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...the Slingerland Drum Company. I saw some red and blue sparkle toms neatly stacked waiting to be packed. Looking back, I can say that while I didn't want to be a drummer at that moment, something did click inside that peaked my interest.

In February of 1964, the country pulled out of its funk with the help of the Beatles. When I first saw them I was about to turn 13 and frankly, I didn't get it. I did realize that getting into music might be a way to make money and help my family, as dad was concerned about the finances. We lived in a great neighborhood that was safe, clean and filled with hope for the future. I didn't want to move because we couldn't afford to stay.

At first, I considered learning bass. I asked around and when I heard that you had to read music, learn scales, and make an effort, I felt that there had to be an easier way to make a buck. I also figured that allot of people were going to learn string instruments and it has always been my nature to do and explore things others don't.

A few months later, I saw Dave Clark and right there I knew drums were the way to go. I figure if all you had to do was pound like a crazed monkey at feeding time and smile. I could do that, although I am still working on the smiling part.

I immediately began my campaign for a red sparkle Rogers set like DC. My dad suggested that I go to Slingerland and get a catalog. So on a hot July afternoon, I walked the mile and a half to 6633 N. Milwaukee for a catalog. A tall good-looking, dark haired man came to the window and asked me what I wanted. I was a shy kid and politely asked him for a catalog. I took some lawn cutting money out of my pocket and offered to pay for it. He smiled and said “No charge”. I walked out of there on a real high. Not because of the fact that I was at Slingerland but because the pearl vault was right outside the visitors lounge and the toxic smells were better than any model car glue you could buy. OK a Slingerland story moment.

A few years later, Danny Seraphine (drummer for the band, Chicago) commented to the late Brad Morey, that he loved coming to the factory because of the smells. Years later, whenever we had a bad day going we say “Hey man I need 5 in the pearl vault" and we'd start laughing. It became a standard inside office joke as we knew the guy was really saying he was having a rough day. It was a satirical crack. We were in music and musicians. We were supposed to be hopped up on something. The truth be known, we were boring guys anxious to get home to watch "All In The Family" and maybe "Baretta". That's the way it was at Slingerland. We always found something to laugh at. Sometimes we were more like a bunch of gag writers than guys building and selling drums. We had a ball everyday.

Anyway, I left the building and as I walked back home on that hot summer day I opened the catalog and saw a picture of Don Osborne, Sr. It was he that gave me my first drum catalog. This was amazing to me... I had met my first real drummer and celebrity. One evening, years later, I mentioned this to Don. He turned red with embarrassment and laughed. Don was like a second dad to me. He was a great person that I respected, admired and loved. He helped so many people and was always there to teach and share his knowledge. He was respected and known as a man of his word in the industry. I told him all that one snowy night over the phone. It was the last night I would ever talk with him.


 



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