Roy Burns (drummer)
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Roy Burns (November 30, 1935-May 2, 2018) was an American drummer, educator and percussion manufacturer. Burns was one of the first to give drum clinics, and is credited with pioneering the concept.
Burns was born and grew up in Emporia, Kansas. Louie Bellson heard him play in Kansas City and advised him to study in New York City. In August 1955, at the age of 20, Burns left Kansas with $300 and a drum set to study drumming in New York City. Within a year, he was Woody Herman‘s drummer (at 21). Shortly thereafter, he left to join Benny Goodman‘s band which was having a resurgence due to the film, The Benny Goodman Story. In 1958, Burns was with Goodman’s band as they toured Europe and recorded several albums at the Brussels World’s Fair.
In 1960, he was based in New York City, teaching and doing studio drumming on the NBC Staff Orchestra, the Merv Griffin Show, the Tonight Show, and others. From 1968-1980, he was a staff artist with the Rogers Drum Company as a staff artist and traveled the world as a clinician, one of the first American drummers to perform clinics.
He is noted for his live and studio work, teaching, and his method books, as well as for pioneering the concept of a drum clinic. In 1980, he began writing a column in Modern Drummer Magazine which ran until 1992.
In 1980, he partnered Ron Marquez to form Aquarian Accessories to manufacture percussion equipment. Aquarian subsequently achieved enormous success with their drum heads, which it began producing in 1987.
- NAMM Oral History Interview: Roy Burns talks about the concepts he developed for his books such as One-Surface Learning July 24, 2004
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