“Drummer Woe” or “Where’s A Roadie When You Need Them…..”

I’ve already mentioned how I was once a very active drummer on the local circuit with some really cool bands that managed to do some musical good for the fans that enjoyed the presentation and while this is not a narrative about any one of those acts its instead more about the process and function of doing something like this. You see, just this past weekend I was tasked with the arduous adventure of moving all of my drum equipment from out of my parents home and into my current residence (which is a much smaller space without a doubt). I know what you are thinking, “well, he said drummer so that means four or five things to deal with” and believe me you could not be more wrong. Growing up in the Hard Rock and Metal scene of the middle 80’s it seemed that all of the drummers had decent sized kits in their possession and while some went a little overboard to a ridiculous extent, I pretty much locked myself to a large but very functional kit. Having been influenced by both Peter Criss and Eric Carr of KISS and Alex Van Halen of Van Halen, I liked the aspect of having a lot of things to hit. Oh so you want the rundown of the tech then? OK, here goes nothing.

Top of Trap Box with Machine Sticker

I was a fan of Ludwig drums even though my first small kit was a Gretsch so when I began building my own kit for Metal and Hard Rock adventuring, I ran with the Ludwig stuff. At first I bought a single bass drum and a few rack toms (which I think were the 12″, 13″ and 14″ for the beginning). Also a 16″ by 16″ floor tom. I heard some horror stories from the working drummers I knew who said how bottom skins were often cut by sound crews at some places to get a microphone up in there so I chose to have my toms be ones that were made with no bottom head. They called them Melodic Toms. Eventually I would have a 6″, 8″, 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 15″ and 16″ for rack mounted toms and two floor toms. The second floor tom was an 18″ and usually would be placed on my right while the smaller 16″ was on my left near the high hats. The cases in the photo below feature my snare drum and the rolling trap case as they called it. The smaller hardware like the snare drum stand, x-hat, drum throne and various other easy to lose pieces all went in there. You might think that the snare case looks big and yes indeed it does. It was a Coliseum snare that was about 10″ deep and it served me well.

Snare Drum Case & Rolling Trap Box

These cases in the picture below contain all of my toms and the larger floor tom. Sorry if you were looking for complete set up photos. I will do those for another blog posting sometime in the future. The smaller toms that I said I had were wrapped up in cloth inside the larger cases. At the time of my intitial purchase of the stuff I don’t remember them making cases for the smaller drums like that. You learned to make due when you had to roll out from city to city that was for sure. I hope you like my USA stickers. Yes I am a patriotic sort but the other reason to have them on all the cases was that they were easy to see when moved over to the corners of dark venues. Also you didn’t want to lose track of them when you needed to pack everything away. There are also some Machine stickers on a few of the cases and that was because it was the only band that actually made stickers out of the ones that I was a part of. I might still actually have one of those somewhere.

Tom Tom Cases (12″ – 18″)

I mentioned starting out with one bass drum but eventually I would need two and at the time those double pedal things were not that great nor commonly used. It’s a different feel as well. Here are my bass drum cases and the second floor tom case. My bass drums were two inches longer and had a second set of legs on them. That kept them in place better while thundering on them and I felt the additional two inches gave them that much more of a punch.

Bass Drums & Floor Tom

So when you take all of the stuff that I just presented and add in the dual guitar amplifiers, bass cabinet, the respective heads and some minor stage effects, its kind of amazing to think that we seldom used more than a small U-Haul truck like the one pictured below. I know you are saying that I left out the guitars but we often carried those in the trunk of the main car we were driving in if possible. Sometimes the band was lucky and had a friend with a van who wanted to be our driver and we would fit the same configurations into the back and also have some additional room for extra friends who wanted to make the trek. The fee was usually reasonable and included free access to the gig and a couple of the bands beers. Not a bad deal since that was just about what we were going to get at the end of the night. Of all the bands performed with Machine was probably the most active and hence had the most “staff”. That was usually Trig, Sal and Ralph. Other friends would stand watch or keep the truck safe while loading in. Luckily we never ran into any issues like stolen trucks that we hear all too much about today.

Sample of U-Haul Truck We Employed

Closing up I just want to give a world of thanks to anyone who ever donated their time to help me haul this stuff around from gig to gig, I really appreciated it then and as I reflect upon the times I still do now. They’ve kept in solid shape thanks to the cases and I cannot stress enough that any working drummer worth their salt should have these items protected from the elements and from travel woes. Plus it makes them easier to store like I had to do. I’ll say that having them closer to my reach might find me jamming out somehow again even if its just for fun more than profit. That all depends on what I wish to musically say. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

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