A few months ago I played the first of a series of gigs I’ll be doing with my friend Ryan Plewacki (Ryan Paul and the Ardent). It’s a folk/alt-country sound, and the gigs are a ton of fun. However, an interesting thing happened at the first rehearsal.

I had to go straight to Ryan’s house from one of the colleges I teach at, and I didn’t have any Risen drums in my car so I had to grab a Premier birch kit I’ve had for many years and use that. It’s a killer sounding kit and it has a lot of sentimental value to me, so you can imagine my horror when I dropped the rack tom HARD on the Ryan’s driveway when I was loading into his garage for the rehearsal. I tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal, but I was super worried that I had just ruined the 12″ tom. Sure enough, I pulled it out of the case and hit it and it sounded totally dead. The reso side hoop was bent real bad, and the reso head was stretched out and rippled. The rims mount was also bent, but fortunately the shell and lugs seemed fine.

I still needed to do the rehearsal, and I was still trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal. So I just took the bottom hoop off and placed the bottom head so the stretched part wasn’t on the same side as the bent section of the hoop. I carefully reset the head and tightened the tension rods (as evenly as I could on a bent hoop) and set the rest of the kit up. This is where it gets weird. I sat down at the kit and hit the rack tom… and it sounded the best it has EVER sounded. It was amazing… a clear, deep pitch with an incredible long and true sustain.

So now I don’t know what to think. Everything I have learned about how to make a tom sound good (like cutting the bearing edges evenly, making sure the drum is round, making sure the heads are tuned correctly)… all of it is out the window because my rack tom’s best day was when the entire bottom head situation was out of whack.

I don’t really know what the moral of this story is… it’s just really interesting.