“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.

PiercingKen’s Top Five Blogs Read In 2011

It’s been a very active year for me as a photographer and lifestyle blogger when it comes to the stuff that I have been sharing with the world on my PiercingKen blog. Longtime readers will recall how I launched this little space on the Internet to have an area to showcase my other photography and ideas that fell too far outside of my music journalist adventures that we present on PiercingMetal.com and that leads me to this posting. What I decided to do was offer up a list of the “Top Five” most read blogs on the website. This is by no means a lining out of the most active writings for the calendar year itself but instead the most visited items that have been done since we launched the site. I felt that this would be a little cooler and if we end up with the same thing when 2012 closes its book, I will figure out something different to share with you. Doing something like this lets the newer readers enjoy some of the trinkets and possibly share with their own friends as new “discoveries”. The list is numbered as most popular in order of their visits. #1 is the obvious highest of the batch.

1. When Astronomy & Metal Met Face To Face

2. Hangry & Angry Fashion Show @ NY Comic Con/Anime Fest (2010)

3. Tom Otterness “Life Underground” A Public Art Display

4. The M&M’s Are Among Us

5. Nathan Saway’s “The Art Of The Brick” Exhibit

Looking at the list myself I had to smile a little bit as I recalled the circumstances that made them become blog as well. It strengthens my creative resolve and finds me super excited for the stuff that I will chance upon in 2012 and share with you all over here. Thanks for reading, commenting, liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter. I appreciate it all.

Remembering “The Ramoniacs”

I’ve mentioned in a few of my narratives how I was once a little more active musically than I find myself able to be today and just this past weekend while cleaning around some of my packed away gear I discovered this unexpected surprise. The first and second set list of tunes that was performed by my Ramones tribute band “The Ramoniacs” during one of our gigs. I just had to share it with you and I hope you like it.

The Ramoniacs was a three-piece unit that featured Scott Koblish on guitar and vocals, John Conroy on bass and vocals and myself on drums and backing vocals. The initial premise was to do a lot of Ramones for people and as you can see by the pair of nineteen song per set lists that is exactly what we did. To my knowledge there are not any photos of the group in action, but be aware we were not a tribute in the sense where we dressed like them anyway. Scott did bring a wig to one show and we took turns wearing it and for one set at a show I attempted to wear a motorcycle jacket. That was not too easy.

We only did about a handful of gigs before parting ways but our set was an interesting one to say the least. It was about 90% Ramones covers from across their entire catalog (with a heavy emphasis on the classics) and the other 10% was used for a few originals and songs we liked and did as if The Ramones had offered them up. We had no official logo or band photograph for gigs and that actually kind of surprises me when I think about it. Like all bands there were some fun times and there were also some harrowing ones. That’s music life for you. I’m still in touch with Scott today thanks to the likes of Facebook and he is currently drawing “O.M.A.C.” for DC Comics. Be sure to check it out. If I find any other stuff about the band in my archeological digs I will be sure to share it with you here.

Many thanks to SkeletonPete for taking these two photos and putting them together. The set list was a double sided card. Maybe I should laminate this.

Happy New Year 2012 From The Sole Red Solo Cup

Hey everyone, nice to see that you are finally awake and have gotten a start with your day on this brand new 2012. Did you have a fun New Year’s Eve with a cast of characters one can only imagine in the funny papers or did you just chill out in a calmer setting and raise a glass when the bells brought us into the new one? Whatever the case may be I hope it was a great one. I’m starting off the New Year 2012 with a visual from a little celebrity who is on an up and coming rise of his own. Yes, the Red Solo Cup. I caught up with him around lunch time when I found him just chilling out on a neighbor’s porch reflecting upon his night, his very popular theme song and how he will be approaching adventures of his own in the New Year. He didn’t seem to mind my snapping a photo of him, but he insisted that the exact location not be disclosed and of course no autographs were permitted. Hey, to each their own right?

Don’t feel bad if you were not aware of his now popular song, as he seems to be a forgiving sort, and will not be holding any grudges in the New Year. The song was done by Toby Keith and its a Country number of course. It’s a quirky little bit of melodic fun so I have embedded the video from a YouTube.com channel for your enjoyment. It speaks to the value of the Red Solo Cup family and if you have ever been at a BBQ, Tail Gate Hang, or some kind of band function you are very familiar with their benefits. Enjoy.

From the secreted think tank of the PiercingKen offices, I wish you and your families a very amazing 2012. Stay tuned for more.

Goodbye To 2011: You Were A 50/50 Year

Is it just me or was that a very fast year? I know I cannot be wrong in this because a lot of people felt as if they blinked and shazam, here we are a the end of another one. One of my friends said that this is the sign of getting old – the whole time moving quickly. These are people I don’t need to hear from LOL. Anyways, so this was clearly a year of good and bad. In some cases good and absolutely terrible which is unfortunate. We found births and deaths and the whole circle of life going on from the beginning of 2011 until its close. Of course I am not here to get all preachy but I will say let’s continue to strive to celebrate the moments that we have together since we can.

I am here to share some images that reflect the whole New Year’s Eve spirit in some sense and you readers might be surprised to learn that I shot these few photos back in March of 2011. I was on my way to a show (a usual occurrence to me) and as I glanced up at one of the buildings in Times Square I realized it was the one with the famous ball drop.



My guess is that they were dismantling the ball or testing it for issues even though the New Year was already three months deep. It was interesting to see being the case so out came the trusty snappy camera and some shots were snared.



As a card carrying New Yorker, I sometimes find the visitors to the city surprised about my lack of interest in being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. and I’ve not gone once. It looks like fun, but I am in enough crowds at popular shows and the idea of several hundred thousand people right on top of me is just not appealing.



I don’t begrudge those who love it, as I know several people who will cancel everything in order to be there, but its not my deal. I realize I don’t sound like much fun by saying this but trust me I still am more often than I am not. It was cool to see “the ball” being giving the once over. It was a very quick occurrence as well, so I was lucky to get the few clear images that I did.



I would venture to guess that I was down around Grand Central Station when I shot these and that just shows how good some of the zoom lenses are on these point and shoot cameras. Barring this next shot of course as it flashed bright and I could not get the focus to be right on target. Oh well.



These next two managed to do the trick. Loved the bluish light on the ball and felt that at least by seeing this live in an approximate region to the larger festivities when they would normally take place that I was good to go. Now there is no need to really be there unless I want to take shots of millions of pieces of confetti after standing in place for 14 hours.



If you are one of those folks who heads up there I hope you have fun and I shall speak to you afterwards. Try not to mass text people because apparently their replies are also en masse to the recipients. Let those who impact your life in a positive fashion receive a text all their own. It takes only a moment to do.



That being said…..Goodbye 2011, and welcome Mr. 2012. Happy New Year Everybody. I hope that it’s an amazing one with more good memories and positivity than anything otherwise. Be the best person you can to each other while you can do so. Live life outside of Facebook and Twitter but be sure to come visit us from time to time on this little blog because we love having you drop by. I thank you all for the attention you have given my music and regular life adventuring.

A Lifestyle Blog with a NYC Flair

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