Modern Drummer...

JimmySticks

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I was a guitar player for much of my life, and I feel the same way about Guitar Player magazine as you guys do about Modern Drummer.

There was something special about magazines that the internet can't compete with. Like many of you, I could look at the same pictures over and over again of that Les Paul Custom I dreamed of buying and let my imagination run wild over it for months! Or read the same interview of Dickie Betts a thousand times and always get something new out of it. I miss the simplicity of that. With the internet, there is little imagination needed, it's just instant gratification and your always moving onto the next page. The internet doesn't let us soak anything up, we just keep moving on.

BITD, (I'm 60) you needed patience, because nothing happened very fast. You dreamed of things for weeks, months and even years before we actually got what we wanted, and the magazines were pretty much the only thing we had to keep the dreams alive. But honestly, I have always found that the dream of ownership was more satisfying than actually attaining that dream guitar, drum kit or whatever.

While we can never truly go back to just newspapers and magazines, maybe it's time for me to support Modern Drummer and subscribe. :)
 

SwivoNut

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How I wished there had been a magazine for drummers back in th 60s but the only musician's magazine available at my local newspaper/magazine/tobacco shop was Downbeat. They rarely featured any articles about drummers and the only drum related ads were the small monthly ads for Paiste Formula 602 cymbals.
 

Polska

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My first was this Carl Palmer issue given to me by a friend. I subscribed shortly after through the mid 1990s. All those issues are still in my childhood home’s attic, many miles from me right now. The memory of the run to the mailbox in anticipation of the new issue still delightfully resonates.

View attachment 443026

My first issue also. For the longest time this was your only access to your drum heros. You never met them, had no way to chat with them. And then all the sudden you'd read, "Next month - Bill Bruford" and then it was like the longest Christmas Eve ever!

I've kept a number of mine featuring my all time favorites, but gave away tons.
 

cornelius

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MD Phil.png


I definitely remember seeing my first issue of MD. It was Spring of '79 and my dad took me to the Sam Ash in White Plains, NY. We lived about an hour north, but that was the place to go - we were picking up a pair of NewBeats. Phil Collins was my favorite drummer at the time, so it was great to discover not only a magazine for drummers, but Phil on the cover.

That magazine was my lifeline to the drumming world, I learned so much about drumming, and who the great drummers were. Quite a resource for someone living way out in the 'burbs... I read the magazine for many years, but lost interest after Ron Spagnardi and Bill Miller passed away. I met Ron Spagnardi at an MD dinner in the early 2000's and got the opportunity to thank him.

I have the digital archive, and it's a lot of fun to go through the old issues.
 

lrod1707

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Cool throwback! I bought my first copy back in the late 80's and have read it on and off ever since. I don't subscribe but I do buy one whenever I find it at my local Barnes & Noble. It's nice to have a magazine every once in a while vs. all the other stuff you get online.
 

jb78

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I'll join the chorus of drummers for whom Modern Drummer was incredibly meaningful. I started in 1989-90 and while I can't recall my first issue, it was very early in my drumming life. I would devour the magazine each month and then reread it daily until the next one came. And until a few years ago, I had saved them all and while not recently, for many years returned back to certain issues. It was really important to me!
 

dale w miller

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I'm right there with you!

35 years ago I bought my very first issue of Modern Drummer at my local mom and pop music store. There was a small table in the back dedicated to the drum gear, which consisted of a handmade wood display rack that held a handful of Vic Firth, Regal Tip, Bunken, and ProMark sticks, and next to that, a short stack of MD magazines, and that was it.

I knew I wanted to be a drummer and I couldn't resist buying the mag. I ended up taking lessons at that very store shortly thereafter and would always buy the latest issue. My dad subscribed for me in '86 and I still have every issue from there forward.

It has certainly gotten thin over the years, but I still look forward to every single issue just as I did back then. I get nostalgic and know that plays a role, but MD was a huge part of my life and I'm holding on 'till their last issue, whenever that may be.

View attachment 442992
This was first MD I ever got. Outside of some in the reader’s poll, I had no idea who any of these guys were, but I was beyond excited there was a magazine exclusively for drummers. I read it cover to cover and ended up buying everyone I could past, present, and future until about 10 years ago. Basically, the internet killed it for me.
 

cornelius

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Does MD still do the digital archive?
I don't think they do. I purchased it years ago, but it later became incompatible with Mac OS. I was able to get digital copies without the interface.
 

KevinD

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View attachment 443198

I definitely remember seeing my first issue of MD. It was Spring of '79 and my dad took me to the Sam Ash in White Plains, NY. We lived about an hour north, but that was the place to go - we were picking up a pair of NewBeats. Phil Collins was my favorite drummer at the time, so it was great to discover not only a magazine for drummers, but Phil on the cover.

That magazine was my lifeline to the drumming world, I learned so much about drumming, and who the great drummers were. Quite a resource for someone living way out in the 'burbs... I read the magazine for many years, but lost interest after Ron Spagnardi and Bill Miller passed away. I met Ron Spagnardi at an MD dinner in the early 2000's and got the opportunity to thank him.

I have the digital archive, and it's a lot of fun to go through the old issues.
Hey Neil similar experience he, bering a fellow "upstater" I only got to see these magazines when we would go shopping in Paramus, my folks would usually stop at Sam Ash for me so I could gawk at all the gear.
I believe the first issue I bought was either the Gadd cover (early '79 maybe?) or Bruford. I think I have the Cobham cover too. At some point I was gifted a subscription. I think I was a subscriber until the early 90s.
Back then, that certainly THE source for drumming info, learned a ton from the Rock N' Jazz clinics, really liked Roy Burn's columns too. That was a great time to be coming of age.
I still have most of my old issues in the attic at my dad's house.
 

studrum

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I don't think they do. I purchased it years ago, but it later became incompatible with Mac OS. I was able to get digital copies without the interface.
You can subscribe and have access to it. I mention this in my earlier post.
 

cornelius

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Hey Neil similar experience he, bering a fellow "upstater" I only got to see these magazines when we would go shopping in Paramus, my folks would usually stop at Sam Ash for me so I could gawk at all the gear.
I believe the first issue I bought was either the Gadd cover (early '79 maybe?) or Bruford. I think I have the Cobham cover too. At some point I was gifted a subscription. I think I was a subscriber until the early 90s.
Back then, that certainly THE source for drumming info, learned a ton from the Rock N' Jazz clinics, really liked Roy Burn's columns too. That was a great time to be coming of age.
I still have most of my old issues in the attic at my dad's house.
Hey Kevin - Gadd was 10/78, and Bruford was Jan-Feb/79. Those were the two issues before the Phil Collins one that I saw. Definitely a cool time to be getting into music.
 

nmrk91

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My first issue was the Danny Seraphine issue that also had Barrimore Barlow. I was just 13 years old and it was a brave new world that I was discovering. Everything was just so mysterious and demystifying this drumming "thing" was a daily adventure. No internet, no Youtube...it was very difficult to gather information and see pictures of other drummer's set ups. I was in my early days of taking drum lessons and playing a full kit...I can't begin to describe how exciting it was to have our own magazine...just for drummers. No guitar ads, no goofy teen ads...just drums. Back then, they were coming out every two months. I couldn't wait for the next issue to arrive at Percusson World in Birmingham, Michigan. I have been a subscriber for well over 35 years and I just paid the two year deal, as well. View attachment 443020
 

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I was published in Modern Drummer in the Jazz/Rock section of the December 1989 Issue with Neil Pearl on the cover. They paid me $50.00. Fast forward 30 years to 2019, I inquired of them what they paid currently. Ya know what they said... the same $50.00! I stopped reading them after that.
 

BennyK

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I'd finish MD's latest in no time at all , it was a long thirty days till the next one . In the early eighties I'd buy it at Sam's Drummer's Dream on Bank St. south here in Ottawa . After the initial reading I'd go forward and backward till I knew it by heart . I especially liked the little ads and the buy sell trade section in the back . Over time it became too slick and flashy , the full page ads and endorsement circus on full display . I haven't brought home a copy for years .

I'm fortunate to have met and become pretty close friends with one of the original columnist/ contributing writers . He lives here and grew up not far from where I did in the west end . He has some great stories about interviews with some of the biggest names in the drumming world , and he has a mountain of old issues in his basement .

Ron Spagnardi had a dream , followed it and I happen to believe that we all benefited.
 

Old PIT Guy

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I had a sub for 10 years. The early issues were loaded with educational material. Shame I couldn't do anything with it then. For example, the David Garibaldi sections contained the same material you received at Dick Grove's school of music while he was there. Gary Chaffee published parts of his system, there were 1 and 2 page articles where known and not so known guys published material that didn't become mainstream hip for some time. MD was a printed image of the art.

But there wasn't much money in that compared to retail ads. I couldn't believe when I got around to buying an issue in the late 2010s after my last copy in 1990 -- thick glossy thing favoring ads with interviews that outlined each piece of a kit in brandnames and specs. I don't know which came first, but the changes in the magazine reflect the changes in the industry.
And so in that respect I suppose MD is still a printed image of the art.
 

What It Is

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First issue for me was May 1983, Earl Palmer, Chad Wackerman and Terri Lynne Carrington. Nobody could touch what the magazine did in its original format. Robyn Flans was a wonderful interviewer and the whole staff was dedicated to the complete education and enlightenment of the drummer and drumming. I had a subscription for over 35 years and recently let it lapse. I changed, it changed, the access to information changed, etc. I really began to miss the in-depth interviews, and yes, the requisite "let's talk about your gear" question. I like where Drumhead is going and think Mover is creating something that is insightful and missing in magazines. The Russ Kunkel issue is fantastic. Still, MD was the creator, and I like to uncover the old boxes of issues and reminisce.
 
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I was 14 in 1980 and three years into school drum lessons (which I begged for) when I first saw a copy of Modern Drummer. It was at Goldie & Libro's on Chapel St. in New Haven, CT. It was the only place I could see brand new cymbals and drums up close and I just loved it. I'm sure it was small, but it seemed huge - I'd be wide-eyed just walking through the front door on those Sunday afternoons....

Anyway, I still remember the day I saw it on the counter: A magazine JUST for drummers! A Contemporary Publication Exclusively For Drummers....Loved it!

Why bring it up? IDK, in this day of a million drummer youtube, instagram, twitter, etc channels, I think younger/beginner drummers have so much access to, well, everything....

But back in December of 1980 seeing this MD cover (yeah, I bought it and still have it) somehow confirmed that it was ok to think of drumming as more than just an interest or hobby - I mean, we have our own damn magazine! Transcriptions! Pictures of real drumkits from real drummers from every angle! (NOT catalog photos!)...Buddy and Stan on the cover?? Weightlifting and Drumming?? Could I be the Arnold Schwarzenegger of drummers? It was the first time I had the realization that I wasn't alone in this "drummer thing"....well worth the $2.00 that day.

I know many came after - Rhythm, Percussioner, Drums & Drumming, Traps, Talking Drums, Stick It, etc - but MD was the first I ever saw and made wanting to be a drummer legit in my 14 year old mind...

Have a great weekend everyone...
i strongly suggest you check out " drumhead " magazine .. a cut above , imho .
 


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