Remo Inc. was founded by Remo Belli in 1957 in North Hollywood, California. Belli, a professional drummer himself, recognized a fundamental problem with traditional drumheads, which were primarily made from animal skin. These skins were sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, often causing them to detune or even break. It was particularly problematic for touring musicians who had to perform in various environments.
Inspired by the development of synthetic materials during World War II, Belli began experimenting with Mylar, a type of polyester film developed by DuPont. Belli found that Mylar was more durable than traditional materials and had a bright, resonant sound that was attractive to many drummers.
Belli's first product, the WeatherKing drumhead, was made of a Mylar plastic film. Its name was a nod to the fact that the synthetic drumhead could withstand changes in weather conditions without losing its tuning. The WeatherKing drumhead revolutionized the drumming industry and was rapidly adopted by musicians worldwide.
Remo Inc. continued to innovate and expand their product line in the following years. The company introduced various drumhead types, including the Diplomat, Ambassador, Emperor, Controlled Sound, and Pinstripe drumheads, each offering a distinct sound to meet the specific needs of different musicians.
Remo Inc. also expanded into the manufacture of drums, with various world percussion instruments for the Professional, Educational, Recreational, and Music Therapy markets.
In addition to its products for professional musicians, Remo Inc. has also been a leader in developing Drumheads, Drums and Accessories for global percussion industry.
Remo, Corporation was created on June 1, 1957, in order to market Remo and Sam Muchnick's “WeatherKing” drumhead. The original partners were Remo Belli, Roy Harte, Sam Muchnick, and Sid Gerwin.
Remo Incorporated was created in 1957 to market the first successful synthetic drumhead, developed by drummer Remo Belli in partnership with chemist Sam Muchnick. Unlike a standard calfskin drumhead, Remo’s Mylar drumheads were not affected by humidity and temperature. The drumhead was named “Weather King”, and the Crown logo was created to signify the “King’s Crown”.
The Greatest Advance in Drums Since the Invention of the Stick
The original WeatherKing Drumhead was the “Diplomat”, a 7.5 mil, single-ply drumhead.
The original WeatherKing Snare-Side Ambassador was a 3 mil, single-ply drumhead.
Remo, Inc. filed a patent application for the first successful synthetic aluminum channel drumhead.
In 1958 a new version of the crown with six exaggerated points replaced the original 5-point logo.
The original WeatherKing Ambassador was a 7.5 + 3 mil, 2-ply drumhead.
The original WeatherKing Emperor was a 7.5 + 7.5 mil, 2-ply drumhead.
A 10 mil single-ply Ambassador replaced the earlier 2-ply version.
In late 1959, Remo, Inc. moved to a 6,000 square foot facility on Raymer Street in North Hollywood, to accommodate the company’s explosive growth. This factory eventually expanded into surrounding buildings as the company grew.
Patent (U.S. Patent #2,934,989) Awarded for First Successful Synthetic DrumheadThe most commonly recognized “first synthetic drumhead” (U.S. Patent 2,934,989) was issued on May 3, 1960 to Mr. Remo D. Belli and Mr. Samuel N. Muchnick. This patent is the basis for all current drumheads produced using an adhesive to adhere the Polyester film inside the aluminum channel. Following the expiration of this patent all major manufacturers of synthetic drumheads adopted some variation of this configuration.
In a meeting during the 1960 Mid-West Band Clinic, Jack McKenzie, Don Canedy, Mervin Britton, Hugh Soebbing, Vern Reamer, Sid Lutz, Kenneth Leisin, and Remo Belli, came to a unanimous agreement that teaching traditions of the time were no longer applicable to their trade.This led to the creation of the Percussive Arts Society, an organization dedicated to improving percussion performance and teaching methods at all levels.Remo concludes, “I think the two most important things that have happened to the industry are the success of the synthetic drumhead, and the Percussive Arts Society. These are the two, main, biggest things that have occurred, that have caused this industry to be what it is, and to grow into what it has grown.”
Another major change occurred in 1961, when the Crown’s shape became simpler and more elegant. The curved contour and bold outline created a strong, distinctive look which reflected the company’s growth and influence. Also, the logo was standardized by moving specific drumhead model information to outside the crown.
The blue “Better Products for Better Music” catalog featuredchemist Sam Muchnick on the cover. WeatherKing drumheads were available for drums, timpani and banjo, all in the aluminum channel design. The product line also included non-tuneable practice pads and WeatherKing Duralam drumsticks.
Remo, Inc., makes the Guinness Book of World Records by manufacturing the world’s largest bass drum, at the request of Tommy Walker at Disneyland. The drum was 10 feet, 7 inches high and 42” deep. It appeared in the Tournament of Roses Parade and Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade for many years.
The tunable practice pad was a significant product in the growth of Remo, Inc. The idea of a tension-able practice pad went back to animal skin days. At the time it was developed, Remo was becoming more involved in academia, meeting with educators. He found teaching methods for percussion were not organized or standardized. He felt what was happening in the schools was quite different from the professional player’s life, as he was a pro player that developed mainly from “the streets”. Ultimately, Remo worked closely with famous drummer Irv Cottler, (Frank Sinatra) to develop this product. Remo knew Irv as a professional colleague and a frequent visitor to Drum City.
Slogan: “Know-How is the Big Difference in Drum Heads”
The Beatles and the Rock Era are certainly a part of Remo, Inc.’s, history. The story behind Ringo’s logo bass drum heads has been researched extensively by Russ Lease, who purchased the Sullivan drumhead at a Southeby’s auction in 1994. His findings are published in his article, “The Saga of Seven Skins: The History of the Beatles’ Drop-T-Logo and the Seven Most Famous Drumheads in History”.
“Sparkltone” drumheads, standard heads with a metallic sparkle coating appear, available in 5 colors. The Sparkltone heads were unique, with a metal flake coating applied to the underside of a clear head.
Graphic drumheads, with stock or personalized graphics, became available, primarily for marching ensembles. The graphics were made using multi-colored silkscreening.
The RotoTom, a tune-by-rotating, shell-less drum are featured in the 1968 catalog. Originally there were only 6”, 8” and 10” models, as they were made from parts from tunable practice pads. The pitch range of the three sizes was 2 1/3 octaves, from low C Bass Clef to E 4th space Treble Clef.In 1970, Shelly Manne used RotoToms extensively on movie soundtracks as well as the Daktari and Hawaii Five-O TV series. The drums became an essential sound effect for studio percussionists.
Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson appear in the first “Remo and Friends” ad. This popular advertising campaign ran from the early ‘70’s through into the ‘90’s. Many Remo artists were featured, and hundreds of thousands of “Friends of Remo” posters were distributed.Remo Belli: “To try to get Louie Bellson and Buddy Rich in Los Angeles at the same time, and to have them come in and take a photograph was interesting. And it just happened to come out as a classic. I believe it is a classic.”The biggest problem at the shoot was deciding who would get first billing. They flipped a coin; Buddy won.
By 1972, as the company became more diversified, the corporate identity shifted toward “Remo”, and away from “Weather King”. With this thought in mind, “Remo” was placed inside the crown, the position of greatest importance.
The PinStripe drumhead series is introduced. This drumhead had two free-floating plys, with a dampening coating sandwiched between, around the circumference. This head also had a distinctive “striped” look, and has become one of the most popular drumheads of all time.
CS Black Dot drumheads are introduced, providing a tighter drum sound with less overring. In addition, the unusual, distinctive appearance added to their popularity, and spawned many imitators.Remo Belli: “The first reason these heads came about had to do with bass drum, not from marching groups, but more from like a Buddy Rich, who used a wood or very hard beater ball. This would dent the bass heads. That’s where the idea came from, to add some reinforcement, and it worked. Off of that came the whole thought of where to go, and then you had applications for everybody.”
Fiberskyn drumheads are introduced. A laminate construction of polyester and fiberglass, this drumhead came closest to matching the look and feel of natural calfskin. Many players that preferred natural skin finally switched over to this synthetic head. Many refinements have resulted in the later use of this type of head for world percussion instruments.Remo Belli: “...I began laminating fiberglass to polyester film to get some of the rounder sounds that some people felt they would like to have from their instruments...We developed the Fiberskyn drumhead knowing that its mass market was not too large. We wanted to accommodate all segments of the market. But after we introduced it, we were surprised by the number of people in the different segments of the music business that went for it.”
During the early 1980’s the shape changed again, as the crown’s shape was adjusted to fit more comfortably with the word “Remo”. Interestingly, somewhere along the way “Weatherking” became one word.
“Acousticon” Remo’s synthetic shell material made of spiral-wound tubes impregnated with resins, was developed. Acouticon was a significant development for Remo, as it gave Remo the ability to make drums.
Remo begins the tradition of supplying drumheads for the Tournament of Roses bands and drum corps.
Remo “Hands-On Drum Clinic” is held at DePaul University, featuring Louie Bellson, Billy Cobham, Harvey Mason, and Vic Firth. The clinic was devised to familiarize drummers and dealers with new Remo/ProMark products. Through 1983 and 1984, “Hands-On” days were conducted in many major US cities and parts of Europe. Additional participants included Glen Velez, Rob Carson, Ndugu Chancler, Floyd Sneed, Gregg Bissonette, Steve Smith, Rick Drumm, Remo Belli, Herb Brochstein, and Lloyd McCausland
“Quadura”, a 4-ply laminate was developed as a wrap for the Acousticon drumshells. Manufactured entirely in-house, it far exceeded the durability of conventional materials. Quadura was originally offered in white only, but black, Concord blue, mirror chrome and gold were soon added.
Starfire drumheads, made in mirror chrome and reflective gold varieties debuted, available in Ambassador, Pinstripe, and PowerStroke models.
Powerstroke 1 & 2 drumheads were added to the product line. Powerstroke 1 & 2 drumheads featured an underlay ring of mylar that was embed- ded in the counterhoop along with the batter film, which cut high frequencies and helped reduce over-ring. These heads were geared for the marching community, with the P1 out- fitted with a rubber ring seat to resist pulling out. The P2 head was of an improved crimp- lock design.
Ebony drumheads were made from black drumhead film newly available from DuPont, and were available in a number of standard weights.
Remo’s new, improved Roto-Toms were featured prominently in the Opening Ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Musical events staged during the Games were widely supported by Remo, Inc., and PTS drumsets were used in most cases.
Remo Belli was enshrined as one of seven rock industry pioneers at Guitar Center’s new “Rockwalk” in Hollywood. Eddie Van Halen, Les Paul, Bill Ludwig II, Jim Marshall, Stevie Wonder, and C.F. Martin III were the other honorees.
Twenty-five years after helping create the PAS, Remo Belli was elected to the Percussive Arts Society’s Hall of Fame
K-Series Falam drumheads, made from laminating mylar with Kevlar, enter Remo’s product offerings. Originally positioned as a bright, durable, high-tension head for drum corps use, they also became popular with a new generation of drumset artists, including Ricky Lawson, Ndugu Chancler, Sonny Emory and Terry Bozzio.
MasterTouch drumsets are introduced. The shells, hardware, lugs, shell wrap and heads...everything, was designed and manufactured by Remo, Inc. There was even a line of Mastertouch drumsticks.
New product innovations: The Putty Pad, a roll of putty that could be rolled out into a practice pad, anytime, anywhere. RemO’s, a ring of film that lay on top of a batter head to reduce overtones. Spoxe, an inverted Roto-tom casting played like a cymbal, (or with a cymbal mounted), which created a distinctive sound.
A full day of clinics, live performances, and interplay with some of the finest drummers around occurred at UCLA’s Royce Hall on September 10, 1989. Sponsored and organized by Remo, Inc. and Shure Audio, Louie Bellson, Ndugu Chancler, Greg Bissonette, Vinny Colaiuta, Virgil Donati, Sonny Emory, Mark Craney, Ricky Lawson, Myron Grombacher, Steve Houghton, Jeff Porcaro, and 8-year old phenom Jacob Armen, as well as a backup band led by Brandon Fields were on hand. Marching percussion was represented by the UCLA Drum Line, and the Los Angeles Scottish Pipers.The event was attended by over 1,400 people.
In 1990, to highlight the fact that Remo was an American manufacturer, the letters “USA” were added inside the letter “O”. Also the registration mark (®) was added.
“Falam Slams” were introduced. Consisting of two 4” diameter discs of Remo’s Kevlar laminate with an adhesive backing, they were to be placed on the bass drum head where the beater would hit, protecting the head from wear, and extending the life of the head.
The “Sound Reflector”, a sheet of bendable plastic attached to the bottom of a marching drum or Roto-tom which would direct sound toward the audience, was introduced. It was the first product of its kind, and has been widely imitated. The 12-lug “Triumph” marching snare was also introduced around this time. The drum’s Acousticon shell was outfitted with an aluminum top bearing edge and heavy duty hoops.
World Percussion Signature Series products begin to appear. Designed by Remo in conjunction with a master percussionist, each drum was fashioned to look and sound like an authentic drum of a particular culture. The artists that lent their name to these products included Arthur Hull, Mickey Hart, John Bergamo, Brian Howard, Glen Velez, and Layne Redmond. Many featured custom Fiberskyn 3 heads or colorful graphic treatments. Drums with graphics from the Grateful Dead were also manufactured.
The “Quicklock” Hi-hat clutch was introduced. This ingenious product featured a spring-tensioned, threadless locking nut that needed only a quarter of a turn to lock or release the top hi-hat cymbal. This innovation kept the top cymbal, (previously held on with a threaded nut), from loosening while playing, and it was much faster to setup or breakdown the hi-hat assembly.
PowerStroke 3 drumheads are introduced. This head had a sound underlay ring which helped control ring and resonance.Powerstroke 3, unlike the marching-oriented PowerStroke 1 & 2, was made with a standard aluminum channel pour, thus making it suitable for drumset use. This head became very popular, particularly for snare and bass drum applications.
Following in the footsteps of the Junior Pro Drumset, Remo Inc. developedand began marketing an entire line of pint-sized percussion instrumentsgeared for children. The colorful product line included the Konga, FloorTom, Djembe, Doumbek, Tubano, Bongos, Timbales, Gathering Drumand Hand Drums. All these drums were made of Acousticon, and featuredgreat-sounding Fiberskyn pre-tuned drumheads. The drums were quicklyacknowledged and accepted as unique and beneficial children’s products,garnering numerous awards, including the prestigious Oppenheim Gold Seal Toy Award. Individual winners of this yearly award included the Kid’sBongos, Ocean Drum, Floor Tom, Lollipop Drum, and Djembe.
FiberSkyn 3 drumheads debuted at NAMM 1995. Fiberskyn 3 could be created in thicknesses from 5 mil to 60 mil. This ability to change the thickness of the skin to best suit the drum for which it was to be used was a critical development in the success of Remo’s World Percussion instruments.
Remo, Inc. is a major participant in the Opening Ceremonies of the 26th Olympiad Centennial Celebration, in Atlanta, Georgia. Seven large drum-laded floats, representing the seven continents of the world, were featured during the celebration and the march of the athletes into the stadium. Each float had many drums, large and small, being played by performers in bright, imaginative outfits.
The most unique “Mondo Drumset” made its debut. These drums featured molded bearing edges that were rounded to make them easily playable by sticks or hands, and heavier, fiberskyn “Mondo” heads were mounted to each shell. The Mondo Drumset was an attempt to integrate the conventional drumset with increasingly popular world percussion instruments and playing styles.
The Remo Recreational Music Center opens. Located on Coldwater Boulevard in North Hollywood, the facility was an activity center, hosting a wide gamut of programs and activities geared for the general public, as well as serving as a performance venue, testing ground, and meeting place for all musicians, both professional and recreational.
Renaissance drumheads were added to the product line in 1998. Suitable for use on virtually all types of drums, Renaissance quickly became a popular choice for many professional timpanists.
HealthRHYTHMS a new division of Remo, Inc., is created to focus on the relationship between health and drumming.HealthRHYTHMS is a research-based group drumming program which is used in hospitals, schools, support groups, community outreach, and more. Research has shown this protocol can help strengthen the immune system, reduce stress and burnout rates, improve mood states, and promote creativity and bonding. Trainings offered around the world. Learn more at remo.com/health
Nuskyn drumheads were made with a Remo-patented lamination construction which created a warmer sounding World Percussion head that could be “tucked” in the traditional manner of calfskin heads. This film became a popular choice for many World Percussion instruments. As an orchestral concert bass drum head, it became the industry standard.
The Remo Sound Shape, introduced at Winter NAMM, 2002, is a unique, yet simple concept for a percussion instrument. This drum is a membrane that is tensioned after it has been put in it’s “hoop”. A disc of film is sandwiched between two layers of Acousticon board that have had a circle, (or any shape, for that matter), cut out from the center. Remo technology is applied, which causes the film layer to shrink; since the film is anchored between the top and bottom hoop, the tension of the film increases, thus creating pitch. The final result is a type of “wafer-drum”, thin, light, and easily portable, even in large numbers. Sound Shapes are available in many shapes and sizes, each with its own pitch and timbre characteristics.
Remo Inc., introduced the “Gold Crown” drumset in 2002, which became the top-of-the-line model, replacing MasterTouch. The Gold Crown drums were significantly different in several ways. First, the treated phenolic shell material was more rigid and could support a 45 degree (or more) bearing edge without collapsing. The MasterTouch shell although very good, could not sup- port as sharp an edge. Additionally, due to the material’s density, the phenolic shell had greater resonance. The Gold Crown kit also featured a new tom-tom suspension system, a lighter weight lug system, die-cast hoops, and a revolutionary new metallized finish.
The theme for the 2004 Tournament of Roses Parade was “Music, Music, Music.” Remo, a champion for the cause of music-making, felt this was an opportunity to make the message loud and clear. With the development of new capabilities in the Remo Graphics Department, it was decided to support all the drumlines in the parade with full-color graphic heads instead of patches. Additionally, Remo Inc., built a small float with two eight feet tall gong drums, complete with the full-color logo, which was accompanied by a drumline escort. The Remo float appeared at the head of the entire parade, and this has since become a yearly tradition.
Developed primarily for marching and drumline use, these lightweight and compact drums are able to withstand the high-tensioning that this style of music requires. Their small size and big sound make them an ideal accessory for drumset players as well, most often as a second snare drum color.
Skyndeep® technology represents a dramatic development in the manufacture of Remo’s graphic drumheads. Until this time, image transfer to drumheads was done by printing to paper or onto ink-receptive, print-industry polyester film. Both would then be laminated with a specially designed overlaminate. New print technology, refined for the percussion industry by Remo’s Graphics/Lamination Department has resulted in the ability to permanently image directly to most of the exact Mylar films that Remo’s standard drumheads are made from.This means that Skyndeep imaged drumheads retain the same sound quality as any non-imaged drumhead of the same film. This has had impact throughout the entire Remo product line, from standard batter and resonant heads to conga, djembe and other World Percussion heads.
The Original Emperor Coated. Two ply drumhead using 7.5 mil of original DuPont Film