1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos:
In the photos are a mountain of steel: maple, birch, mahogany, acrylic, brass and aluminum snares collected over the course of 20 years or so. All based on tone and nothing but tone. Appearance is always secondary but it’s on the plus side if something sounds as good as it looks. I own many kits that get used a lot in the studio and on stage. There is never a shortage of tonal possibilities here at the studio [Pandemonium Recorders]. Aside from the snares, there are also a plethora of Remo roto-toms, Tama concert toms and miscellaneous percussion items.
The Pearl kit is from 1973 and is made of 100% fiberglass in standard sizes. This is the loudest kit I have ever played. It gives you so much sound per stroke of velocity. This is the kit I like to use in live situations especially when drum mics are not available. And they will cut through some of the meanest amps including Tommy’s [Garcia, from Mrs. Magician] extremely loud Satellite amp or Jeremy’s [Rojas] 2,400 watt bass amp. In the studio they have this natural brightness that works well with faster music such as metal or similar styled faster-paced music.
The Tama Imperial Star kit is from 1979, it’s made from 100% mahogany with an interior sealer. Its the mellowest, darkest and yields the most bass response naturally. They have a lot of low-end in recordings that help some of the lower tuning’s on slower tunes you might encounter. The hardware on this kit is well over-engineered to the point it is very heavy but also very dependable, not fun to load in and out on a constant basis unless your roadie is a bouncer on the side. Although a basic kit is displayed, an entire set of 8 concert toms, 5 standard double-headed toms and two floor toms are composed of this kit and available in all sorts of configurations depending of what is ordered.
The Ludwig Classic is from 1971 and is made of 3-ply maple and poplar with reinforcement rings. This the quietest kit with the best tone for general recordings from rock to jazz. With single-ply heads, these are the most musical sounding drums to record with, they have this distinctive tone that can only be associated with the Ludwig name. I can’t put my finger on it. The bearing edges are very irregular, untrue, uneven and hard to tune, however; I believe this accounts for that great classic tone you can not achieve with perfectly machined modern drums.
The Ludwig Vistalite is from 1972 or so. The shells are made of 100% acrylic Plexi-glass made by Cadillac, yes Cadillac – their plastics division manufactured these shells for Ludwig. The sound is very bass heavy, more bass than mahogany with similar loudness to fiberglass without the brightness. With coated single-ply heads on the tops and the bottoms, they become this very musical drum in the studio. Clear two-ply heads typically kill the musicality these drums are capable of. The bearing edges are not perfect but with a little patience, you can dial in that tuning and of course they leave nothing to hide of the drummer as their clear shells reveal every aspect of the drummer who usually likes to hide behind his kit. This is my favorite kit to play in general.
The 1984 Black Ludwig S/L kit is somewhat of a unusual American-made kit. It was manufactured during an era when Japanese markets were dominating the drum industry and killing companies like Slingerland, Camco and Rogers. They are nothing short of typical Ludwig American quality. The shells are made of maple/poplar with an interior sealer similar to that of older Tama shells. The hardware on this kit is very heavy in that it’s the same kind of solid core fittings found on their marching drums. It has that great Ludwig tone yet is very dry and dark with similarities to it’s Japanese counterparts. The bearing edges on this kit are perfect when compared to their older Ludwig siblings from the 1970s.
2. What song of yours (or any of your bands’) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? There is not one song that can sum all of that up for you; you have to spend some time listening to a few of records I have made over the years to really understand when and why. When you have nearly 30 years of drumming under your belt, diversity is really the only thing to keep you interested in what you do.
3. If money was no object, what’s the #1 piece of gear you’d buy and why? An API 1608 console to mix drums and music on.
4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Keith Moon, for his style and sound. As easy as that question is, its always hard to choose just the one. Although drums are my fuerte, there are plenty of other other instruments that kindle my interest in music. I have always admired good musicians who are good at their instruments and for certain talents in the many fields of musicianship and performing.
5. What is your current favorite piece of equipment? Ludwig Vistalite, because they sound and look awesome!
6. What do you and your bands have coming up that we should know about? I am currently recording a new record with a new band named “Teach Me”. It’s a power trio that is exciting and bit harder-sounding compared to some of the music I have been involved with over the years. Its very fun to play and an easy relationship within the band as the three of us exercise certain musical powers. More details on this project will be revealed as the record slowly simmers and manifests into fruition.
On May 15th, Ale Mania is playing a huge benefit concert called Hardcore Matinee at Bar Pink for the new Swami Records compilation. [INFO]
On May 21st, The Sess is playing at Soda Bar in support of the Mrs. Magician record release party of Bermuda. [INFO]