Slagwerkkrant Drum Magazine celebrates 200 editions - watch all 200 covers Interviews with founder Erk Willemsen and Chief Editor Dennis Boxem Slagwerkkrant Drum Magazine celebrates 200 editions - Interviews with founder Erk Willemsen and Chief Editor Dennis Boxem The 200th edition of Dutch drum magazine Slagwerkkrant is a fact. That gives us 200 reasons to show you all the 200 covers of all the editions, in images and a video and a brief history of the magazine. Better yet, we asked Slagwerkkrant founder and publisher Erk Willemsen, and Editor in Chief of Gear and Tests Dennis Boxem a few questions about their drum magazine experiences and their future views on the drum and music market. On June 15, the 200th edition was presented to Niles Vandenberg of Dutch Rock sensation Kensington, who is featured on the anniversary cover.

Click here to scroll to the interview with founder and publisher Erk Willemsen.
Click here to scroll to the interview with Editor in Chief Dennis Boxem.

The 202 Slagwerkkrant covers
Yes, we added them all!

Officially the number of editions could be 202, when you count covers. That is, counting from #0 in January 1983, the editions #63 and #63,5 in 1994, and #200 published on June 15, 2017. The first two editions (0 & 1) were in A5 paper size, issue 5 was the first on A4 and issue 18 was the magazine's first full color edition.

This milestone of the only Drum magazine in the Netherlands celebrates the enormous worldwide base it has built through the years. Not only ten thousands of readers have enjoyed, studied and learned about gear and music in the magazine, also many of the popular and even less popular artists and drum groups were interviewed during the years. It is amazing what a team of true drum enthusiastics can produce in a period of 35 years.

- Don't forget to click through the 200 covers we added of all the editions Slagwerkkrant has published. It gives a great overview of how the magazine, its design and print can develop over the years.

The Slagwerkkrant logos
Slagwerkkrant used five different logos during the years. After four years and three logos, the magazine created one that lasted for 54 editions. The latest one, first used in 2006 has already been featured on 66 issues.

January 1983, on the first #0 issue, with Cesar Zuiderwijk on the cover, drawn from a photo of Anton Corbijn (U2, Miles Davis)
Slagwerkkrant logo #1

March 1984, on the fifth issue. The little boy on the cover is unknown.
Slagwerkkrant logo #2

April-May 1987, on the 21st issue with Alex van Halen on the cover
Slagwerkkrant logo #3

September-October 1996, on the 75th issue , with Sepultura drummer Igor Cavalera on the cover
Slagwerkkrant logo #4

September-October 2006, on the 135th issue, with Abe Laboriel Jr. on the cover
Slagwerkkrant logo #5

The Slagwerkkrant artists and brands
It is - even with the almost 15,000 artists in the Drummerszone-database - simply impossible to link all artists featured in Slagwerkkrant magazine during the years. However, we managed to add all the artists that are on all the 200 covers linked with this article. We're pretty sure we also didn't completely cover all the brands the magazine has featured.

"Finally, after 200 issues, I know why I never got rid of my old Slagwerkkrant collection. Without it, I would have never guessed that my first contribution was an article on low budget drum sets in their December '84/January ’85 edition, or that my first interview was a three-headed article featuring Peter Erskine, Bernard Purdie and Ed Blackwell, talking about whether you should play what they want you to play, or just play what you want. I simply forgot.

What I did not forget were their messages. Neither did I forget what I learned from talking to people like Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, Steve Gadd, John Engels, Trilok Gurtu and the dozens of other artists I had the privilege of meeting through this great magazine. It was a ball to hear their stories and, more importantly, to be able to share them. Happy to still be part of the team, after some thirty-plus years!
- Hugo Pinksterboer
Former Editor in Chief and publisher and writer of The Tipbook series
Author of The Cymbal Book

Interview with Slagwerkkrant founder and publisher Erk Willemsen
Click here to scroll to Dennis Boxem's interview...

First, what is your favorite Slagwerkkrant edition? Ok, you can pick three...

Impossible to answer this question. My first hunch is to mention Slagwerkkrant Number 1 with Nippy Noya on the cover, because that was our first serious effort. Second hunch is No.200 because it's the latest one and a very good one either! But for me personally when I go through all those 200 issues my personal experiences come forward, like the issue with the legendary interview with Steve Gadd, when he just came out of rehab and told us about that (No.45), and the one about the feature on Cuba, where I travelled five weeks and came back with quite a nice article (No.90), and the issues around our super great drummers festival Slagwerk '93 with a killer line up of Simon Phillips, Steve Smith, Bill Bruford, Enzo Todesco, Martin Van Duynhoven, Chuck Silverman and the Pasveerkorps. They all came to our office in the Ahoy' venue and did a blindfold test which we published an issue later. Nice one! (No 57 and 58). But I want mention as well issue 27 on Percussion in Africa, issue 170: become a better drummer and issue 176 with the feature interview with Golden Earring's Cesar Zuiderwijk. He was such a great force for us all these years.

What triggered you to start a Drum Magazine in one of the smallest countries on the planet?
I was a drum teacher and missed background information on drums for my students. So why not do it ourselves? :- )

Can you give 3 of the most defining moments in the history of Slagwerkkrant?
  1. After the 0- issue lots of orders came in, so we really thought there could be a market for this
  2. After issue 4 the organization Music and Percussion asked us to be their magazine, so circulation rose immediately
  3. In 1984 Paul Smits asked us to cooperate in organizing a Drummers Day, which was another boost for our community building

What was your most memorable trip for an interview?
Simon Phillips in Hillegom! He was 26, I was 24. He was 14 when he became a professional drummer. I was 14 when I started to play drums. The interview was so nice. My first interview with the best drummer of the world, and it went smoothly! That was a breakthrough for me of course. And I met Hugo Pinksterboer that day. He would become a very important product review editor and later editor in chief for us. Now 35 years later I'm planning another interview with Simon Phillips when he will be doing four days of masterclasses in September.

You have produced many drum festivals featuring all the great artists of that time. Which one stands out the most for you?
The touring percussion festivals called The Big Bang. With a great line-up of percussion groups, solo drummers and percussionists and always a special formed World Drummers Ensemble. The one with Bill Bruford, Chad Wackerman, Luis Conte and Doudou N'Diaye Rose was maybe the most memorable, but musically the one with Keith Carlock, Selvaganesh, Glen Velez, Suat Borazan and Keyvan Chemirami was very special too.

How do you envision the state of Drum magazines in 20 years?
Drummers will always be thirsty for information on making music and gear. How we will spread information in 20 years' time, only God knows. We will always try to be ahead of our time. In 1995 we were the first drum magazine online, worldwide. I was promoting our website at the NAMM Show and the manufacturers looked puzzled at me and said that drummers would never go online, haha! We were the first drum magazine with a digital edition. Of course we have our social media. And we do gear reviews on video. We are media. In pluriform :-)

Kensington drummer Niles Vandenberg and founder and publisher Erk Willemsen

Slagwerkkrant 200

Interview with Slagwerkkrant Editor in Chief of Gear and Tests Dennis Boxem
As an aspiring journalist to be, Dennis Boxem started working for Slagwerkkrant in 1999. His first publication was a photo of Daryll-Ann drummer Jeroen Kleyn and his first review ever was a cymbal of the Meinl Amun series. After that his career took off and during his trips covering the world of drums many adventures followed. He recalls vividly:

"A few years ago we went on a factory trip to Thailand, and the day we where set to leave a peoples uprising broke out. We where stuck in Bangkok for several days while riots happened all over the city. Our friends at GEWA music finally managed to get us out on a flight from Phuket, a days travel by bus because all nearby airports were just too dangerous to be near."

Interview stories
Having interviewed many artists as well, one of his top-of-mind recollections is the one with Questlove...

"The one with Questlove, around 2005. The Roots where already big, but nowhere near as popular as today. I was supposed to meet up with Questlove at 1pm to do the interview. It got pushed back to dinner time, then pushed back to just before show time, then pushed back until after the show. Finally, Questlove asked me to come to the hotel the following morning. On arrival he was still in bed, curtains closed and the TV on in the background. I did the interview right then and there, for about an hour and a half.

Another memorable one is one that actually didn't happen with Al Foster. He was playing the North Sea Jazz Festival for several years in a row and I really wanted that interview. He had declined all previous requests, but one time I was adamant and I went up to him and asked for it face to face. He turned me down again. Later that day, I spent about an hour talking with him at a bar about everything and anything but drums. When I steered our conversation towards an interview, he politely declined, again!"

You have been testing gear for many years. What was the most ridiculous product you have ever seen, or tested?

There have been many ridiculous products over the years, but to name a few:
  • LP's rotating cajón seat. Why do you need a rotating seat on a cajón? Especially since you can rotate yourself.
  • Various drum key tuning aids using torque settings. They never work, from an engineering perspective
  • Drums in odd-shapes (squares, bowls, stretchable tunnels). It's cute, but at the end of the day a round drum just works better
On what level would you say drums and gear have changed the most during the past 20 years?
The budget drums have gotten so much better over the years. In the low to mid end it's very hard to find a drum kit that has poor value for money. Most of them are really, really good.
And nowadays all drums have isolated suspension systems. Something we should all thank Gary Gauger for. Sadly, most of the brands only implemented their version of isolated suspension after his original RIMS-patent ran out. I feel he should have had more credit for his inventions

The revival of the 'old sounding' gear is high nowadays. Do you think using old gear is important to sound, compared to new products?
Vintage gear does tend to sound differently, with the main reason being that the shells have had all the time to rest. Making a shell takes a lot of effort. It takes quite a bit of force to put the plies in their shape.

I've noticed several drums in my collection have gotten a more round and mellow tone over the years. Also, the difference in hardware, edges and shell material from then versus now comes into play, but I've seen firsthand that a shell can (- not must, making drums is anything but an exact science) take several years or even decades to release all its tension and achieve its final sound. There are vintage kits that sound absolutely amazing, but there are loads and loads of vintage kits that sound really bad as well.

In this already futuristic era of digital drums and sounds, combined with the ever innovating levels of drum production, gear, sound and software, what do you think will be the place of acoustic drums in music in 20 years?
Acoustic drums will never go away. They're simply too much fun to play. What we are seeing now is a lot of people that play electronics at home, but as soon as they go out with a band they switch to acoustics, and that's perfectly fine. With electronics becoming ever more realistic, I think we will see them show up more in a live environment, and that's fine too.

But electronics replacing acoustics as a whole? I don't see it happening. One thing we will see more and more of, is acoustic drummers integrating electronics in their set, and using samples and loops. And hopefully we'll see more electronic drummers invading the EDM-scene; to give all these static DJ's a run for their money.

With your high level of product and gear knowledge, what are your 5 most favorite snare drums you have tested or seen?
As for favorites, I rarely let people know my personal preferences toward gear but for this once I'll make an exception.

My 5 favorite snare drums, which is a forever evolving list, is as of now:
  • Ludwig LM402 Supraphonic
  • Dunnett 13"x61/2" Titanium
  • Lignum 13"x61/2" Afzelia
  • Sonor Phonic Beech 14"x61/2"
  • 1927 Slingerland 14"x8" Radio King single ply
  • And the custom 13"x8" Oak Yamaha snare drum I built while at the Yamaha factory...
...that last one is a bit of a silly one, but it turned out to be a cracking drum.
Part of the Yamaha factory visit experience is that you get to build your own snare drum. I was really happy with a 12"x7" Pearl snare drum I had at the time, and was wondering what would happen if I scaled things up a bit. The guys at Yamaha looked at me as if I had misunderstood their offer, as 13"x8" is a tom tom, and not a snare. But I persisted, and got something really special.

And yes, I cheated, as I couldn't narrow my list to five!

Which drum have impressed you most, and on what level?
That's a hard one. There are so many passionate people in this industry! To name a few:
  • The finishes and sheer amount of options at DW nowadays, that's insane.
  • Almost anything Ronn Dunnett makes. He's a bit of a character, but he's one of few builders that really 'gets it' with regards to sound and features, and he never does concessions.
  • Anything Gert Breugelmans of Lignum drums makes. He's a small builder from Belgium that builds stunning drums from a ridiculously small workshop behind his house. Another one of those ‘no-concessions- my way or the highway' kind of guys. I really appreciate that in a drum builder.
  • The fact that out of the big four of manufacturers, Paiste has the most manual labor in their cymbals, but is also the most consistent. There are subtle differences between cymbals of the same model, but in a stack of twenty cymbals it is quite easy to find two that sound exactly the same. Even though they are hand hammered.
  • Tama's ability to make rock solid hardware that is relatively light weight.
  • Pearl's ability to perform solid in all price ranges. And the fact that they've completely revamped their entire line-up in the past two years. And they now have set the bar for both low end and mid-range drum kits with regards to price and quality.

This isn't a very short answer, is it?
"Slagwerkkrant 200 is the 154th edition for me. My first assignment as an intern in 1991 was an interview with Danny Sahupala in #46 - with Gene Hoglan on a pink cover. I just never left and became an author, editor and editor in chief in 2002.

Working on this anniversary issue with 'The 200 Best Drum Tips Ever,' was a party. Compiling the tips made me go through all the older editions and that is when you find the most hilarious things: like the test of my son's drum toy in issue 96, just to prang test editor Dennis Boxem and editor in chief Hugo Pinksterboer. Perhaps not that interesting this kind of nostalgia, but it reminds me that writing and reading about drums and drumming never ever gets boring!"
- Bouke Bijlsma
Final editor Slagwerkkrant
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