Oral History -
Billy Cobham is the acclaimed drummer who was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Mike Clark helped established the funk-based drumming sound that emerged out of Oakland and the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, his “The Funk Stops Here” was used for a radio ad before he recorded it with Herbie Hancock, as an original member of the Head Hunters.
Harvey Citron is one of the industry’s best-known and respected guitar luithers. Since a young age he has played the guitar and always seemed to have the ideas of changing the instrument to create unique sounds. He has designed some of the most innovative guitars of his time, such as those including novel materials such as plastics and fiberglass.
Kenny Chilton was deeply passionate about the electric organ. While working at a piano and organ retail store in the Los Angeles area in the late 1960s, Kenny was approached by a research team working with the Mattel Toy Company. After answering a series of questions over several days he was asked if he would be interested in helping the toy company design and produce a low end organ instrument. Kenny headed the sales efforts for the Optigan, which was produced between 1971 and 1976.
Leon Chiappini is the Head Zildjian Cymbal Tester who gained his skills and phenomenal musical ear from two of the true icons in the industry, the father and son team of Avedis and Armand Zildjian.
Jimmy Cheatham was one of the coolest jazz cats in the industry. Having worked with many of the top jazz players such as Duke Ellington and Ornette Coleman, Jimmy brought the sounds of tradition jazz to film scores and television programs over several decades. Jimmy’s warm personality was only watched by the smooth sounds of his trombone. When teamed with his wife, the jazz and blues pianist Jeannie Cheatham, the tones were unmistakable, clear and often strikingly intimate.
Jim Chapin had the idea of writing a method book for the beginning drummer that would provide clear examples and illustrations. The year was 1947 and no such book was in print. He gathered little hints and simple examples for the book that has become one of the best selling methods in the business. As a player, he toured and recorded countless times, but found the most satisfaction sitting down with one drummer or a room with 101 drummers and providing them with tools to improve their playing.
Tom Catalano opened his music retail store in New Hyde Park, NY after years of teaching and playing guitar professionally. In fact, he was being paid to play guitar professionally while still a teenager.
Rober Castle is currently the managing director of KORG UK, having been tied to the company in one way or another since 1981. In his early days with the company, Rob played a role on the team that designed the world's first keyboard workstation, the KORG M1. The unit was ideal for all musical customers such as guitarists and drummers, not just keyboard players, although it was a keyboard. In addition, Rob spent some time with Sound Crafters.
Bob Casey enjoyed a long career in pro audio and radio. It all began when he was four years old when he saw the large sound cones on his father’s truck. His father formed Edward P. Casey’s Sound System Company and became one of the early inventors of PA (Public Address) systems in New York.