One day about six years ago, Peter Isakovic’s then-nine-year-old daughter expressed an interest in playing drums, and he wanted to make that happen for her. But Isakovic’s life wasn’t in the best shape at the time: He was a recently divorced dad crashing on a friend’s couch while working through a bankruptcy. Still, he did what he could with the little money he had to find his kid a good kit. He tried the usual musician’s channels — first going to Guitar Center, only to find drum sets that were way out of his price range. Isakovic then tried Craigslist, where he ended up negotiating with an inebriated seller to bring a $100 drum kit down to $63. It seemed like a great deal until he got the set home and realized that it was way too big for his daughter to play. The enterprising dad then turned around and put the drums back on Craigslist, selling them at a small profit in less than two hours.
“I thought, huh, maybe I could do this a few more times and pay my cell-phone bill and get a sandwich and eke out an existence,” says Isakovic. He kept at it, buying and selling drums — and cymbals, guitars, basses and amps — until he had amassed a serious collection. Fast-forward to 2015, and Isakovic is very much back on his feet. By day, he’s a managing director at Coldwell Banker Commercial Alliance Denver. He has his own place, and his daughter is a high-schooler, a School of Rock alum who plays multiple instruments. Oh, and Isakovic is now known as Pete, the Lodo Drum Guy. He’s a serious collector of affordable music gear, which he buys, sells and trades.
Dealing out of his loft in lower downtown, Isakovic has made it his mission as the Lodo Drum Guy to connect musicians with gear they can afford and the opportunity to try out instruments as they go. No sale is final: Isakovic will trade in or upgrade cymbals, kick drums, floor toms — anything he has in stock at any given time. He says that buying from Lodo Drum Guy is more like a membership opportunity: Once you’re in, he’ll work with you and your budget forever. Shopping his selection can be done online, where he gets visits from thousands of customers from across the country, or by appointment.
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Though Isakovic’s daughter has moved on from playing drums to other instruments, her father says it was important for him to continue his Lodo Drum Guy operation in order to help other parents like himself — parents who may not necessarily be musically inclined but want to see their kids go far. “When I was looking for a set for my kid, I didn’t know anything about drums; I’m not even a drummer,” says Isakovic. “But I’m a parent, and I wanted to hook my kid up. Going into a music store, they might as well have quoted me five million dollars; it was impossible for me to know.”
The connections Isakovic has made with his clients are substantial, and word-of-mouth advertising alone means that this music-gear guy is busy with both brand-new players and established musicians from the local scene and beyond. Though he doesn’t play drums himself, Isakovic is an active member of the music community, playing guitar in his own band, Logan Street Throwdown. He says that more than anything, music is what kept his life together in the harder times. Isakovic wants to continue his mission by making it affordable for other musicians and families to experience the same thing.
“I love connecting abandoned music gear that wants to be played. I know instruments are inanimate objects, but so are purses,” he says with a laugh. “You can get attached to them — it’s a very emotional thing.”