Ned Smith (aka Ned Zeppelin) is an innovative drummer who also loves to teach. In Spring 2006, Ned left his San Diego hip-hop, jazz, and funk projects, to move to Seattle . Ned landed the drum chair in Seattle’s, Fred Radke Big Band, home to many of Seattles finest jazz players. Fred Radke is the brilliant trumpeter and band leader for the Harry James Orchestra.
Soultone, Ned’s unfair advantage. “I wanted to stop focusing mainly on execution and start getting a consistently great sound. I needed an unfair advantage that would really bring out what I do on the drums. I really wanted audiences and studio tape to feel and hear my unique way of playing better. I’d played all the finest high production cymbals, and never got a real thrill from them. To me, there is a hole in their sound and dynamics. At the Hollywood Custom & Classic Drum show, I met the owner of Soultone, Iki Levy. He’d tested, and developed a method of cymbal making and his results produce the sound I'd been fantasizing about all my life. Suddenly my playing was coming across how I meant it to.
Compliments. My Soultones make sound guys into sound gods. But true to my unfair advantage wishes, the sound guys usually attribute it to my talent. Before I showed up playing Soultones, no one ever nodded in reverent awe as they complimented my warm up. Now it happens all the time. That’s a big difference. If you’re looking for an unfair advantage, too, it’s definitely available thanks to Iki Levy’s painstaking attention to sound production. Try hitting them once. I’d like to know if you hear what I’m talking about.”