Fort Wayne, IN - Neal Graham founder of XL Specialty Percussion and best known for the development and production of Protechtor Drum Cases passed away on December 23rd, 2012 at the age of 66.
A Fort Wayne native, Neal graduated from Ball State with a degree in Music Education and went on to teach in several local music programs. Additionally, he performed with various groups including the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. In 1972, Neal opened a small drum shop called the Percussion Center building drum sets for many local artists including Rush drummer Neil Peart. Neal later went on to start XL Specialty Percussion in 1981 and the creation of the Protechtor Drum Case line. XL Specialty pioneered the production of rotationally molded drum and percussion cases and has been the case of choice for numerous professional touring artists including Kenny Aronoff, Stanton Moore, Dave Weckl and many others. Additionally, XL was the one of the first manufacturers of marching drum carriers and the first carrier manufacturer for Yamaha and Premier Drums. In December 2008, he sold the company to Gator Cases staying on as the plants General Manager.
With the acquisition, the company continued to flourish and expanded production into new markets with Neal overseeing the plants daily operations. Due to health issues, Neal stepped down from his position in December of 2012. Upon his retirement a special video tribute was presented to Neal featuring many of the artists and friends that he made during his 40+ years in the music industry. The video can be viewed at the following location: http://youtu.be/rG6fcGdZylc