'Drum Doctor' Ross Garfield Helped Create Sounds For Michael Jackson, Nirvana, Metallica, And More

Chances are you probably haven't heard of Ross Garfield, the man who runs Drum Doctors, but you definitely heard some of the records he's worked on and the musicians he's worked with. From Johnny Cash to Michael Jackson, Metallica to Nirvana, Barbra Streisand to Adele, Garfield has helped create and shape some iconic music.

He does this by helping fine-tune drum kits or letting people rent one of the expertly tuned kits from his studio which contains the "world's finest collection of drums." Musicians can even rent the exact drum kit used on, say, Metallica's black album. It's all important because defining the right acoustics on the drums is integral to getting the sound of your record right.

The short doc above by Media Bird gives a great introduction to the man known as the Drum Doctor and the work he's done on huge albums like Nirvana's Nevermind, Metallica's Metallica (known as the Black album), Red Hot Chilli Pepper's Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and loads more.

By all accounts he's a legend in the industry and rightly so, because he's been responsible for a diverse selection of rock and roll and pop hits, in turn helping shape a large portion of your favorite music.

Below is an excerpt of a piece he wrote for Modern Drummer, talking about his time helping Nirvana when they recorded Nevermind at Sound City Studios in the San Fernando Valley.

One of the most memorable projects was Nirvana’s Nevermind album. When Nirvana started these recordings, I had been in and out of the studio regularly for something like ten years—it was like it was part of my route. It seemed like we always had something going on there. If I remember correctly, Nirvana started with a modest budget, like most, but they allocated part of that for Drum Doctors because the drum sound had to be special. It had to be tough, so it would poke through the guitars and bass. It had to be big, but not too pretty. The drums were important on this record. Dave Grohl was an important piece of the puzzle. He powered the band. The first time I saw him play, I thought, this guy puts everything he’s got into every stroke. He was explosive. It amazed me that he didn’t break more gear. It also amazed me that he could slam the drums so hard and keep playing in time, with no slowing or speeding up. He kept up the intensity through his fills. I thought working with these guys was going to be cool. I had no idea that Nirvana would blow up the way they did.


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