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American Workforce: A Journey into Cymbal Making with Paul Francis of Zildjian

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This 1 in one hundred million spotlight is brought to you in partnership with Kronos.

When it comes to the world of drums and percussion, I am a novice, despite having been around them regularly for 25+ years both as a performer, and music video director. Fact is, I’m a guitarist, but one always mesmerized by drums and the accent pieces that add depth to the music, like the bright crash of a cymbal. Zildjian is iconic, and I have some of their cymbals right here at Rock Father HQ. Though I’m hardly a drummer, I do keep a five-piece kit on-hand for dabbling (and inspiring The Rock Daughters™), and that kit includes some Zildjian Cymbals. What many don’t realize is that cymbal-making is a centuries-old art, and one that involves true craftsmanship, and an evolving understanding of what drummers are looking for. That’s were folks like Paul Francis come in… a cymbal maker, and the Director of Research and Development for Zildjian.

Profiled as part of the 1 in one hundred million video series presented by Kronos, Paul holds a position that is unique – an important one that many are not aware of. As we think about the American workforce and what its made up of, there’s so many unsung heroes out there that do important jobs upon which many rely, and 1 in one hundred million aims to share some of their personal stories… stories like Paul’s, presented here along with Steve Smith, drummer for JOURNEY.

While Steve has often been cited as one of the “Top 25 Drummers of All-Time,” Paul’s passion comes from a place of being a drummer himself. His experience as a player helps inform the new products from Zildjian as he works together with artists such as Max Weinberg (whose son, SLIPKNOT drummer Jay Weinberg is also a Zildjian player), AEROSMITH’s Joey Kramer and more, all to shape the perfect sound for each genre and player, no matter if it’s classical, jazz, pop, rock, country or metal.


PS: Remember when I said I’m personally around cymbals pretty often? In my work with Napalm Records’ PRODUCT OF HATE as both an artist manager and video director, Zildjian Cymbals have popped-up on occasion…

Mike McGuire - PRODUCT OF HATE with James Zahn

Curious to learn more about the unique jobs that are out there as part of the American workforce? Check out the 1 in one hundred million video series for more personal stories about the people who do the often unrecognized jobs that so many rely on. New episodes are released roughly every six weeks, with this one being the 22nd installment.

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