Eric Perrilloux Memoirs

ContentStart Time
Response to Vince Bruni 0:00
Intro to 1993 Letter to Derrick Logozzo (Percussive Arts Society) 1:09
Letter to Derrick Logozzo
His start in rudimental drumming in 1935, standstill competitions, first experience with rudimental drumming - Charles T. Kirk corps running down rudiments, Downfall of Paris.1937 New York State Championship field day
Ancient corps, description of field day structure and activities, Endicott corps. Standard drum beats: Downfall of Paris, Old Dan Tucker, Grandfather’s Clock, Connecticut Halftime, Burns Moore 6/8, Caledonia. Description of the awarding of prizes, more parading, celebration.
“It was just a wonderful time to be young, and beating a drum, or playing the fife. Those were the best drum corps days of my life. There was nothing like a drum corps field day, they were glorious.” 9:20
War time. Following the was drum corps activity resumed, but it was not the same. Impression of early drum and bugle corps in 1936." 13:32
Accepted into Chas. T. Kirk in 1937, their drummers taught other units how to do it. Kirk influence. Lenny Hartman, Grant Street Boys, connection to Gabarina Skyliners 15:30
Col. Ed Pierce 16:30
Kirk rehearsal. Ancient and Modern repertoire and tempi, rehearsal description, corps meetings, Kirk Music 17:10
1936 Legion parade 20:30
1937 Kirks medley, "The North and the South" set the Civil War to music. New approach, the storytelling competition piece. Comparison to “Requiem for an Era” in 1968. Medley written by Pop Ripperger, George Ripperger (NY State Snare Champion), Harold Ripperger (Champion bass drum). Fred Milligan, a Moeller drummer and bass drummer is suspected to also have a hand in the music composition. 21:00
Other Kirk medleys: 1938 – "Melodies of the Past", 1939 – "Old Favorites", 1940 – "The Scotch and the Irish". 1950 Perrilloux put together "Old English and Yankee Doodle" based on revolutionary war themes. 24:00
Sanford “Gus” Moeller, “met him through the Kirks”, Grand Republic Drums, Kirk drums. Bill Reamer. Periodic conditioning of Kirk’s Moeller drums. Ancient Mariners purchase of Kirk drums (Mr. Perrilloux’s was #6). Moeller’s drum workshop. Drum lessons in the basement. Gene Krupa, impact of rudimental training. 25:00
Gene Krupa drum competition, 1939. Eric Perrilloux competed on rope drum against dance band drummers. Krupa asks Perrilloux to alternate the flamaque. Played the Downfall of Paris in the finals, wins the competition. 28:10
On Moeller drumming. Moeller as a timing judge. 35:15
On 40 Rudimental Drum Beats, Company of Fifers & Drummers publication, recording. 38:08
Bobby Redican 40:00
World Drum Corps Hall of Fame All-American Snare Line recording of 1987 Senior DCA Championships. Bill Hooton speaking, quickly rehearsed. Bob Redigan, Hugh Quigley solo. 40:30
1980 return to watch fife and drum, reactions to drummers of the day. Description of Quality Caliber sound and his method of teaching. Describes a rare tape of the Chas. T. Kirk Corps playing Old English and Yankee Doodle” at the Connecticut State Field Day at Bowen’s Field, New Haven, Aug 4, 1951. 41:52
Thoughts on drum scoring and the negative tick system. St. Rita’s Brassmen. 45:00
Percussive Arts Society article, Spring issue, sent by Dan Spaulding on the History of Rudimental Drumming 46:49
End of letter 48:40
Vince Bruni's Questionairre
Mr. Perrilloux directly responds to Vince Bruni’s questions
Who did you march with?
1937-1953 Kirks
1953-1954 Skyliners - Lenny Hardmon, Don Friesing, Les Parks (instructor), being sewn into the uniform
1955-1957 – Teaching Reilly Raiders
Moved back to teach the Skyliners due to the high travel to Reilly Raiders.
Corps Honors received:
Biggest honor, late 40’s, becoming Drum Sargent of the Chas. T. Kirk corps
What were your major contributions to drum corps?
Musically – Applied the standard provided by earlier rudimental drummers: Bob Redican, Hugh Quigley, Frank Arsenault. Sturtze as instructor. Brought that sound to M&M music. Total Sound drumming. Nothing more ultimate than a Redican roll. Get the sounds out of the drumline to make the music better. “Describe the music” with the drumming. Developing composite sounds out of the full percussion section. “Judging was a crusade to me.”
1966 – Skyliners play the Flight of the Bumblebees, composition of the drum part. 
Sounds of New York City – Imitated the sounds of the city 1:05:08
Quarter note triplets, double drag beats 1:06:58
Slaughter on 10th Avenue – Bass drums imitating tympani yielded the right sound but received negative execution marks 1:07:39
Behind the scenes
New York State Fife and Drum Corps Association, prestigious in 1937. All “standstill” competitions. After the war Perrilloux was President. Put forth the idea of an organization of Senior Corps, discussed with Henry Mayer (New York Skyliners Manager). May have led to Mayer’s involvement with the founding of DCA.
Rule changes rejected by the American Legion. Perrilloux urges a new format for judging. Perrilloux was the chief judging coordinator for two years. 1:11:38
Brought in mandatory clinics – explain drumming and new ideas with the judges present. 1:14:29
Summary of impacts. 1:15:39
Other than your own corps, name your favorite corps 
Reilly Raiders, Skyliners
By decade, list your favorite Junior and Senior corps
50’s – Blessed Sacrament (Bobby Thompson), St. Joe’s in Newark, Liberty Bell from Philadelphia
60’s – Boston Crusaders (Jerry Shelmer). Perrilloux was influenced by Dave Brubeck and Joe Morello for St. Rocco’s. Compares to Shelmer’s “Pop Goes the Weasel” in 7/4 time.
Reilly Raiders and Skyliners. The Empire Statesmen.
What were the best years for corps?
Anything up until 1970. Changes with DCI. “Boredom in motion”
What was the best corps ever?
Skyliners. Reilly Raiders
Memorable moments?
Reilly Raiders, 1955 or 1956, contest with Skokie Indians. Flew in for the show to teach the drumline. One of the snare drummers was unable to play, so Eric was asked to play. He didn’t know half the music or any of the drill, studied all day. Took high drum mark but lost the contest on Horns.
Favorite drum corps friends?
Bobby Redican, the New York fellas who started The Company of Fifers & Drummers, Ancient Fife and Drum Corps music. Hy Drietzer from the NY Skyliners. George Brault. Vince Bruni. The “Diner’s Club”. Bobby Thompson.
Jumping back to favorite corps. Class B corps: Washington Carver Gay Blades, nice programming and general effect. Minisink Warriors. 1:34:04
Minisink Warriors, taught by Bobby Winslow (a tenor drummer from the Skyliners). Hy Drietzer wrote the music. 1:35:19
Skyliners, 1953-1954 – Pepe delivers inspirational speech to the Skyliners and gets pelted with shoes. 1:36:30
What did drum corps mean to you? 1:42:22
What would you do differently?
Would have taken lessons from Early Sturtze. Feels like he lost his touch and would have benefited from a good teacher and to have played with Bob Redican, High Quigley, and Frank Arsenault.
Compare today’s corps with yesterday’s corps
Feedback on changes in 1970’s DCI. Big corps, the machine-look, difficulty of horn arrangements, question of entertainment. “Stopped being a drum corps, started becoming something else.” Influx of “band people”. Lack of expression in DCI drumming. Balthazar’s Feast. Santa Clara Vanguard impressed Mr. Perrilloux.
What music would you like to hear today? 1:54:52
What would you tell today’s youth about drum corps? 1:56:23
How do you feel about the growing popularity of Alumni corps? 2:05:54
Would you be willing to be a consultant and advise corps? 2:09:20
What would you like to add to all of this?
“It’s been a great 60 years in drum corps and I wouldn’t change a thing. No hope for the future… immediate future, to change things”

Eric Perrilloux Plays...

CompositionStart TimePage
Introduction 0:00  
Diddle-a-Drag-a-Ratamacue (first part only) 1:33 26
Backing up the Double Drag 1:59 20
Rambling Ratamacues 2:52 12
'Draggin It' 3:34 14
Fast Flam Flamacue 6/8 4:16 13
Double Drag 2/4 5:04 13
'Roll Em' 5:45 16
Single Drag 2/4 6:57 12
Perrilloux 6/8 7:48 17
Fast Paradiddle 2/4 No. 2 9:20 24


All-American Snare Line

Opening remarks and introductions 0:00
Downfall of Paris (incomplete) - tutti 4:13
Bob Redican solo 5:23
Hugh Quigley solo 6:02
Doubling the Downfall - tutti 7:13


About Eric Perrilloux

Eric Perrilloux was born March 20, 1921 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mr. Perrilloux had one of the most impressive backgrounds in rudimental drumming, developing his skills with the famous Charles T. Kirk Fife, Drum and Bugle corps of Brooklyn, a standstill unit considered the leader among rudimental drum sections of the day. As a member of the Kirks from 1937 to 1953, he won the New York State individual snare championship five times, the North Eastern Snare championship, and other titles outside New York state. He performed with the New York Skyliners in 1953 and 1954 and then became drum instructor for the Reilly Raiders of Philadelphia in 1955, teaching that group for three seasons. He returned to the Skyliners in 1958, writing and instructing for 13 more seasons. [1]

The Encyclopedia of Percussion points out the following:

“In the 1950’s, percussion arrangements started to evolve due in part to the work of an outstanding rudimental drummer, Eric Perrilloux. He began arranging percussion parts that did not rely solely on the standard twenty-six rudiments. Perrilloux was also one of the first to discard the layering of the snare drum and bass drum parts and chose to feature their voices independently. In addition to this, he introduced the rudimental bass drum to the modern drum and bugle corps in 1956 (Spalding, 126). In the same year, two of the last stylistic changes to occur were the introduction of drum solos at the front of the field and the use of rolls on the bass drums, both of these having been credited to Perrilloux (Spalding 12). All of these innovations in drumming systems and equipment set the stage for another evolution in marching and field percussion in the 1960s.” [2]

Mr. Perrilloux published a booklet of solos entitled “Forty Rudimental Drumbeats” in 1950. Several of those solos were later included in Company Books I and II. In 1987, at the behest of fellow drummer Duke Terreri and the Company of Fifers & Drummers, Eric Perrilloux recorded several of the solos from his booklet.

Erie Perrilloux never changed his philosophy of drumming in all the corps taught. He believed in the production of "Total Sound Drumming" which was considered to be the basic sound of the great champion snare drummers of the 30's and 40's. He called it, "Quality Calibre Drumming!" — quality being the "degree of excellence", calibre being "to utilize the total range of expression without losing quality". He applied this complete sound to all the various moods of a musical program using full rudimental ranges where appropriate, but always in a musical sense to effectively convey the music. 

During the early 60's Eric introduced the concept of a circuit to allow corps to govern themselves and initiate their own ideas. This became a reality as Henry Mayer of the NYSkyliners formed the Drum Corps Drum Corps Associates (DCA). Mr. Perrilloux served as chief judging coordinator for two years. 

Mr. Perrilloux was inducted into the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame in 1984 and was also a member of the Drummers Hall of Fame. He passed away on January 20, 2013 in Ridgewood, New Jersey at age 91.



Images of a Legend

The following photos of Mr. Perrilloux were provided by his family.

The Kirk Years

Eric Perrilloux played with the Chas. T. Kirk Fife, Drum, and Bugle corps from 1937 to 1953.

Chas. T. Kirk Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps 1936Chas. T. Kirk Fife and Drum Corps, 1936

Eric Perrilloux George RippergerEric Perrilloux and George Ripperger, 1942

Eric Perrilloux and maybe George Ripperger
George Ripperger and Eric Perrilloux

Eric Perrilloux in Kirk uniformEric Perrilloux in Kirk uniform

Eric Perrilloux 1946Eric Perrilloux, 1946

Eric Perrilloux and Gene KrupaEric Perrilloux receiving the first prize drum for winning the Gene Krupa drum contents from Gene Krupa. Mr. Perrilloux was the only non-drumset contestant. Mr. Perrilloux recounts the story of this event at 28:10 in the "Memoirs" recording. 

Eric Perrilloux in ArmyEric Perrilloux in the Army Air Corps, WWII

Charles T Kirk Fife and Drum CorpsChas. T. Kirk Fife and Drum Corps. Eric Perrilloux is in 2nd row 3rd from the left

Eric Perrilloux, Charles Ploeger, George Ripperger, and Harold RippergerEric Perrilloux, Charles Ploeger, George Ripperger, and Harold Ripperger



Later Years

  Dedication Day July 12 1987 IvorytonHugh Quigley, Eric Perrilloux, and Bobby Redican at Dedication Day July 12, 1987 Ivoryton, The Company of Fifers & Drummers Museum

Drum Corps Hall of Fame All-American Snare LineDrum Corps Hall of Fame All-American Snare Line. Sept. 5, 1987. Allentown, PA, Senior DCA Championships. L to R: Jack County, Eldrick Arsenault, John Flowers, Bob Redican, Eric Perrilloux, Hugh Quigley (Pete Hubert, Johnnie Dow not pictured)


Jaybird Day Oct 7 1995Bobby Redican and Eric Perrilloux, Jaybird Day Oct 7, 1995, The Company of Fifers & Drummers Museum


The Company of Fifers & Drummers would like to thank the Perrilloux family and Mark Holub, who have been working with the Archives committee for several years to preserve the legacy of Mr. Perrilloux. Their support has included the donation of artifacts, music, and recordings to fill out the current collection.

Archival Notes

Eric Perrilloux Memoirs

This recording was provided by the Perrilloux family as a single MP3 file on a DVD. The quality of the recording is good, and tape noise is minimal. The reverb is part of the original recording. A comment in the beginning of the recording indicates that this was recorded on March 1, 1995 as a response to a request for information from Vince Bruni.

The Chas. T. Kirk Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps

A recording of the Chas. T Kirk Fife, Drum and Bugle Corps performing "Old English & Yankee Doodle". It is believed this recording is from a Connecticut Field Day in 1951.The recording was provided by Chuck Riley on cassette tape, however it appears to be a second-generation copy of an LP. Recording quality starts as marginal and improves throughout the clip.   

Eric Perrilloux Plays Selections from 'Forty Rudimental Drum Beats'

Recorded July 24, 1987 in the basement of the St. Lucy’s Church in Newark, NJ at the request of Duke Terreri.

Book published in 1950.
Unique, fun with rudiments, playing in an unrestricted tempo.

Drum Corps Hall of Fame All-American Snare Line

Recorded Sept. 5, 1987. Allentown, PA, Senior DCA Championships.

Announcer: Bill Hooton
Snare Drummers: John Flowers, Johnnie Dow, Eric Perrilloux, Bob Redican, Hugh Quigley
Bass Drummers: Pete Hubert, Jack County, Eldrick Arsenault

Dedicated to Bobby Thompson


Enjoy a few supplemental materials that will provide additional insight into Mr. Perrilloux's concepts and character.