An Open Letter In Response To Seth Davis’s Website, Where He Shares A Very Accusatory Account Of What Happened In Our Interaction.
Here are the facts:
I started a company called Ballistic Drumming back in 1994, where I was teaching drummers how to play their feet exactly like their hands. Back in the day, the only way to advertise was in Modern Drummer and DRUM magazine.
My ads offered to ship out an audio cassette, then eventually a CD for free with some lessons and testimonials from some World Famous Drummers about what I was teaching. Here are a few of those testimonials:
Kenny Aronoff -
(ranked #1 studio drummer by Modern Drummer)
Gregg Bissonette -
(Grammy Award Winner and studio extraordinaire)
Walfredo Reyes Sr. -
(The godfather of latin percussion)
Others testimonials on the CD included Berklee Grads, Weekend Warriors, and other drummers across the country.
Anyways, the Ballistic Drumming material became wildly successful. I was featured in Ads from Attack Heads, Gibraltar and Mainline Sticks. The popularity of Ballistic Drumming also brought about the long board pedals designed from Axis Percussion and other companies that followed suit.
Now, Seth Davis seen my ads and got one of these CD’s mailed out to him. He then called and bought my Ballistic Double Bass Drumming DVD, Multiple pedals DVD, and other materials of mine.
A few weeks go by and he called me up expressing how much he loved my material and wanted to give me a testimonial. Here is Seth Davis’s actual testimonial over the phone with me asking him some follow up questions about his playing.
Listen To Seth Davis's Actual Testimonial:
Although Seth claims he's never learned from me or bought my material, I guess this recording proves otherwise. Seth also claims he was manipulated and burned by a "snake oil salesman"...
Does his actual words express that?
I don’t think so.
Anyways, a little time goes by and Seth contacts me again wanting to know how he could make a living as a drummer, to do what I was doing. He was working a full time job as a carpenter and wanted to pursue a career as a drummer.
I told him that it’s tough work, lots of costs involved and that playing drums and running a business are two different things.
As a jumping off point, we discussed shooting a video on his single strokes method and came to a simple agreement that we both legally signed.
That agreement was to shoot a video on his single strokes method at my studio in Los Angeles and market it to my Ballistic Drummers to see if there would be any interest. The details of such transaction included, me paying for his airfare, production and editing costs, initial duplication process of the DVD and up-fronting all costs associated with postage and printing of the sales letter that would be mailed to a sample of 5000 of my best customers. In return for this, I was to recoup my initial investment.
On a side note, I have worked with many other artists and companies throughout those years by offering their gear or instructional material to my customers like Rick Steel, Gibraltar, Axis Percussion and others, with great success.
So, Seth was flown out to Los Angeles, where he stayed at my house for a few days. He got to meet my wife and kids, and really connected with our dog Arbuckle. He also got to see how my business functioned in terms of the day-to-day operations.
We shot a video and upon final production and sales copy, Seth was given a copy and gave his approval to send out the mailings.
To put things in perspective, back then you could copy a sales letter for about .30 cents and mail it out with postage for about .72 cents. Add in the cost of DVD duplication at $4.00 with a minimum of 100 units and you can see how the math had me investing a little over $5000 for this project.
Back to the point. As the mailings went out, sadly there was very little interest in Seth’s DVD. What started at a price point of $49 was quickly discounted to $39, $29 and finally $19.
So I was stuck with inventory that my customers didn’t want, I even tried to sell them online at my website for a time being but ultimately ended up throwing the DVD’s away and taking the loss on my taxes.
In my conversations with Seth about the costs incurred, he was upset that more drummers didn’t want his DVD. He later went on to make some wild claims that I sold this unpopular DVD for $49 for 12 years. This is just not the case.
The fact is that Seth’s material just was not a good fit for my customers who were double bass and multiple pedal drummers.
With Seth, it was simply a business opportunity that did not work out. Period.
PS. On a final point, throughout the decades, many drummers have bought or taken my lessons and went off to do clinics, masterclasses and join bands and make names for themselves. I am proud of all of them. I’ve always given credit to all the drummers and teachers that helped me along the way.
Isn’t it better to build a community than to destroy it.
- I digress.