grabbed a box of sticks prior to heading out on this leg of the tour and much to my surprise, I had somehow grabbed oak instead of hickory. I called over to ProMark to ask if there was any chance they would swap them out for me. I was invited to come over and that's when I met Pat Brown, Herb Brochstein, and Michael Briggs. I left that day as a ProMark endorsee. I played ProMark for many, many, years until they changed the finish on the sticks to be more environmentally-friendly. That new finish simply slipped out of my hands - causing me to have to grip the stick too tightly. I ended up finding a new drumstick home with Vater and have been a Vater endorsee for the past 10+ years.

 

I have had a Sabian endorsement since 1986 as well. I actually started playing Sabian exclusively once I discovered them in 1981. I loved the sound of Sabian from the beginning and to this day am proud to be part of the Sabian family.

 

My Evans endorsement came directly from Bob Beals. Like Sabian, I had been playing Evans heads long before I became an endorsee. I love the sound and feel of the heads as well as the fact the they continue to innovate and improve their heads.

 

I have been a DW endorsee since early 2008. Prior to that I played Tempus Instruments drums for 20+ years.

I love the fact that, DW (and John Good in particular) continue to push the envelope forward when it comes to the quality, and choices, us drummers have today. I play DW drums, hardware and pedals. They always sound great in every situation (live and studio) and are an absolute pleasure to play.

 

Billy G.


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#12
mkelley

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In the mid-90's, I was in a very good but not well known band and out of nowhere, I was approached by a drumstick company, a lesser-known cymbal company and a very very crappy drum company. The stick company was basically offering me a "cost" discount but I was flat broke so I had to turn it down. The cymbals were different than what I played, they sent me a pack of cymbals to borrow and try out and it was relatively a good affair but I turned them down as well. I don't break cymbals and I was holding out for Sabian (it was a phase, Paiste, I'll play your Masters cymbals as long as you want)


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#13
Buffalo_drummer

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My first endorsement came from ProMark in 1986. I had been playing their sticks for years before that. The way the endorsement came about was interesting. I was out touring with RVS and happened to be in Houston TX. I had grabbed a box of sticks prior to heading out on this leg of the tour and much to my surprise, I had somehow grabbed oak instead of hickory. I called over to ProMark to ask if there was any chance they would swap them out for me. I was invited to come over and that's when I met Pat Brown, Herb Brochstein, and Michael Briggs. I left that day as a ProMark endorsee. I played ProMark for many, many, years until they changed the finish on the sticks to be more environmentally-friendly. That new finish simply slipped out of my hands - causing me to have to grip the stick too tightly. I ended up finding a new drumstick home with Vater and have been a Vater endorsee for the past 10+ years.

 

I have had a Sabian endorsement since 1986 as well. I actually started playing Sabian exclusively once I discovered them in 1981. I loved the sound of Sabian from the beginning and to this day am proud to be part of the Sabian family.

 

My Evans endorsement came directly from Bob Beals. Like Sabian, I had been playing Evans heads long before I became an endorsee. I love the sound and feel of the heads as well as the fact the they continue to innovate and improve their heads.

 

I have been a DW endorsee since early 2008. Prior to that I played Tempus Instruments drums for 20+ years.

I love the fact that, DW (and John Good in particular) continue to push the envelope forward when it comes to the quality, and choices, us drummers have today. I play DW drums, hardware and pedals. They always sound great in every situation (live and studio) and are an absolute pleasure to play.

 

Billy G.

 

Just curious, are these "at cost" endorsements or provided free of charge? Do you have to do anything in return for these companies...clinics, press etc.?


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#14
speady1

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My first endorsement came from ProMark in 1986. I had been playing their sticks for years before that. The way the endorsement came about was interesting. I was out touring with RVS and happened to be in Houston TX. I had grabbed a box of sticks prior to heading out on this leg of the tour and much to my surprise, I had somehow grabbed oak instead of hickory. I called over to ProMark to ask if there was any chance they would swap them out for me. I was invited to come over and that's when I met Pat Brown, Herb Brochstein, and Michael Briggs. I left that day as a ProMark endorsee. I played ProMark for many, many, years until they changed the finish on the sticks to be more environmentally-friendly. That new finish simply slipped out of my hands - causing me to have to grip the stick too tightly. I ended up finding a new drumstick home with Vater and have been a Vater endorsee for the past 10+ years.

 

I have had a Sabian endorsement since 1986 as well. I actually started playing Sabian exclusively once I discovered them in 1981. I loved the sound of Sabian from the beginning and to this day am proud to be part of the Sabian family.

 

My Evans endorsement came directly from Bob Beals. Like Sabian, I had been playing Evans heads long before I became an endorsee. I love the sound and feel of the heads as well as the fact the they continue to innovate and improve their heads.

 

I have been a DW endorsee since early 2008. Prior to that I played Tempus Instruments drums for 20+ years.

I love the fact that, DW (and John Good in particular) continue to push the envelope forward when it comes to the quality, and choices, us drummers have today. I play DW drums, hardware and pedals. They always sound great in every situation (live and studio) and are an absolute pleasure to play.

 

Billy G.

 

Just curious, are these "at cost" endorsements or provided free of charge? Do you have to do anything in return for these companies...clinics, press etc.?

 

 

 

Almost all endorsement contracts have a confidentiality clause, so Billy isn't going to answer what his discount level is most likely. 

 

In general, no one is getting free gear in an endorsement deal, unless you are Steve Gadd, Benny Greb, Thomas Lang, etc.  Most companies have different tiers of endorsements that equate to the discount the artist receives.  Again, in general, the artist is expected to play the endorsing company's products exclusively, allow for press releases featuring the artist, and in some cases, perform clinics.  Also, in the day of social media, it is widely expected that the artist tag the endorsing company whenever possible to promote sales.  See my signature below...


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#15
Cafunko

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I'm surprised that this thread hasn't got more responses. I'll add my experience and reasons hoping that they'll be helpful to someone.

 

I'm an artist with Vater Percusion and Pearl Drums. I love vintage drums so I was asked "why Pearl?" many times when I joined the family.

 

Pearl makes amazing drums, great hardware, and offers lots of options for accessories and percussion. Long before I became a Pearl artist, I was using Eliminator Pedals and Sensitone snare drums for my gigs. When the opportunity became available I signed with them not only because I believe in their products but also because of the amazing people at the company. I've had nothing but great experiences with EVERY person I've ever met or dealt with at Pearl. When I toured through Nashville they invited me to the US headquarters to meet everybody and see the operation. I currently have a Music City Custom MRV and they may be one of my favorite kits I've ever played in my 32 years of being a drummer.

 

Vater was a 'no brainer' for me. I've been using Vater sticks since 1994, after trying my first pair. I also have been using Vater Slick Nuts since Mike Mangini turned me on to them around 2000 or so. I swear by their earplugs and I use Monster Brushes, Whips, and Splashsticks. Even if I weren't an artist, I'd still be using Vater's products. As with Pearl, I've nothing but exceptional experiences with everyone at Vater.

 

I promote both companies via social media and I have logos on my bass heads for live performances. I do this because I love their products and the people behind them, not because I'm 'expected' to do so by either company.

 

Hope that helps!


Edited by Cafunko, 02 August 2017 - 06:11 AM.

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#16
AaronLatos

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Cymbals - Amedia:
A friend suggested I check out Amedia cymbals when I was re-equipping myself for a 9-month tour with a promising folk/rock band.  I did, and struck up an immediate friendly professional relationship with the owner of their US distributorship.  I loved their instruments and bought a full set that met my needs well.

I had no intention of being an "endorser."  I simply loved the product, and played the heck out of them for a couple of years on the road.  

Later, I called the distributor up in need of some different cymbals.  I'd been on his radar, and he offered me an endorsement, which worked for both of us very well.  He helps me get the cymbals I need to make art, and I spread the word, which is easy... as I truly love the instruments, and that's what I use.  


___________________________________________________________
Bodhrán - Finnegan Hill Percussion

I got the call to play with a high profile Irish punk band in developing a Broadway musical.  I needed a professional-quality bodhrán on short notice, which is actually surprisingly difficult to do. Someone on the forum here suggested I got in contact with this small company, then a startup, and in explaining the situation, I was offered the deal.  It was great timing for both of us: I got access to a really fantastic instrument in time for the project, they got press exposure in their new days as a company. 

___________________________________________________________



I'm also finalizing a deal with a bag/case company as we speak, which I'll announce properly in due time. :)


I've turned down deals with a drumhead company and a stick company, both of which were "majors."   Both make excellent products, and could have helped support me, especially on long tours and when working internationally (the moments when endorsement agreements really matter).  But... heads and sticks are incredibly personal to me, and I have preferences for other companies' wares.  So I passed on both, and have no regrets.
 


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#17
DannyPattersonMusic

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I've been playing for over 30 years and really within the past 5 years (or so) have I even been considering any endorsement deals, etc.  This was mainly due to the amount of gigs I've been playing, which have been averaging about 150+ a year (in 2017 I did over 200 gigs). 

 

My first endorsement contract came a few years ago through Salyers Percussion drumsticks.  The company reached out to me asking if I'd be interested in testing/trying out a new line of sticks.  I loved the feel/weight of the sticks and gave my feedback and they looked at my schedule and asked if I would be interested in joining their artist roster.  This arrangement works great for me since I mostly play regional gigs and the company is local (and only a few miles from my house).

 

My second endorsement contract came from 7drums.  I meet the team while at Summer NAMM in Nashville last year and was there as an artist for SledgePad and that year they both teamed up to share a booth.  Long story short I played the 7drums kit there and talked to the folks with 7drums and over the following months a deal was struck.  Me joining the 7drums roster was ideal as it goes along with the Salyers Percussion deal (both made in Texas) plus the drums sound and look awesome.

 

Most of my other endorsements have been pretty much a hand-shake type of deal (I was buying/using the products already). These include: Black Widow Drum Web, Motion-Pro Drum Throne, SledgePad, The Drum Wallet, and TnR Products (Booty Shakers & Little Booty Shakers).

 

I've been offered cymbal deals but I've pretty much turned everything down as I'm happy with the cymbals I've been using for the past 10 years (and some other for the past 30 years). 


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