Did You Know that Jeff Porcaro Preferred Gretsch Drums in the Studio?

Jeff Porcaro’s music lives on 10 years after his sudden death in August of 1992. The excerpt below is taken from the August 2002 issue of Modern Drummer. In the article, Jeff’s long-time drum tech talks about the gifted musicians’ set up and his almost exclusive use of Gretsch drums in the studio.

Modern Drummer – August 2002

Paul Jamieson, who now runs Paul Jamieson Studio Rentals, worked with Jeff from 1975 through 1988. He was Jeff’s drum tech and confidante. Although Jeff always shied away from talking about equipment in his interviews, Jamieson says he definitely had certain preferences and pet peeves.

“When we recorded the first Toto album at Studio 55, he used one of my Gretsch drumsets, which were the same sizes as the Ludwig kit. He played Gretsch drums in the studio from that minute on. From there, I built him a Gretsch kit that he used on Boz’s tours.

“The first time we went to Japan, Yamaha gave us some equipment that Jeff used for a while. And then on our second tour to Japan he made a deal with Pearl. Along with the endorsement came our deal with the drum rack that he and I came up with. Jeff played Pearl live, but on recordings you’re listening to Gretsch drums.

“When Gretsch had their hundred-year anniversary, they built a bicentennial-edition drumset, which I got for Jeff. It was made of Carpathian elm, which is what they made Rolls Royce dashboards out of, with gold parts. To this day, it’s the most beautiful drumset I’ve ever seen. I got Jeff a couple of Gretsch sets, and he used them until he died.

“As far as snare drums, there were five I built for him, plus custom Radio Kings and a 6-1/2″ x 14″, ’40s Gretsch maple snare drum that I customized for him. Those were his main drums, even though toward the end he ended up with twenty to thirty snare drums(Black Beauties), a Brady, a Solid, and all the stuff Pearl and Yamaha had given him.

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