FROM DRUM! MAGAZINE’S MARCH 2018 ISSUE | BY DONN BENNETT
From the time Vinny Appice joined Black Sabbath on the original Heaven And Hell tour in 1980, guitarist Tony Iommi always wanted him to play a larger drum set. From then on, every time Appice played with Black Sabbath, his drum set got a little bigger. Twenty-nine years later, when the band was preparing for its 2009 world tour, Appice enlisted the help of Drum Workshop’s Scott Garrison and John Good to help him create his biggest and best drum monstrosity ever. They made full use of the wide array of drums, hardware, and innovation available to them at DW.
After testing a few different arrangements at the DW factory, they settled on this configuration of 18 drums and 11 cymbals. The drums are all Collector’s Series maple with matte lugs, black rims, and a silver lacquer finish. The silver and black combination was the choice of bassist Geezer Butler who felt it fit in well with the gravestone motif of their stage. Appice prefers the sound and stability of drums with a mount attached directly to the shell. At his request, all of the drums were made with no isolation mounts.
The set is built around a 24″ x 16″ bass drum and a 14″ x 5″ snare. There are many toms: 10″ x 8″, 12″ x 8″, 12″ x 12″, 13″ x 10″, 14″ x 12″, 15″ x 12″, two 16″ x 10″, two 16″ x 14″, two 18″ x 14″, and an 18″ x 16″ floor tom. There are also two 24″ woofer bass drums mounted like gong toms.
The set’s most unique feature was the brainchild of Appice’s tech, Andre Bergman. On Appice’s right and left are what he calls “throw toms” mounted on high vertical racks. The racks were hinged and attached to heavy bungee cords that allowed Appice to push the rack over while playing, then bounce it back into position right before hitting the ground. “It was the best effect ever,” he says. “I just had to make sure not to throw it too hard or it would bounce back and hit me in the head on the way back.”
The massive set stands almost nine feet tall and is all held together with a custom combination of DW rack parts and 9000 series stands. The set includes an intricate system of DW Memory Locks, which enabled Bergman to set the entire assembly up in about 90 minutes and deconstruct it in under 60 minutes. “Andre is a great tech,” says Appice. “We played 47 shows in 21 countries and there’s not a single scratch on the entire set.”