Founder and Owner
A teacher and historian by trade, I am a self-taught musician, craftsman, and businessman. While I am a long way from my college majors, I am thrilled to be living out my dreams and following my passions for music, design, and working with my hands.
I have been drawn to music my entire life. To me, it is a medium that can convey emotion and thoughts better than most spoken words can do on their own. My first experience with music was as a trumpet player in elementary school, where I learned to tap my foot to keep the beat. Later, I saved up enough cash to buy an old classical guitar from a pawn shop. It was then I first felt the satisfaction and joy that comes from making music just the way I wanted it. After graduating from college, a buddy and I hit the road in a refurbished VW van to poke around every corner of the United States. That year I spent traveling gave me a priceless education on life, music, and people. It also gave me the time to deepen my appreciation for older, bluesy-roots Americana music - particularly the kind that encourages toe tappin' and foot stompin'!
Since then, I have turned my hobby and passions into my dream job. Although I spend most of my time working in the shop and don't get to play as much music as I would like to, I love knowing that my instruments are helping others to find their own sound and engage audiences in new ways. I never cease to be amazed by the talent and diversity in the multitasking musician community and I am grateful for the connections I am able to make with musicians around the world.
This business wouldn't be possible without the love of my extended family and I am grateful for their encouragement, interest, and unending support in helping me take this business from a dream to a reality. My wife and I hope to pass on our love of music to our three young children and look forward to starting our own family band someday.
Farmer Musical Instrument Company
The Farmer Foot Drum Deluxe, the flagship of Farmer Musical Instruments, was first conceived while listening to John Lee Hooker in my woodshop in 2003. I could hear his feet tapping rhythmic beats to accompany his guitar and voice - but it sounded as if he had a drummer playing with him. I wondered if it would be possible for my feet to create a sound richer than simple tapping and I sketched out a design for a foot-played acoustic drum kit with multiple sounds. Using portability, great sound, and durability as the guiding principals in my design, I eventually constructed a crude contraption.
I built it for myself and enjoyed busking around Seattle and playing for friends. I decided to officially start up my own business in the fall of 2005 after hearing too many folks ask to buy it out from under my feet. After launching the business, I still worked by day as a high school teacher and I spent my nights toiling away in a rented single car garage to advance my designs and build a foot played drum kit with shakers, tambourines, snare, bass and more. In 2008, the universe (or at least the economy) conspired and pushed me into the business full time. While it certainly felt like a leap of faith, I knew I had enough passion and drive to make it happen. Moreover, the encouragement from strangers, family, and friends spurred me on.
I came to realize, after too many long days alone in the cold, crowded garage, that I needed help. I was lucky to find Kerry Carlson, of Innovative Manufacturing in Ferndale, Washington. Kerry had the tools, knowledge and generous spirit to bring my business and products to a higher level. He unveiled a new world of parts, machines, jigs, catalogs, and contraptions that lead to a much better product, made with less waste and less time. In addition to being able to pass along these savings to customers, I have been able to dream up additional instruments. I now have a full product line to be played by the head, hands, and feet.
In 2013 my family and shop moved from Bellingham, Washington to a small town in Northern Michigan. I am excited to be putting together my dream shop to streamline production and expand the busines opportunities. I strive to run a business that will be an active member of the local and global music scenes.
I take great pride in the products I put out and I wholeheartedly care for the musicians that play them. I am available to help each customer on a personal level and I work hard to make sure everyone is able to fully enjoy their Farmer Musical Instrument.
Until I hear from you, Keep Up the Beat!