Beat goes on at Memphis Drum Shop
By Aloe Mulrooney/MicroMemphis reporter
Through multiple locations and all the drum sets that have come and been sold out of the front door, one thing has remained constant – Bill Frazier, the manager at the Memphis Drum Shop.
The original shop opened at 1999 Madison in 1987. Frazier started a year later and has stuck with it ever since. Through that time, he’s met plenty of celebrities.
“Man, more than you can imagine,” Frazier said. “Kenny Aronoff, Anton Fig, Chad Smith, Dave Weckl, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chris Layton, Jeff Hamilton, Stanton Moore, Chris Coleman, Peter Erskine, Jo JO Mayer, Benny Greb, the list goes on and on.”
But with so many celebrities gracing his presence, he’s gotten used to it a bit.
“There are so many memories connected to Memphis Drum Shop,” Frazier said. “Meeting famous drumers, hosting amazing drum clinics. But I have probably enjoyed meeting the local drummers that go out every weekend and play.”
Jim Pettit is the owner of the drum shop. His personal collection is coined “The Vintage Vault.”
“A lot of this I’ve obtained over the years and I’m always adding to my collection. The drums that get the most attention are the Ludwig Black Oyster kit like Ringo Starr played, a set of North drums and a set of Trixon drums,” Pettit said. “My favorite things in the vault are a little Ludwig Red Sparkle kit with a 18” bass drum and the Ludwig Black Beauties in the display cases.”
When customers walk into the shop, they may notice photos of drummers who’ve been to the shop lining the walls.
“There are famous drummers and local drummers on the wall,” said Pettit who took the photos himself. “The majority of the photos are from drum clinics held at Memphis Drum Shop.”
As for Frazier, he remembers his favorite memory of the drum shop like it was yesterday, he said, meeting Stevie Ray Vaughn.
“That was definitely a special moment for me. They were in town recording ‘Family Style’ at Ardent Students and we provided the drums for the recording. I was able to watch them record a little and meet Chris Layton and Stevie Ray,” Frazier said.”
“Memphis Drum Shop has had an impact on Memphis music and I am definitely lucky to have been a small part of that.”