WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming
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WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming describes the sporting event that surrounds speed drummers and a mechanical instrument called the Drumometer, an electronic device invented by Boo McAfee and Craig Alan that is used to count drum strokes. The Drumometer is accepted by Guinness World Records and the WFD World's Fastest Drummer Extreme Sport Drumming organization as the official device used to determine the World's Fastest Drummer.
The primary goal of most WFD competitions is to determine who can play the most single strokes in sixty seconds. According to author Josh Davis[disambiguation needed], "the Drumometer uncovered a deep well of competitiveness." After experimenting with various WFD competition formats in the southern United States, the event achieved international prominence when respected studio and clinic drummer Johnny Rabb became the first person to break 1,000 single strokes in 60 seconds, claiming the title World's Fastest Hands and recognition from the record keepers at Guinness. McAfee and Alan then officially sanctioned their events and copyrighted the phrase World's Fastest Drummer. This was followed by ads in Drum! and Modern Drummer magazines touting Rabb's accomplishment and their Drumometer device. Subsequently they created new classes of speed drumming: fastest feet (for two-footed bass drumming), bare hands, and tag team, among others. Drumometer orders then followed, and the race to best Rabb's feats began. Musical genres - death metal, country, jazz, rock and drum corps - have since battled for dominance in the various categories.
Early stars of the event in addition to Rabb included a veteran jazz drummer named Art Verdi (first person to break 1100 single strokes), Jotan Afanador, the first drummer to regularly perform near 1200 single strokes in one minute. Double strokes "feet" champion Tim Waterson, the first person to score over 1000 single strokes on a bass drum, and the first identifiable personality of the bass drum division via a series of instructional videos touting his widely emulated heel-toe technique.
In 2002 WFD acquired its most recognizable competitor when (now) Dream Theater drummer and Berklee College of Music professor Mike Mangini joined its ranks. Initially Mangini was hard pressed to surpass Afanador, but eventually became the first drummer to surpass 1200 single strokes in one minute with 1,203, and has since dominated the sport, holding several world records. However, in April 2005, Jotan Afanador broke Mangini's world record with 1,219 single strokes in Puerto Rico. Mangini again became the fastest in history with 1,247 in July 2005.
Beginning in 2002 WFD world championships became a biannual affair (winter and summer), and were permanently stationed at NAMM conventions beginning in 2003. With the retirements of Rabb and others from active competition, the sport continued to witness successful runs by New Jersey website personality "Tiger" Bill Meligari, Seth Davis of Seth Davis Drumming, Sam Lecompte, and Eric Okamoto. Recent champions include Matt Smith who at 16 became the youngest WFD champion and the harbinger of a new youth movement within the sport, and two bass drum competitors Tim Yeung and Mike "Machine" Mallais. Yeung (a star of metal drumming) was instrumental in popularizing the sport within that genre, while Mallais decimated most of the existing bass drum world records formerly held by Waterson and Mangini at the Winter 2007 world championships. After the retirement of Waterson, Yeung and Mallais helped usher a newfound popularity in the bass drum division.
By every indication, the hands competition becomes more difficult each year, with the best competitors now representing a much younger core demographic. On July, 2007 in Austin, Texas, WFD hands champion Thomas Grosset (age 16) performed 1156 single strokes in 1 minute matched grip, the highest score ever recorded in the final championship round. Grosset's top preliminary run of 1194 made him the new WFD 16 and under World Record Holder and third in the world rankings just behind Afanador. Shortly after losing his 16 and under record, Matt Smith set a new world hands endurance record, and was followed closely by 18 year old Daniel Rice, scoring 1108 in the preliminaries. On June 2008, Smith returned to break Mangini's traditional grip record of 1126, with a score of 1132, leaving the sport almost entirely in the hands of younger competitors. Mangini's former dominance of WFD has recently been deemphasized. He still holds the bare hand record(no sticks)of 1138 single strikes in 60 seconds, a very difficult achievement.
WFD competitors now exhibit a more international flavor as opposed to what once was an American/Canadian dominance. In 2006 British drummer Rees Bridges became the first European to win a world's title, sparking greater interest in a WFD UK division, managed by drummer entrepreneur Ed Freitas. Later in 2006 WFD staged an elaborate national competition in Australia with smaller events held in Hong Kong and elsewhere, while the first official WFD China Championship is scheduled for 2012. After an extended hiatus WFD Championships returned to NAMM Conventions July 2011 with Australian Joey Moujalli and American Kevin Bernardy taking hands and feet titles respectively.
WFD events have not been without controversy. From the beginning, drummers were divided into positive and negative camps, with this phenomenon rapidly accelerating as Mangini, Rabb, Verdi and Afanador especially surfaced on television programs and commercials, with opposing sides simultaneously battling in Internet drum forums, magazines and YouTube comments sections. WFD detractors have contended that musical instruments should not be used as tools for sport and depreciate musicality, while defenders cite the quest for technical excellence, and its innocence as a non-musical exercise. As the argument has become more complex, hundreds of WFD hopefuls issue unsubstantiated Internet Drumometer videos purporting to be world records.
Another controversy centered around implementation of a hands technique called "push-pull" that allowed competitors to score more than one beat with a single motion but was neither a double stroke or buzz roll. In 2011 it was determined that push-pull qualified as a hybrid single stroke but requiring a separate category with its own records. The ruling further asserted that world rankings would remain limited to traditional singles competitors.
- Summer 2013 "Fastest Hands" Dave Stroup (989) "Fastest Feet" Spencer Dalton (846)
- Summer 2012 "Fastest Hands" Daniel Rice (1005) "Fastest Feet" Jack Blackburn (870)
- Summer 2011 "Fastest Hands" Joey Moujalli (995) "Fastest Feet" Kevin Bernardy (860)
- Summer 2007 "Fastest Hands" Tom Grosset (1156) "Fastest Feet" Matt McKasty (907)
- Winter 2007 "Fastest Hands" Jeff Guthery (1054) "Fastest Feet" Mike Mallais (978)
- Summer 2006 "Fastest Hands" Matt Smith (1030) "Fastest Feet" Hensley Souryavong (774)
- Winter 2006 "Fastest Hands" Rees Bridges (1007) "Fastest Feet" Tim Yeung (872)
- Summer 2005 "Fastest Hands" Randy Briggs (1021) "Fastest Feet" Dan Prestup (858)
- Autumn 2005 "Fastest Hands" Arne Widderich (924) "Fastest Feet" Matt Garrett (888)
- Summer 2004 "Fastest Hands" Sam LeCompte (1061) "Fastest Feet" Adam Fachler (844)
- Winter 2004 "Fastest Hands" Bill Meligari (1019) "Fastest Feet" Mike Duncan (782)
- Summer 2003 "Fastest Hands" Eric Okamoto (1018) "Fastest Feet" Kermit Tarver (768)
- Winter 2003 "Fastest Hands" Kai Katchadourian (909) "Fastest Feet" Reno Kiilerich (878)
- By George Broyer "The Rise of Speed Drumming", The Drumometer - Retrieved in 2005.
- By Blabbermouth.net "International Speed Competition", NAMM 2006 - Retrieved in 2006.