July 2012: New Website
With our recent line-up changes, new pictures and soundclips, we felt it was time the band had a new website… and here it is!
The more garrulous members of the band have even started to write blog posts, so make sure you bookmark us and check back for regular updates.
Seex’s ‘Three of a Kind’
RUSH – A Farewell to Kings
Drummers are strange folk
Drummers are strange folk
When I meet fellow drummers out and about you would think we might have a lot in common. Sometimes. But more often than not I find the conversation turns immediately to gear. Not ‘your favourite music/fill/player’ or ‘what are you working on at the moment?’ Nope, nine times out of ten it will be ‘what do you play?’ or ‘what kind of stands do you use?’ Very curious.
Now I’m not a great one for gear I must admit, so, as this is my first post on the new FO2 site, I thought I’d get all the ‘gear chat’ out the way. then, should the conversation turn towards trilock stands and snare strainers I can just point my new chums here!
The old fashioned way
If you’ve had a look at the biogs you’ll see that Jazz has had a huge influence on me and my playing. I think that is where my gear aversion comes from. When I listen to the likes of Art Blakey I’m not thinking ‘what has he got?’ but ‘how does he do that?’ And, with the older drummers, the kit is pretty basic. It’s what you do with it that counts.
So it may not come as a surprise that I had my old kit for some twenty years. Sure I changed the tunings and heads, added a few little bits and some nice cymbals but that was it. In fact, one of my treasured parts of the kit was an old Premier metal snare that is somewhere deeper than a piccolo but short of a full deep rock size. This had come form my very first kit, way back. By now, as you can imagine, it’s become an old friend. So, when some money came my way I found myself realising that the time had come to upgrade the kit but I was more than a little suspicous of what the newcomer might be like.
I knew I wanted a warm wood – either Birch or Maple. It has to be a Pearl – because my previous kit was a basic Pearl that had just lasted and lasted. I wanted some really useful hardware that would make setting up easier and then there would be the snare…could there be anything to replace the metal shell?
A Thing of Beauty
So here it is:
So here’s the stuff:
Pearl – Masters MCX Limited Edition Artisan in Ruby to Black Burst
Sizes: 22×20 bass / 10×7 tom /12×8 tom / 14×12 floor tom / 16×14 floor tom
Rack – Pearl DR-501 ICON rack + stands etc
Snare – Pearl FFS Maple floating shell
Snare v Snare
The kit sounded fab straight out of the box – and looked beautiful too. In choosing the snare the guys down at the Drum Cavern in Brighton were kind enough to line up the snares I was interested in and let me compare them side by side. The floating shell Maple won hands down. And, though I love my old metal shell dearly, I have a new best friend!
Well, that was all a year or so ago and, to be honest, I’m still not quite used to the new kit. I think a kit is a bit like having a vintage car. You have to tinker with this and that, take it out for plenty of drives, see how it runs, tinker a little more until it’s all just how you want it. (Even today I was experimenting with the Bass drum tuning!)
On the subject of tuning – Again I think my love of jazz comes to play here. I really prefer a tight top skin and a ‘bright’ high sound to that old pudding of a traditional rock sound. Playing jazz tends to be quieter so you need the responsiveness and tone of the toms to be really quick and to work at low volumes – and I just prefer the sound now. The bass drum is kept nice and deep and the snare is full on but again, tuned quite high to give it plentyof ‘crack.’
See for yourself
O.k. that’s enough of that – as with the vintage car you can admire it, tune and fiddle with it but the most important thing is taking it out for a spin. So here’s a video of my latest version of a structured solo that may appear in a FO2 show one day!
For more on Drums and Drumming watch this space…or visit my blog – rattledrum.
Til next time,
Following the band’s storming gig at The Borderline in London, Elsie had to leave for Sweden to fulfil a prior engagement. With three acts on the bill at the London venue that evening, the band played a shorter set than usual, but now Elsie is back, we are working on honing the full set in readiness for upcoming shows.
We’re aiming to get some footage of rehearsals shortly as a taster for the band’s live performances and hope to be posting this online soon.
Ben’s Top Three Albums
It’s nigh-on impossible for me to pick a list favourite albums this short, but if I can sneak an “Honourable Mentions” section past the editor I’m prepared to make a stab at it.
Deep Purple — Fireball
No hammond player could leave Jon Lord off a list like this, but rather than Machine Head or In Rock my favourite album is probably a toss-up between Fireball and Purpendicular. I’m picking Fireball primarily on the strength of “Fools” which is to my mind one of the best tracks they wrote.
Mike Oldfield — Amarok
I can’t remember how many times I listened to Amarok in the background while doing homework before it started to sink in. It was on the B-side of a tape a friend had made me and it felt like filler at the time. These days I can’t even recall what the A-side was, but Amarok continues to enthrall me whenever I listen to it.
Transatlantic — Bridge Across Forever
Finishing with something contemporary, I love Transatlantic’s brand of prog. They have several singers that they use creatively rather than just in a Your Song, My Song division. The musicianship is superb, the writing is interesting without getting carried away with its own cleverness and to top it all it’s still catchy and listenable. There’s not a bad moment on this album.
Genesis: Selling England By The Pound; Emerson, Lake and Palmer: Tarkus; Deep Purple: Concerto for Group and Orchestra; Symphony X: The Odyssey; Verdi: Requiem; Queen: Innuendo.