Remo Belli - In Memoriam
By Dendy Jarrett |
by Dendy Jarrett
Yesterday, April 25th 2016, the drum world and the music instrument world lost a tremendous believer in music and building better “mousetraps.” Remo Belli launched Remo, Inc. in 1957 but there was a long road to get there. After Remo completed his duty in the Navy, he headed to California and became a professional drummer. In 1952, he opened a well-known drum shop in the Los Angeles area. During this time, he learned of others experimenting with using a relatively new substance called Mylar® for drumheads. This was important because up until that time calfskin had been long used for drum heads, and the skins were susceptible to humidity and would lose their tuning.
Mylar was a tough, polyester film made by DuPont® that was resistant to weather, water, and heat. Remo, working with an engineer, developed a method to successfully crimp the head in an aluminum channel...and thus began the Weatherking® drumheads.
In the world of drums, Remo, Inc. with Remo Belli’s vision has remained on the cutting edge of product development and innovation. From Remo’s own website: “Throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, Remo continued to innovate and became the world’s drumhead specialist in virtually every category from percussionists and orchestral timpanists to drum corps, jazz, blues and rock. Technical innovation never before imagined in drumheads reached new heights, thanks to new laminations and coatings found in other Remo firsts such as Controlled Sound™, Pinstripe®, Smooth White™, Powerstroke®, Fiberskyn®, Suede®, Renaissance®, Nuskyn®, Skyneep® and Comfort Sound Technology™. Understanding how drumheads should be designed and how they should ultimately sound soon became our foundation for other applications such as Drumset, Marching, Concert, Recreational, Health & Wellness and World Percussion. In 1983 Remo launched the World Percussion product line using Acousticon® Shells, a 100% recycled wood fiber. The result was more than a revolution in lightweight, durable, great sounding drums. It marked a seismic shift in the availability of a broad range of ethnic drums for the recreational and professional applications, and helped create the global community of drummers today."
Remo Belli was also a tremendous humanitarian. He believed strongly that music and drumming had healing powers. There is an entire area on Remo’s website dedicated to Health and Wellness. Through his manufacturing of drum products, Remo, who was 88, developed the HealthRhythms® Training program and believed that drums should be an educational tool for every classroom, a wellness tool for every retiree, a unifying tool for every community, and an inspirational tool for mankind.
Through his more than 50 years of contributions to our industry, there was no bigger advocate for helping people make better music. Thank you for helping to make a better world.
Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.