On a brisk Sunday evening this February, drummers of all ages and skill levels gathered at the Focal Point in St. Louis, Missouri for an evening hosted by Dixon Drums. Those in attendance experienced the first ever Dixon Product Showcase, which featured special drum and hardware demonstrations by percussion sensations Gregg Bissonette, Jeff Mozingo, and Rom Gov, followed by a Q&A discussion, all of which was covered by a film crew from Modern Drummer Magazine.
The evening was punctuated by a “Drummer’s Hang” where artists, students, and hobbyists got to know each other over drinks in one of St. Louis’s classic folk venues. Bringing local percussion communities together in this way is part of an emerging focus within Dixon’s culture, and one that Jim Uding—Dixon’s Brand Manager—recognizes as a crucial element of drumming’s future.
“Our primary goal was to take the experience you get seeking out information about technique or gear or gigs…and turn it into one evening, live,” says Jim in his interview with Modern Drummer. “Once you get all of those elements into one room, it goes beyond what the internet can provide.“
Focusing on a community aspect for any drum brand has never been more possible than today, but Dixon’s youthful position in the market makes them uniquely agile, and able to etch a very special idea into their core fabric: that all drummers are part of the same family.
For Uding, a culture of community with Dixon Drums begins with the players that comprise the face of the Dixon brand. “A big part of our community message is our Artist Roster,” Uding explains. “We partner with artists who are not only great players and great personalities, but who also represent a specific style or genre. We want to have a full spectrum so that we can reach as many people as possible on the level of identifying with a great player.”
Dixon may be a fresh face in terms of bringing great drum kits to the market but there is rich history in accessories that positions Dixon as a seasoned brand in the drum world. “We’re the fresh new brand with an old soul,” says Jim, referring to Dixon’s beginnings in the late 1970s as a value percussive hardware brand.
“I come from an extensive retail drum background,” Uding continues. “Where I worked, we sold Dixon hardware regularly. It was a go-to value brand, satisfying students and pros looking for quality stands and accessories that were affordable. That’s where the phrase ‘If it ain’t broke, it must be Dixon’ was born.”
Given Jim’s familiarity with Dixon, it is with some amount of serendipity that he assumed the title of Dixon’s Brand Manager in 2011. Just six years later, Dixon Drums is a full-line drum brand, with excellent offerings from their small-footprint, compact drums like the Little Roomer and Jetset Plus, to their flagship Artisan Series drum sets which feature customizable shells, come in a wide palette of laquer finishes, and is crafted with a high degree of skill, often taking 60 days to build a single set.
The journey has been filled with memorable moments for Uding, from the research and development of Dixon’s kits and hardware to his travels with Dixon artists. Dixon drums have won awards around the world and earned the respect and partnership of such incredible talents as Gregg Bissonette, John Blackwell, and Jerry Gaskill.
For Uding, one experience stands out as a barometer for the growth of the brand under his leadership. “Some of my favorite moments are each January at the Winter NAMM show,” Uding explains. “It’s a true indication of our acceptance and momentum. We can see the traffic at our booth and the interest and excitement from our visitors is growing each year.”
Events like the Winter NAMM show, Gregg Bissonette’s clinics, and Jeff Mozingo’s Awaken Project have provided much inspiration for Uding, culminating in February’s Dixon Product Showcase. It’s the perfect marriage of Dixon’s innovative products and their commitment to a community experience.
“We’re excited to take this event around the country to promote the brand, the art, our artists, innovation, creativity, all in one package, all in one night,” says Uding. “And the best part—it’s face to face, hand shake to hand shake, drummer to drummer.”
Follow Dixon Drums on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with news about future Product Showcases coming to your area. Visit www.playdixon.com to learn more about Dixon’s tremendous line-up, artists, and news.