(Guitar Center | Posted 2009-01-15)


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, January 13, 2009 -- On Saturday, January 10th, in front of a star-studded capacity crowd at the historic Music Box at the Henry Fonda Theater in Los Angeles, one aspiring drummer's dreams came true, as Guitar Center crowned Jerome Flood II the winner of Guitar Center's 20th Annual Guitar Center Drum-Off championships. Sharing the stage with such drumming greats and artists such as Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Jason Bittner (Shadows Fall), Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), Thomas Lang and Papa Roach, the winner was chosen by a panel of today's most iconic and influential drummers, including Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Kenny Aronoff, The Rev (Avenged Sevenfold), Danny Carey (Tool), Trevor Lawrence Jr. (Snoop Dogg), Drew Hester (Foo Fighters/Joe Walsh), Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves), Alan White (Yes) and Frank Zummo (Street Drum Corps).

The evening's competition was the culmination of months of local and regional competitions held at each of Guitar Center's 214 stores across the country - competitions that resulted in selecting the top six undiscovered drummers in the nation from nearly 5,000 competitors. As Guitar Center's Drum-Off champion, Jerome Flood II takes home $25,000 cash, plus another $20,000 in gear, including a Roland TD-20 kit, a custom designed drum kit by DW, Pearl, Gretsch, Tama or Orange County Drum & Percussion, as well as drum, stick, cymbal and drum head endorsement deals. He will also be featured in Modern Drummer magazine, a Guitar Center ad campaign and make a VIP appearance at NAMM 2009. He will be given additional clothing and gear from Levi's, Converse and Guitar Center.

Originally from Rochester, New York, and now hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, 22-year-old Jerome Flood II received his first drum kit when he was just two years old. This is the fifth year Flood entered Guitar Center's Drum-Off, and the win, he says, "came at the perfect time. The world is going to know about me thanks to this," he said, exhausted but ecstatic. "I've still got a long way to go career-wise, but I'm ready, and I'm really thankful to Guitar Center for this opportunity, because it's really changed my life." Flood already has an audition scheduled for Monday with a nationally known band.

The evening, which was hosted by Stephen Perkins (Jane's Addiction), also featured an awards ceremony honoring the legendary drumming icon Mitch Mitchell (Jimi Hendrix Experience) along with living legends Nicko McBrain (Iron Maiden) and Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Ted Nugent, Rod Stewart) who were inducted into Guitar Center's "Drum-Legends" Hall of Fame. Started three years ago, "Drum Legends" was created to acknowledge the contributions of many of today's most legendary and iconic drummers. Guitar Center has dedicated a special section in their flagship San Francisco location to "Drum Legends," featuring past inductees including Steve Smith, David Garibaldi, Alan White, Greg Errico and others.

For 20 years, Guitar Center's annual Drum-Off has been recognized by the music community as one of the most important platforms for unsigned talent and a springboard to stardom for many seriously talented young drummers. Prior Guitar Center Drum-Off champs who have gone on to become successful pro drummers include Cora "CC" Dunham (Prince; Drum-Off '02 Champ), Eric Moore (Bobby Brown, Sly and The Family Stone, Suicidal Tendencies; Drum-Off '03 Champ), Tony Royster Jr. (Jay Z; Drum-Off '95 Champ) and Thomas Pridgen (The Mars Volta), who became Guitar Center's Drum-Off champion in 1993 when he was just 9 years old.

Like all Guitar Center music programs, Drum-Off is designed to provide developing artists with support-based opportunities that vastly improve the potential for their success as professional musicians.

Guitar Center's Drum-Off is made possible by the support of its great partners including Monster Energy, Levi's, Converse, DW Drums, Pearl, Gretsch, Orange County Drum & Percussion, Tama, Pro-Mark, Vic Firth, Remo, Evans, Rhythm Tech, Roland, Zildjian, Sabian and Modern Drummer Magazine.

Check out footage of the Drum-Off winner here:

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