1. Tell me about your current kit: It’s an early-’70s sparkle red Ludwig. 14″ rack, 16″ floor and 22″ kick drum. You can tell the year because it has these super pointy badges that they rounded later on ’cause they’d always get snagged on things. My floor tom’s badge is a bit crinkly from getting snagged on my clothes a lot. It’s got a bigger rack tom than most kits have that I really like. Gives it a lower tone on my fills.
On my heads, I always use vintage coated drum heads. They have a a warmer tone than any other heads I’ve ever played on. It adds a subtle mute without doing too much to it. I always cut as much ring out of the toms without getting too muffled with Moongels. I like the gel better than tape cause it’s not a permanent thing and wont get too messy if you take it off. If I’m doing a show where everything is mic’d, I’ll dampen with more gels to help cut high frequencies that cause crazy feedback. When I play venues where nothing but vocals are mic’d, I let the drum tones resonate more to carry the drums through the room.
My snare is a ’60s Ludwig that I got from Baba from The Zeros. The built in muter doesn’t stay up well so I use the coated emperors on that with ONE Moongel. If it’s naked, it has a ring I don’t like. Too many gels, you lose your tone. I always make sure to tune it up high enough as to where the snare frequency will pierce through the song when you hit it. You don’t want to have your most powerful tool getting buried in the other instruments’ frequencies. You’ll lose your drive.
2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? “Red Planet” I think represents my style best. It has the the Lety-Stomp that a few friends have imitated when doing a Schizo-influenced song. I always strive to play something that I would want to dance to and this one has that energy that I like in other music. It’s super fun to play; really let loose on it.
3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ equipment you’d buy? I am not difficult to please, but I would probably want a really high-end set of cymbals. That is always where I have to compromise and buy based on price versus quality. It’s my toughest category of drum gear where I have the hardest time picking and choosing. In the past, I’ve just played what falls into my lap. Having the financial resources to really dive into my options here would be nice.
4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Locally, I appreciate the heck out of Jon Bonser. He’s taught me so much about the nitty gritty of drums. When we first started playing out, he very politely offered to show me about tuning and basic drum care after seeing my old mutant kit. If a head fit the drum and didn’t have any holes in it, I was good! I didn’t use bottom heads, and used to put a piñata in the kick drum just to fill the space. It’s funny now, but I really had no idea what I was doing past trying to learn to play songs. Jon’s been a good friend and really opened my eyes to the world of drums. He’s my gear guru!
5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Our next show is the DoSd launch party on Wednesday at The Casbah. Exciting news is we’re going to be a part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties coming up in April – the festival in north Wales that Drive Like Jehu is curating. We’ll be out there with The Schizophonics and backing El Vez as his Punk Rock Review band. We’re also a few songs shy of FINALLY finishing up a full-length album. We’ve been working at Earthling Studios with Mike Kamoo and his new 1″ 8-track tape machine that, legend has it, might’ve been the same one from Sunset Sound back in the day. Whatever it is, we’re loving it.
See The Schizophonics at the DoSD launch party on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at The Casbah with The Palace Ballroom, Mrs. Magician and Birdy Bardot. The show is free with your online RSVP here.