When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You: New Ad

Readers of Modern Drummer Magazine or Drum! Magazine, have been seeing a brand new Vater Ad that features Mike Johnston. The new ad entitled: "When You've Found The Right Stick, It Really Hits You!" has been gettting a lot of attention and creating quite a buzz already! The most heard comment is: "Is that picture REAL!?" And the answer is: YES! The ad is pictured below and there is also a brief video with great info and footage on how photographer Sasha Leahovcenco capured the shot that you see in the ad. 

Here's a bit about the ad from Mike:

"So about 2 months ago I did a shoot for a new VATER Drumsticks ad at this scary abandoned sugar mill. It was definitely the scariest location I had ever been on, lol. My photographer, Sasha Leahovcenco, had this idea that he wanted tons of sticks just floating around me and flying right at my face, and me looking as non frightened as possible right before they all hit me, lol. The concept of the ad was to show every model of stick that VATER makes flying in the air and for me to be holding my signature sticks. We wanted to show that with the huge variety of sticks that VATER makes, there is one model that is just right for you. In my case it's the 2-4-5-1's but I want everyone to find their "perfect stick". Sasha is very big on doing shots that look fully Photoshopped, but doing them for real. Here is the shot. Hope you like it! " -Mike Johnston


Behind the Scenes Video:




Educator Mike Johnston's 2451 Model is a great all-around design that can be used in any musical style. It has a grip size between a 5A and 5B with a gradual taper to a barrel tip for ride cymbal definition. The gradual taper gives the model a fantastic and quick feel around the kit.
The 2451 model is available in both Hickory and Sugar Maple. The Sugar Maple version is perfect for lower volume and lesson room type settings, while the Hickory version is the right choice for live and harder hitting performance settings.


Posted by Chad on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 11:34 AM

2012 Drummie Awards

Once again, there's plenty of Vater presence in DRUM! Magazine's Annual Drummie Readers Poll Awards!







Runner Up: Vater Nisan Steart Model
Drummer of the Year
Runner up: Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Rising Star
Ruunners Up:
Chris Dave (D'Angelo/Maxwell/Robert Glasper Expirement), Mike Johnston (mikeslessons.com) and Luke Holland
Runner Up: Virgil Donati (Alan Holdsworth)
Runners Up: Brann Dailor (Mastodon) and Matt Byrne (Hatebreed)
Runners Up: Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Cora Coleman-Dunham (Beyonce/Prince)
Winner: Shannon Leto (Thirty Seconds to Mars)
Runner Up: Jay Lane (Primus)
Runner Up:
Chris Dave (D'Angelo/Maxwell/Robert Glasper Expirement)
Runner Up: Chris Layton (Kenny Wayne Shephard/Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Chris Dave (D'Angelo/Maxwell/Robert Glasper Expirement)
Winner: Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts)
Runner Up: Chris McHugh (Keith Urban/Nashville Session Artist)
Runner Up: Mike Johnston (mikeslessons.com)
Studio Drummer/Drummer for Hire
Runner Up: Nisan Stewart (Jay Z/Diddy/Jamie Fox)
Runner Up: Richie Gajate Garcia
Rising Star
Runner Up: Roland Gajate Garcia
Live Performer
Winner: Karl Perazzo (Santana)
Runner Up: Andy Farag (Umphreys McGee)
Runner Up: Andy Farag (Umphreys McGee)
Winner: Raul Rekow/Karl Perazzo (Santana)
Educational Web Site
Winner: Mikeslessons.com-MikeJohnston


Posted by Chad on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:19 AM

Vater Artists Win in 2012 MD Readers Poll

Congratulations to all of the Vater Artists that placed in the 2012 Modern Drummer Magzine Readers Poll! You can also see the full results in the July 2012 issue of Modern Drummer, which is on sale now.



#3 Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)

#4 Josh Freese (Devo/Weezer/A Perfect Circle) 


Mainstream Rock

#2 Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)


Alternative Rock 

#5 Jay Lane (Primus)



#2 Mattt Flynn (Maroon 5)



Winner: Josh Freese (Devo/Weezer/A Perfect Circle)



#4 Chris Dave (D'Angelo/Robert Glasper Experiment)



#4 Jeremy Spencer (Five Finger Death Punch)

#5 Brann Dailor (Mastodon)



Winner: Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts)

#4 Chris McHugh (Keith Urban/Nashville Session Artist)



#3 Mike Johnston ( www.mikeslessons.com) 

#5 Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts)


Up & Coming

#3 Erick Slick (Dr.Dog)

#5 Chris St. Hilaire (The London Souls)


Educational Book 

#3 Jim Riley: Song Charting Made Easy 

#4 Ari Hoenig: Systems: Book 


Educational DVD 

#3 Virgil Donati: Double Bass Drum Freedom 


Recorded Performance

#4 Brann Dailor: The Hunter (Mastodon) 



Also, a big Congrats to Vater Slick Nut Cymbal Fastener Artist Mike Mangini for Winning MVP and Recorded Performance and taking #2 in Prog.

Posted by Chad on Monday, June 04, 2012 8:55 AM

Big Mike Clemons: My Story

Some people look at me now and don’t recognize the smaller, more healthy version of Mike Clemons. Others look REALLY hard as if trying to make sure that I really am “Big Mike” Clemons, the overweight drummer who’s toured with Usher, Israel & New Breed and others! But regardless of the initial looks, the next question is either, “how’d you lose all that weight?” or “are you sick?” While my journey towards a healthier version of my life came from the disciplined exercising and making healthier food choices, truth be told, the catalyst for this journey is that I was sick, but just didn’t know it!


I didn’t realize how sick I was until my wife noticed how much I was going to the bathroom. As far as the stereotype goes, some men have a hard time being convinced to go to the doctor; I realized I actually was one of THOSE guys. I ignored the problem and explained away going to the bathroom so much with the rationale, “well I’m drinking more water because I’m thirsty, so of course I’m going to the bathroom more.” But when I really got tired of getting up to go to the bathroom 3-4 times a night, I finally decided to listen to my wife and make the appointment.

I couldn’t believe it when the test results came back…I had Type 2 diabetes! Diabetes is a serious disease that can cause blindness, amputation of toes, feet, and legs, and even death, and I wanted NO part of that! I was like this is for real and I knew it was time for me to make a lifestyle change. In addition to taking my medicine, I started off with small changes to my diet. I ate less pasta, white rice, and for the most part ate less sweets. Apparently I wasn’t taking it seriously enough because when I went back to the doctor a few months later, my blood sugar levels were lower, but still not low enough. Months later I had another visit. I remember feeling horrible that day; light headed, sluggish, and soooooo scared. I said to myself, “ok that's it, I’ve got to do something different!”

That “scared straight” moment was my point of no return. I took it to the next level and did what I was supposed to. I was even more committed to eating right, I started working out and focused on my health and began losing weight and feeling better again. My next visit was better, I was doing well and was so happy. Then one day I ran out of pills and I “decided” I didn’t need them since diet and exercise seemed to being working out JUST fine. That was the wrong move. My blood sugar levels went up again! My doctor broke it down for me and my wife who there supporting me. He said, “if you don't do all you can and take your pills you will just make it worse on yourself.” His words affected me, but the fact that my wife was angry with me changed my life. Once we got home, we had a long hard talk.

She said:

“Listen if you want to die then do that on you own dime. You have a family that loves you and right now you are being selfish to think about yourself and not your wife, kids and other people that love you. You have to be an example to everyone and yourself. It's not our fault that you have this but you can control it if you do what you’re supposed to, so stop it and do what you have to do!”

That’s pretty much the edited version of what she said, but you get the point and so did I! Her words were the “tough love” and reality check I needed. She was right. If I eventually died because of complications from my diabetes, who would support my family, especially considering the fact that I applied for life insurance and was denied because my numbers were so high. It hit me and I realized how much diabetes could really ruin my life and that of my family if I didn’t get it in check. So I did.

Like a drug addict determined to get off drugs, I went cold turkey and stopped doing anything that could keep me from being the healthy husband and father I knew I was supposed to be. I had a boot camp approach and dedicated myself to a “lifestyle” rather than a diet or weight loss plan. I mean I went to the extreme on everything. I worked out at the gym two times a day, ate only brown rice and wheat pasta, if any, and no fried foods. Knowing my personality, the only thing that worked for me was to admit I was too undisciplined not to “cheat“ and eat unhealthy foods; I told myself if I ate anything bad I was going to die. Now for some people, that may have been too much, but I was on a path headed for an early death if I didn’t turn my life around with a quickness, and there would be no life insurance for my family. I had a second chance to change my life and I was going to make sure it worked!

Today I’m healthy, fit and still working on being the best I can be. It's not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change, and I’m VERY happy about how my life has changed. My family is proud of me too. My youngest son likes my muscles and thinks I'm the coolest. I don't force strict eating on my kids, but I give them healthy choices, cut down on things like fast food, and cook more at home where I know the quality of the food and how it‘s prepared. I want them to see healthy habits at home so they can live a healthy life and eventually teach their kids when they get older. My experience has taught them how food and health are connected, and gives new meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat“. Now I eat healthy so I am healthy!

I remember the days when I wasn’t healthy. I was fat. I was uncomfortable. I felt bad about myself emotionally and my body felt like a kind of prison. I know what every fat person goes through, feels, and struggles with. Even with as much career success as I had, deep down I knew I wasn’t living the life I was supposed to be living. If you have never been fat you might not understand, but I do. If you are dealing with obesity like I was, you can overcome it and make a lifestyle change to positively affect the quality of your life forever. It's a choice that ultimately only you, and you alone, must make.

It's a choice I had to make. I didn’t want to feel “sick” anymore or head down a path to an early grave…I didn’t want to make my wife a widow or have my kids have to grow up fatherless. A few years ago I was on that path, but now I'm in MY best shape ever and it feels WONDERFUL. I like me even more now, and want to inspire others who feel like they can’t get fit and live a healthy life. I think God let me learn how fulfilling life can be through this experience, and if you are overweight, I want you to experience that victory too. My life is changed forever and I am happy about it, so remember, the longer you wait to lose weight, the longer your new life is on hold…YOU CAN DO THIS!

-"Big" Mike Clemons 



Posted by Chad on Thursday, May 17, 2012 12:23 PM

Vater Artist Charli Persip to be honored with tribute

In his September, 2010 article for Musicians Local 802 News, Todd Bryant Weeks referred to Charli Persip as “The World’s Most Perfect Drummer” with good reason! “Persip’s technical mastery of the instrument…has allowed him the luxury of appearing in a multiplicity of settings with some of the greatest names in jazz: Dizzy Gillespie, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Harry James, Billy Eckstine, Archie Shepp, Benny Golson and Art Farmer, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Eric Dolphy, Duke Ellington.” Now an octogenarian, Charli has not only played with every major name in music, but has led SuperSound his own big band for over thirty years, is the author of How Not to Play Drums (published by Second Floor Music and distributed by Hal Leonard), and is an in demand drum teacher, and he’s still going strong.



A tribute in honor of this legendary master drummer will be held at 7:30p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2012 at Saint Peter’s Church, corner of Lexington Avenue and 54th Street, New York, New York. Hosted by WBGO’s Rob Crocker, invited guests include musicians Ron Carter, Jimmy Cobb, Roy Haynes, Anthony Nelson, and Kenny Washington; writers Amiri Baraka and Nat Hentoff; and Martin Mueller, Director of the New School jazz program.

Charli started his musical career in and around Newark, New Jersey. A chance meeting with trombonist Benny Green resulted in Charli going on the road with Dizzy Gillespie, and that was the beginning of his star touched occupational path. Among his most memorable experiences during his rich, long career was his time with the incomparable Duke Ellington, who he felt was an incredible role model. Persip’s musical ability enabled him to defy stereotypical image of jazz drummers. At a recent presentation at the Jazz Museum in Harlem, drummer Kenny Washington said of him, “Persip was one of the black drummers that dispelled the idea that black drummers can’t read music.” During that presentation, Persip advised his audience about “…the importance of using your imagination to the fullest, and that listening is an art, not only as a drum accompanist but in life itself….And when dealing with an unruly audience, don’t be belligerent, just let your artistry quiet them down.”

As a jazz educator, he is said to be among the best. Since 1974, Charli Persip has been instructor of drums and music, for Jazzmobile Inc. – New York. He is currently a professor of jazz at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in Manhattan, having worked there for almost two decades, and he has had a highly successful private practice for over thirty years.

Charli Persip is also a popular attraction at drum clinics, and gives lecture-demonstrations at the nation’s most prestigious schools, including Howard University, University of Massachusetts, Ohio State University, and North Texas State University. Just as Duke Ellington left a serious impression with Charli, he has had the same effect with his students. Jeremy Carlstedt, one of his former students wrote in his blog, “…I was lucky enough to study with Charli Persip and just like anything a legend shows you, you can replay the lesson over and over in your head and still learn from it.”


Who: Friends of Master Drummer Charli Persip What: Tribute for his 6+ decades creating music

What: Tribute for his 6+ decades creating music. 

Where: Saint Peters Church Corner of 54th Street and Lexington Avenue New York, NY

When: April 30, 2012 @ 7:30pm Cost: $20 suggested donation

Contact: Pamela Morgan – pemorgan@wim-n.com - 973-996-8342, or Silvia St. John - cancrizans@verizon.net - (845) 565-2578Who: Friends of Master Drummer Charli Persip



Posted by Chad on Monday, April 02, 2012 9:58 AM

Diane Downs and Louisville Leopard Percussionists Join Vater

Vater is very excited to welcome Diane Downs and The Lousiville Leopard Percussionists to the Vater Artist Family.

The Louisville Leopard Percussionists are a performing ensemble comprised of 60+ student musicians ages 7-12, who reside in 20 different Louisville zip codes and attend 27 different schools in and around Louisville, Kentucky.  Diane Downs created The Fabulous Leopard Percussionists in November 1993.  After 10 years, the group became a non-profit community based organization and was renamed to the Louisville Leopard Percussionists.



Since then, the Leopards have performed throughout Louisville and Kentucky at events including the Kentucky Derby Festival, at University of Louisville sporting events, with the rock band My Morning Jacket, for the U.S. Women's World Cup Champion Soccer Team, for the International Jump Rope Championship Team, at Morehead State University, Eastern Kentucky University, and with the Louisville Orchestra.  

On the national level, Downs's students have performed at the Atlanta International Band & Orchestra Convention, the Indiana, Kentucky and Florida State Music Educator's conventions, WGI Percussion Finals in Dayton, The Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the International Association of Jazz Educators Conferences in Chicago, New Orleans and New York City, the American Orff-Schulwerk Association National Conference, the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington, DC, at the Jazz Educator's Network Convention in New Orleans and in Louisville, and 4 times at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention
During these performances, the Leopards have had the privilege of performing with some of the world's leading percussionists including Jerry Steinholtz, Victor Mendoza, Ndugu Chancler, Louie Bellson, Joe Morello, Brad Dutz, Emil Richards, Zoro, and Dave Samuels. They have also performed for such luminaries as Coretta Scott King, Evelyn Glennie, and Wynton Marsalis.

The Leopards were also featured in an HBO special, "The Leopards Take Manhattan: The Little Band That Roared" as part of the acclaimed "Music In Me" series. The documentary follows the Leopards to New York City to perform before the Chick Corea Trio (Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, and Eddie Gomez) at the 2006 IAJE Convention. The Leopards Take Manhattan:  The Little Band that Roared - click on SCHEDULE and WATCH VIDEO. - http://www.hbofamily.com/programs/music-in-me-leopards-take-manhattan.html

Diane Downs
For more info on Diane Downs and The Louisville Leopard Percussionists, please visit www.louisvilleleopardpercussionists.com

Posted by Chad on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 3:05 PM

Video Feature-Dick DiCenso

For Dick DiCenso's 70th Birthday this past August, fellow Vater Artist Jimmy Pemberton (Kiley Evans/Educator) sat down with him to film this 2 part video interview. Jimmy had Dick chat about what got him into playing drums as a young kid, touring, opening DiCenso's Drum Shop and why after all these years, his real passion with drums is with his being an Educator.

Dick DiCenso has been a long time friend of the Vater Family. In fact, Dick had great influence on the launching of the Vater brand in 1991 and also helped design the Vater Super Jazz Model .

Part 1:

Part 2:

 A few words from Alan Vater on Dick DiCenso:

I first met Dick 30 years ago while he was Managing Director at Harris Fandel Music Company. Dick was a very close friend of my Father Clarry, and my Dad cherished this friendship. If my Dad were around today, he would be very honored to share in the Happy Birthday wishes for Dick! 

It was on that day, when I met Dick for the first time, that he and my Dad were discussing the prospects of Harris Fandel purchasing the drumsticks that my Dad and my brother Ron were making downstairs in my Dad’s Drum Shop in Norwood Massachusetts.

Dick was instrumental in providing expert advice to my Dad in those early days when my Family resumed the art of making drumsticks. That art had been passed on from my Grandfather Jack Adams (of Jack's Drum Shop in Boston, MA) and my Godfather Fred Michele. Dick's guidance, friendship and generosity are greatly appreciated as we look back on those early times of Vater Percussion.

I also can clearly remember the day that Dick paid us a visit, to our then new factory, in Weymouth Mass and asked us to produce Private Label Drumsticks under the name “ChopStix” for his new store, DiCenso’s Drum Shop, that he was opening in Quincy. It's apparent today that Dick's decision to open his own drum shop was the right one, as it continues to thrive today.

There is alot of history between the Vater and DiCenso families. I have come to know and respect not only Dick but also his son Dave who is one of today's greatest drumming talents. Personally there are a select few people that I looked to with the passing of my Father in 1998. Dick is one of those people whose words and presence continue to bring me comfort and reassurance.

From myself and the entire Vater Family, we wish you a very Happy 70th Birthday!     -Alan Vater


Alan Vater and Dick DiCenso
Purchase Dick DiCenso's book, A Practical Workbook for the Modern Drummer, by clicking the image below:


Posted by blogadmin on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 10:25 AM

Video Series: How to Prepare for the Recording Studio

Boston based Vater Artist Jimmy Pemberton (Kiley Evans/Educator/Independent) set up this great video series with very helpful hints on how to prepare for the recording studio.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Jimmy Pemberton is a professional drummer & educator based out of Boston,MA. Known for his “play for the song” approach he has become one of the areas go to guys for producers, song writers and bands alike. No matter if it’s in the studio or on the stage Jimmy brings his upbeat positive attitude and hard work ethic to any situation.

Jimmy has worked with Kiley Evans, Marc Orrell (former Dropkick Murphys), Endway, Jamison Ernest (Warner Music Group), Jer Coons,Gregory James,The Holiday Electric, Soren Sorensen, Gone Baby Gone, AutoManual, and many more. Some producers include: Mike Poorman, Jim Wirt, Joe Merrick, Michael Carroll, Jim Foster,and Mathew Ellard.

Jimmy has studied with Dave DiCenso, Dick DiCenso and Chris Rivelli. ” I plan on always being a Student , a Teacher and an Artist. I feel keeping all three going is the key for me to progress as a musician and human being.”

Jimmy Pemberton uses the Vater 5B Wood


Posted by Chad on Tuesday, August 09, 2011 2:29 PM

Vater at Warped Tour in Boston!



Vater will have a tent at the Boston date of the 2011 Van's Warped Tour on July 13th, 2011 in Mansfield, MA at the Comcast Center. Vater along with DiCenso's Drum Shop will be on site to provide beginner drum lessons as part of the Percussion Marketing Council's "Lesson Lab" initiative to expose music fans to drumming.

Some Vater Artists performing on the 2011 Warped Tour will be stopping by the tent as special guest drum teachers throughout the day. Also, Larry and His Flask will be performing a special live set at the Vater/DiCenso's/PMC Tent.


Along with the drum lessons, there will be give-aways from Vater. Guest appearance times will be posted at the tent that morning of the show.



Vater Artists performing on July 13th Include:

Andrew Wetzel (Attack Attack)

Mike Ambrose (Set Your Goals)

Derek Davis (Big D and the Kids Table)

Christian Coma (Black Veil Brides)

Aaron Stern (D.R.U.G.S)

Swav Piorkowski (Ill Scarlettt)

Jamin Marshall (Larry and His Flask)

Nick Pizzolato (Moving Mountains)

Yesod Williams (Pepper)

Travis Roundtree (The Ready Set)

Michael Kennedy (The Wonder Years)

Tino Arteaga (Of Mice and Men)

Kyle Mueller (The Dangerous Summer)

Dennis Wilson (Every Avenue)

Steven Kopacz (Go Radio)

Russell Dixon (New Years Day)


About DiCenso's Drum Shop:

DiCenso's Drum Shop located in Weymouth, MA next to sister store South Shore Music, is easily accessible from MBTA transportation via the #225 bus or the Weymouth Landing commuter rail stop on the Greenbush line. They have served the South Shore and Boston drumming community for over 27 years!

Dick DiCenso (you may also know his son, Dave DiCenso!) opened DiCenso's Drum Shop in 1982 fulfilling a dream of providing a one-stop service and educational venue for all drummers. In 2005, DiCenso's partnered with South Shore Music to enhance the opportunities of our customers and students.

DiCenso's provides personal service, great prices and an educational program that is first rate! All of their instructors are working professionals who come from a variety of educational backgrounds - from Berklee College of Music graduates, to having studied with Dick DiCenso himself!

Contact DiCenso's Drum Shop:

13 Washington Street

Weymouth, MA 02188 

Ph: 781-331-3333 




Posted by Chad on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 10:24 AM

New Product Demo Videos

Here is a series of videos to give you helpful information on some of Vater products that you just can't get by reading a product description in a catalog. We'll be filming many more, so stay tuned!


Mike Johnston demonstrates how different tip shapes and sizes have an effect on how your cymbals sound. He also shows the sound difference between wood tip and nylon tip.

Jen Lowe demo's the New Vater Cajon Brush and also the Wire Tap Retractable Brush on the Cajon.

Vater Slick Nut Cymbal Fastener Artist Mike Mangini (Dream Theater) shows how he uses the Slick Nut and Slick Nut Skull in his set up and also while he adjusts them when actually performing live. (Please Note: Mike Mangini is not a Vater Drumstick Artist)

Jen Lowe demo's the 12" Split Surface Pad from Vater's Chop Builder Practice Pad line.

In this video, Jimmy Pemberton gives you the skinny on Vater's Earplugs. An important must have for any musician!

Steve Fidyk shows off his Vater Swing model sticks in both wood tip and nylon tip.

Posted by Chad on Thursday, June 02, 2011 8:53 AM
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