Last month, the editorial director of Modern Drummer, Adam Budofsky, wrote a Letter from the Editor attacking unnamed music publications. “Some offer top-flight content. Others, unfortunately, have focused on things like gender issues, fashion spreads, or the past music-industry credits of its editor, all at the expense of historical accuracy and journalistic credibility,” Budofsky wrote. Since Tom Tom focuses on “gender issues” and sometimes features fashionable drummers, it’s pretty clear that the editor was referring to our endeavor.
I’m proud to say that we have always worked closely with other drumming magazines. I started this magazine because I saw a glaring and concerning lack of female presence in drumming publications. For instance, only eight Modern Drummer covers have featured women since 1977.
The point of our magazine is to help the music industry and its supporting media notice non-cis male drummers with the goal that they would include us in their marketing and engineering, and cover us in their magazines. Tom Tom was meant to be a temporary project. Female and nonbinary musicians — whether professional drummers or not — need a voice in the music world and we are proud to be a platform for underrepresented talents. We have made it one of our focuses to equally cover the unknown, the average, and the famous drummer. We want to inspire and support, not drag others down.
Over the years, we have found so much content and demand that we needed to keep going. The overwhelmingly positive response we’ve gotten and the consistent growth of our company has made us aware that there is indeed a need for Tom Tom.
Reading Adam Budofsky’s most recent “An Editor’s Overview” was disappointing, to say the least. To have another magazine in our industry throw us and other music magazines we respect under the bus to make themselves look better is just plain petty.
I don’t see Modern Drummer speaking directly to the unique issues that women, non-binary, and queer people face when drumming. Tom Tom does exactly that though music journalism while highlighting the intersection of music and politics. We are more than just a magazine, we are an inclusive community. Budofsky’s commentary is focused on exclusivity — something that we’re not about. It’s inefficient and outdated. We can’t make all cisgender men care about our issues, but we can rise up and showcase our issues and find solutions to them together. We have to continue to educate privileged people about the issues that marginalized and underrepresented folks are forced to face every day. I’m proud that Tom Tom is committed to doing that through legitimate journalism.
Focusing on “things like gender issues” is journalism, my friend. Particularly if leaving women and girls out of your media is your thing. Modern Drummer has been specific about which drummers it believes worthy of coverage. In its over 30 years of journalism, it has only had eight covers featuring women drummers while Neil Peart has graced its cover seven times, Stewart Copeland has five, Terry Bozzio has four, and you get the point. (This data was collected from their past issues link on their site.)
Budofsky ends his note with this statement: “None of this is to suggest that Modern Drummer is perfect. We make mistakes, just like all publications.” Could not agree with you more, Adam.
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