Mapex is proud to announce the addition of four new outstanding drummers to the Mapex Drums Artist roster. These up-and-comers are burning up the music scene in the Rock, Jazz, R&B and Metal genres.

Without further ado, we introduce to you Matt Halpern, Lee Pearson, Matt Johnson and Damien Schmitt.

Matt Halpern
Formerly the drummer with Animals As Leaders, Matt Halpern joined the progressive metal band Periphery in early 2009. Since he was five, he has been tearing it up on the drums, and Mapex is ecstatic to have him on board playing the Saturn Series.

Originally out of Baltimore, Halpern and Periphery are currently on the road with the Thrash and Burn Tour, and we were able to catch up with him during their stop here in Nashville.

“I had an open mind, and had some great drummers that played the brand already”, says Halpern of becoming a Mapex artist. “I was pleasantly surprised."

In addition to playing a Saturn Series kit, Halpern also uses the Mapex Falcon Double Pedal.

“I like this pedal for a couple of reason”, says Matt. “I like that it’s a slim design…and it’s really easy to set the right tension.”

“It’s very free and fluid.”

Check out the entire video interview and introduction of Halpern over at the Mapex Drums USA YouTube channel.

Lee Pearson
Lee is a notable Broadway, Jazz, R&B, and Hip Hop drummer from Maryland, and is in his first year as Head of the Music Department at the Maryland Academy for the Performing Arts. He is also the Minister of Music at Saint John’s Baptist Church in Baltimore, MD, where he teaches the choir and plays the organ and drums. Lee spent one and a half years at Julliard and four years at the Manhattan School of Music.

Currently, Lee is in numerous groups such as Beava’sphere, The Great Jazz Trio, The Antonio Hart Quartet, The Lonnie Liston Smith Group, The Hamiet Blueitt Quartet, and The Roy Ayers Ubiquity Band. He has also played and toured with Mike Stern, Roy Hargrove, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Cab Calloway Orchestra, Lauryn Hill, Wayne Henderson (of The Jazz Crusaders), and The Tonight Show Band with Jay Leno.

About Mapex, Lee said, “One night I went to the Blue Note in New York and heard a yellow double bass drum kit… that sounded amazing. It was Mr. (Will) Calhoun. Then I heard Mr. Herlin Riley on a jazz kit by Mapex. It was amazing to hear a brand of drums that sounds good with both styles of music that I play.”

When playing the Orion Series kit for a recent gig, he had multiple people compliment both him and the drums. “These drums are so amazing… Prince, yes, Prince asked me, ‘Man, what drums are you playing? They sound great out here.’ Cassandra Wilson even was like, ‘That bass drum sounds amazing.’ It was killing the switch from jazz to funk. Wow!”

Matt Johnson
Matt, an independent musician and educator with 30 years of experience, is one of the most versatile drummers in Southern California. The Los Angeles Times called him “a hurricane on sticks,” and Modern Drummer Magazine said he has “captivating technique and creativity.”

A member of The Hi-Fi Quintet, Matt is best known for his jazz chops, but is just as proficient in many other genres. He has performed with artists ranging from Julie Andrews to Les Brown to Jan and Dean. Matt is also a drum set instructor at Fullerton College.

Matt got his taste for Mapex drums several years ago when Fullerton College purchased three Pro-M kits, and later a Saturn Series kit. He said, “Those drums get played seven times a day/five days a week and after several years, they have literally taken a beating, held up well, and (still) sound great.”

For more information about Matt, visit

Damien Schmitt
Damien is a French drummer, most known for his work with Jean Luc Ponty, the famous French jazz and rock violinist. He began playing professionally at the age of 4 with his parents’ band. He possesses a wide array of musical knowledge ranging from funk, hip-hop, metal, rock, jazz, and fusion.

In 2000 and at the age of 19, Damien and his band made it to the finale of the prestigious “Printemps de Bourges” in France. In December of 2007, he was introduced to Jean Luc Ponty, who was so impressed by Damien’s feeling, technique and creativity that he hired him on the spot. Damien has performed with respected artists such as Yannick Noah, Zap Mama, and Frank Gambale, and has toured and recorded with other top French jazz-fusion musicians. He also does regular drum clinics in both the US and Japan.