RIP Jerry Jman Langenfeld

Monday, 25 May 2020 5:26 pm

Jerry ‘Jman’ Langenfeld passed away peacefully in his sleep on May 16.

Jman was known to electronic drummers worldwide both for his online advice and contributions to forums and Facebook groups and as the owner of Stealthdrums.com, a supplier of cymbal and drum triggers.

I have known Jman for more than a dozen years, first through the vdrums forum, where he was a moderator and a very loud voice, and later through digitalDrummer magazine.

I first met Jman “in the flesh” at the NAMM Show in Anaheim in 2012, and catching up with the big man was always one of the highlights of my pilgrimage to the music trade show over the years.

When I missed the show, Jerry was my eyes and ears at NAMM, sniffing out new products and challenging the manufacturers with curly questions based on his tinkerer’s insights and many years of e-drum experience.

One of his prized possessions was an official NAMM press bag which I left with him a few years ago and which attended Anaheim every year thereafter.

His Stealthdrums.com business was an ideal outlet for his e-drum curiosity and his desire to share his knowledge. While he designed, built and sold triggers, he was equally happy to spend hours with anyone interested, explaining the tips and tricks of the trade for their own DIY efforts.

Jerry was among the first disciples of the 2box module and pioneered the “SD card hack”, which involved opening the module and replacing the fixed internal SD card with an extender cable that allowed users to access the card externally. He was also the first to document the hack with the new DrumIt Three module, “taking one for the team” with the trickier mod.

He also developed a hi-hat conversion system that allowed DrumIt Five owners to use non-2box hi-hat cymbals and controllers.

Jerry first saw a VST in action on my laptop and jumped into that product category with the enthusiasm he showed for everything related to e-drums, building a collection to rival any out there. He and I did some of the early work on converting VST samples to 2box format before the arrival of the Lustark’s SDSE software solution.

And, with the same enthusiasm, he was an early adopter of the Pearl mimicPRO, and, again, threw everything he had at the module, developing special trigger configurations for the brain and helping the developer with beta testing of new software and firmware. He and I were among the first to put the dedicated Vex packs through their paces in pre-sale testing.

Jerry was so impressed with the mimicPRO that he often told me that it had revived his interest in drumming and encouraged him to spend even more time behind the monster kit for which he was so well known. This enthusiasm also led to a surge of videos in which he demonstrated various Stealth triggers with the mimicPRO module.

Jman’s videos were a reflection of his personality: no-nonsense, one-take and focused on the sounds, not the fancy stuff. His products were similarly pragmatic – designed to fill a need, not look flash.

Jman “discovered” electronic drums in 2000 at a music store and applied his characteristic enthusiasm, assembling his first monster kit which was featured in the April 2004 edition of Modern Drummer magazine. After that, he started converting acoustic kits and shared pictures and videos of his creations at every opportunity. My one regret is that I never made it round to his San Diego “head office” for a combined jam.

Jerry was a born-again Christian with very strong beliefs, but never felt the need to impose his views on others. However, his values and beliefs guided all his interactions and he conducted himself with integrity and honesty and always went the extra mile for anyone.

Jman was sensitive about his thinning hair, a process that started quite early in his life – hence his characteristic cap worn backwards. Joe Cocker’s line, “You can keep your hat on”, was a common greeting when we met. Well, buddy, you can finally take it off. Rest in peace.

-Allan Leibowiitz