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Wow… an HOUR of solo Joey Baron footage. This kind of thing makes me so pumped about the current age of technology/media and its effect on music availability.

And wow… what is the deal with that female host at the beginning? Could her vibe be any more strange?

HT: Reese Kling

Alright. I’ve had my new MONO gear for a little while now, so it’s time for some reviews.

Fly-By backpack
10 out of 10. Awesome. LOVE this thing. It looks killer, it’s built like a tank, and there are so many smart aspects to the design. So far I’ve noticed and appreciated…

– The leather “base” to the pack, which of course reinforces the bottom of the pack but also keeps the thing always standing up straight so I don’t have to lay it down or find something to lean it against.
– The super sturdy handle on the top of the pack, which makes carrying it around when it’s not on your back really easy.
– The many auxiliary pockets. The pack has separate and easily-accessible compartments for everything I carry around. My bible, my mac power supply, my ipod, misc usb cables, water bottle, in-ear case… everything has it’s own spot. Even the main interior section has these tall pouches sectioned off that fit my two midi controllers (almost as if that was the intended use for the compartments). The best part of the bag’s sectioning is that the two exterior side pockets have the zippers facing the opposite direction, so when I’m wearing the pack I can just reach back and grab the stuff in those pockets without taking the pack off.

As for negative stuff, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about with this thing.  However, I should note that I haven’t yet found a reason to detach the laptop section of the bag.  The fact that the section is detachable into it’s own separate pack seems like the Fly-By’s main selling point (at least from the way the website advertises it), but so far I haven’t needed to use it.  Still, it’s a pretty cool option to have.

M80 Cymbal Case
Again… 10 out of 10.  It completely rules.  Things I’ve noticed and appreciated…

– The section on the front for a splash, although I’ve been stuffing it with extra cymbal felts and other misc crap since I don’t use splashes.  And the hihat section is obviously great, but I suppose a lot of cymbal bags have that.
– The sturdy handle… same design as on the Fly-By.  I’m really noticing the way a solid handle (instead of a flimsy canvas one) makes carrying the thing easier.
– The interior inserts for separating cymbals.  These are great because they’re sewn in all the way, and have a stiffness to them that keeps them from folding over and getting wrinkled into a pile in the bottom of the bag.
– The case’s shape is thicker than most soft cymbal bags, like a cylinder instead of just an envelope (I hope that makes sense because I can’t think of another way to explain it).  The result is that the cymbals don’t push up against each other, so it’s easy to reach in and grab just the cymbal you want.
– The backpack strap pouch.  There are backpack straps on the bag, but I haven’t used them much because I always have the Fly-By on my back.  MONO knew what they were doing and designed the straps to be detachable on the bottom, and then there’s an external pouch that they slide into to stay out of the way.  Other stuff can fit in there too.

No negatives on this one either.  Love it, period.

M80 Stick Bag
8 out of 10.  Awesome, but not ALL the way awesome. So close though. Good parts include…

– Solid construction.  The reason I needed a new stick bag was that my other one wore out, just like all 5 stick bags I had before that.  I can already tell this thing isn’t going anywhere.
– Stretchy straps for attaching the bag to the floor tom, instead of clamps or canvas.  I’ve found some clamps don’t fit certain lug designs, and canvas straps end up being the wrong length if you’re using a drum that’s smaller or larger than usual.  I can attach this bag onto 14″-18″ drums without adjusting anything.
– Drum key pouch on the interior of the bag, so you can easily grab it even when the bag is hooked onto the floor tom during the gig.

On the negative side, I will say that this bag is too small.  Or maybe it’s just smaller than I’m used to.  The past three stick bags I had were enormous… fitting 20 pairs of sticks and all kinds of misc stuff.  This bag only fits 8 pairs, and even that is pushing it.  Beyond that, the design itself seems SHORTER than any other stick bag I’ve seen, so that I feel like I’m stretching it to fit timpani mallets or any other long-ish sticks.  This seems like an easy fix, so I wonder if MONO is planning on releasing a larger, deluxe-style bag in the future.  Regardless of these negatives I’m still using the bag and loving it, I think I’m just needing some adjustment time to get used to a smaller bag.

Thanks again to Pat and everybody at Mono for hooking me up and making great gear.

Hello readers.  I feel obligated to apologize for not posting much this month, and the obligation comes from my sincere gratitude for you all, who visit and subscribe to this blog and often tell me how you appreciate and enjoy what I write.  So thanks for that, and sorry for the sparse posts lately.

In an attempt to make up for it, I’ve got a youtube playlist for you of a clinic I did last month.  Fair warning: it’s pretty long.  There are over a dozen videos and they are all 5-10 min.  The second half of the playlist isn’t in order of the way the clinic happened, and a lot of the clips are from the Q and A time, so some of it will seem random.  I just watched it myself and I have to say that I CANNOT BELIEVE how often I say “right?” at the end of my sentences.  Wow.  Go ahead and laugh at me for that.  And, feel free to post any questions regarding the stuff I say.  I’m always looking to refine my perspectives and being challenged by others’ questions is a great way to do that.

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