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Note: This was posted and Matt has done a lot since then. Follow him on twitter @mattgreiner find him at www.bandhappy.com for some lessons.

Who are you currently endorsed by?

I’m endorsed by Truth Drums, DW Hardware, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Drum sticks, Evans (switched to Remo in 2012*) Drum heads, and Ultimate Ears.

For starters, where are you now as a drummer vs. where you were when you first got signed to Tooth and Nail?

When we signed to Tooth & Nail I was a young and aspiring drummer; all I wanted to do was play drums.  I remember practicing on my practice pads for hours before shows.  Members from other bands we were on tour with would tell me things like, “I used to be as passionate as you about my instrument, things change!”  I didn’t take the nay-sayers very seriously, I just kept on hashing out my chops.  I really enjoyed progressing as a drummer, working and sweating and honing my craft. As the years went by I found my passion for playing drums shifting from strictly practicing to taking what I had developed and using it creatively for the song.  In other words, playing for the song, not just to show off my own sound.  Six years after signing to Tooth & Nail I find myself still enjoying playing drums just as much as I used to and still progressing as a musician.  Today I’m most passionate about learning what works best for differing styles of music and incorporating my own personality into those genres.

What was your first endorsement deal?

I remember talking to Devin from Haste The Day about his Truth Drum-kit (more…)

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This dude rules. Moved up the ranks to run things.  Check out Orange Amps.

I recall back in the day you answering the phones and transferring me to someone else but that’s not the case anymore.  What’s your Orange story and what are your duties?
I was originally hired at Orange in 2005 as an intern straight out of college. I was stuffing sales packets (this was when hardly anyone knew who we were), cold-calling dealers, shipping packages, grabbing lunch for the entire office, etc. This went on for about 6 months until my girlfriend and I traveled to Europe for 3 weeks. Orange couldn’t take me back when I returned, so I went on to become the Executive Vice President of a web development out-sourcing company. It was a bunch of 20-somethings with no clue how to run a real company. I was salaried and had medical benefits, managed a team of 40 people (36 of which were in Ukraine), and dealt with shady Russian mafia figures on the daily. No joke. That fell apart 1 year later and Orange took me back as Inside Sales (glorified customer service).

I answered the phones, took orders, set up RMAs for customers, and did some general office work. One part of my job was transferring phone calls from artists to our artist relations manager. The problem was that he didn’t like taking phone calls. It became really frustrating for all of us, watching as bands like My Morning Jacket received no love. Eventually he was let go and I stepped up to the plate as Orange USA’s artist relations rep. Three years later and I now handle all of the marketing coordination for Orange on a global scale, as well as all of the artist relations for Orange USA.

My primary duties are deciding who gets endorsed and to what extent, helping artists with backline and ordering products, managing all (more…)

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Mike Ciprari, running one of the hottest custom drum companies on the planet and touring the world with his band No Trigger.Check out SJC and read about Mike and the company below.

What’s it like to be a touring drummer yourself and the head of a company that connects you with many of the best drummers around?
Being on the road is the best thing for the company I think. SJC was in it’s growing stages while I was on the road with No Trigger in the early days, and I realized how important it was. It directly connects me with our drummers and potential customers and it allows me to talk to kids one on one instead of via email or the phone. It also gets me directly in touch to see the real life situations drummers on the road have so I can level with them more because I know what it’s like to have something go wrong on the road and need something immediately. It puts a face to a name and makes what SJC is all about more real. We’re a family and this is my life, and I can get the opportunity to show other drummers that SJC isn’t a “business suit corporate company” kind of thing.. we’re drummers and musicians doing it for the love just like them. I couldn’t ask for me, I get the best of both worlds and I get to grow the company and get new ideas and spread the name while playing music.

Was there any particular artist that has reached out to you that sort of left a surreal feeling and the impression in your mind that your hard work has paid off? Did you think you’d be working with the caliber of drummers you are working with when you started 10 years ago?  Was that a goal?
I always dreamt of getting in touch with a bigger name artist and getting them behind an SJC kit. SJC started as a hobby and my brother and I just kind of went with it, and it’s turned into something more than I could have ever imagined. I remember Panic At The Disco playing on the MTV Video Awards when the band first came out, and that was like our drums first big TV appearance. I remember watching it and freaking out, just so stoked and I really felt like we “made it.” Charles Haynes played on the Grammys with Lady Gaga and Elton John last year, which was insane to me.. I remember watching with my dad and grandma and going “wow!” and my mom and all my friends texting me freaking out too.

I get calls out of the blue all the time from managers and drummers and I’m just like “what?!” I remember Chad Sexton from 311 called me a few years ago telling me he’s opening a drum store in Hollywood and wants to carry SJC. I had to call him back because I was freaking out. Chad is one of my “hero drummers” and he’s the reason I started playing when I was 9 so that was (more…)

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Jon Rice, drummer of Job For A Cowboy!

What was your first endorsement and your reaction to signing that first deal?
First endorsement was from Meinl cymbals a couple weeks after I joined the band.  I was mind blown, simply because I’d never been given anything when it came to my equipment.  Then to have Chris from Meinl come out to a show and straight up offer me a whole new set up and replacements was incredible.  I’ve never taken anything for granted since I entered the touring world and to have awesome companies supporting me and my playing through and through is amazing.

I get the sense that drummers, more so than guitarists or other band members, are a very proactive lot and handle most of their affairs on their own. Do you fit in with that or do you require a little help?

I definitely agree with that.  If there is management involved with the band, I tend to think guitarist expect them to handle it, which is why in a lot of cases I think they don’t get the best deals they can with their endorsement companies.  If you’re extremely personable, keep up to date and randomly chat with your endorsements instead of letting (more…)

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Follow Buz on Twitter @buzmcgrath and check out Unearth on Facebook.

What companies are you currently endorsed by?

EVH Amps, Blackstar Amps, Mesa Boogie, EMG, Samson, ESP, Dean Markley strings.

What was your first endorsement and what effect did it have on you as a guitarist?  Was it one of those motivators that sort of signified your burgeoning presence on the scene?

Our first endorsement was with ESP Guitars. It was very exciting to get free guitars but basically that was it. A couple free guitars and our name on their website. At that point it was not something that boosted our profile at all.

You recently went to ESP after a long time at Ibanez.  Can you talk about that change at all? (more…)

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August Burns Red! These guys epitomize talent and hard work. This interview is with guitarist, JB.

Who are you currently endorsed by?

Ibanez, D’addario, Planet Waves, Mesa Boogie, In Tune Guitar Picks, RJM Music,

What was your first endorsement and how did getting that first one make you feel?  

First one ever was Framus amps and cabs.  It was so excited because we had always heard about other bands getting endorsements and getting gear discounted or even free.  Our manager at the time got us hooked up with Framus and we got a couple free amps and cabinets.  We were floored!

You are a patient guy and your band has been on a steady climb.  How have your relationships evolved with the companies you work with from the beginning until now?  

The companies I feel I’ve worked with the most are D’addario (and Planet Waves) and Ibanez.  My relationship with both companies has gotten better and better over time.  Meeting with the artist relation guys (more…)

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Find this dude all over the country at fests and walking the streets of Chicago.  At NAMM, he’ll be the skinny guy with a leather coat. Be sure to get a card.  He’s also on twitter @ghsstrings

So how did you get involved in GHS at an artist relations level?  What ultimately led you to where you are (college, bands, life experiences, etc)?

I guess you can say that my relationship with GHS Strings started at birth, not to say that I was born with a general love for guitar strings but that I was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. Being the medium sized Midwest town that we are, everyone tends to know everyone else and when a certain company president mentions to a certain local mother that they are looking for a new marketing person, sooner or later you’ll have an interview (or three). So it really does boil down to the one thing everyone talks about, networking.

Now I don’t want to make it sound like that I fell into a great job, because I did put my time in. For most of my life I lived and breathed music. I was junior high band (failed out), high school choir (they wouldn’t let me back into band), bands with friends, and eventually I had to learn a real trade and go to college. So for four and half years I studied marketing and advertising (while still playing in bands) at Western Michigan University. This marketing structure has helped me a lot in this industry, products/bands/labels are marketing themselves to each other and I’m lucky enough to help.

Describe a typical day.

There isn’t really a typical day in my job. I have to be pretty flexible. Not only do I handle Artist Relations at GHS Strings and Rocktron, but I also am the Assistant Marketing Manager. Basically in addition to keeping an eye on all of my current endorsers I have to work with new events, magazines, online media, websites, social marketing, etc. I could really be anywhere working on a number of things, but most of the time in the office is spent on the phone or in my emails. I typically get 1000-3000 emails a week (more…)

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So how did you get involved in Vic Firth at an artist relations level. What ultimately led you to where you are?

Man this is a long answer but I’ll attempt to shorten it up….basically I was going to MI at the time, just graduated from PIT and was about to finish the RIT program (Percussion Inst, Recording Inst). A friend called me from Austin, TX who was working at a place called eSessions and said that an artist they work with, Pat Mastelotto, needed a guy who knew drums and engineering. He mentioned my name to Pat and that I would be graduating soon. I moved to Austin and worked with Pat for a little over 6 months and doing 100+ tracks/sessions along with other random things. The PASIC convention happens every year in November and coincidently going on in Austin that year! I lived in town while Pat lived about 45 minutes out of Austin out in Dripping Springs. The rep at the time, Marco, was coming into town and wanted to hang with Pat so I said I’d pick him up at the hotel and drive him out on my way to his house. We chatted and I let him know that he sounded so busy that he could use some help. Marco was super nice and said that if anything opened up, he’d call me. Of course I hoped he would but didn’t expect to hear anything really. Sure enough, a few months later he called Pat and asked if I would be interested in a job. It wasn’t that simple…there was over 500 applicants, at least this is what I was told, some being close friends of Marcos’. So Pat prepared in that its kind of a high profile gig and they might go with someone who has been in the industry for years….I didn’t hear from Marco for another few weeks so I thought I didn’t get the gig. Then he called my cell out of the blue and let me know it was down to me and two other guys. I flew to Boston, interviewed with Marco, Vic and Tracy and as they say, The rest is history! Of course there’s a lot more to what led me to music school, RIT and Pat but it could take days to type….

If you are able to say, how many different artists do you work with and across what genres? Who are your most well known? Who has been with you the longest? Have any of them influenced you to get into a certain style of music that you may otherwise have not?

We have over 1500 artists worldwide that span EVERY genre! Its impossible to say who’s more important as in my eyes every person is on the same level in some degree. The guys who play local bars have as much influence and in some ways maybe more influence than the people on the bigger stages. BUT the guys touring the world are reaching a much larger audience…difference being that they can sometimes be harder to get to while the guy who just played your local bar is hanging after the show, can buy him a beer and ask about the gear he uses. Obviously Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, Peter Erskine, Billy Cobham, Buddy Rich, and on and on and on are legendary guys that we all look up to as drummers. They are what shaped our ideas and ways of thinking on the drums. Steve Gadd was Vics first artist to endorse the sticks back in 1983.

As far as endorsing a band goes, what qualities do you look for? Does personal taste factor in or is a lot of it based on what you see will ultimately help the company? And when you endorse someone, what qualities do you see in those that stay with you the longest or continue on a path of success in a pretty competitive industry?

First thing I look at when a guy wants to be with us or if we want a guy is, Do they play our sticks already? We believe that you should like the product first and foremost. I know there’s a lot of “what deal can you give me or how much do I get free” out there which is unfortunate. How can a company expect someone to be an ambassador for them if the main reason for playing that product is that they’re given it for free!? It doesn’t really make a strong argument for a product if someone tells you, “yeah the product is ok, but hey I get em for free so I’m happy”. Now if someone says, “this is so good that I’m willing to pay for it”, wouldn’t you look into that product based on the fact that a well known person who you would think gets anything they want for free, is willing to buy it!? A strange thing has seemed to creep into the music industry when it comes to endorsements. It seems that some people think that by having an endorsement on any level, this somehow legitimizes your band or playing. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The MUSIC is what makes a band legit and that’s it! Of course personal taste has to play a role BUT its not about me, its about whats good for the company. As far as what qualities we see in people that show longevity…that’s tough. Sometimes the most talented, nicest guy in the world is sitting at home on a saturday night doing nothing while someone who you can’t stand and thinks “time is just a magazine” is out playing to thousands of people! I have to credit Marco Soccoli with that saying BTW…I think the guys who are motivated to continute to learn their craft, try to be involved in the business side of their band, have thick skin, a good attitude and know how to interact with various types of people/egos will have the longest career in this industry.

When a band emails you, what do you look for? Can a bad email automatically disqualify someone from consideration? What are some common errors potential endorsees should avoid?

There’s nothing a person can do to completely turn off a rep easier than to claim they love your products, have used them their whole life only to look at their Myspace page or something of that nature and see all the pics with another product. Or when you get an email that was clearly copied/pasted to every company under the sun BUT they forgot to change one of the names in the body of that email. I’ve actually had emails come to me that the person CC’d both me and a guy from a competing company! Now that’s just dumb! I would almost avoid telling people this solely on the fact that we can weed those people out of the pile right off the top. There’s no need for lying and being shady just to get a deal. When did it go from, I wanna be with X company because I love their products and will play nothing else to, I’ll take anything I can get my hands on and whoever offers me the best deal I’ll go with!? If you’re 16 and have been playing your instrument for 6 months, its not time for an endorsement deal. Its almost a slap in the face to the people who have worked their butt off for YEARS just to get that deal with their dream companies. I do believe that its partially our fault as companies for allowing these people onto our rosters….

Free sticks. What do those 2 words mean to you?
Free Sticks….lemme tell ya something, I LOVE playing drums…these words can’t describe the way I feel about playing drums! If I could give every person in the world that plays drums free sticks, I would! Being able to make someones day by the simple act of giving them a great deal or ultimately free sticks is awesome but there’s a downside. I also have to say no to people which can sometimes be confusing to them. Some people have friends that all get X deal and in turn think they should have that same deal. Having said that, there’s people who deserve free sticks and people who think they deserve them. At the end of the day its our decision as a company, which can be extremely difficult, as to what people do and don’t get for free.

Any other good last words of Davies wisdom
I feel very fortunate to work for such a great company like Vic Firth! I had the opportunity to learn this world of AR from an amazing guy, Marco Soccoli. He is like a big brother, 2nd father and best friend rolled into one. He recently took a hi-profile gig with another company and now I have the opportunity to work with another great rep in this industry, Joe Testa, who was the Director of Aritst Relations for Yamaha for the past 12 years. Two completely different people and styles of doing this gig which I think in the end will benefit me the most. Sorry to make this about me…deal with it!

Lastly, what is the generic artist email if people wanted to email you?

Nah, but they should be going to our website, under CONTACT, ADDRESS CONTACT INFO, there’s a .pdf that you can download. Its our Endorsement Application. Read thru it, if you feel that you’re ready, fill it out and mail it into us! We’ll review it and get back to ya!