Drumhead Pioneer Passes On

Remo Belli, a leading figure in the use of synthetic drumheads around the world, died April 25 at a hospital in Pasadena, Calif. He was 88. 

Brock Kaericher, president of Remo Inc., the drum manufacturer founded and run by Belli for more than 60 years, confirmed the death, with the company citing complications from pneumonia as the cause of death. A former jazz drummer himself, Belli recognized early the inconvenience of having to frequently tune drumheads due to the expansion and contraction of skins dependent on weather.

It was not until his Mylar material was used by Ringo Starr on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 that synthetic materials began replacing animal skins as the industry standard. Throughout Belli’s life Remo Inc. grew into a giant in the drum manufacturing business.

He also felt that drums could “be used by anyone for relaxation and enjoyment. They can be used for helping people with Autism or Alzheimer’s,” and he worked with his wife to develop programs that used rhythm to promote wellness, according to the company obituary.