Tony Taylor Jr. wins GC's Drum-Off 2015 finals Watch the winning drum performance Congratulations to Tony "K-Drum" Taylor Jr. from Matteson, Illinois, the winning drummer of Guitar Center's 27th Annual Drum-Off Tony was the best of five talented finalists who competed for the winning title. The grand finale took place at Club Nokia in Los Angeles on January 16, 2016.

The title grants Tony endorsement deals, gear and cash in a grand prize package valued at over $45,000 USD.

About the winner
Growing up just outside of Chicago, Tony Taylor Jr. comes from a family with deep musical roots. With a drummer as a father, a pianist uncle and percussionist grandfather, there was little doubt that Tony had music in his blood and would pursue a musical passion of his own.

At only 18 years old, Tony has been drumming for most of his life and hopes to be able to continue developing a career as a professional touring musician and honing his skills as a producer and audio engineer.

Comments the winning drummer:

"I didn't go into this competition half-hearted – I knew what a big deal it was and I really wanted to win. In the weeks leading up to the finals I practiced and prayed constantly, and when I heard my name come through that loudspeaker as the winner, it was a true moment of awe and gratitude. All I could think about was how this was going to change my life for the better in such a drastic and meaningful way."

Jury
An all-star panel of judges was on hand to critique the performances including Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers), Matt Garstka (Animals As Leaders), George "Spanky" McCurdy (Lady Gaga), Ced Mitchell (Nick Jonas), Cora Dunham (Beyoncé), Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper), Mike Reid (Rihanna), Gerald Heyward (Chris Brown), Tony Royster Jr. (Jay-Z), Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts), Dave Elitch (Antemasque) and Nisan Stewart (TV show Dancing With The Stars).

Each year, legendary musicians from the drumming community return to the event as performers, judges and guests, celebrating the United States' best drummers. This year featured Ringo Starr drummer Greg Bissonette as host along with performances by Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Mike Mangini (Dream Theater), Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown), Robert "Sputt" Searight (Snarky Puppy) and Gil Sharone (Marilyn Manson).

Vic Firth and Jim Keltner honored
The night also honored Vic Firth and Jim Keltner with two special inductions into Guitar Center's RockWalk. Drum Channel and DW founder, Don Lombardi, joined Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith to introduce Jim Keltner as he stepped onstage to be inducted into the RockWalk. Vic Firth's posthumous induction was presented by Remo Belli to Craigie Zildjian on behalf of the Zildjian and Vic Firth family.

About Guitar Center
Despite its name, Guitar Center is a large retailer of musical instruments including drums and percussion. With more than 270 stores across the US and one of the top direct sales websites in the industry, Guitar Center has helped drummers and percussionists make music for more than five decades.

Guitar Center's Drum-Off is presented by Roland, Yamaha, Meinl, Remo, Pearl, Vic Firth, DW, LP, Gretsch, Zildjian, Evans, Promark, Sabian, Tama, Drum Channel, GoPro, and Modern Drummer.

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