It's no secret as to how we feel about Johnny Craviotto's wonderful drums. So, Steve decided that it would be a nice idea not only to share his own views about Craviotto, but to share the testimonials of others as well. Craviotto buyers range from professional players to collectors, recording studio owners, hobbyists, semi-pro players and more. This section of the website will highlight the insights of many of these devoted Craviotto fans. Please feel free to share your story with Steve as well. email it to him at firstname.lastname@example.org .
TESTIMONIALS BELOW INCLUDE: Ronnie Vannucci (The Killers), Scott Amendola; Frank Defino Jr; Jeff Quay (Blue Man Group), and more to come.
Ronnie Vannucci (Craviotto endorser) :
Testimonial: I'm not paid by anyone, I don't get a snare drum for writing something nice about Craviotto Drums. I only endorse something I truly believe in. Plain and simple. I play these drums because they make me sound good. I think it's the only reason you should play a particular brand of instrument; after all, it is the point, right? To sound the best you can.
It's as if Johnny Craviotto were destined to make drums like these. A simple idea, perfected. So much time and craft has gone into these drums, and you hear it!. Not to mention their beauty. Perhaps it's said best when being asked to describe a set of Craviotto Drums, is that they sound honest. There's nothing getting in the way. They say that being truthful and honest is always the way to go. If you want the truth, then maybe you should play these drums. I do.
Scott Amendola (Craviotto endorser):
TESTIMONIAL: Scott shares his views on Craviotto drums here: Craviotto Drums and the expansion of ones mind, body, and soul...
Music is something that I've always been drawn to, and according to my mom, it was through drums starting at 1 and a half. So it's been a long time I've been hitting things and making sounds. Over the years I feel like I've played just about every trap set out there. Every make and model. From the cardboard cut outs, to the super fine custom drums. Loving music, it rarely made much of a difference in a way. Yes, some drums made more impressions than others, but I was playing music so it was cool. Drums is what I needed. Back in 1996 I was playing at Kuumbwa Jazz Center and this guy comes up to me and gives me many a compliment. He then tells me he's Johhny Craviotto, he makes snare drums and he'd like me to check out his drums. I had heard of Johnny and said sure. Send one up to me when you get a chance. Few weeks later one of his makers shows up in San Francisco with a 6.5" maple solid shell drum. I put it on the stand, play it and stop. I'm blown away. I didn't even tune the thing and it was speaking volumes, not volume, but volumes. Sounds, dynamics, textures, within a few moments I could hear the difference. Needless to say, that drum was my mainstay for years. I tried not to go anywhere without it. Any time I
played another snare drum, I missed my Craviotto.
Several years later I get a call from Johnny. He says he's making full kits and he wants me to check them out. So I say to him 'you tell me when to be there and I'll check them out'. I drive down to his workshop in Wattsonville. He points me to the seat behind these gorgeous drums. Just looking at them was almost enough. I start to play them, but this time I don't want to stop. Once again, completely blown away. Johnny's drums are an extension of musical ideas, of sounds I hear in my head, of tones I WANT to hear from the drums. I almost can't believe it. Again, I love drums, and have always loved drums, but to play an instrument that can actually allow true expression of ones art, TRUE expression, is rare in my opinion. These drums kick my ass. I hear things now that I've never heard on the drums. They tell the truth. I still can't believe it. Every time I play Craviottos I feel complete as a musician, drummer, composer...
Johnny has brought art to the making of drums like no other. There are so many possibilities with his drums. I've been using a 12"x 18" bass drum. No one believes it's 12"x18". When I want bottom and volume, I can get it. When I want soft and subtle, I can get it, out of any of his drums. Even the 14"x16" I played at the NAMM show. True expression is rare. Johnny and company have made it a reality. I for one am grateful
Frank Defino Jr: Frank is a wonderful guy, great player and a great customer, as well as a personal friend. He is passionate about Craviotto drums and it's great to hear his story:
BIO: Frank Defino Jr is an accomplished musician in the Chicagoland area. He has been performing for 4 decades. Frank was born in 1960 and started playing drums at age 4. He is a graduate of Elmhurst College with a degree in Music/Business. Frank performs many various styles of music including funk, pop, jazz, classical, and R&B. Frank also plays piano and uses this medium to write music. Currently, Frank is part owner of Tukaiz, a leading marketing communications production services company in the Midwest.
- 40 plus years of playing and touring with some of the industry's best...Paul Anka, Chuck Berry, Sid Caesar, Jerry Vale, Frankie Lane, Howie Mandel, Larry Elgart, Clark Terry, Bob Hope.
- Wrote, produced and performed on Radio and TV spots for WGN Radio where he wrote 4 Chicago Cubs theme songs (1998-2007). He has also performed on spots for McDonald's, Kroger Foods, Enesco and Kraft.
- Created a product line called "Let's Sing and Learn" for kids in the mid 90's where he performed, produced and recorded various public domain children's songs with 29 titles in the product line that sold over 1 million copies worldwide in stores and on the web.
- Has a line of original music CD's that feature piano/orchestral instrumentation which currently sell on iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy, WalMart, Rhapsody, CD Baby and many other music download websites.
- Currently performs with the Hiline Band. One of Chicago's leading Motown, Funk and R&B bands.
- He incorporates music and the arts with his current business, Tukaiz, to create unique marketing programs for businesses and advertising agencies.
Testimonial: Until recently for me, music meant performing as best as you can and doing your part as a drummer to fit the song and be part of a team for the good of the band. It meant knowing all the styles, having a passion for what you do and giving your very best each and every performance. It also meant getting the best gear you can afford and making it sound as good as possible.
This philosophy is still true today but the "gear" part was starting to bother me....it was the snare drum that just wasn't doing the job I needed it to. I wasn't pleased with the sound of the drum so I started doing some research on drums which led me to Craviotto. Once I started exploring some other name brand custom made drums along with the Craviotto snares and found out how they were made, I started to realize that the Craviotto drums were far superior to anything else I have ever heard or played. I was completely head over heals and amazed! I remember getting my first snare drum, bringing it home, setting it up in the studio and playing it for hours and hours. I kept saying to myself....I can't believe this, I can't believe this, I can't believe this! In my opinion, Craviotto snare drums are the best on the planet! Not only are they beautiful to look at and not only are they built with extreme care, but the sounds they evoke are unreal, insane....like nothing I've ever heard before. Craviotto uses the finest woods available along with the best hardware and he manufactures them with an unbeatable elite team of craftsman to build each drum by hand. Every drum is a true unique one of a kind work of art....an original....a classic. The best thing about this "art" is that it doesn't just sit on a wall like a painting and get stared at, because as a drummer, I get to use these on live gigs and in the studio where it gives me back the most beautiful feeling of music tonality that I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing in a drum.
Next, to meet with Johnny and talk to him at length was a highlight for me. He is a grounded genuine individual. He is a man of passion with a focus and desire to do nothing more than make the best drums available. Hands down, it is not about the money with Johnny but it is about the rewarding experience he gets when he knows other musicians are appreciating his craft. That is what truly touches Johnny's soul and makes him proud. So in my opinion, he has created something that really works both ways.....an instrument that lives and breathes for drummers to appreciate in all style of music while knowing that at the same time, he appreciates the fact that he can contribute to the very community of music that he so loves himself. It's a win/win situation. I am truly proud to know him and have had the opportunity to have him make drums for me. I feel that I owe Johnny, not the other way around. For me, It's not only about the money with these drums but it's about the feeling of gratitude I have to be able to own some of his instruments. It's like experiencing history in the making. It is my opinion that Johnny Craviotto is becoming what Steinway is to pianos and what Antonio Stradivari is to violins. We should all be proud and thankful that we have someone like Craviotto who is out there still doing it everyday and doing it by hand with painstaking attention to detail. I know I am.
Besides the astounding drums that Craviotto makes is also the friend I have made through this process....Steve Maxwell. I have been buying gear all my life, just like most musicians have, but I've never quite met someone like Steve who truly shares in the same passion for craftsmanship and the music industry too. Without Steve, none of this would've been possible or would be possible today. Not only is he a great musician himself, but Steve absolutely loves the music industry and loves what Craviotto stands for. He is the #1 U.S distributor for Craviotto drums and there's a reason why. He is a consummate professional and great businessman....a rare find in this industry. I love how Steve truly cares about his customers and treats them like Family and Friends. He certainly has treated me this way. He is so responsive and helpful that it just makes this a pleasure for me. He has helped educate me on drum making in general and also the history of drums from the past. His two stores are absolutely amazing and you can tell that this man really loves what he does and wants to give back to the music industry. All you have to do is talk to Steve and you will know instantly that he is a man that will go out of his way to treat customers with the utmost respect. This comes across loud and clear to me and it's been a fun ride. I am proud to call him my friend.
Thanks a million Frank!!!
Jeff Quay (Blue Man Group) :
Testimonial: Jeff Quay's Craviotto Solid Shell Snare drum is the centerpiece of his drum kit. "It has a lush warmth that blends perfectly with the toms to provide the depth that gives me that 'tribal sound'." he says. "At the same time, it has a crystal clear 'crack' which can cut through anything when the back beat is needed. It has the widest dynamic range of any drum I've ever owned. It sounds great at very low levels and doesn't sound papery when I'm bashing. I own several of these drums and each one has it's own character and personality. Like a Stradivarius Violin, Craviotto drums are a vehicle for personal expression. They are works of art!"