Distant Drummer

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The Distant Drummer was a 1960s counterculture underground newspaper published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from November 1967 to August 1979. It changed titles twice: from October 2, 1970 to August 12, 1971 (issues no. 105–151) it was Thursday's Drummer, and subsequently it was known simply as The Drummer until its demise in 1979, after a run of more than 500 issues. It was a member of the Underground Press Syndicate. Printed in a tabloid format and initially biweekly, starting in January 1969 it appeared on a weekly basis.[1] It was founded and edited by Don DeMaio, a former Penn State journalism major and Newsday employee. Contributors included the young Cynthia Heimel and Mark B. Cohen. Published in tabloid newspaper format, it cost 15 cents, later raised to 25 cents. Paid circulation was reported in 1972 at 10,000 copies.

After its founding the paper grew quickly, reporting on Philadelphia's radical/hippie community and serving as a forum for commentary on local and national politics and information on the city’s music and arts scene, with particular emphasis on rock and roll and coverage of ongoing battles between the hip and radical communities and the Philadelphia police. Its politics were less militant than its local competitor in the underground press, the Philadelphia Free Press.[2]


  1. ^ About this newspaper: Distant Drummer, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, retrieved May 7, 2010.
  2. ^ "Len Lear: A different beat at the Distant Drummer" by James Sturdivant, ChestnutHillLocal.com, Aug. 25, 2005. Retrieved May 7, 2010.