Over the recent festive season, I was sorting through the mountains of drum related bits and bobs cluttering up the garage and potting shed and found myself ruminating over the many kits that have had the dubious honour of being on the receiving end of my playing.

 

Truth be known, my first “kit” was a collection pots, pans, ice cream tubs and one Chad Valley tin drum, complimented by a Quality Street tin lid atop a piece of bamboo cane supported on a Christmas Tree stand. After spending many months driving assorted family members and pets insane with the resultant racket, my first kit was purchased for the sum of £30, in return for me keeping my bedroom tidy for six weeks.

 

This kit consisted of a blue brass shell Ajax snare drum with tube lugs and collar hooks, a 12” x 8” pre international Premier tom with pre-67 badge and Lokfast lugs, a pre-international 16” x 16” Beverley floor tom from the 50’s (complete with Premier basket legs) and a 22” x 12” pre-67 Olympic marching bass drum with calf skin heads. To complete the kit, I has a pair of 12” Krut hi-hats on a 60’s Premier stand (matching the snare stand), and an 18” Ajax cymbal on a hoop mounted holder. The spurs and tom holder were Premier hoop mounted.

 

This kit saw many transformations during my teenage years; the first trauma being the discovery of pre-international sizes when it came to head replacement. The floor tom was discarded in favour of a “proper” sized 16” Edgeware floor tom (by now the kit had changed from various shades of blue, to red and to match the latest addition – black Fabulon) and the 12” tom had international sizes by sitting the hoop on top of the head hoop. A Premier 14” x 8” tom was added and the bass drum was treated to a pair of Rogers Swivomatic holders which eventually were relocated to a floor stand with a Star (Tama) top and Lokfast feet. I had also upgraded to a Premier Lokfast hi hat stand and purchased a Rogers Swivomatic bass drum pedal. The cymbals were replaced with 5 star Super Zyn hi hats, a Hayman 20” ride and a couple of Tosco crashes, a pair of 8” and 10” Maxwin toms were then added and with this kit, I made my first forays in paid live music.

 

It was soon clear, that despite my inventiveness with drum kit construction, that some of my musical peers thought this lovable hotch potch of drums, was not up to semi pro standard – even though they sounded great according to some of my musical chums. After finding a buyer for the kit, the proceeds were used purchase an early 60’s 4 piece Ludwig comprising 13” x 8” tom, 16” x 16” floor tom and a 22” x 14” bass drum. I could not afford the snare with the kit, so I settled for a wood shell Autocrat. This kit saw me through to my first recording contract and was used for the first two singles I recorded with HM outfit – Aragorn. It was about this time that I first discovered Paiste 2002 cymbals and gradually replaced all the cymbals bar the pair of 15” Avedis Zildjian hi hats I had recently acquired.

Being in a metal group proved to a bit of a problem for the Ludwigs as this was the time of big kits for the serious rock drummer and whilst recording in Newcastle, I came across Lewis Music who made the mighty sounding (and looking), Viking drums. With a loan from my father, I commissioned my kit which consisted of two 24” x 24” bass drums, 13”x 13” and 14” x 14” tom toms with 16” x 16” and 18” x 18” floor toms. By now, I was using a Premier 2000 snare drum, Premier 250S pedals and all the hardware was of the far eastern chunky variety.

 

Being in a metal group proved to a bit of a problem for the Ludwigs as this was the time of big kits for the serious rock drummer and whilst recording in Newcastle, I came across Lewis Music who made the mighty sounding (and looking), Viking drums. With a loan from my father, I commissioned my kit which consisted of two 24” x 24” bass drums, 13”x 13” and 14” x 14” tom toms with 16” x 16” and 18” x 18” floor toms. By now, I was using a Premier 2000 snare drum, Premier 250S pedals and all the hardware was of the far eastern chunky variety.

 

This kit served me for many years touring the UK and Europe and I managed to sell it in Germany for a little more than I paid for it! I stayed in Germany for a little while after this, using a silver 5 piece Ludwig with roto toms and occasionally, a Simmons kit. I returned to the UK, did a few sessions (using a Maxwin kit no less) before hanging up my sticks for a few years.

 

When I was drawn back into playing again some years ago, started off by building a “Premier” kit to the sizes of my choice using premier shells, hoops, lugs etc. – this kit I still use with Dionysus. Other prized acquisitions include the Eddie Ryan kit (allegedly) used by Martin Chambers from the Pretenders, a lovely champagne sparkle Rose Morris kit with a rare 14” x 14” floor tom and after all these years of waiting, a twin bass Hayman, possibly my favourite.

 

My cymbals are mostly Paiste 2002 with a couple of Rude crash/rides, along with a really dirty sounding Pearl Wild china type, a beautiful 70’s Avedis Zildjian swish and a pair of 30’s Zilco hi hats on an x-hat.

 

The ever increasing collection of snare drums currently consists of a 1970’s Premier 2000, a pre-67 Premier Royal Ace, a very early Hayman wood shell with “George Hayman” badge and snare side head, a 50’s Ajax Snapper, a Piccadilly LaFleur from the 1930’s, a pre-war Beverley wood shell now with Shaftsbury lugs and a Ludwig throw off, an early 60’s Ludwig Acrolite and a couple of home-made (shouldn’t that be “custom”?) wood shell drums.

 

Sadly, I do not have any of the equipment I started off with (before anyone asks!) and have spent many hours regretting the loss of the brass shelled Ajax snare drum all those years ago!

 

January 2002