Oral History -
Lee O’Connor was a noted trombone player in the golden era of the big bands. His experience on the radio, traveling from town to town for name and territory bands, reflected the struggles of the Great Depression and the amazing impact music had on people. Lee was hired by Harry James at the most popular point of Harry’s orchestra and stayed with the group for four years.
Bob Seidman was born a salesman! Bob knew he loved selling before he was a teenager. One of his early jobs was selling women’s undergarments, but soon his attention turned to musical instruments in the early days of rock and roll. He worked for the jobber Lipsky before opening his own wholesale business.
Gottfried Möckel recounted the effects World War II had on the German music publishing industry during his NAMM interview. Even after the war, products made by German companies were not selling around the world or even in Europe. He witnessed first hand the changes in Germany over 60 years and was pleased to see many German contemporary composers of the 1940s and ‘50s gaining their well-deserved recognition. Gottfried worked along side Mrs. Sievers, Breitkopf & Hartel president, in bringing the company into the 21st Century.
Louie Bellson was one of the World's premier drummers and listed in every jazz encyclopedia. Even with great success, he remained humble and was one of the true gentlemen of American popular music. With his noted double bass drum kit, a series of method books, and respected clinics, Louie made a major impact on the music products industry.
Jacob Malta was an innovator in designing handbells and hand chimes. His approach to product development and engineering led to several important advancements in the tonal quality and manufacturing of handbells. His company, MalMark, has been a leader in the industry for over 50 years.
Bill Magee began playing electric blues guitar before it was popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. When he first began playing professionally Bill used a Fender Jazz Master and later played the Telecaster. He has played with a long list of performers including James Brown and a then unknown Jimi Hendrix.
Bob Luly built the first sound system for the Rolling Stones that they used in the United States. The system was created for the Orange Show in the 1960s and led Bill to build systems for the likes of Three Dog Night and Frank Zappa (whom Bill played electric bass for on stage in the early part of Zappa’s career). Bob worked to improve the sound and electronics for live shows and found he had a great interest in designing amplifiers.
George Lukas recalled, in great detail, when he was aboard a navy ship at the end of World War II and sitting down to play a blue-painted Steinway upright piano (also known as the Steinway GI). Two sailors stood on either side of the piano with rope and knots to ensure George was able to play as the ship rocked back and forth.
Elizabeth Ludwig-Fennell was always surrounded by music. As a child, she played piano. As a young adult, she helped develop the Ludwig Music Publishing Company. She later married the founder. Upon her husband’s passing, she took over the business during an era when women seldom were involved in the business side of the music industry.
William F. Ludwig II was proud of the company his father started, largely based on the 1909 patented bass drum pedal, which allowed the drummer to sit down for the first time.