Archive for Sunday, September 23, 2012

Baldwin City resident hired to make new drum for Chiefs

Cyrus Fillmore, who lives west of Baldwin, rests on a nearly six-foot drum he's making for the the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cyrus Fillmore, who lives west of Baldwin, rests on a nearly six-foot drum he's making for the the Kansas City Chiefs.

September 23, 2012


Fillmore's drum is nearly 6 ft wide and 24 inches deep made of two cow hides stretched on a metal frame of a water tank, as the sides are deadened with foam to create the deep sound.

Fillmore's drum is nearly 6 ft wide and 24 inches deep made of two cow hides stretched on a metal frame of a water tank, as the sides are deadened with foam to create the deep sound.

Baldwin City man builds new drum for Kansas City Chiefs

Cyrus Fillmore of rural Baldwin, talks about making a special drum for the Kansas City Chiefs. Enlarge video

In 20 years of building drums, Cyrus Fillmore — aka Cy the Drum Guy — has made some pretty big ones.

American Indian grandfather drums, an Asian dragon drum, African-style bass drums, to name a few.

But the Kansas City Chiefs’ next jumbo tom-tom, which Fillmore is building at his Baldwin City home, is his biggest drum yet — and sure to be the most-heard.

Fillmore’s new drum is planned to help revive an old Chiefs tradition at 79,000-plus capacity Arrowhead Stadium.

In 1964, the Chiefs introduced an 8-foot-tall drum for gameday entertainment at Arrowhead Stadium. At the time, the instrument was believed to be the world’s largest tom-tom, at least according to Chiefs lore.

“The reverberations of the drum are rumored to have been heard from blocks away from the stadium when the drum was used to rally fan support,” according to press notes from the team. “The Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders, then known as the Chiefettes, were charged with beating the drum to incite excitement in fans.”

For their 50th anniversary season, the Chiefs are reintroducing the drum.

During pre-kickoff ceremonies at each home game, one honoree will bang the drum to lead fans in the Tomahawk Chop. At the Sept. 9 home opener, that was retired Chiefs Hall of Famer Bobby Bell.

Fillmore’s drum should be ready to hit the field soon.

After another drum maker referred the Chiefs to Fillmore — “I was like, ‘The Chiefs need a drum? Sweet,’” Fillmore said of getting the call — Fillmore said he communicated with the team for a few weeks, explaining the process of creating the drum and the timeline. The team approved his proposal and sent him a cattle tank painted red for the frame (he offered to carve the frame out of wood but said the Chiefs wanted a drum that looked like the old one).

While not as large as the original, Fillmore’s drum — at 5.5 feet in diameter and 2 feet deep — is still nearly as tall as he is.

The new tom-tom is an extra-large version of a traditional American Indian council style drum. Though the drum isn’t wooden, Fillmore lined the metal with foam to improve the sound. He used two full cowhides, which he stretched for almost a month, and secured the drumheads with rawhide strapping. To help its sound fill the stadium, the drum has a hole in one side for a microphone.

Fillmore was shaving fur from the drumheads on Friday and expected the leather to be dried and the tone to start developing this week, just in time to deliver it to the team.

“This is seriously the real deal,” Fillmore said. “When it dries, it’s going to be formidable.”

Fillmore specializes in djembes, goblet-shaped African tribal drums, and also carves didgeridoos. He plays, too.

Whether it be massive sporting events or a solo musician, the sound of a drum stirs people, Fillmore said. “It’s about spreading the vibrations.”

Fillmore isn’t sure whether he’ll ever see his drum played at Arrowhead. Not generally a sports fan, he said, he’s never actually attended an NFL football game.

He won’t say how much the Chiefs are paying him for the drum. But if the Washington Redskins get wind of it and happen to call him for one, Fillmore laughed, he’ll probably charge them a little more.


riverdrifter 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, good for Cyrus. As for the Chiefs, my family did the 6420 season ticket plan. We started out with 6 season tickets in 1970, Chiefs sucked for years, reduced to 4, Chiefs still sucked, reduced to two and then they got rediculously high-priced and still sucked. So, we went to zero 3 years ago. I'll listen to them lose on the radio. Bang a friggin' drum.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

Nice to know the drum that leads to all of the drunk white people pretending to be Native comes from Baldwin. I need to create an oblivious mascot representing the intellect of america.....wait a minute.....Peter McFarland beat me to it.......

local_support 5 years, 8 months ago

Drums are not exclusive to Native American culture. But let's not be naive here. A pro sports team is distorting tribal identity in order to rile up the hoi polloi.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

I thought tusca-whatever was native american. You are getting your bigots mixed up.

Drumguy 5 years, 8 months ago

Actually I care a great deal about Native Ansestory, after all I took the time to learn how these instruments are made. I have never Sold any of the traditionally made Grandfather drums I have made, they have all been Gifted. This drum however is NOT traditional, it is commercial so yes I am accepting payment for it. (I have yet to see a traditional grandfather drum made with a metal shell, all others I have made have been carved from a tree trunk.) As the article states I have never been to an NFL game, don't care for sports in general, and have no care whatsoever how teams name themselves. I have NO Native American Ansestory that I am aware of, I just enjoy making these wonderful instruments, as the article also mentions the type of drum I normally make is the African Djembe. Personally I believe I honor the peoples of which I take the time to learn enough about to create the instruments of their heritage so really cant see your problem.

irvan moore 5 years, 8 months ago

i think you make great drums and deserve to be rewarded for your craftsmanship, congratulation, it's a pretty big deal to be picked for this project

Terry Sexton 5 years, 8 months ago

Tuschy & bull have valid points. I used to argue that Native Americans should feel honored to have teams represented by mascots such as Chiefs & Redskins & Braves. Then, I saw a video of a passionate Indian young lady reduced to tears by the concept of her culture & heritage reduced to the level of mascots. It saddened me to watch Lee Corso dancing around yesterday like a fool as he donned a (supposed) Seminole headdress while picking FSU to beat Clemson.

It is not my place nor yours to tell Native Americans what does & does not offend them.

UfoPilot 5 years, 8 months ago

I really could not care less if they're offended. If you want to be offended, be offended about something that matters. Six million children die of hunger every year.

Smarmy_Schoolmarm 5 years, 8 months ago

So all of the Native American children that have died of hunger because of the actions of Euros don't matter to you? If it's in the past it doesn't count?

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

The man's work is wonderful and it seems he has some success with his art. Good for him.

I have problems with the teams name, and to some extent with how his work will be used, but I appreciates the artist's work. Kudos Mr Fillmore.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

Maybe the midwest is different, back east the name of KCs team is the equivalent of the derogatory word for a person of African descent.

All that said, if that's the name they want and it makes the corporation money, there is no reason to change it.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

I am Choctaw and Biloxi Indian. The majority and uninformed comments here do not speak for many indigenous peoples whose cultures are more than duh dah duh dah duh sounds most sundays you lose at Arrowhead. I protested the Chiefs Redskins game a number of years ago and I saw drunk pretendians firsthand. Nothing funnier than seeing a drunk white guy in face paint seeing my fullblood Lakota Haskell professor friend pulling his child with braids though a parking area and realizing how much of a isubah ishkish he looks like. Ihkana chi keyu. nahollo ilbasha ahalabi haklo li. okla okpulo pisa li. talhepa tuchina api homma nittak anumpa. nahollo anumpa ut ahalabi laua. Chahta iskatinni anumpuli li. You don't represent us. You never will. You represent your imagined history where you aren't responsible for any actions whatsoever. I speak the Choctaw language. No one ever said me heap um big except uneducated prejudiced okla nahollo.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 8 months ago

Mr. Fillmore, I was remiss not to point out my admiration for your skills & craft. I echo the sentiments of Liberty275. Congratulations, sir.

hooligan01 5 years, 8 months ago

To all of those complaining about prejudice and injustice.... Boo Freakin Who.

Armstrong 5 years, 8 months ago

Gee I thought Tuschies first post was actually pretty funny. Lighten up folks.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

why don't you explain why you vote for Kansas republicans who ignore the Winters Doctrine from a 1908 US Supreme Court Case that by law should allow the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas to have Plum Creek dammed for drinking water? Why don't you realize that when you clown people with mascots your dimwit politicians don't take Native concerns seriously because they see cartoons and not people with legitimate issues which leads to the many clueless people on here with clueless comments?

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

I would tend to not vote for pro Native American candidates because they might be like you. I don't need more reasons to dislike the government.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

Liberal....if you're Jewish then maybe you can explain Jack Abramov bilking the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana out of $21 million which he hasn't paid back yet as court ordered for restitution.....maybe you can explain Richard Blumenthal....former AG of Connecticut and now US Senator who made a career out of verbally and legally attacking the Mashantucket Pequot, Mohegan, Paucatuck Pequot, and Paugusset tribes for over thirty years or US Congressman Eric Cantor who has probably opposed the federal recognition of the Mattaponi, Chickahominy, Pamunkey, Nansemond, Rhappahannock, and Monacan tribes even after they relinquinshed their rights for tribal gaming. I had a 25 minute yelling match with a Tom Coburn staffer in DC a year ago after that move. I also loved it when Jack Abramov played that Jewish/Native American similarities in struggle card as he ripped off the Louisiana Coushatta tribe. As a preacher's kid I can't really say which works better as a religious motivator.....guilt or greed.....neither one has appeared to work for indigenous peoples in the US, Canada, or Meso and South America and yet people continue to want forgiveness as they keep committing sins and not adjusting their colonial and imperialist behaviors.

Bob Forer 5 years, 8 months ago

Shame on you for adopting the same anti-semitic nationalist garbage that other oppressed groups have implemented in going after the Jews. After all, they are an easy scapegoat and it looks like you have learned something from history--how to demonize other people.

The misdeeds of Richard Blumenthal and Jack Abramov have absolutely nothing to do with their Jewishness. There are no such thing as good or bad cultures. Only good or bad individuals. Comparing and equating two criminals with an entire people is no different than what the Nazis did. Your comments are racist, and just as uniformed as the comments you condemn.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 8 months ago

tuschie, I hope you've got that rant saved as text so you don't have to key it in every time. Your poor little fingers will be worn down to nubs.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

You should be ashamed of yourself for dismissing the valid comments of a Native American as a rant. "...poor little fingers...." What the hell?

Drumguy 5 years, 8 months ago

WOW I just wanted to build a Drum. And have people enjoy it. Everyone posting on this link should start drumming on a regular basis. It will help calm their hate. (this of course is my personal belief and opinion) Warm regards to all of you may you find peace.

vhope 5 years, 8 months ago

Congrats Cy! Your drums always echo the love you have for all living things and the respect for all cultures. You are awesome and loved!

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

You're a nationally recognized artist. Enjoy the ride.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

fine.....the Winters Doctrine deals with the damming of the Milk River in Montana by a White farmer thus denying the Gros Ventre (pronounced Gro Vein) and Assiniboine tribes the ability have water for farming or performing the arts of civilization as perscribed by US Government policy of a century ago. The reservation for these two tribes was created before the statehood date of Montana thus giving the two tribes pre eminent water claims. In 1908 the US Supreme Court affirmed the water rights for these two tribes and the dam was removed. In the Kickapoo tribe of Kansas case concerning drinking water their reservation was established in 1832 some 29 years before Kansas statehood. The Kickapoo treaty of 1862 was a land grab for the Leavenworth, Pawnee, and Pikes Peak Railroad orchestrated by the Kickapoo Agent Mr. Keith and US senator and land thief extrordinare Samuel Pomeroy. The Plum Creek area was part of this land treaty area. The Indian agent was so corrupt that a group of Kickapoos left Kansas in the mid 1860's and went to Mexico and Texas along with some Potawatomi people. The modern Kickapoo Tribe of Eagle Pass, Texas and Naciemento, Mexico is descended from this group who left the White corruption of 1860's Indian Kansas. Read the book "The End of Indian Kansas 1854-1871" by Craig Miner and William Unrau to learn how 80% of eastern Kansas was stolen away from the Shawnee, Iowa, Kickapoo, Wyandotte, Sac and Fox, Delaware, Miami, Wea, Peoria, Piankishaw, and Kaskaskia in the Manypenny Treaties of 1854-55. Leavenworth, KCK, Lawrence, Paola, and Topeka were founded on these lands. This book is in the Native American section at Half Price Books in Lawrence for $7.00. Such a small price to pay to overcome historical ignorance.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

drumguy....know that you have stepped into an issue where African Americans don't tolerate Sambo's Restaurant, Latino people didn't tolerate the drunk sombrero guy sign in front of the Liquor Store on Southwest BLVD in KCMO and Native peoples shouldn't have to tolerate Ottawa Braves, Manhattan Indians, Tulsa Union Redskins, Little River Redskins, or Osage City Indians, but some people are toooo dense to get it as they do their stupid chant in front of a mediocre overpaid NFL team who is historically tone deaf to Native people. I stood near the I-70 exit to Arrowhead and Royals stadium as ONE Chiefs representative spoke to the late AIM activist Vernon Bellecourt and an Osage acquaintance of mine pr lip service at the Chiefs Redskins game a number of years ago. Do the right thing drumguy.....don't build the drum for a contingent of tone deaf historically clueless sports fans who are too drunk to care about who they offend. Someone needs to let the Chiefs know that the chop is insulting and offensive to Native peoples. Think of Marlon Brando refusing his Oscar award back in the 1970's. That would be a good start.

GUMnNUTS 5 years, 8 months ago

Chiefs with a nice victory today. Who dat, who dat, who dat that beat them Saint's. Can't wait to hear the drum at the Broncos game

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

I'm not dismissed....some people just revel in ignorance....

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

You are being a pain in the butt. Go sit in the corner until you learn how to behave around people.

Liberty275 5 years, 8 months ago

So if have a dog I named "F(slang for a homoseuxal)TS, after a stick he would retrieve, and I buy the team and rename it the Kansas City F... after my beloved dog, would that be OK?

The idea is from Mel Brooks, so don't blame me for it.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 8 months ago

Well, good for all of you for doing your best to insult, humiliate and diminish all Native Americans by attacking one. I have never saw as much disrespect for a group of people as I have on the LJW.
And, none of you are in any position to tell anyone what to do.

vhope 5 years, 8 months ago

Wow! I just wanted to read an article about a friend who is kind and compassionate. He treats people with respect and listens with an open heart. It is a shame that "strangers" should behave in such a hateful, disrespectful way. Real sad statement about humanity.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

if this compassionate attitude is the case then maybe he shouldn't make the drum for a bunch of inebriated bigots to clown a whole race of people. after all, one should ignore the racism, blame the victims of the racism for speaking up, and play it simple.... the original Osage acquaintance of mine whose gone to US Senate hearings in DC to testify about such racist acts recently had a protest sign with the Bartle character in a headdress at the Chiefs Redskins game a couple of years ago. We don't like the scouts playing Indian either. Ask Roger Boyd about that.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

Synchopant.....I'm not anti was Jack Abramov who played that struggle card to bilk $21 million from the Louisiana Coushatta tribe for Tom Delay and the GOP that all of the tea partiers seem to forget about.....not me......I've simply observed that these three men in DC, Connecticut, and Virginia, forgot the struggles of all people and had sought to subjugate and rip off Indian tribes over the last three decades. I actually had a Potawatomi acquaintance in Lawrence who attended Jewish services after their parent converted as Potawatomi person to the Jewish faith. I went with them to Passover services. All denominations need to walk the walk they talk. I've often stated that if one names a denomination on the US soil I can name an atrocity they were accountable for. Forgive and not forget is what I adhere to.

Bob Forer 5 years, 8 months ago

I beg to differ. Out of millions of Jews alive today on this earth, you throw out three names of criminals who happen to be Jewish and ascribe their morals to the entire Jewish people. Can't get too much more anti-semitic than that.

Give it a rest and take a little time for some self-reflection. The good points you make are lost in your opportunistic and nasty Jew baiting.

Mike Ford 5 years, 8 months ago

firstly fretster...when said drum is used for purposes of clowning a race I do have a say in it. I've witnessed the racial clowning firsthand at arrowhead. An African American co worker of mine brought the tomahawk chop and drum issue up to me this morning and said those white people are clowning you all again....what are you going to do about it?? If I knew something I did led to other people being offended or denigrated in a racial or historical way I'd stop doing it. Synchophant.....I agree there are good and bad people in every race. Amongst indigenous people there is the Mohegan leader Uncas who led the charge to annihilate his Pequot relatives in 17th century Connecticut. There is Charles Curtis who betrayed the Five Civilized Tribes with his amendment to the Dawes Allotment Act in 1898. He betrayed his own Kaw people and didn't go to Oklahoma when they were removed there and then as an assimilated man went to Oklahoma to claim 1600 acres of alloted Kaw land for his kids in 1902. Then there is Stand Watie and Ross Swimmer. Stand Watie signed the Echota Agreement which got the Cherokee Nation removed on the Trail of Tears. The signatures of like 800 Cherokees got 16000 Cherokees removed. Stand Watie lated used the US Civil War as an excuse to exact revenge on Cherokees who opposed removal and who murdered some other Cherokees who also signed the Echota Removal Treaty. He became a Cherokee Confederate General and attacked Union aligned Cherokee refugees who fled to Kansas during that war. Ross Swimmer is former Cherokee Chairman who was a lapdog for Ronald Reagan. He interferred with Cherokee Freedmen voting, He interferred with the relationship between the Cherokee and Eastern Delaware tribes, He was against tribal gaming and he talked down the Cobell settlement amount from $7 billion to $794 million. There are bad people in every race. I'm sorry if I seem unfair concerning a couple of Jewish US Politicians but I'll recall another incident in my life. I was on the Wounded Knee massacre site in June 2000 at Pine Ridge, SD, when an Australian tourist also at this site asked me why they couldn't find any copies of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee at the South Dakota book stores they'd visited. I immediately asked her how honest she'd be about Australia's treatment of Aboriginal People. I basically made her answer for the actions of the Australian government as we were standing on a site where over 300 Lakota men, women, and children were shot with cannons and winchester rifles in the back on December 29, 1890 and dumped into mass graves that we were standing near in the year 2000. I guess to put an end to my part of this discussion is to say that when 700 indigenous nations are not taken seriously and are historically dismissed it must be a lot easier to make a drum for a bunch of drunk football fans to further the racist behavior that never went away. Think of what actions represent.....

Klumma 5 years, 8 months ago

Are. You. Serious..??

All of this banter over a "White Man" - and you know who you are - that has a craft and is using it? I will be the first one to tell you that I can not make a drum that would work. And this guy has the ingenuity (notice how I did not try to make a pun by saying injunnewitty) to use a water trough (sp.) to make this? Come'on. I think this is great.

In these times of uncertainty and unemployment this shows that someone who knows a craft whether it be making a drum or framing a house can still do what one can do for a living is great. White, Black, or in between. This is the 21'st century.

BTW. For those who may even care or are interested. There are more than one claim to be a Native American. Just ask the Mexican of the Southwest, Hawaiian, or Eskimo. These people have no Sovereign land - Da Rez - and get little help from the Gubmnt from my personal experiences with the ones know, and have known.

All this over a Drum....

Klumma 5 years, 8 months ago

BTW - this is for the poster that negated the "Other" native Americans. Something tells me that this song is very engrained as it is just all about you....

Have a happy day! (Smiles)

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