on my first blog, I said I would explain the equipment I use and then promptly forgot.
Well now I shall put that right.
Obviously I use Istanbul Mehmet cymbals, otherwise I would not be writing this.
I did mention in my first blog how I came to play and fall in love with Istanbul Mehmet cymbals.
I still stand by the fact that I have not played any other cymbals that ‘speak’ to me and play exactly what I want them to play.
I demand a lot from my equipment. If I hit a cymbal I want to be sure it will do what I am asking it too.
A heavy hit, I want a loud crash. A gentle hit, I want a subtle crash etc
For The Searchers, I now use all traditional crashes (16,17,18) and 20 inch ride (I moved over to the Traditional ride after using a Sultan ride for 2 years) and I use 14 inch Radiant Hats.
I feel the Traditional ride blends in better with the crashes and with The Searchers, I spend the majority of the show playing the ride. Now don’t think for one moment Ive gone off the Sultan, as that now sits with my studio session cymbals, which are all Sultans (14 hats, 15,16,17,18,20 ride) and the other Istanbul Mehmet cymbals I have are: 15 inch Radiant hats, 13 inch El Negro hats (which I use on very intimate Searchers shows) 14 inch El negro china, 10 & 12 inch Traditional splash, 16,17,18 20 inch Radiant and soon I will be adding 14 hats,16,17,18 crashes and 20 ride in the Session range.
I do a lot of studio sessions, so I take as many cymbals with me as possible so we get the exact sound we are looking for. Its also the same reason I have over 20 snare drums.
Now, if you don’t know which sound suits your style of playing, there are a lot of sound clips of all the Istanbul Mehmet range on this site and Youtube. Drumshop in Washington near Newcastle, has a very extensive range in stock and Andy makes a great cup of coffee, so I’ve been told by other drummers he’s made coffee for. He’s never made me one….
Now drum wise…..Until fairly recently I have been using Carrera drums for all Searchers shows. These drums are amazing and were hand built by Dave Carrera in Uxbridge, London.
Uxbridge is a 40 minute drive from my house, I always used to pop along to the factory and see Dave and the gang. If anything needed replacing, 1 call and I would book myself in to get it repaired.
Sadly, in January last year, Dave was told that his lungs were working at only at 30% and it was down to the dust from the wood.
In March 2015, Dave took the decision to close the business. This came a month after his snare drums received a 5 star review in Rhythm magazine and his Snare drums came 4th in the ‘best 20 snare drums on the market’ poll.
I have been proudly endorsed by Carrera drums since 2014 and carried on using my kits.
Snare drums, I have 6 Carrera snare drums in different woods, colours and sizes.
I have 2 Carrera kits, which I got at a very, very, reduced friends rate.
Kit no1 is a Birch kit with multi layers of different wood types on the outside. This was Daves pre-production kit for his Traditional range. The kit has a 24×16 bass drum (I used this with The Searchers) 10×7 and 12×7 toms with a 16×13 floor. This is now my studio kit. With the short stack toms, it sounds great in the studio
Kit no2 is 100% all American Cherry. It is a very warm sounding kit and its these toms (12 & 16) I used with The searchers. The sizes are 20×16 bass, 10×7, 12×8, 14×14 and 16×16 with a 14×6.5 snare
The Searchers have the best road crew in the industry and it does not matter how careful they are, equipment on tour, will get damaged.
Now while Dave was still trading, it was not an issue. but a few weeks ago, I noticed a large scratch on the 24 inch bass drum and a small mark on the 12 tom.
As these are custom kits, to repair will cost a lot. After a chat with Dave, I decided the best bet was too take these custom kits off the tour.
I will still use these kits on other projects. Then if they get damaged while being packed, its MY fault.
Last week, after several drummer friends who are endorsed by Sakae (Lloyd Ryan and Russell Gilbrook) convinced me to use a Sakae Trilogy.
The Artist relations for Sakae UK is a good friend and Pacemakers drummer, Nick Woolgar. He got a Trilogy to me within days. This kit is made like the 60s kits and is only 3ply!
The kit does sound amazing and in Black Oyster, looks very 60s.
The snare drum was a little weak and both myself and John Semark (drum tech) decided the Carrera snare had to come back.
So now with The Searchers, I am using a Sakae Trilogy 22 bass, 12×7 & 16×16 toms, with my Carrera 14×6 Birch snare, in white marine pearl.
As for skins, I always use CODE drum heads. They are a very new British company who are making waves in the industry, with quality drum skins at low prices. Added to the fact they seem to last twice as long as the other companies on the market.
Sticks. I have my own signature stick with Pellwood Drum sticks. Its in the middle of a 5B & Rock stick. I just love how consistent Pellwood sticks are and again, how long they last (when you do over 170 shows a year, you need reliability & durability)
I also use a Porter & Davis BC2 tactile monitor. Now this is a drum seat, that is connected to a mic in your bass drum. It means you ‘feel’ the bass drum. It has helped me so much as I have been able to take the bass drum out of my monitor. You find yourself playing much better. Its really hard to explain, but if you get a chance to try one out, do it!
and when you buy one, tell them I sent you.
Now that just leaves drum cases. All my drums and cymbals are protected by Hardcase cases. They really are the best out there. I have in the past, used other cheaper cases, but when a throw on my Carrera snare broke, I soon sold all those cases and replaced them with Hardcases.
So thats the equipment out of the way, what else has been happening?
Well The Searchers are always on tour, so those shows have been going really well. But I have done a few studio sessions, which I can hopefully tell you about soon and in March I did a promo show with The Pocket Gods. This show was broadcast live on the net and we played for 35 minutes. 35 minutes sounds ok, I hear you cry.
But the band did songs from their new album, 100×30
Whats that I hear you cry, well its 100 songs, which are 30 seconds long!
So a set of 35 minutes of just 30 second songs, is very hard.
All the songs I had charted out, but even then, you have to know what you are playing as there is no room for error
A great night washed and nobody messed up!.
The band are now working on a follow up album, 100, 30 second songs all about, Shakespeare
I got Engaged last year and this year Sam and myself are finally having an Engagement party. I have blackmailed loads of great friends and talented musicians to form a band to play a 1hr set. The rehearsal is in June, so I’ll let you know how that went on my next blog.
Well thats it for me, hopefully the next blog will be done on time and not a few weeks late… You didn’t notice?
Take care, carry on playing and enjoying those Istanbul Mehmet Cymbals