SKF NOTE: Product endorsements sometimes made it unwise for an interviewer to be fully honest with Modern Drummer readers. I’m talking about times when a well-known drummer endorsed certain drums and cymbals, but played other brand cymbals and drums in the recording studio.
Mel Lewis comes to mind. For the longest time I loved hearing Mel’s “great Gretsch sound,” especially his snare drum, on the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra albums. During our 1970s interview, Mel’s first feature interview for MD, he said he always used a 1920s vintage Ludwig Black Beauty snare with calfskin heads on all the Jones-Lewis studio albums.
At the time, I thought Mel’s setting the record straight was a great story. He still thought his Gretsch drums were great. He still used his Gretsch wood snare. But, in the recording studio, his Black Beauty and his famous 20″ A Zildjian sounded better to Mel, so he used them.
Today, perhaps after a drummer has died, the truth about what drum equipment they used where can be told without jeopardizing a product endorsement.
I hope so.