Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Clapper – 2009 Model

Reasons you should never agree to go up on stage with the band at an event…. big or small….

  • You may be asked to “play” some weird clapper instrument
  • People in the audience will probably pick on you for the rest of the evening….and for days after especially if they are your coworkers….!
  • Someone with the band will take your picture and post it on the band’s website…….enabling friends and family members of the person you are beginning to date to see their first picture of you and the peculiar percussion piece in all your rosy-cheeked glory! Yeah, boy do I know how to make a first impression!

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{….and yes I am wearing pink again….my apologies to the boy! In my defense it was before I met him, so I didn’t know the concert dress code yet….!}

The song was something about a mule. Mule Train? Mule Skinner? I dunno, I can’t recall. The hinged 1×4’s with handles I’m holding sounded like a whip when slapped together. Does this unique percussion “instrument” (and I use that term very loosely!) have a name? Does anyone know? Bueller?

So unless you are brave and don’t embarrass easily and turn the color of my shirt (!) heed this advice and just hide under the table or make a quick exit to the refreshments or even to the facilities when they are looking for victims volunteers! Happy trails y’all!

P.S. Thanks to the Illbillys for the incriminating evidence : )

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Three Days Girls?

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Did I go a little too far last year when that radio station said send us your best photo of the band Three Days Grace?

 Maybe….but it won us tickets to the show, a meet and greet with the band and the opportunity to hear them in sound check.

Ain’t Photoshop a wonderful thing? Great for touching up photos, getting rid of that pesky red-eye and putting a man’s head on a woman’s body in order to win a contest!

Nevermind that that radio station we were picking up that day in Virginia was from Raleigh, NC and thus the concert venue was 3 hours away or that we only won 2 tickets so we had to secure a 3rd one for it to be a true family outing.

We are serious when it comes to our concerts- no distance is too great and no man or woman shall be left behind!

Rock on Neil!

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Drum Roll Please

Now that I’ve made you wait almost a week… I finally have a picture of our newest arrival!

You knew it had to be a snare right? They outnumber the people around here 2 to 1. It’s like a sickness. Must.have.more.snares!

This one is so cool the picture hardly does it justice.

Here’s the lowdown. It’s a DW 5.5 x 14 maple VLT snare with an ebony satin oil finish and black chrome hardware. Or you can be like me and call her Black Beauty- whichever floats your boat!

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Now if you’re that girlfriend or wife who wants to look cool and totally impress her significant other with how much she knows about drum gear (Hi hunny!) here’s how to decipher those specs above (and if you just want to know more about drums in general I’m talking to you too!) So away we go!

Manufacturer: DW or Drum Workshop- this used to be the drum company of choice for Tommy Lee…now he’s defected over to Pearl….! It’s hard to read from the picture, but the badges say Collector’s Series under the dw which is their primo line.

Size: It’s 5 1/2″ deep x 14″ in diameter. Ok easy enough!

Shell: Maple- pretty standard wood choice here. Provides you a lower, warmer tone than a birch shell. They are also making some shells out of bamboo nowadays like this one seen here.

Construction: VLT (Vertical Low Timbre) All this means is that instead of it being a typical shell made of  10 laminated plies of wood going in the same horizontal direction, this baby’s grain runs the vertical direction on the outermost and innermost plies which places less tension on the shell and gives it a lower fundamental pitch because it can vibrate more freely.

Finish: ebony satin oil- the black stain allows you to see glimpses of the wood grain through the stain and the satin protective coat is more matte than a shiny lacquered finish.

Hardware: black chrome. It’s like jewelery for your drum! haha! So many choices! Although I don’t think 24k gold lugs would have had given this snare the same look. However the menfolk were talking about switching them out to chrome just for fun… yeah that’s how we roll….!

So there’s a quick walk-through of what you’re looking at- now go impress somebody with what you know and have a fabulous weekend!


Look what followed me home

Well, it didn’t exactly follow ME home – it followed the boy.

I’m learning that around here it’s, “like father like son” when it comes to acquiring drum stuff. Of course the first question was can we keep them? But, unfortunately we had to say no. Hey it’s a 3 bedroom, 1 bath house and when the drums start outnumbering the living things, ya gotta draw the line somewhere.

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Now don’t get too excited. I know it looks pretty in the picture but it was just a little Rhythm Art kit that needed some fixing up. Or deconstructing into some drum inspired furniture! It was a fine line given the pieces and parts on it that needed replacing or repairing.

Now what’s not pictured here that the boy also scored with this kit is….

wait for it….

the icing on the drum cake…..

a DW 9300 snare stand.

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Way to go son! Of course we did let him keep that.  What kind of parents would we be if we didn’t?

So the little shiny red kit will be off to its new home hopefully this evening.

And maybe later this week I’ll have a picture of the latest find from this weekend…..

I’ll give you a hint: It should pair up nicely with that stand pictured above! SO Stay tuned!


Don’t be Crüel

Ahhh…. karma. What a lovely thing! Right after I met my wonderful other half, he and the boy ventured down to Crüefest ’09. What better way for father and son to spend a day. If you’ve ever been to a Crüe show you will know what I mean! The women! The less than sober people! The women! But I digress.

The day started out well – perhaps a little traffic-y getting down to the beach where the show was, but that was cancelled out by how close to the stage they were able to get. Close enough to feel the sweat from the band being slung on the audience or the water from the bottles being splashed on the crowd from the singers on stage. I personally would opt for the water over the sweat, but to each his own.

Anyway they were close and they rocked out to Theory of a Deadman and Godsmack among others while waiting for their main man to come on. In this house our main man is Tommy Lee. Well, God and then Tommy Lee. But you other drumlovers get it. Amen. 

Unfortunately they found that Tommy wasn’t playing drums that night because he had burned his hands playing with a bunch of fireworks. The show however stops for no-one not even a drummer who has a mishap with some sparklers. He did however come out with the piano at one point.

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{Hey, it’s good to be versatile…} 

That point aside, they still had a blast and were thoroughly enjoying the show until a well-meaning but not well-tempered security guard put a damper on the evening. Remember they were within a few feet of the stage which meant they were also within a few less feet of those lovely yellow shirted gentlemen charged with the job of keeping people safe at a concert by stopping any dangerous and potentially life threatening activities from happening like recording any parts of the live show.

Nevermind that my lovely husband wasn’t recording anything but only trying to hold up his camera above the crowd and be ready for the moment when the guys would walk back over to the edge of the stage for a closeup like this.

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Ultimately, it was all a moot point with Mr. security dude. So, after a lengthy loud discussion, my husband and son were unceremoniously kicked out of a Crüe concert. Luckily it was near the end. And actually after having been standing for over 6 hours, they may have even been a little relieved – not to mention they got a jump on the traffic by leaving a few minutes early!

I told you that to tell you this. Fast forward to this past week. Everybody there? Everybody had a good one? Yay! Glad to hear it! Ok. Guess who’s a big weiner winner! {Insert your shameless political joke here….sorry folks I just couldn’t help myself!} The love of my life won tickets to see Motley Crüe at the Outlaw Jam in July!

It’s karma I tell you! A second chance! An opportunity to redeem themselves! Now if Tommy and the rest of Crüe will just go easy on the fireworks on the 4th and not do anything else detrimental to their health before we get to see them on the 30th! {I’m asking a lot I know! But we have faith in the boys!} Stay tuned…


Riveting Revelations and Sizzle Cymbals

[10 points if you can say that title five times fast!]

Behold! Another cymbal for your viewing pleasure!

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Zildjian A Custom 18″ Crash with factory installed rivets. Yes rivets, not ribbets.

This was news to me and I didn’t understand what they were when I first saw a picture of a cymbal like this. Are there holes in that cymbal? Let me see that thing a little closer…

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What are those little things hanging out of the holes? Why would anyone want a cymbal with holes and weird little tubular pieces of metal hanging out of it? It was like a cymbal with nose rings- visually interesting, but what’s the use? Just made the cymbal look tougher I supposed.

{By the way I love you people with nose rings especially if you’re reading this blog! I just needed an analogy! Lord forgive me and please be with those starving pygmies in New Guinea. Amen.}

But then we acquired this Zildjian and I was mesmerized. The sizzle! The shimmer! Those rivets which are installed loosely in the holes vibrate and give it a sizzle sound which is actually very cool! Apparently people have been doing this for years! Some will even drill the holes and install the rivets themselves! {GASP!} For those squeamish about drilling and puncturing, a similar effect can be achieved using small lengths of ball chain at different intervals around the diameter of the cymbal or one continuous length draped over the top as seen here.  Or better yet just get’cha one that has the rivets factory installed such as this beauty. 

All kidding aside though, this cymbal definitely adds a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to your playing and I’m in love! Unfortunately the guys- not so enamored. Oh they definitely thought it was cool, but ultimately not really cohesive with the sound they have going on with their kit. In other words, they play so loud, the sizzle fizzles in comparison. So my lovely riveted cymbal and I had to part. You know what they say – if you love something let it go….

We shipped it out to its new happy home last week and it was truly a little sad to see it leave. But it was still a really cool piece of gear to check out for a little while. And maybe one day my handsome husband will reunite me with my riveted beauty perhaps as part of my very own kit…hmmm….pink sparkle wrap? Tube lugs? Till then, I’ll keep y’all posted.


Drumming Keys for Success

Newsflash for me! Drums have keys! I never knew this before the “engagement drums” as I like to affectionately call them, made their way into the house. That’s a funny story I’ll share later! Remember it’s my job to entertain you folks! Anyway, a drum key is a specialized little T-shaped wrench, I guess you could call it, with a square hole on the end like a small socket that fits over the square end of the tension rod. Turning the end of the tension rod which screws into the lug allows one to adjust the tension around the hoop that holds the head in place and in turn, tunes the drums. Whew! Did ya get all that? And yes even drums can be tuned! Who knew!

There are fancy ones like this cross-shaped one we bought for the boy recently:

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{Note to those of you in the market for this one– objects in the picture appear smaller than they are in real life! It was a little too big to be worn as a necklace on the lanyard…a little too much bling for his taste! But still cool! And another sidenote- it broke just the other day! Come on Vic where’s the quality??}

And they can be simple like this good old stand by:

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Prior to my introduction to drum keys, the only other experiences I had with keys involved me as a single chic locked out of my own house or car on multiple occasions.

Like the time I locked myself out of the rental house on my way to the gym. Thankfully upon casing the joint, I found the back door unlocked but chained. Pass! followed by a definite Fail! But I had a sweet older neighbor couple who lent me a short-handled screwdriver that I could get through the crack in the door and unscrew said chain from the trim to break into my own house.

Or the time I locked myself out of the new house in my pj’s and flip-flops on a 50 degree Saturday morning. I guess hearing too many times as a kid, “Shut that door! You don’t live in a barn” ingrained itself in my psyche so deep that I don’t always think it through when I walk out of one sometimes. This time though all the new sweet old neighbors were gone so I had to resort to vandalism, i.e. breaking out the bottom window of the back door to get back in. Soon after I had lots of extra keys made…

And who can forget the trip to Lowes when I got out of the car, purse in hand locking and shutting the door behind me only then to notice laying on the seat on the other side of the glass were my car keys. My saving grace here was a cracked window and a store full of spools of wire and other implements to use in fishing out those pesky keys.

But enough about breaking and entering! Here are some keys to becoming a successful percussionist we’ve been hearing from other drummers and trying to put into practice around here.

1. Master the basics. Learn and practice all the elementary rudiments like rhythms and paradiddles and how to read music. (More on those para-thingys on a later post!) I can’t tell you how many rockin’ heavy metal drummers we’ve seen who have started out in high school band. Joey Jordison just to name one! No matter how much style and flair and flutters and fills those guys have mastered now, they have so much more to draw upon because they have that technical foundation under them. And don’t be afraid to take lessons either-no matter how old you are!

2. Listen, appreciate and try playing with all different kinds of music. {Thanks to Shinedown for this piece of advice!} Jazz, rock, country, big band, they all have something to teach about style and technique. Besides, it never hurts to be versatile when you’re trying to find your place in the drumming world.

 3. Take every opportunity to play out that you can reasonably manage. Granted the boy isn’t at rock star level yet- heck he’s still in high school, but every time he gets a chance to perform- whether it’s in talent shows, marching band, friends houses, church events, or playing with the symphony on their community day, he’s there.

4. And to build on #3, it’s not who you know but who knows you. If you’re really serious about getting out there and playing you gotta get your name out there. Be friendly. Be confident but modest. Pride goes before the fall ya know and you do catch more flies with honey! So get to know those people you play with. Introduce yourself to other drummers and bands you meet along the way or make videos of yourself playing and post them up on your favorite social media site. If someone needs a drummer but doesn’t know your name, how are they gonna find you?

And note to self, that thing under the vanity sink that looks like a drum key isn’t a drum key. It’s a valve key — there is a difference! You get very strange looks from your family when you inquire as to why they store a drum key in the bathroom drawer! In my defense though when you live with drummers, you never know when and where you’re gonna find those things!