Hayman drums were the brainchild of Ivor Arbiter who, besides being the first to actually bring guitars into Britain in quantity was also the first to import Ludwig and Gretsch drums during the 'Beat Boom'. It was he who, in the sixties, cleverly identified a gap in the market for a LOUD drum set at a time when drummers were seldom miked-up outside of the studio.
The original plan was to fit metal liners inside the shells of beech Carlton drums and, indeed, some of these were actually made. Ultimately they discarded the metal inserts, which were weighty and expensive, and instead chose to thickly coat the drums' interior surfaces (Vibrasonic). Bingo! Loud and extremely cutting drums were here.
Originally the drums were named George Hayman after one of the guys ' in Dallas-Arbiter's Shoeburyness factory (whose surname, to confuse things further, was actually Haymon) and, possibly, George Way who made the legendary Camcos. In further homage to that famous American marque, the set's nut boxes were also made circular, which was highly unusual at the time. Anyway, the name was eventually shortened to the more identifiable Hayman.
Brian Bennett played Hayman drums during some of his years with Cliff Richard and the Shadows but he’s not just a great drummer he’s been awarded not one but three Ivor Novello awards. Surprisingly not for his theme for the BBC golf which has been used for thirty years but for ‘Summer Holiday’ which he also wrote. His drumming career spans 52 years from the Wildcats through to the Shadows – and he’s got an MBE!
Bill Bruford was the original progressive rock drummer for Yes and is pictured here with the Hayman drums he used with them. As if Yes wasn’t enough he’s also played with Genesis, King Crimson, UK and of course his own band Earthworks. In 2007 he celebrated 40 years of professional drumming. And not a lot of people know that he turned down the opportunity of being in the Firm with Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers!
The late great John ‘Mitch’ Mitchell did get the gig with the Jimi Hendrix Experience and spear-headed the crossover from rock music to jazz ultimately called Fusion. Mitch was a successful child actor and having taken up drums paid his dues with various sixties bands including the Pretty Things, The Riot Squad and Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames. Famously Mitch tried out for the Who but ultimately it was Keith Moon who got the gig!
Aynsley Dunbar evidently missed out on the Jimi Hendrix gig on the flip of a coin and at the time he’d played with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers then done his own thing before taking the plunge and moving to America to play with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of invention. Eventually he found his way into Journey then stints with various luminaries including David Bowie. These days he plays with a band of superstars called World Classic Rockers.
No prizes for guessing which band Rob Townsend was playing with when this picture was taken with his somewhat unusual Hayman 26” bass drum. (Jon Bonham popularised big bass drums but not it seems when he played Hayman.) Rob’s long drumming career began with Family in 1967 and since then he’s played with Medicine Head, the Manfreds and of course these days he’s in The Blues Band where he’s been for more than 30 years.