Okay. This is the last post on my new glowing drums. I promise.
I’ve gotten a few consistent questions about these drums, so I’ll try to answer them here…
1. Size of the kit
I opted for some sizes on these drums that are a little different than other kits that I have, and it’s basically just to enhance the “glowability factor” (a great Keith quote from the promo video). The kick drum, for instance, is 18″ deep, and those of you that have read my past posts on that issue will know that I favor shallower bass drums (14 or 16). The truth is that shallower kick drums sound better, but an 18″ depth doesn’t exactly sound bad. Much deeper than that would be a problem, but 18″ is about as deep as you can go and still sound decent. I figured as long as the kit was glowing I should have as much surface area as possible. That’s also why I chose to have 3 floor toms. I’ve played with an extra floor tom off to the left of the hats for years, and I also often play with an extra one to the right of the main floor tom, but never at the same time. Again, as long as the drums are glowing, I might as well have lots of drums to glow, and then I also have a handful of various configurations if I want to go with a standard 4-pc set-up.
2. Impact-sensitive triggers for each drum
I had these drums wired specifically to be “one light,” instead of 6 separate lights, which means the lighting engineering is controlling the drums as one unit. This keeps the instrument as one instrument, which is what it should be. I think things would get out of hand very quickly if each drum were a separate color, not to mention it would cost us a lot more money and time. The things-getting-out-of-hand issue is also why I will probably never pursue triggers so the drums light up when I hit them. While the idea seems logical, I think the reality would be too over-the-top and fatiguing to look at for more than 20 seconds. I’m just trying to be aware of the potential for the gimmick to be too gimmicky. As it is the drums can change color, strobe, and work in tandem with the rest of the stage lights. That seems good enough, especially since nobody else has glowing drums to begin with. Ha.
3. Why bother with the gimmick
Most of you know that 99% of my concern with a drum set is how it sounds and how I play it. This remains true with the Glow Kit, although I understand why owning glowing drums would call my fundamental goal into question. The whole deal with this kit hinges on the fact that the appearance of drums is lopsidedly more important than the appearance of any other instrument on stage. For example, Mick Sterling once told me, when I showed up for a gig with my blue sparkle kit, “man, those drums look like they sound incredible.” Think about how ridiculous that statement is (and Mick is not a ridiculous guy)… but most if not all people in the music business think this way. People look at drums and instantly determine an expectation for how they will sound, and that really doesn’t happen with guitars/basses/keyboards or anything else at all. Then couple this with the fact that “good sounding drums” have much more to do with how I tune them and how I hit them, and also how the engineer mixes them. What you’re left with is a situation where finding a great-looking kit is the most important factor in selecting drums for live performing. So I just embraced that reality and went all out.
Hopefully this kit will land some press in the drum world, and I can just ride the whole “any press is good press” thing. In the meantime I’m going to continue working on getting better at playing the instrument, which is ultimately what really matters to me.