Phone: 562-706-1719

The Workshop

MAKING STEEL PANS

I enjoy making steel pans for many reasons, but most of all it makes me feel good knowing that someone somewhere will appreciate making music on them. I always feel very moved when I hear an entire band playing on pans that I have made.

There's not much that compares to literally 'creating' music, especially since steel pans bring so much joy into peoples lives. Somehow, I like to think of my pans as if they were children. It may seem a bit silly but, like children, pans have their own unique character. They look a bit different from one another, and they sound a bit different from one another, and sometimes they make you crazy (especially if they don't want to stay in tune!). But they all bring happiness into the world for someone.

It's always hard to let go of the pans I build. I become very attached to them in the shop.

Dave Beery

Blue Flame Tenor Pan                           
 

HOW AND WHY
DAVE BEERY STARTED MAKING AND PLAYING PANS

I first heard a steel pan in the late 1970's at a local swap meet. As a kid I thought they were really cool. In high school my band director bought a small steel drum for the marching band. We played on it in the field show and everyone thought it was great!

Later in high school the jazz band took a trip to Santa Cruz, California where I saw Michael Carney and Gigi Rabe playing steel pans in a jazz quartet. After seeing them play I decided that steel drums were not just really cool, but totally cool.

For college I decided to study music at San Fransico State University. But after one semester I realized it wasn't the place for me. The only other place that seemed suitable was California State University Long Beach, which was familiar to me because that was where Michael Carney taught percussion - and steel drums! So soon I found myself attending CSULB. Very soon after that I joined the steel drum orchestra. At first I played the six bass, and then began to play the quadraphonic pans. I was quickly becoming a pan fanatic.

That year, Dr. Carney invited me and another student to attend a steel drum workshop with him in Cannon Beach, Oregon. The workshop was put on by Ellie Mannette and his crew. I was there to learn to play better, but while I was there I was able to hear Ellie talk about making pans, and see him tune a few notes. I thought it was a really neat craft. 'Someday perhaps I will take a stab at it', I thought.

Blue Sparkle Pan                 Pink Flip Flop Pan

Months passed and as the new school year began I met my good friend Chris Wabich. He was also interested in making steel drums. The next thing I knew, we were on winter break bashing out steel pans in his basement in North Carolina! I was truly intrigued with the craft now.

I decided to keep going and try to make a really good one. Of course, as soon as I made a good one, it wasn't good enough. So I continued to try to make a better one. And a better one after that. And a better one after that! It was soon apparant that I would never be completely satisfied. But, through all of this pan making, I learned to love the art.

Now here I am making steel pans for a living! It's been an amazing journey. At this point I simply wish I could make more pans! So many barrels, so little time...

Island Sunset Pan