I was extremely shocked and saddened this afternoon when I received the news that my friend and colleague Dennis Stauffer was involved in a fatal auto accident in North Carolina this morning.
Although Dennis and I had known and worked together for more than 10 years, we only occasionally spoke on the phone, but our most recent conversation took place just a few days ago—a lengthy after-business-hours chat that covered everything from industry gossip to our preparation for once again sharing a booth at this May’s Chicago Drum Show to his exciting plan to expand his business into new areas.
When I first met him at the Not So Modern Drummer Nashville Drum Show in 2000, Dennis was displaying his cocktail drum kits, along with a few Phattie drum kits. I was amused by his explanation of how he had come up with his company name. “Phattie D” happened to be the good-natured nickname given to him by his friends during his many-caloried college days in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Over the years, I looked forward to spending time with him at the various drum shows, particularly the last few years at the Chicago show, where we shared a booth and late-night project brainstorming sessions over Chinese food.
I had the pleasure of watching Dennis’ drum making skills evolve—from his creative method of spraying Ducco fade finishes using an old turntable to his exceptionally meticulous attention to fit and finish. Simply put, his craftsmanship was among the best. Dennis will be missed by so many, and the custom drum building community will not be the same without him.
My thoughts are with his wife, Brittney, and son, Roan.
Drum Supply House USA – Drummaker.com
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