- Premier Percussion
Premier Percussion Limited is an English manufacturer of
drums and percussion instruments.
The company was founded in 1922 as the "Premier Drum Company" by London drummer Albert Della Porta and drum builder George Smith. At first, the company produced
drum kits for wholesalers, who then would sell them as their own, but Premier soon began producing drums under its own name.
Premier also began producing symphonic percussion,
marching percussion, and cymbals in addition to drum kits. Premier was originally located in central London (where the current Footes Music Store is now) and moved to purpose built premises in Acton in the 1930s. When WW2 broke out, Premier was engaged in the manufacture of gun sights for tanks and aircraft, but the factory was bombed out in 1940 and the company was relocated to a new Leicester facility shortly thereafter.
The company enjoyed great success during the Beat Boom of the 1960s not only in the UK, but worldwide, and won the Queens Award to Industry in 1966. During the 1970s, Premier invested heavily in a new, purpose built factory to meet demand for their products, but in 1983, the Della-Porta family resigned from the board and the company's name was changed to "Premier Percussion" in 1984 following a management buyout.
In October 1987, Premier was merged with Yamaha, which owned the Leicester factory until 1992. During this period, "Limited" was appended to the company name. In 1992, Tony Doughty, who originally arranged the Yamaha merger, took over the company. In February 1995, Premier was sold to the Verity Group of Companies before yet another buyout by a British consortium a few years later. Today, Premier continues to produce drum kits, marching percussion, and symphonic percussion (including
timpaniand mallet percussion).
Premier has had a history of new ownership. Although the chrome plating was lauded, the actual hardware and drum quality has been variable. In the 2000s, Premier started making drums in Taiwan under the Artists maple and birch series. The Premier series, maple, birch or hydbrid/ gen-x shells are made in England. Distribution in the USA isn't as large as it was in the past. The hardware is made on the same assembly line in Taiwan as Tama's.
Noteworthy drums:- Premier 2000 Snare- All drums made of African Mahogany at 70:s- Resonator Series- Signia and Genista Series- APK/XPK- Olympic Series- Artist Series- Premier Series (Maple/Birch/Gen-X Hybrid)- Gordon Mann 1 Wing Pipes and Drums
Early Premier drums were mostly made of 3-ply birch, with reinforcing hoops as was common with most drums from that period.
In the 1960s Ludwig, Roger's and Slingerland were being sold in greater number that Premier drums. This decrease in popularity, despite Premier's equal quality, was only temporary and Premier continues to produce quality drums today.
For some years during the mid-1970s, Premier began using African Mahogany in their drum construction. Premier drums from that period were mostly made of three-ply mahogany with beech wood reinforcing hoops (or glue rings.). True mahogany from Khaya Nyasica, Africa have an approximately 20% increase in low frequency resonance over the maple drums. Mid and high frequencies are mostly the same from a reproduction point of view, but because the Mahogany has the 20% low end increase, the perceived tone is warmer.
Vintage Premier drum kits are somewhat rare nowadays and are considered by most experienced drummers as high quality drums. Premier's modern upper-range drum kits are made of birch or maple, both excellent drum-making materials.
Keith Moon- The Who
Mitch Mitchell- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Nick Mason- Pink Floyd(live 1966-69, studio 1966-75, live, later used Ludwig)
Steve Barney- Annie Lennoxand Sugababes
* Ted Smith - Mind Garage and Spinners
John Panozzo- Styx (1970-early 1979)
Phil Collins- Genesis and solo (1974-82, occasionally uses them live)
Chris Dangerous- The Hives
Paul Doucette- Matchbox Twenty
Ginger Fish- Marilyn Manson
Jim Kilpatrick MBE- The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band
Martin Lopez- ex- Opeth
Nicko McBrain- Iron Maiden
Scott Phillips- Alter Bridge, (Formerly Creed)
Phil Selway- Radiohead
Tommy Portimo- Sonata Arctica
Chris Sharrock- Robbie Williams
* Eric Tribbett - Jill Scott
Mike Chiplin- Lostprophets(2000-2003)
Matthew Slodowy- S-Control
Olly Betts- The Duke Spirit
* Thomas 'Thomen' Stauch - ex-
Blind Guardian/ Savage Circus
Clem Burke- Blondie
Matthew Helders- Arctic Monkeys
John Bonham- Led Zeppelin(Though generally associated with Ludwig)
Richard Christy- Death/ Control Denied/ Iced Earth
Ringo Starr- The Beatles(Until 1963, Ludwig thereafter)
Brad Wilk- Rage Against the Machine/ Audioslave(1992-2000)
Carl Palmer- Emerson, Lake & Palmer/ Asia(Also uses Paiste drums)
Chris Maitland- Porcupine Tree(1993 - 2002)
Travis Nunn- Chris Tomlin
Samuel Giers- Mando Diao
Rod Morgenstein- Winger / Jelly Jam/ Dixie Dregs
Derico Watson- Victor Wooten
Salvador Niebla- Virtual Drummer School
Stewart Smith- Delirious?
Rick Snider- Discovery, Independent
* During an appearance on the
Smothers Brotherstelevision show, Keith Moon over-loaded his Premier bass drum with explosive charges which were detonated during the finale of "My Generation", which according to legend resulted in permanent hearing damage for bandmate Pete Townshendand caused Bette Davisto faint.
* Led Zeppelin's
John Bonhamreceived his first drum kit at the age of 14, an old rusty Premier set.
* [http://www.premier-percussion.com/history.asp "History"] . Premier Percussion official website. Retrieved February 11,
* [http://www.premier-percussion.com/ Official website]
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