Artist Interview: Kevin Packard
(Drum Set Marketing Manager, Pearl)
Kevin Packard is the Drum Set Marketing Manager at Pearl and has spent his entire career working for instrument manufacturing companies and developing new products for drummers. Kevin plays with the band Checkpoint Charley.
Question: What was your first drum set?
An Apollo (made by Pearl,) kit from the late 60’s in Pink Nitron Swirl, 20/14/12 with a metal snare. My uncle owned a music store in Bountiful, Ut. and he loaned it to me because my mom was getting tired of me banging on pots and pans with her wooden spoons. After beating that to death, my dad bought me a Pearl Export kick and floor tom with a couple of RotoToms (VERY 1980’s!)
Question: Did you ever take private lessons?
My sister’s friend Kathy gave me my first lessons on her Tama Techstar e-kit (which I thought looked like the future!) when I was about 13. After she was killed in a very unfortunate automobile accident, I dedicated myself to carrying the things she taught me forward. Also took private lessons from two other instructors at music stores near our area, learning mainly out of Carmine Appice’s Realistic Rock book. Many hours of playing to records and watching drumming videos further fuelled the fire.
Question: Who is your favorite drummer and why?
Pearl artist Mark Brzezicki, drummer from the band Big Country. He had a unique way of carving a deep pocket that served the music while at the same time playing little flourishes inside the beat. His approach to the song made things really interesting, and his ability to play powerfully with technical grace has always been so inspiring to me.
Question: What makes the Pearl brand special?
I feel it is attention to detail that makes Pearl unique. Every element of every item Pearl makes has a unique signature that serves the player. You can tell it has been designed with the intent of helping you play better, and it works! There is a dedication to making everything with the finite eye for uniformity and quality, while not sacrificing the craftsman’s touch. It’s also impressive to me that there is a network in place to make sure you get the most out of your investment; like the Pearl Drummer’s Forum, and Pearl’s Lifetime Warranty.
Question: What are your thoughts on the electronic elements so common in percussion these days?
I have always been fascinated by Electronic Percussion, ever since seeing early E-Kits like the Simmons SDSV and the Pearl Syncussion-X. I’ve always felt the most interesting players are those that included electronic elements into their set-ups and used the tech to their advantage. It’s a really exciting time right now because there are so many tools available –from Midi/DAW controllers to Pearl’s ePro Live system- that can really allow you to expand the pallet and help you paint with broader, more colorful strokes. But, the human element has to be present to really make it breathe, and that’s where the creativity of the player comes in. Truly inspiring!
Question: How did you make the transition from recreational drummer to professional drummer?
My first drum kit came with a box of parts, and I had to tinker with them a lot to get the most out of aging, second-hand equipment. This made me a total gear-hound! I really came to love the ‘nuts-and-bolts’ that went into building drums and hardware, and I studied each drum company to really see what made each one unique. This served me well when I started working at a Drum and Guitar shop while gigging in my 20’s, and even better when taking that business from the retail side to the wholesale/manufacturing side. Every item I have had the honor of having a hand in developing has come from my personal drumming experience, and is designed with making my job as a drummer easier. What’s even more inspiring is that at Pearl, EVERYONE is a drummer/musician, so there is a full-spectrum of thought and experience to draw from.
Question: What inspires you to continue drumming?
I have a true passion for music and the elements that go into making it. I am a singer/songwriter as well as a drummer, and I feel that my ear for music has helped me develop a more musical drumming style. Music is the universal language, and rhythm is the pulse that moves that language forward. The drive that comes from drumming is one that is truly moving and rewarding. Beyond that, musicians (drummers in particular,) are colorful people and I love connecting with them. There is a joy in not only playing the music, but networking on what makes every element unique and powerful with those that make it. Better gear helps you sound and play better, so seeing first-hand what a company like Pearl has done to take the art forward with innovative products is remarkable. Being a small part of this team is an honor I could never have dreamed of when I got that first drum set as a kid!
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