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Joe Hibbs

Mapex Drums Artist Relations Manager, Joseph Hibbs, died unexpectedly on Monday, February 8, in Los Angeles, California; he was 63.

Born on January 6, 1953 in South Houston, Texas, Hibbs first gained an interest in the music business at the age of 11 after seeing the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. As one might expect after the 'Ringo experience',  Joe started playing the drums as a teenager and throughout the 70s worked in music retail and played professionally in Houston, Texas.

In the early '80s, Joe joined the Houston-based company, Pro Mark Drumsticks, where he worked as the artist manager and sales manager. As Artist Manager, Joe got to work with many of his drum heroes, Billy Cobham and Simon Phillips — he even hand-selected drumsticks for Buddy Rich.

Joe left Houston, moving to Philadelphia, and joined Hoshino USA (a/k/a Tama) where he worked as their artist relations manager, expanding the drum company's artist roster with the likes of Lars Ulrich (Metallica), Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) and Dave Grohl (Nirvana). He once again worked with many legendary drummers such as Elvin Jones, Neil Peart (Rush), Frank Beard (ZZ Top), and hundreds of others. While at Tama, Hibbs began devote some of his time to marketing and product development for Tama. He opened their Artist Relations and Product Development Center in Los Angeles, CA and went on to manage all of Tama's international artists, along with product development for Star Classic Drums and Iron Cobra pedals.

Hibbs left Tama and moved to New Jersey to work for Premier Percussion where he continued to work with artist and product development. Working for Premier gave Hibbs a unique opportunity — to live in England and develop a heightened sense of international business and world demand for music instruments and music artists.

In September of 2003, Joe was recruited by KHS Musical Instruments/Mapex drums to manage artist and product development as well as assisting in the rebranding of Mapex drums. Joe Hibbs remained in the Nashville area, working with Mapex until his death. He will be sorely missed by those that knew him; the music industry worldwide and the entire drumming community.