Who Are These Camco Guys? Old Dog, New Tricks

SKF NOTE: This was an instructive lesson. Leafing through the July 7, 1962 Down Beat I came across this Camco drum ad. The only name I recognized was Norm Jeffries. And, I admit, I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head anything about Norm Jeffries or his drumming.

The other five Camco endorsers in the ad? Forget it. Never heard of ’em! Camco drums have a good reputation. My first reaction to this ad, placed during Camco‘s second year in business, was, “I guess Camco couldn’t find any name endorsers. Oh well! Camco had to start somewhere.”

The instant I finished my snotty thought I had another thought. “Who are these drummers? Instead of dismissing them out of hand because you’ve never heard of them — look them up! Find out who they are! Google them!”

So I did. Camco‘s 1962 endorsers, it turns out, were an impressive group of drummers, cited in varying degrees on the Internet. I’ve compiled a brief paragraph on each man with a link to the online source of the info.

As for me and my knee-jerk reaction to Camco‘s ad? I have filed it under: Old Dog, New Tricks.

Alexander Lepak, Hartford, CT: He was the author of the Friese-Lepak Timpani Method and many other books that have become standard texts worldwide. His “Concerto for Mallet Instruments” has been performed in the United States, Canada and throughout Europe. He was also solo timpanist and principal percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra for 56 years and was a longtime member of the Connecticut Opera Association.

Tommy Perkins, Tulsa, OK : Tommy Perkins, former drummer for Bob Wills. His performances included the 1950 recording of “Faded Love,” when the drummer was just 15.

Norm Jeffries, Hollywood, CA: Recorded on percussion and/or drums with The Beach Boys, Neal Hefti, The Everly Brothers, Rick Nelson, and the Monkees, among others.

Marty Clausen, Chicago, IL (Page 13: In October 1953 he began working at the Preview Lounge with Jimmy Ille. The Ille band alternated with “name” groups and one of those was Buddy Rich. One night as the exchange proceeded, Rich yelled for Marty to play fours with him. Clausen said Rich was gracious with his solos and didn’t try to cut him.

Eddie Knight, South Bend, IN: Eddie used to be a dealer for Camco – started way back when Geo. Way were still built in Elkhart (next town over).

“Hap” Gormley, New York, NY: He is a wonderful drummer to watch and listen to because he not only has good time, but he knows what to do and when. He is also always thinking of ways to improve drums and drum equipment.


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