I love when I get mail and it’s a TShirt and… I am the image on it.      ummm rad?
Blanco_RS Shirt

I grew up in Newbury Park California, the original home of DW Drums before they eventually moved down the hill from me into Oxnard. It seemed appropriate and convenient to have my drum company so close so I could stop by and say my hello’s/ drop off and pick up drums/hardware/etc. Before i was out of high school I graciously managed to join the amazing DW artist roster; Drums, Pedals & Hardware. (Page 13: http://www.dwdrums.com/artists/roster.asp) They believed in me at such an early age before any other drum companies and this gave me an excitement and drive I had never known before. I was part of an elite crew of drummers. I had officially become a DW Artist alongside some of my heroes. I ordered a couple drum sets and my brand loyalty began.
During the early years of working with FAR, rehearsals were in a small back room of a Sacramento based custom drum company called Rocket Shells. Somewhere around 1999/2000, and the inception of Home Town Hero, I joined forces with Rocket Shells. With DW I had signed a contract that specifically stated I would not purposefully damage my drums. With RS, our deal was pretty much the exact opposite. Rocket Shells are made of carbon fiber, the same material used to make Formula 1 race cars, NASA stuff, bullet proof vest, etc… So as you can imagine it is quite durable and it was my task to test. I will never forget the first time I called Paul Hewitt (RS owner) from tour and I very quietly, embarrassed, shy and nervously attempted to explain how I destroyed my kit on stage. I was absolutely anticipating an angry or disappointed response but when the phone call rapidly changed to curiosity and praise from the owner of the company, I knew we had created an amazing partnership. This process repeated often… Nightly, I played hard enough to break stuff. If I couldn’t break it on stage beating the drums as hard as possible, then for sure throwing them across the stage or bashing them into other drummers drum sets that were left on the drum riser would cause damage…right??? Not so much…. Rocket Shells proved to be damn near invincible; water proof, fire proof, singer proof and much, much more.

©RayBlanco Additional Footage by Chris Strauser.  (Not sure why but video must be viewed on RayBlan.co)

I love Rocket Shells. However in the mid 2000’s while The Bangkok Five was increasingly more and more busy on tour, Paul Hewitt returned to school to further his education of carbon fiber and engineering. We both knew he was gonna disappear for a few years so we mutually agreed I should find another drum company to assist me while on tour and needing replacement gear/ fly date gear/ etc while he was back in education mode. We have always been in contact, remained great friends and at the very least see each other once a year at the NAMM show in Anaheim.

On Friday Aug 24, I received an email from Paul. Short & sweet saying what’s up and asking for an address for me. We exchanged a few emails and of course I sent him my address(and new tB5:). But still nothing could have prepared me for the smile on my face when I opened up the package, removed the T shirt, and discovered that Rocket Shells had used an image of me… and BAM….. I was on the new Rocket Shells T-shirts.

I am honored to still be a part of Rocket Shells in any and every capacity. It has been an amazing journey over the years with all of you. Problem solving, fixing broken things, enjoying playing deafening drums, introducing artist & fans to Rocket Shells and of course being an integral puzzle piece in making drums…. Lighter, Stronger & LOUDER! 🙂

Thank You Paul, Danny, Kai, Christine, all of you that were there before and all of you that are there now. The entire Rocket Shells Family. Thank You! And by the way, the address I gave you will work in the event you want to send a smaller size shirt (large- really???) or a brand spanking new 14×8 Rocket Shells Custom RayLo snare like the old days! 🙂  Can never have enough awesome snares on stage ready to go…

Tell ’em I sent you!

Original Photo by Dan Piassick:
Ray Blanco Proudly endorses:
Thrust Drums, DW, Zildjian, Pro-Mark, Remo and of course Rocket Shells 🙂

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