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Remembering Remo Belli

 

 

 

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Remo Belli
1927 - 2016

Remo Belli became a professional drummer at the age of 16 during World War II.  After a stint in the Navy, he played with jazz and swing groups and moved to Hollywood, California.  He toured with jazz singer Anita O'Day, actress Betty Hutton and trumpeter Billy May.

In 1952, along with drummer Roy Harte, Belli opened Drum City, a prestigious and successful Hollywood drum shop catering to professional musicians. Along with dealing with famous percussionists from all over the world, he also serviced the percussion equipment needs of the Hollywood motion picture and television industries. His clientele included celebrities such as Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Mel Torme, Peggy Lee, Mae West, Ralph Edwards, Gary Cooper, and Little Ricky. 


In 1957, he sat behind a set of drums and played for Mae West when she performed in southern California. That gig, he recalled, was one of his last bookings as a band member: that same year he became a synthetic drumhead manufacturer.

With the assistance of chemist Sam Muchnick, Belli had developed a drum head prototype made of DuPont Mylar. The result was the Remo WeatherKing drum head. It was a revolutionary new product in the percussion industry and led to the founding of his new company: Remo, Inc. 

Following the success of the WeatherKing drum head, Remo set about creating additional innovative and exciting products for the percussion industry. From concert halls to football fields, the hallmark of all Remo drum products is true sound, durable wear and the ability to foil the damage of climate changes—the enemy of all percussion instruments. 

Having the heart of a drummer, Remo Belli was interested in far more than just making products. In 1963, he helped found the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) to promote education and the enhancement of Percussive Arts. He also took an active role with the National Association for Music Therapy – encouraging drumming as a therapeutic activity for children, patients with physical and/or emotional disorders, and as a recreational activity for the “Well Elderly” community. Strong believers in the power of music making, both he and his wife, Ami Belli, MD have supported and funded scientific drumming research projects and both Remo and Ami are powerful advocates for Recreational Music Making.

 

*Bio- LA Times ||By Lauren Beale 4/2010

 

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