Gary GaugerBart Elliott & Gary Gauger

In this 26-minute exclusive video interview (available in HD), recorded on September 30th during the 2012 Nashville Drum Show, I visit with jazz drummer, drum innovator and inventor, Gary Gauger.

In this exclusive interview, Gary talks about how he got into drumming, his educational and performance background, and what led him to create one of the most significant inventions in drum set development since the synthetic drum head, RIMS® (Resonance Isolation Mounting System).

I can't tell you how much I appreciated you asking me to do the interview ... to get out much of the information that very few people know about, and have never really been asked by any drum magazine or publication.

— Gary Gauger

Gauger Percussion

For more information on Gauger Percussion, Inc. products, visit

Gary Gauger is a native of Pottstown, PA where he had the good fortune to begin his study of drums and percussion with William Schinstine, one of the most respected teachers in his field and an author of many books on the subject. Gary earned a music degree at Westchester State University in 1966 where he was the drummer for the college jazz band, The Criterions. It was during this time that Gary's award-winning performances at many collegiate jazz festivals attracted the attention of Stan Kenton, who frequently served as a judge at these events. With Kenton's recommendation, Gary landed the much sought after position of drummer for the U.S. Air Force's Airmen of Note Band in Washington D.C. It was during this time that he had the opportunity to work with many well-known artists including: Nancy Wilson, Joe Williams, Clark Terry and Arthur Prysock. And to make the acquaintance of Shelly Manne, who was later to become one of Gary's chief supporters in the belief that drums, like any musical instrument, should sing. After serving four years with the Air Force, Gary moved to Toronto. There his diverse professional drumming career ranged from working in clubs and recording studios to frequent stints as auxiliary percussion with the Toronto Symphony. Gigging in and around Toronto offered Gary memorable opportunities to work with gifted musicians including Chet Baker, Blue Mitchell, Ruby Braff, and Thad Jones. Shortly after moving to Minneapolis in 1975 to work at Sound 80 Recording Studios, Gary began to work in earnest on his conviction that drums needed to be free to resonate.

Gauger Percussion Incorporated (GPI), was formed in 1980 as a means of bringing the RIMS® concept to the attention of drummers everywhere. After developing RIMS®, Gauger made contact with Russ Kunkel who tried the product and encouraged Gauger to move ahead. Although the difference RIMS® made to a drum's resonance was nothing short of astounding, the major drum companies were disinterested. It has always amazed Gauger that a problem as fundamental as this was not dealt with or even recognized by the biggest drum companies in the world. Even after demonstrations of RIMS® at the 1980 NAMM show, only one company, Drum Workshop, incorporated its use on their drum sets. It wasn't until approximately 1990 that any of the major drum companies began to even think of offering RIMS® or any type of suspension to their line of drums. For ten years, RIMS® was an after market item that only professional drummers used. Today it is considered to be one of the most significant inventions in drum set development since the synthetic drum head. The many copies or attempts at some form of suspension is clear evidence that suspension works. RIMS® is a registered trademark of Gauger Percussion. Purecussion is a trademark of DrumWorkshop.