My memories of Gerd

by Colin Stegner

When I think about my father Gerd Stegner, his life was about drums. It wasn't just a hobby that turned into a career. It was his passion, the common thread in his life.

Of the many condolences that arrived after his death in September 2023, one stands out in this context. A fellow musician described him like this: “Gerd was one of the good ones.” That is true.

Looking back, I would like to share some memories.

When I was born in 1985, my father, aged 29, was already a popular local musician. In our house, there were posters of his bands like "Scooter - Muppet Rock" or "Fat Rat" - drawn with black ink on yellow poster paper, really nostalgic.

Even before I had my first memories at kindergarten age, there are photos of me on Dad's drums. They were really a part of our interior.

Performances by his bands "Years Ago" and "Agathon Sax", from the pedestrian zone to the communal BBQ spot in Bottenbach, and a benefit concert for the group "Limerick" also remain in my memories.

I also started playing drums and was able to learn a lot with Dad's support. Nobody could explain 4/4 beat as easily as Gerd using the Genesis song "No Son of Mine". And as an idea for a drum solo, there was a reference to Van Halen's "Jump".

In 1995, the big decision was made to found the company "St drums" - back then it all started in our house in Bottenbach. From that point forward, more and more musicians found their way to our tiny village of 700 people.

On the way to my school in Pirmasens there was a quick stop at the corner shop in Bottenbach. Dad bought local papers "Findling" or "Sperrmüll" with private "for sale" ads in them and I was then asked to read the drum section loudely. Even though I didn't understand a lot about drums at that age: 12 TeeTee, 14 Efftee, 14 Ess-Enn, 22 Bee-Dee... The advertisements were commented with: "No, it's nothing" or "Tell me the number". The telephone calls with the owners were also professionally pre-selected: "What ist written on it? Ludwig or Sonor?"

I think over time we had searched a large part of the Saar-Palatinate region for hidden treasures - long before the ebay era.

The journey back was also about music. After 10 hours of school lessons, Gerd took me home again and played "Lights" by Journey. In the mood of sunset and city lights.

I think his taste of music had a lasting impact on mine.

The business grew, around the turn of the millennium we got our own website, and after that it was growing even more. At some point the space in the house became very limited. From the garage to the attic, every spot was covered with drum parts.

So we were going to rent a warehouse from the farmer next door, also known as “Werk Süd”.

My father was generous when he was enthusiastic about something. At the Musikmesse in Frankfurt, I had tested my dream set at that time, a Roland E-drum. I was blown away by the loops and that you could easily practice songs without disturbing anyone.

But my community service money after school wasn't enough, so Gerd took over half of the purchase price and donated a rack also. I still own the set today.

When I learned my job as a media designer from 2005 to 2008, Gerd approached me several times with drum projects.

I was asked to design a drum layout map, advertisements, a logo badge and printed drumwrap. Dad always had a goal in mind, but was also open to creative input.

In return, I wished and received a watch and also two guitars, which don't sound that good, but look great - a classic designer thing.

Together with his band "Indian Summer", he noticed that he couldn't use his hand as he normally would when playing the drums. The signal from the head simply didn't arrive.

As it turned out in 2007, it was Parkinson's disease. It would become our constant companion over the next few years.

In 2009, the house was bursting at the seams from the drum goods and we had to move our company that summer. The new location was Gerd's hometown of Pirmasens. There, we found enough space and new opportunities for expansion in a former factory for shoe parts.

Shortly afterwards I had the honor of stepping in for my father on drums for a country music band. We played in the famous ParkPlatz, the true Pirmasens music scene pub.

I joined the St drums team officially in 2012. Gerd was an all-rounder and a walking encyclopedia. Even if he solved some tasks differently than others. It worked and it was successful, so more and more employees joined.

The way he was able to get excited about individual parts is admirable. He had been working with aluminum on his own strainer prototype in recent years. I had seen a very similar one on an inconspicuous snare and had to show him the look immediately. Bought. We later sold that model as the “Vintage Style Strainer”.

I became a father in 2020, so Gerd became a grandfather. He soon had build a custom children's drum kit with Lefima lugs, wrapped in Green Diamond for my son Jonathan.

In the last few years I have told him more and more often about ideas and projects. I could only benefit from Dad’s expertise. He was always a good listener in his own diplomatic, humorous and friendly manner.

When I offered the first raw steel snare in 2023, he liked it so much that he wanted a 14x4" black steel shell for himself.

It means a lot to me that it was so well received by Gerd, and it was also his last drum project.

Unfortunately he couldn't finish it himself.

What gives me personal comfort is the belief that I will see my father again in a new world. A world without Parkinson's disease. The one he thought of more intensively before his death:

But the meek will possess the earth, and they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. (Psalm 37:11)

Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life." (John 11:25)