Isaias Gil Crowned Guitar Center’s Drum-Off 2010 Champion

Guitar Center today announced Isaias Gil, of Houston, TX as the winner of Guitar Center’s 22nd annual Drum-Off, the search for the nation’s top undiscovered drummer. Performing in front of a capacity crowd this past Saturday, January 8th at The Music Box at Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood, CA 26-year old Isaias Gil beat out four other Drum-Off finalists from across the country to win a prize package worth more than $40,000 and earning the title of Guitar Center’s Drum-Off Champion. Isaias was chosen by a panel of judges that featured some of today’s most respected and distinguished drummers including John Tempesta (The Cult), Kenny Aronoff (John Mellencamp) Trevor Lawrence Jr (Herbie Hancock, Eminem) Tony Royster Jr (Jay-Z) Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves, Social Distortion), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Dave Elitch (The Mars Volta), Keith Harris (Black Eyed Peas), Rick Latham (Juice Newton) and Jason Sutter (Foreigner).
Isaias Gil’s winning performance can be seen below:

The evening’s competition was the culmination of months of local and regional competitions, which kicked off on September 23, 2010, with more than 4,000 drummers competing at local competitions across the 214 Guitar Center locations nationwide. More than 850 competitions total including district and regional showcases, paved the way to the final event in Hollywood. By creating a venue where undiscovered artists can reveal their talent, Guitar Center has been fostering the discovery of talented artists with its Drum-Off competition for more than two decades.

As Guitar Center’s Drum-Off champion, Isaias takes home a grand prize package worth more than $40,000 including:

  • $25,000 Cash
  • Custom Drum Kit (Provided by Gretsch, OCDP, Tama, Pearl or DW)
  • Drum Stick, Cymbal, and Drum Head Endorsement Deals
  • Complete Set of Cymbals (Provided by Paiste, Sabian or Zildjian)
  • Roland TD-20SX Electronic Kit & PM30
  • $500 Converse Gift Card
  • Monster Energy Drink Endorsement Deal
  • Feature in Modern Drummer Magazine
Below is a description of the event:

2011 NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) VIP Experience More than just a culmination of the world’s largest drum competition, Guitar Center’s Drum-Off Finals, hosted by Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), featured exclusive performances by many of today’s drumming elite. The evening began with an exclusive collaboration by hip hop and R&B icons Nisan Stewart (50 Cent, Beyonce), Trevor Lawrence Jr(Herbie Hancock, Eminem, Dr. Dre), Cora-Coleman Dunham (Prince) and Tony Royster Jr (Jay-Z),followed by a duet by prog-rock masters Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) and Simon Phillips (Toto, Brian Eno, King Krimson). Up next was Guitar Center’s Drum-Off final competition where the top five undiscovered drummers in the nation competed for the drum world’s ultimate prize. Following the Drum-Off finals was legendary metal drummer Dave Lombard of Slayer, with surprise guest guitarist Kerry Kingperforming with him on “Reign in Blood”. Lombardo then switched kits and performed with PHILM the Los Angeles-based experimental post-hardcore triumvirate featuring guitarist/vocalist Gerry Nestler (Civil Defiance), and bassist Pancho Tomaselli (War). The evening culminated in a world music performance by drum legend Steve Smith accompanied by a who’s who of guests that included JoJo Mayer, Pete Lockett,Jeff Hamilton, Mahesh Vinayakram, Kai Eckhardt, Fareed Haque, and George Brooks.

“When Stephen began saying ‘From Houston…’ I lost it!” said Isaias Gil after the show about his newly crowned title. “He hadn’t even said my name! Guitar Center has opened up the door for me to continue drumming on a completely new level and I’m so grateful for such an awesome opportunity. It’s a tremendous blessing and I cannot wait for what is to come next.”
For Isaias Gil, winning Guitar Center’s Drum-Off is the result of his lifelong passion for music. Originally from Acapulco, Mexico Gil arrived at the age of 2 in Houston, TX which is where he resides today. He picked up the drums at 9 years old and hasn’t put them down since. Today, he plays at the Second Baptists Church in Kingwood, a suburb of Houston and never turns down a chance to play a gig with anyone. It’s no surprise that he is a member of five other different groups, playing music ranging from Punk to Salsa and cover songs
Guitar Center’s Drum-Off has jump-started the careers of many drummers over its twenty two years, including Cora Coleman-Dunham (Prince), Tony Royster Jr (Jay-Z) and Eric Moore (Suicidal Tendencies), In years past, a number of the world’s best drummers have contributed their talent and support to Guitar Center’s Drum-Off initiative, including: Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Matt Sorum (Guns ‘N Roses, Velvet Revolver), Questlove (The Roots), Travis Barker (Blink-182), Tommy Lee (Motley Crüe), Thomas Lang, Josh Freese (Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle), José Pasillas (Incubus), Billy Cobham, Niko McBrain (Iron Maiden), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Danny Carey (Tool), Brann Dailor (Mastodon) and Jason Bonham.

Guitar Center’s Drum-Off is just one of many Guitar Center initiatives created to foster growth and success within the music community, including its annual 
Guitar Center’s Drum-Off is just one of many Guitar Center initiatives created to foster growth and success within the music community, including its annual On-Stage, Your Next RecordGuitar Center Sessions andKing of the Blues competitions, among others. 

About Guitar Center:

Guitar Center is the world’s largest retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Our retail store subsidiary presently operates 214 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. We are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician’s Friend, Inc., and its catalog and Web site, In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company’s Web site

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    Jim Napier

    Jim Napier

    Lover of movies and The Big Lebowski.