May 30, 2009

Far From Finished @ Q Division, Somerville, MA 5/29/09

Far From Finished drummer Marc Cannata got to christen his spiffy new SJC Custom drums on Friday at Q Division when the band came in to record the Jackson 5 classic "I Want You Back" for an upcoming compilation. The kit, featuring red and black graphics floating on a White Marine Pearl, was designed by Cannata. The 20x20" kick drum/cannon was too much for the mic's so I popped the front head off and slightly muffled the batter head with a rolled piece of black velvet fabric.

I wasn't sure the 12x7" rack tom would give us the sound we were looking for but it ended up fine after I spent some quality tuning time with the bottom head. A lot of drummers try to tune their drums without ever touching the resonant (or bottom) head. They don't know that the bottom head plays a major role in defining the pitch of a drum. Most issues of uneven pitch are caused by the top head being out of tune with the bottom head. This doesn't mean that the top head needs to be tuned to the same note as the bottom - it means that it should be tuned to a complimentary pitch.
When tuning any tom tom I'll flip the drum over and rest the top head on my leg or a towel on the floor to dampen the head. This isolates the bottom head so I can check it's pitch. As a general rule I tune the bottom head a bit higher than the top head. (If I make too big a difference in pitch between the two heads I'll get what I like to call the "Syndrum syndrome", a nasty pitch bend that is reminiscent of the sound a basketball makes when it hits the floor. ) Once I get the bottom head evenly tuned I work on the top head and listen to the note it makes, trying to get an even sound between the two heads. You'll know if it's not right. I suggest experimenting with different tensions between top and bottom heads to see what works for you.

May 27, 2009

Exclusive Pics of Chad Smith's Chickenfoot Drumset

Chad Smith and Chickenfoot (Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Joe Satriani) delivered a mighty sonic smackdown to a packed house at the 500 capacity Middle East club in Cambridge, MA on Tuesday. Chad and the boys are on a short "Road Test" tour hitting a handful of small clubs to promote their eponymous debut album to be released on June 5th. The 'Foot played a scorching two hour set featuring songs from the new record, as well as the Hagar-penned Montrose classic "Bad Motor Scooter" before closing with Deep Purple's "Highway Star".

Chad invited me to soundcheck to see his new Pearl Masterworks Series kit with a stunning custom paint job by Nub of Orange County Choppers fame. The drums (w/ a 14x5.5" Sensitone Elite SD) looked and sounded fantastic and I was again reminded of just what a great drummer Chad is while the band jammed on songs by Hendrix, Zeppelin, and Neil Young. Chad says the Chili Peppers are reconvening in October to work on new material after taking a well deserved break following extensive touring in support of Stadium Arcadium. Wished you guys could've been there so I took these pics and a video to give you an exclusive close-up look at the drums and the band. Don't say I never do anything for you. Enjoy...

May 20, 2009

Dropkick Murphys @ The Oupost - Stoughton, MA 5/20/09

Click on photo to enlarge

It was like deja vu all over again for the Dropkick Murphys when the Boston-based rockers dropped by the Outpost to re-record their classic tune "I'm Shipping Up To Boston", best known as the explosive opening song in "The Departed" and just about every sports event in the last couple of years. Now that they have their own label imprint they're redoing the song to gain full ownership of the rights . (True story - I had the TV on while I was writing this entry and "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" just played on King Of The Hill!)

Drummer/hockey fan Matt Kelly showed me his awesome new Boston Bruins snare drum, made by the fine craftsmen at SJC Custom Drums. I really enjoy Matt's playing - he melds solid rock drumming with a precise drum corps snare work and somehow makes it sound great. If Kieth Moon and the Boston Crusaders had a baby, his name would be Matt Kelly.

We used a 5 piece DW kit , the Pearl Ferrone snare drum, and Zildjian cymbals for the session. The first take was a keeper but the band did a few more for safety. They also recorded another song for an upcoming tribute compilation.

May 18, 2009

May 12, 2009

You Look Like You Need Some Bonham

Here's some Zeppelin for you on a dreary Tuesday morning courtesy of Wolfgang's Vault. That would be John Henry Bonham on the drums. Enjoy!

May 11, 2009

Outbreak @ The Outpost - Stoughton, MA May 10-11


Just spent a couple of days working yet again with drummer Erik Perkins and the rest of the jaunty lads of Outbreak. You may remember Erik from such bands as No Trigger and such classic All Things Loud postings as "Smartbomb @ The Outpost 5/19/08"

Yes Erik is one busy fella and this session was no exception. Taking a break from a massive touring schedule, the band dropped into the Outpost to record a new collection of ditties with renowned hardcore/punk rock producer Jim Siegel (Dropkick Murphys, The Unseen, Blood For Blood, Death Before Dishonor). Erik recorded 14 drum tracks in two days, rarely needing more than one or two takes, no mean feat in itself. Add the fact that many of the songs had blistering tempos and you have yourself one of them sizeable achievements. He did the music proud and for my part I think I was able to make the drums sound pretty decent.

What drums did Erik and I make sound decent you ask? Well you got your ubiquitous Eames toms (which are featured heavily on a few numbers), your standard issue Pearl Steve Ferrone snare drum (yes again!), your standard 2001 DW kick drum, and some heavy-ass Vater Fatback hickory logs to hit everything with. Throw in a smattering of fine Paiste cymbals and you got yourself what we in the biz like to call raucous rock and roll.

May 6, 2009

The New Alibis @ New Alliance, Cambridge, MA

Stopped by New Alliance Studios on Saturday to lend a hand tuning drums for my buddy Jessie for the new New Alibi's waxing. Rock was made.