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Geek alert…

I would’ve posted this on my Tumblr page since it has to do with gig stuff that I’m doing, but for some reason I’m unable to post multiple photos there and still have visible text. Lame.

This… is… my current setup for Owl City. I’ll try to be as detailed as possible, for those who have been asking.

Risen Drums – acrylic – diecast hoops – internal LEDs
16×24 kick
14×16 floor (left side)
14×18 floor
8×15 snare
5×10 “trigger” snare (above left floor)

Paiste Traditional cymbals
16″ thin crash (hihat top… with 3 strips of gaff tape)
16″ Twenty medium light hat (hihat bottom)
22″ light ride (left side crash)
22″ medium light ride (ride position)
20″ thin ride (right side crash)

DW Hardware
9000 series boom stands (4)
9000 series hihat stand
9000 series single kick pedal (active and backup)
5000 series snare stand
5000 series throne

Remo heads
Coated Powerstroke 3 kick (both batter and reso sides… falam pad on batter)
Coated Emperor CS snare (w/ Ambassador hazy bottom)
Coated Emperor toms (w/ Ambassador coated bottom)
Coated Emperor trigger snare (heavily muffled… w/ Ambassador coated bottom)

Roland Octapad/404 sampler (with Rt10-s trigger to side snare)
Original sample library… no Roland sounds

Vic Firth sticks/mallets (w/ Mono Cases stick bag)
Dave Weckl Signature sticks
Extreme 5A sticks
CT1 General mallets

I’m really enjoying not having a rack tom anymore. Not that I won’t ever use one… but this particular gig just doesn’t need it. Additionally, I use the electronic pad so heavily that having it in the rack tom position is just perfect, with the triggered side snare to top it off. I’ve got a million new sound and sticking choices for things that way.

The other major changes from my past rigs include the 22″ light ride as my main crash (instead of a 20″) and the 15″ acrylic snare (instead of a 14″ black brass… which is hiding under the 18″ floor as a backup… I’ve only had to use it once when the snare wires broke during a set). The bigger snare is super versatile with both tight and loose tones (which I alternate between during the show). I’m loving that, though the main reason I’m using it is for the internal LEDs. As for the 22″ crash… man, I think I’m hooked for that permanently. So huge, so full… it has all the wash I want from a crash but with the depth and power of a 22″ ride.

Also… I’ve been using two different home-made drum head mufflers… a full one and one with a 4″ diameter hole in the middle (pictured on the main snare). The full gives me the deep and loose tone that newspaper normally has in the studio, and the cut one has a super dry and tight sound. Between those and a totally open no-muffle option I’ve got a cool range of sounds to choose from.

Lastly, I’ve been using the Weckl sticks for decades (literally), but I’m thinking about switching over to the Extreme 5A’s. The difference is an added 1/4 inch of length on the x-5A, and a slightly different tip shape. Vic Firth just sent me a brick of them to try out and I might officially make the switch… if for no other reason than to get rid of those red marks all over the drums.

Aaaand I use ONE moon gel on the 18″ floor tom…

My former teacher Dave King is featured in this month’s Modern Drummer magazine. The article is fantastic and Dave’s insights are so valuable. Reading it really reminded me of the hours and hours I spent listening to his wisdom and passion for music/art during our lessons and hangs. No single person has shaped my perspectives on how to do what I do more than Dave.

Hit a drum shop and get yourself a copy asap.


Famous musicians who don’t play drums sitting behind drumsets, pt 2…

A rare photo of John Coltrane sitting at the kit…

John and I, trying to decide who’s taller. I’m slouching so he can win.

Not trying to brag here… but I had lunch and hung out with Nashville studio legend John Hammond the other day.

He rules. He was very kind and super insightful, and bought me a killer currywurst at a cool restaurant in town called The Pharmacy.

For another example of his ruling-ness, check out this photo of him doing his thing.

Oh hi I’m John Hammond. Don’t mind me I just have 24 snare drums in a rack case behind my kit here. No biggie.

Check out this short but interesting interview with prog master Bill Bruford. He makes some great points, though I can’t say I agree with all of them. Most notably, I’d submit that the information learned on the street is a far less “imperfect skills base” than that which is acquired in a formal music school. Sure, there are shortcomings, but I would GLADLY take the shortcomings from a street education rather than those of the classroom.

And also… c’mon, I’ve heard many trained musicians play wrong notes. MANY.

PS… I’m laughing super hard at this interviewer, who basically mumbles completely useless and unhelpful stock comments for the majority of the video.

Nashville’s awesomest drum shop, also known as heaven.

OC is rehearsing for the next 4 days in Nashville, and yesterday I had the chance to visit Fork’s Drum Closet. This place is… AMAZING. What an incredible resource for the drummers in this town. There are multiple hallways of wall-to-wall cymbals stacked sideways on shelves 3 rows high. The snare room had at least 15 snares so rare that I’ve only ever seen pictures of them. The parts and repair section in the back of the store boasts every possible lug, hoop, screw, bolt, or tension rod that one would possibly need. That mallets room alone was the size of most music store’s entire drum section.

Prioritize a trip to Fork’s if you are ever in Nashville. Also, the word is that they ship anything and everything via online orders, so regardless of where you live you should check them out.

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