Roy BurnsBorn in Emporia, KS on November 30, 1935, Roy Burns is one of the few drummers whose career has covered nearly every area of the music business. He's been a big band drummer, a studio drummer, a featured soloist, a teacher, a clinician, an author, a publisher, and manufacturer.

In August of 1955, Roy left his home state of Kansas, and with $300 and a drumset, headed for New York City. Louie Bellson had heard Roy in Kansas City and had advised him to go to New York to study. At the tender age of twenty-one, Roy had the drum chair with Woody Herman's big band, and shortly thereafter he joined the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Benny's band was undergoing resurgence due to the popularity of The Benny Goodman Story, so Benny reformed an "all-star" band. In 1958, Roy toured Europe with Goodman and recorded several memorable albums at the Brussels World's Fair.

In 1960, Roy settled in New York to concentrate on studio work and teaching. During this time he became a member of the NBC Staff Orchestra, performing on the Merv Griffin Show, the Tonight Show, and a number of quiz shows, radio and TV commercials, and recordings.

As a result of the success of his drum books, Roy later became very much in demand as a clinician. Following a brief stint with Lionel Hampton's band, he joined the Rogers Drum Company as a staff artist. From 1968-1980 Roy traveled the world as a clinician for Rogers, becoming one of the first American drummers to perform clinics in Europe, the Far East, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, and New Zealand. He was also a member of the house rhythm section at the Monterey Jazz Festival through most of the 70's, working with artists such as Ray Brown, John Lewis, Harry Edison, Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Taylor.

Between 1980 and 1992, famed drummer/author/educator Roy Burns wrote a regular column for Modern Drummer Magazine called Concepts. In his column, Roy offered a wealth of practical, informative, and entertaining ideas on dozens of subjects that concern serious drummers of all ages and at all levels.

During the years that Concepts appeared in MD, the column was continually rated among the top three in popularity among many loyal readers of the magazine.

In 1980, Roy, along with co-owner Ron Marquez, formed Aquarian Accessories. It wasn't until 1987 that Aquarian began to make drumheads ... and the rest, as they say, is history.

Aquarian experienced tremendous growth in a relatively short time because of the innovative ideas and unique products of superior quality. As Roy says, "In everything we do, we keep the drummer in mind. We focus on helping the drummer attain a musical sound and achieve a better performance".

Roy Burns died on May 2, 2018; he was 82.


from Aquarian Drumheads:

It is with our deepest sorrow and sadness that we inform you of the passing of our founder and friend, Roy Burns. Roy has meant so much to so many. He will be remembered as a world-renowned drummer, an educator, an author, a clinician, a percussion industry marketer and manufacturer, and most of all, a mentor.

Roy was known not only as a world-class drummer of enormous skill but one who would “play” for the music and had the respect of all those that he performed with.