• Stuart Benson

Werbo’s wandering drums return home

Thomas Werbo, better known as ‘Werbo’ to friends and Kaffé 1870 regulars, said he would recognize his first drum set anywhere, even 26 years after loaning it out after a show, seemingly never to be seen again.


That is until Werbo said he saw a Facebook post on June 14 from Wakefield resident Patty Chevalier Samm giving away a strikingly familiar, if a little well-worn, drum set with an unmistakable wooden finish.


“No one forgets their first one, man,” Werbo said, describing how he had purchased the drum set in 1989 when he was in high school, adding a finish to the wood in shop class.

It’s little things like stray pieces of glue from when Tom Werbo applied the finish to his first set of drums in a high school woodshop back in 1989 that made him sure the set being given away on Facebook was the same one he gave away after a concert 26 years ago. Stuart Benson photo

The last time Werbo saw the drums was in 1995. He was playing in a band called The Jimmy George at the Duke of Somerset in Ottawa. Werbo said he remembered there was a woman who was in need of a set of drums, so he gladly loaned them to her — or at least he thought it was a loan.


“That was the last time I saw them,” Werbo said.


Unfortunately, by the time he had found the Facebook post offering the drums, Chevalier Samm had already given the set to someone else, and Chevalier Samm said she couldn’t be sure they were actually the same set.


After Werbo messaged Chevalier Samm to inquire about the drum set, she contacted the friend she had originally received the drum set from and the timeline matched up.


“Back in the 90s she was friends with some of the bandmates and had understood that the drum set was a gift,” Chevalier Samm explained. “She saw the show at a pub and it was passed along to her.”


Chevalier Samm said her friend had used the drum set to learn how to play and had then given them to her daughter who also learned how to play. Once her daughter had received a new set of drums as a gift, Werbo’s set had been passed to Chevalier Samm’s son, who in turn learned to play them himself.


“My son has since decided to move onto other things, so I thought I might gift it as well to someone else,” Chevalier Samm explained. She added that, since receiving the drum set, it had gained the addition of a cymbal after her son fished one out of the Gatineau River and cleaned it up.


Once the authenticity of Werbo’s original ownership of the drum set was verified, Chevalier Samm contacted the person she had already gifted it to and that person agreed to drop them off at Kaffé 1870 — thanks in part to Wakefield resident Elizabeth Logue’s offer to replace Werbo’s set with one she owned and had conveniently stored above the bar in Earle’s Hall.


Apart from finally being reunited with his drum set, Werbo said knowing that they were put to good use in that 26 year absence makes it all worth it.


“The heartwarming thing is that they've helped this woman and her daughter and another boy learn how to play the drums,” Werbo explained. “It's a crazy story.”