LOCAL Houston | The City Guide September 2016 - Page 50

HIS OWN BEAT JEFF NEUMANN’S CUSTOM DRUM CONCEPTS By Lance Scott Walker | Photography by Collin Kelly A HOUSTON RESIDENT SINCE 1989, JEFF “RHINO” NEUMANN IS A MUSICIAN, TOUR MANAGER, CUSTOM DRUM MAKER AND REPAIRER, DOG LOVER AND RACONTEUR. WHAT’S ON HIS MIND? A LOT. You’re not a drummer, but there must be something that you feel gives you an objective ear to make drums, right? Well, in my band back in the day, I got annoyed with the drummers because they always had shitty drums and the heads were all beat up. I played guitar, and I spent the money and got loans from the bank and did what I had to do to make my gear superior, so it always pissed me off that they slacked and never even really tried to figure it out. So I bought the drums, I bought the heads, I sat there and tinkered around with it and figured out how to make ’em sound good, and all they had to do was show up and play. It kinda just evolved from there. Really what happened is in 2001, when 9/11 happened, I was supposed to be in Europe on the 13th with FenixTX and New Found Glory and all the touring got cancelled, so I started working at Houston Percussion Center learning how to build drums from their master builder. At first, when they introduced me, “Hey, this is Jeff, he’s going to be helping you out,” Mark was like, “I’m not gonna teach him shit.” Then, once I rented a house across the street from him unknowingly, we started hanging out and started making our own drums in the garage. We did that for a few years and then we parted ways and I started Custom Drum Concepts in 2012. Was there a particular brand of drums that you were looking at where you were like, “I can make these”?” It was kinda like, “Man, it can’t be that hard.” And really HPC was the doorway to it, getting with Mark. He learned old school, so he grew up hand-filing all his edges and stuff. He was passing that on to me, too. He never showed me that in the early years. He kinda kept that his secret. And then we parted ways for a while but he developed some health problems and that kinda brought us back together, and as of recently he’s been showing me his hand-filing technique and getting me on board with how to do it because he wants to pass it on and make sure it keeps going down the pipeline. Do people come to you with a size or a sound? We just have a conversation, like “What do you play? What do you wanna hear out of it?” When I make a snare, I try to find a unique shell. I search them out. I have one that this dude in Indonesia – he has a company called Y&T Drums, and what he does is he just goes straight into the jungle and cuts down a tree, and puts it on a lathe and then however big a circumference he can make, he just cuts the shell out of that. No glue, no plys, no nothing. Just a solid wood shell. He sent me one he cut out of coconut wood and I built that one out. I have that one here in my studio. That’s one of my personal ones. I’ll let it go for the right price but I have a problem in that I turn into a collector. “Man, I wanna make that, that’s cool.” So I make it and then I don’t wanna get rid of it. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CustomDrumConcepts 50 L O C A L | september 16