Friday, May 17, 2024

Drum Depot is iconic for aspiring Toledo drummers

Toledo’s only independently owned drum shop has operated under a few different names. What began at Rick’s Drum Shop in 1980 became known as Dave’s Drum Depot in 1993. That year, Dave Gierke, owner at the time, moved the store from it’s original location on Sylvania Ave. to it’s current location at 4100 Monroe St. In 2005, the store was sold to its current owner, Martin Stein, who renamed it Drum Depot.

Early Influences

“Rick’s was where I took lessons and bought all of my gear when I was a kid,” says Stein. “I started working at the shop back in ‘92, when it was still on Sylvania Ave. I worked here part time until around 2000, when I took over as the manager, and at the end of 2004 Dave asked me if I wanted to buy it.”

Stein took interest in drumming at a young age and went on to study at BGSU. Professor Wendell Jones, who passed away in 2014, was a big part of bringing jazz to the music program at BGSU in the ‘70s. Stein’s influences are “Mostly rock, but in college, I did jazz and big band. I also did some theatre work when the Westgate Dinner Theatre was still open. I was the house drummer there for several years.”

All Things Percussion

Like most independently owned shops, the thing that sets the Drum Depot apart from the big box music retail stores is the level of expertise and custom service. The store prides itself, not just on carrying the brands that every drummer knows, but also making any repairs or modifications to percussive instruments.

In fact, according to Stein, “Two or three of the guys that work in the drum room over at Guitar Center still come here when they need something worked on. They also send people here when there’s something they don’t have or can’t do.”

Drum Depot owner Martin Stein will handle most of your banging needs.
Drum Depot owner Martin Stein will handle most of your banging needs.

Home of the Toledo Drum School

The store also houses the Toledo Drum School. “We’ve got about 70 students right now,” says Stein. “At one point we had over 100, but where we’re at now is pretty typical. We get a lot of kids that are in their school marching band.”

Currently they have four teachers, each from different backgrounds, which allows them to personalize lessons. “Our full time instructor is Jordan Wirth, who covers all of the orchestral stuff”, says Stein. Wirth is also the principal percussionist for the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. “We also have Mark Swaile, who is our resident marching band / drum corps guru.”

Doing Big Things

One of the Drum Depot’s most notable students, Toledo native Louis “Styx” Newsom, “was about eight years old when he came to take lessons, but he could already play really well,” said Stein. Newsom went on to play with several legendary musicians including Dwele, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Chubby Checker and Slum Village, among several others.

“He’s down in Atlanta now, but he’s doing really big things,” said Stein. “It was probably about 20 years ago when he took lessons here, but we still keep in touch. He always stops by to say hi when he’s in town.”

The Drum Depot is one of the last locally owned music shops left in the area.

4100 Monroe St., 419-472-3786.
Noon-8pm, Monday; Noon-6pm, Tuesday-
Thursday; Noon-5pm, Friday;
11am-3pm, Saturday.

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