Powell Custom Drums – Interview

Powell Custom Drums - Red, Green, Wood Hybrid Kit

Question: Company name

 Powell Custom Drums

Q: Your Name (First)

Brad Coltman

Q: Email


Q: Website


Q: How many people are employed there?


Q: How long have you been in business?

Since 2010

Q: How did you get started?

Powell Custom Drums located in Charlestown Rhode Island owned and operated by Brad Powell Cottman back in January 2009. Shortly after the departure of Brad’s last band Verbana Darvell. Brad decided to take his music and drumming to an entirely new level and start building drums instead of just playing them. Brad started out playing drums back in 1998 with his first rock band The Croakers and from there progressed and got involved with the music scene more and then joined bands such as Life This Week a punk band that toured around the New England area and recorded a full length album. A while after that Brad joined and helped form Verbana Darvell ,an indie hardcore band which he not only played in but managed and helped them get on the Vans Warped Tour in MA and in Alternative Press Magazine as “Unsigned Bands Of The Month” and recorded an EP with Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit. Brad booked most all the shows and helped network and helped the bands he was in open for acts such as – Rise Against, Gym Class Heroes, Number 12 looks Like You, Chiodos, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Vanna, Toadies, Haste The Day and more…

Powell Custom Drums - Green Acrylic and Black Wood SnareThrough the years of playing drums in bands Brad also worked a normal day job as a Carpenter / Sub Contractor building custom houses from start to finish, even painting houses. When Brad wasn’t building house’s he learned about building Websites with Macromedia Flash Dreamweaver html coding and Photoshop. He used these tools as part of his Networking to help promote his bands!

Brad – “Through the years of playing shows i always used a 4 piece cheap Ludwig rockstar Kit that i beat up on and the sound was ok but not the greatest Kit and i was looking into buying a new kit but always wanted something more my own instead of a store bought kit that everyone has anyways one day i went to see a band i love – Piebald play a show at URI and when they came out on stage i fell in love with the drum kit they were using it looked and sounded amazing it was a C&C Custom Kit i remember as soon as i got home i found C&C online and i called them up and saved my money and had them build me a kit! I became so close with Bill and Jake from C&C that i even ran there Myspace website for a while and got a discount on my drums for helping them out. After playing C&C’ drums and learning more about how the building process is done i got involved with it more and knew this is what i want to do with my life this is my dream my passion i am now taking all my knowledge of carpentry using power tools hands on and painting skills and my music talent my skills with networking and put it all into this and I decided to launch Powell Custom Drums I got inspired by numerous things and i know all the work i did for my past bands i was in we made it pretty far, so I know I can make this happen and the biggest part about this company is for me to become close to all my Artists and be a huge family yes i’m in this for money but more so to be part of something special”

Q: What makes your company unique?

Well we are Custom for one so options are endless that and Some Custom Drum Companies only use standard Keller drum shells. We use both Keller and *Gladstone Shells* – Gladstone Shells, designed and built by our friends, Bill and Jacob Cardwell! Gladstone Shells have thicker ply’s consisting of 100% Maple wood, which means less ply’s, less glue more wood! What does this mean? It means your getting a much better sounding drum for the same price or cheaper than Keller! We do in fact still use keller maple shells they sound great and have a quicker turn around time than Gladstone but its all up to our customers deadline! Gladstone may take up to 2 months for the shells to arive to our shop where Keller takes 5 days! So you weigh it out!

Red Custom Drum Kit - Powell Custom Drums

Q: What are the typical prices for a custom build?

Well a cheaper 3 piece Kit – rack tom floor tom and kick drum with all chrome and a stain can run about $1600 and a more expensive 3 piece hybrid (with acrylic between 2 pieces of maple) with powder coated hardware and glitter wrap inlays can run about $5800 so it all depends how much design you are putting into your drums!

Q: What is the average wait time to get a 4-5 piece drum set built?

2-3 weeks after order is placed

Q: Where does your inspiration come from?

Playing drums over the years in bands and working with wood and art all my life!

Q: What was the first drum you built and where is it now?

The first snare i built was for a customer in West Virginia

Powell Custom Drums - Zildjian Custom Snare DrumQ: What was your favorite drum you built and why?

I would have to say the Zildjian Snare because we had the privilege to be able to create a drum for such an amazing cymbal company and make a snare we have never seen done before and mount a shell inside a hybrid shell and mounted zildjian splash cymbals around the inside shell with trigger lighting and very detailed wrap inlays and the custom cut Z vent hole! That snare now sits inside the Zildjian factory showroom in MA.

Q: What was the most challenging project you took on? What made it so hard?

A hybrid kit we made for our artist Eliran Malakov from the band Behind The Facade because we had to router out verticle grooves for the wrap stripes to sit inside a stained shell finish and there was just a ton of them and the smallest slip could just cost us to do it all over again!

Q: What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

Everyone makes mistakes and sure every drum company has made them in the past but to be honest we havent had many maybe a lug that had bad threads and we sent the customer a new lug. we had a mistake we learned in the shop before it left the shop which was a hybrid floor tom that the lugs didnt tie in the center piece and the pl 375 glue we used wasnt a strong enough oil base and seperated but we now use a pl 400 and its oil base so that will never happen again.

Q: Do you endorse any drummers? If so, who?

Yes we Endorse we have a starter roster of artists you can view on our website. We don’t do free drums unless we come to you and your a huge touring band our endorsements are a discount only!

Q: How do you typically pick who you endorse? What do you look for?

Artists musicians who can play really tight and can help spread our name and drums out there!

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add about your company?

We know there are a LOT of custom drum companies popping up out there and a lot of good ones and bad ones just be dedicated and passionate about your instrument yes its expensive to invest in but if you love your instrument and want to create your dream kit its well worth it but cheaper is not always the better option we get people now and then that will email us and say “We love powell we are all about you guys” then turn us down because they got a quote $300 cheaper by some random company they just found searching but never heard of that isnt even good! my first kit i saved every nickle for them to build me a kit and through the process i had the chance to go with a cheaper company but i refused because i was passionate to the company i was buying from ! Yes our drums can be expensive but we only use the best hardware and put 110% into our hands on custom work we love to build and we love to see our drums being played by amazing people and bands we are a family we are close to all our clients we aren’t just about the money we love everything we do and people we talk to!

Q: Facebook Page


Q: Youtube


Blue and White Custom Drum Kit - Powell Custom Drums


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