Interview: Eric Oliver Of ECO Tom


Recently I have been seeing a lot of buzz on twitter about a new product called the “ECO Tom”. This green bucket/drum has been showing up in my news feed on a regular basis so I had to find out more! I contacted the inventor and owner of ECO Tom, Eric Oliver and asked if he could tell us a little more about ECO Tom and how the idea came about.

Here’s what he had to say.

“I’m Eric Oliver I live in Clarksville Indiana about 2 miles from Louisville Ky. I’m basically a self-employed carpenter. Most of my work is Victorian restoration. I invented the drum (ECO Tom) a year ago and applied for my patent on February 14 of this year. Basically if you want to use household recycled plastic for a drum shell and make it work you have to use my patent. It’s the way my flange compresses the shell. I was cleaning out a rental unit and found a different looking bucket so I kept it. I saw that a 12″ drum head fit it so I set about finding a way to mount it. I was going to cut plywood rings that would compress the head. Plywood is expensive so I ended up at a used music store digging through a junk box. I found a 12” hoop and another weird drum part. I put the two together on the bucket and made my first drum. I ended up driving around with it in my passenger seat playing as I drove down the road haha! I had it on Facebook and was showing people. I took it to Mark Maxwell owner of MOMs school of music. He looked at me funny and the first thing he said was “you don’t know what you have here. Do you?” He then told me to call a lawyer. I did and set about finding exactly why it worked. Turns out the weird drum part was very rare and only made by one company for 3 years in the early 90’s. Almost non exist today. Not new, not online. Total fluke finding the part in a junk box. After finding that I couldn’t order the part I redesigned my flange to do what the part did only custom to fit my application. It’s the way the steel reinforces the plastic. A prior art search came back with something done about 2004 but the way it worked caused the shell to fail so it was sold as a universal kit. Mine is a complete drum. It takes certain parts to make it work. I also hired a graphic designer and together we figured out the printing. Right now I’m just getting them out there as much as I can. I donated two drums to the School for the Blind because I work for blind clients fixing their houses and Mom just lost her sight so it’s important to me and I love the kids in the group. Right now my target is Nashville. I’m trying to get a foot hold there and be seen by the heavy hitters. Rich Redmond is putting on that drummers weekend over Halloween and I’m giving him a drum to give away as a door prize. Hopefully that will get it seen by the right people. Also I just posted a pic of the new electric led drum, that’s going to Vice Tricks. They will debut it when they open for The Misfits November 30.”

A Little back story on Eric Oliver

“I’m 47 and I grew up racing road bicycles and started working at a bicycle shop at 13 after I left I worked for a cabinet shop. Then went to work for a German pipe organ builder here in Louisville. That’s where I started building instruments. They build about two organs a year. Most were two stories tall with 2500+ wood and tin pipes. It was a small 5 person shop but very crafty. They taught me about resonance and using different materials together. Steel, leather, wood, plastic. Basically technology that is hundreds of years old. We built instruments designed to last centuries then be rebuilt. After that I started on my own. Building PA speaker cabinets then got in to the Victorian houses.”

You can contact Eric to find out how to purchase your very own ECO Tom or ECO Snare below


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