Monday, July 31, 2017

When they say they have drums

All right dude I told ya we had
a sweet drum set for you, here you go
They don't have drums. You're going to get burned. Always.

Pardon me— I just had a couple of annoying gig and rehearsal experiences— most recently one where I was told there would be drums “aplenty.” Bad sign.

I think the worst situation I ever found myself in was on a gig in Germany, where the club was supposed to provide a nice jazz set, and it turned out the only drums in the building were part of a Sonor student set, with a 24" bass drum, a 10" tom, and a 12" tom, and that's it. Another good one was arriving for a month long engagement at a 4-star hotel in Hong Kong, and finding a battered set of Pearl Exports that wouldn't have been out of place in some kid's garage in Kentucky.

Let's briefly go over what you need to bring to situations where people claim they have drums for you. We're assuming you're bringing your cymbals, sticks, and a drum key no matter what. 

Absolute minimum, flying by the seat of your pants, rollin' the dice: 
— Hihat clutches in the two standard sizes. Odds are 50/50, maybe 60/40 against the hihat stand having a clutch. And it sucks getting stuck without usable hihats. 
— Cymbal felts, sleeves, and washers. These will be absent. We don't want metal touching our cymbals while we're playing. Wingnuts are up to you— companies have gotten propriety with their wingnuts, and whichever ones you buy probably won't work. You can play with the cymbal on the thing without a nut.

Normal faith in humanity, a tad unrealistically so; bring the above plus: 
— Snare drum
— Bass drum pedal
— Throne
— Cymbal stand (they're always going to be short one)

A sane level of paranoia. What you actually have to bring; the above plus: 
— Another cymbal stand. 
— Snare stand (extreme paranoid types will bring two snare stands in case there is no tom mount, or the tom mount is defective)
— Hihat stand
— Duct tape, screw driver, pliers, WD-40
— Rug
— Basically everything but tom toms and bass drum. 

You can decide for yourself what level of mistrust suits your personality; how important the gig or rehearsal is, and how big of a hardship it will be when they don't have the exact item you decide not to bring. It's very hard to get out of the house without cymbals, snare, and a stand case. Usually I would have to have seen the drums— recently— to bring less.

Some people get weird and panicky about having spare heads, but that's never been a problem for me. I think the only reason to bring heads is if you routinely break or damage heads, and you're going to need to leave some new ones for the next guy. 

1 comment:

Ed Pierce said...

You have provided a great service with this post, Todd! This advice could have come in handy for me many a time in the past...