This is Roy at on a
beautiful set of Pearl Drums in white pearl finish.
Stories at the Pearl Drum Company
I was present at a Pearl management meeting in the early 80's
when the marketing people were looking for a name for the
new line of drums that were being introduced to replace the
"Maxwin" brand. As these drums were to be made only
for export I suggested that "Export" should be their
name. The Japanese were totally against this idea as the philosophy
in Japan was, only goods not up to the high standards required
for the home market were exported and they thought that drums
with that name would never sell. I told them that the word
"Export" had a certain cachet in the U.K. arising
from the immediate post-war years when British goods for the
home market were in short supply and all the goods we could
produce were being sold abroad to raise much needed foreign
currency, dollars in particular. The production of these goods,
(cars, trucks, buses, & Premier drums amongst much else)
were of better quality than the production for our home marked.
Consequently if you could manage to buy at home something
that was destined for export you got something of high quality.
The Japanese accepted my argument and the rest as they say
you may know in Japan, the letters for L and R are often confused.
In 1981 I was at the Pearl plant in Tokyo where they proudly
showed me many pairs of drumsticks in popular sizes designed
for export to the U.S.A. Australia and the U.K. they were extremely
pleased with the English printing on the sticks and boasted
to me about the very good Amelican Hickoly
they had used. They were so pleased that they had printed exactly
that on each and every stick. With the aid of a dictionary I
tactfully pointed out the small error that had just made their
new line un-sellable in any English speaking country. Their
reaction was very quick and a certain gentleman promptly left
the company. I never found out what happened to the sticks!
From then on until I left the company, in co-operation with
my American counter-part Walt Johnson, we approved every single
printed English word that was put on a label, catalogue or leaflet,
thereby avoiding the Art Brakey model drumstick
and we prevented the Pearl cymbals from bearing the name LIMPID
a name the Japanese were particularly fond of because they had
seen the definition of the word in the dictionary as meaning
clear and they took that to describe the sound of the cymbals
whereas we apply it to clear still pools.
March 3, 2008 - Roy sent a few more stories
for mentioning me on your site. Here's another story you might
In 1947 I was in a Royal Air Force band in Karachi (then it
was India, now it is Pakistan) and I happened to see the famous
1946 picture of Louie Bellson with his new Gretch double bass
drum kit with that big tom in the middle. Somewhere in the magazine
someone had written that they were 20" bass drums, I approached
the skilled metal workers in the aircraft repair shop to ask
could they make a shell this size. They were used to fashioning
all shapes of components for aircraft, so it presented them
with no problems, as long as they could use the nutboxes and
tension screws from another drum. We decided that the 20"
shell should be made from 18 gauge aluminum. Somehow these numbers
were transposed and I ended up with an 18" shell made of
20 gauge metal. Was this a first!!
Further to my time with Pearl, we set up an assembly facility
at Park Royal in the U.K. in 1979 to build Birch, Maple and
Fiberglass kits in custom sizes and finishes. The raw shells,
covering material and metal components were all imported from
Japan. In 1982 we moved the operation to Milton Keynes (50 miles
from Park Royal) and our skilled drum assembler and coverer
did not want to make the trip so the assembly operation was