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Jerome Flood II wins Guitar Center Drum-Off finals

January 12, 2009 |  1:44 pm


From his opening drum roll of the "20th Century Fox Fanfare" to the end of his re-creation of the entire composition -- including ALL the orchestra parts -- on only his drum kit, Jerome Flood II was the man to beat in the Guitar Center Drum-Off finals. All six finalists at Saturday night's competition were impressive, but Flood wasn't just another drummer with amazing chops who knew how to string together a funky groove. Here's a drummer who's willing to go so far off-book, he's out of the library.(See for yourself by checking out this video of his set.)

Wearing a bright orange shirt* that spelled out Jesus in the Reese's peanut butter cup logo, Flood looked like he was having the time of his life during his five-minute set. The man had flair and originality, and the pros on the judging panel appreciated it.

Now in its 20th year, the Guitar Center Drum-Offs is the final showdown after months of regional contests held at Guitar Center stores around the country. Flood, a 22-year-old Rochester, N.Y., native who now lives in Atlanta, has been playing drums since he was 2 years old. But even after all those years of practice, Flood didn't win until his fifth year in the Drum-Offs. That should give hope to all the drummers picked off in the earlier rounds of this year's contest.

Aside from the contest itself, the evening's show-stopper was a 20-minute percussion set by Austrian drummer Thomas Lang and Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen, who in 1993 at age 9 was the youngest person to ever win the Drum-Offs. He was the ultimate bad-ass on Saturday night -- playing shirtless, sucking a lollipop and flailing like Animal from the Muppets. And that's exactly what you want in a drummer.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Jerome Flood II competing at the Guitar Center Drum-Off finals at the Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. Credit: Guitar Center.