|This article does not cite any sources. (August 2014)|
|Fate||Merged to Yamaha Corporation|
|Founded||1849 in Farmingdale, New Jersey, United States|
|Headquarters||Covington, Ohio, United States|
Rogers Drums, was an American drum company created in 1849 and based in Covington, Ohio. Their drums were embraced by musicians from the dixieland movement to the classic rockers of the 1960s and 1970s. However, the manufacturer was most closely associated with the "big band" and swing drummers of the 1940s and 1950s.
The Rogers company was started in 1849 by an Irish immigrant from Dublin named Joseph Rogers. Rogers came to the United States and started crafting drum heads. His son began making drums in the mid-1930s at a Farmingdale, New Jersey location. The first Rogers drums were assembled from shells and hardware of other manufacturers, but mounted with Rogers heads.
In 1953, Joseph Rogers' grandson, Cleveland, who had no heirs, sold the Rogers drum company to Henry Grossman. Grossman moved the company to Covington, Ohio, and under his leadership Rogers was propelled to the forefront of American drum making for the next decade and a half. Design engineer Joe Thompson and marketing guru Ben Strauss were instrumental in Rogers' success during its golden age from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s. The company's drums were embraced by musicians from the dixieland movement to the classic rockers of the 1960s and 1970s. However, the manufacturer was most closely associated with the "big band" and swing drummers of the 1940s and 1950s.
Rogers is probably most famous for its "Dyna-Sonic" snare drum, which featured a number of innovations. In particular was a unique cradle in which the snare wires were supported. This device provided a means by which the longitudinal tension of the snare wires could be adjusted independently of the vertical force holding the snares against the bottom head. As a result, the snares could be tensioned as tightly as the drummer wanted without having to pull the snares against the head so hard they constrained (choked) the head's vibration. This and other innovations (for example, a remarkably shallow—4/1000"—snare bed) made possible by the novel tensioning arrangement gave the drum a relatively crisp and recognizably clear sound. Dyna-Sonics were made from about 1961 until the mid-80's. The company was bought in 1966 by CBS Musical Instruments, which had also acquired in 1965 Fender Guitars and Rhodes Pianos. The vast majority of Dyna-Sonics had COB (chrome over brass) shells. Only a small number of wood-shell Dyna-Sonics was made during the lifetime of the drum. In part because of their rarity—only an estimated 3,000 were made—wood-shell models are highly sought after by collectors. Pristine models can fetch thousands of dollars on the vintage drum market. Other notable Rogers drums were the Powertone model of snare drums and the Holiday model of tom-toms and bass drums. Dyna-Sonics, and to a lesser degree all Rogers drums, are now considered to be collectors' drums. Fiberglass timpani were also manufactured for a time, the model being called Accu-Sonic.
In addition to its Dyna-Sonic snare drum, Rogers was renowned for its highly-innovative hardware. Much of it was developed by Thompson, including the Swiv-o-Matic line of bass drum pedals, hi-hats, cymbal stands, and tom-tom holders. The cymbal stands and tom-tom holders featured a ball-and-socket tilting mechanism that offered more flexibility in positioning than most, if not all, of the hardware of Rogers' competitors. Even Ludwig drummers like Ringo Starr of The Beatles, Mitch Mitchell of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin used some Swiv-o-Matic hardware items on their kits. Neil Peart used a single Swiv-o-Matic tom holder on his large Slingerland and Tama drum kits through the mid-1980s in order to position a tom-tom directly over the center of one of his bass drums.
From 1964 until 1975, Rogers shells were 3-ply construction of alternating plies of maple and birch wood with reinforcement rings. From late 1975 until 1978 the shells were made up of 5 alternating plies of maple and birch wood with reinforcement rings. Starting in 1978, Rogers began offering drums with 8-ply shells without reinforcement rings (made by Keller Products, Inc. of Manchester, NH) for its XP-8 line. They marked the beginning of relatively heavy, thick "stadium" shells that favored attack and projection over midrange tonality. These drums were promoted as "the best Rogers drums ever made" and the XP-8 models lived up to that claim.
1976 saw the introduction of "Memriloc" hardware. This innovation was co-developed by Dave Donoho and Roy Burns. It was the first of the super-stable hardware systems and was subsequently copied by most major drum manufacturers in one form or another. Most modern drum hardware evolved from the Rogers Memrilock concept. For the growing European market, Rogers drums were made in the UK by Ajax under licence from Rogers USA. The hardware was Rogers but the drum shells were supplied by Ajax from its UK production. Dave Clark of the Dave Clark Five and Pete York of the Spencer Davis Group were prominent British drummers using Rogers equipment during that era.
In 1983, CBS sold Rogers and Fender to a group of individuals who were running the Fender division; the new owners soon after decided to discontinue the Rogers Drums line. Between 1984 and 1998, the Rogers name was owned by Island Music, who manufactured cheap copies of the famous Big R Rogers drums overseas. These were average quality drums at best and nowhere near the quality of the previous XP-8 drums.
In 1998, the Rogers name was acquired by the Brook Mays Music Company ("BMMC") of Dallas, TX. Jim Rosenthal, then VP Marketing for BMMC identified the opportunity to purchase the name and revitalize the brand. BMMC began the brand as a low-cost, but high quality import line of beginner drum sets that were sold exclusively through the company's own chain of music stores. The first kits were manufactured by Peace Drums of Taiwan. Many purists and collectors believed this to be disrespectful to the company's great reputation. However, the drums sold successfully because many drummers (especially younger ones) wanted Rogers kits and the kits were an excellent value. Bill Crowden, son-in-law of Bill Ludwig, was working for BMMC at the time and was brought in to the Dallas office to run Rogers. Together with Jim Rosenthal, they developed the line, using names of Rogers kits and drums from the '60s. A high-quality line of kits emerged that included maple and birch shells with beavertail lugs and modern double-braced hardware. Great care was taken to respect Rogers history, while modernizing the products to current standards. Sales of Rogers kits across the board for BMMC were extremely successful.
However, for reasons wholly unrelated to Rogers, the Brook Mays company ultimately was unable to continue operating its retail stores, some of which were small to mid-scale local merchants first bought and then managed by BMMC. Adding to BMMC's business difficulties, First Act Inc., a competitor that sold its instruments through mass market retailers, sued BMMC in 2005 and was later awarded $20.7 million on the grounds that BMMC had falsely advertised and defamed it by sending letters to customers criticizing the quality of its instruments. In the summer of 2006, BMMC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
On August 26, 2006, the Yamaha Corporation of America announced that it had acquired the intellectual property rights to the Rogers Drum Company at the BMMC bankruptcy court-ordered auction.
"Opportunities to acquire a well-respected brand that is so treasured by players do not come along everyday," said Tom Sumner, Vice President and General Manager of Yamaha's Pro Audio & Combo Division. "We will use our expertise to improve on the Rogers legacy."
Yamaha displayed its new Rogers drums at winter NAMM 2007. The drums appear to be an amalgam of different Rogers eras, with some Yamaha touches. The reaction from classic Rogers fans has been overwhelmingly negative.
In 2013, the rights to Rogers drums were acquired by Joseph Chen, then the president of Dixon Drums. Nothing has been done with the brand as of April 2015 and its future is uncertain.
- Gavin Kerr
- Mick Fleetwood - Fleetwood Mac
- Billy Martin - Medeski Martin & Wood
- Rod Fogarty - Sam & Dave - Jackie Wilson
- Tré Cool - Green Day
- Buddy Rich
- Alex Johnstone - The Constellation Big Band
- Louie Bellson
- Cozy Cole
- Jay Joseph - Independent - Kenny Thomas
- Ed Shaughnessy
- Neil 'GhostDrummer©' Floyd-Independent/Studio
- Roy Burns (who co-developed Memriloc hardware)
- Bobby Rosengarden
- W.S. Holland - Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash's backup band, the Tennessee Three
- Earl Palmer - Fats Domino, Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, The Righteous Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Costello
- Mel Taylor - The Ventures
- Al Jackson Jr. - Booker T & The MG's
- Pete York - Spencer Davis Group
- Dave Clark - Dave Clark Five
- Dino Danelli - The Rascals
- Jerry Edmonton - Steppenwolf
- David Garibaldi - Tower of Power
- Johny Barbata (until 1975) - The Turtles and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
- Floyd Sneed - Three Dog Night
- Sammy Piazza - Hot Tuna
- Nick Mason (from 1972 to 1978 ca.) - Pink Floyd
- Charlie Watts - The Rolling Stones
- Jon Hiseman (from 1972 to 1977 ca.) - Colosseum II
- Paul Cook - Sex Pistols
- Tommy Ramone and Marky Ramone - The Ramones
- Chris Frantz - Talking Heads
- Mike Joyce - The Smiths
- Mark Goodwin - Lonnie Donegan
- Martin Cartagena - Wild Yaks
- Gina Schock - The Go-Go's
- Danny Seraphine - Chicago
- Mickey Hart - Grateful Dead
- Glenn Evans - Nuclear Assault
- Nicko McBrain - Iron Maiden
- Paul Whaley - Blue Cheer
- Mario Musso - Tracy Kane
- Tom Murray - The Litter and TT Quick
- James Dean - Full Moon
- Brian Downey - Thin Lizzy
- Massimo Corradino - Indigesti
- Kenny Williams - the Marksmen
- Darren King - Mutemath
- Billy Beat - The Violators, The Defex, The Corvairs, The Deadbubbles, The Pretty Sure
- Víctor Manuel Castillo Ibarra - La Arrolladora Banda El Limon Snare drum
- Gary Walker Walker Brothers
- Joe Burlo - Stonehenge Union - Quatro Hobo
- Mike Allgaier - Xenia and the Whitestone Drive Spitler Band
- Shannon Mays
- Etienne Jacobs -Kremlin - Picon Blues - The Sparrows
- Dick Dodd -The Standells
- Dennis Conroy-The Cryan' Shames
- Desi Arnaz, Jr.-Dino, Desi & Billy
- Mickey Jones -Trini Lopez- Kenny Rogers and The First Edition
- Spencer Dryden- Jefferson Airplane
- Buddy Miles- Electric Flag- Buddy Miles Express- Band Of Gypsys
- John Steel-The Animals
- Rod Morganstein-Dixie Dregs
- Remy Martin Zellweger - Krowski, Wet-T'Shirt Test, Tamtam of Bantam
- John Clair, The Gremlins
- Chris Cassidy, The Inserts