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Interview: Philadelphia Drum & Percussion brings gear and beats to Fishtown
The days of driving out to Sam Ash or waiting for Amazon deliveries are almost over for drummers in Philadelphia.
Friday, November 4th marks the grand opening of Philadelphia Drum & Percussion, the city’s first dedicated gear shop of its kind. Owner Brandon Pfundt has spent the last couple of months stocking the Fishtown storefront with everyday necessities (Remo drumheads and D’Addario sticks) and special boutique items (Low Boy beaters and A&F shells), so it’s ready for its big debut later this week.
We caught up with Pfundt ahead of the opening to get his thoughts on the benefits of independent shops, his favorite item in the store, and his own drumming background. In addition to the opening day highlights mentioned below, the store has partnered with Philly Drum Project to host a Beats, Brews, and Banter event featuring The War on Drugs’ Charlie Hall.
The Key: What inspired you to open Philadelphia Drum & Percussion?
Brandon Pfundt: A few years ago I lived in Nashville, TN. There is a great drum shop down there called Fork’s Drum Closet that I used to love going to, even if I wasn’t going to buy anything. The fact that there was this place packed with all of this wonderful gear that I couldn’t hear or play anywhere else was exciting. Finding that one drum or cymbal sound that you’ve been hearing in your head is one of the most fulfilling experiences a drummer can have. I want to provide drummers that same experience.
TK: What’s your background as a drummer?
BP: I’ve been playing drums for 16 years. My dad bought me a drum set for Christmas when I was 13 and it changed my life. I never took a lesson, I jammed to records in headphones and tried to mimic every beat or fill. I played in various bands throughout high school, usually practicing in basements or garages and playing locally in the Philadelphia area. I’m still playing, and I’m currently working on some recorded music with a good friend of mine. I also worked as a Brand Ambassador for Bosphorus Cymbals for two years. During my time with Bosphorus I would drive up and down the north east corridor, stopping at various drum shops along the way. I realized there was this huge gap between Maryland and New England where there are zero drum shops. That got me thinking about opening a store here in Philadelphia.
TK: What kinds of things will drummers (and non-drummers) be able to find in the store? What can you offer as an independent shop that the big box stores can’t?
BP: At Philadelphia Drum & Percussion we are looking to provide a place where drummers can come and find their sound. We offer a variety of boutique drums and cymbals that you may not find at your regular “big box” store. I’m carrying brands that I believe in. Brands that I am a fan of. During my time at Bosphorus I was able to cultivate some relationships with various drum and cymbal makers. It’s those people’s products that I am stocking and hoping to share with a larger drum community. I believe in smaller companies. I believe there is a care and attention to detail found in smaller drum and cymbal manufacturers that may be lacking a bit with the big companies. Most of the products in my shop are handmade right here in the US.
TK: Why do you think it took until 2016 for there to be a dedicated drum shop in Philadelphia?
BP: Honestly I don’t have the answer to that question. During this entire process I’ve asked myself that same question. A major metropolitan area with tons of musicians, not just drummers. Philadelphia is a very musical city. Maybe people think that the drumming market is too much of a niche market. I really don’t know. I just hope this shop can fill the void that has been here for so long.
TK: What’s your favorite item in the store / what are some items that customers might be surprised to find?
BP: It’s very hard for me to pick a favorite item in the store. I just got these raw brass snare drums from a small company in Austin, TX called A&F Drum Co. that I’m still swooning over. Incredible build quality with a sound to match. I’m also very excited to be carrying Lowboy Beaters. They are a company out of Denver, CO that make wooden kick beaters. They feel great to play and make your kick drum sound 100% better.
TK: What do you have planned for the grand opening?
BP: For the Grand Opening we will be opening for regular business hours 12 p.m. -7 p.m. We will have some snacks and drinks available. We’ll be raffling off a 20×10 A&F Drum Co. Field Mahogany Kick/Bass Drum, selling raffle tickets for $1 throughout the day and choosing a winner at 6 p.m. The winner must be present at the time of the drawing in order to receive the prize.
TK: Do you plan on having interactive / community programming, like clinics or meet ups etc. in the future?
BP: I don’t have any planned right now, but we will be hosting clinics and interactive events in the future for sure. I will be working with the Philly Drum Project, which is a wonderful drum community dedicated to making drumming more accessible in the city by sharing gear, lessons, and hosting drum related events.
TK: Who are some of your favorite drummers, local or otherwise?
BP: It’s so hard for me to name my favorite drummers, I have to break them down into categories. If we keep it “old school” I gotta go with John Bonham, Elvin Jones, and Levon Helm. For “newer” drummers, or at least guys actively playing today, I’ll say Brooks Wackerman (Bad Religion), Glenn Kotche (Wilco), and Jon Theodore (Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age). As for Philly drummers, you gotta go Questlove (The Roots) Ari Hoenig, and Stephen Clifford (Circa Survive).
The Philadelphia Drum & Percussion Store is located at 443 E. Girard Ave. in Fishtown. More information about the grand opening on Friday, November 4th can be found here.