The Snare-Stand Supernova And The 50-Pound Drum: Things I’ve Learned On The Way To Something Else


behind the scenes

A lot of stories start out being one thing, but along the way they sometimes turn into something else. A straightforward visit to a small drum maker turns into an exploration of the concepts of craftsmanship, and an interview on the topic of gear lust turns into great tips for making it as a studio drummer. That’s part of the discovery process of writing. You interview an artist on one topic and find yourself writing about another. Just as interesting to me are the tangential things I learn interviewing people: odd factoids; unusual circumstances in personal backgrounds; and bits of musical history I did not know about. Here, then are some interesting things that I’ve learned unintentionally while writing this column: things musicians said, facts, history, and other odd items.

America is the world’s largest musical instrument market by dollar volume. But maybe not for long. There may be up to 8 million drummers in China. In fact, there are more female drum set players in China than there are drummers in America.  From: Hit Like A Girl Is A Revolution Within A Revolution.

Composing is editing. The ultimate is when you can edit yourself in the moment and play only what is needed, especially if you want a hit record. “When you record there are a thousand things you can play on a song but only one or two that will work.” Daru Jones: Drumming Life Explained.

“We are not retreating.

We are advancing in another direction.”

—Douglas MacArthur

Paul Francis, the acclaimed Director of Innovation at Zildjian Cymbals, has a unique view of what innovation might be appropriate for each Zildjian line. And, in his kitchen at home, he is also a damn good candy maker. Paul Francis, Keeper Of The Flame .

There aren’t that many classic rock songs that groove on the 1 and the 3, but the ones that do are really fine. And, they teach us a lot. Paul Wertico: Loving The 1 And 3.

Alex Van Halen: Thank him for your in-ears.

Are you interested in having some in-ear monitors? Or perhaps you use them on every gig? If so, give Alex Van Halen a pat on the back for his role in inventing them. You Can Thank Alex Van Halen.

Titanium is an amazing metal. It is only made in the dying core of stars, but is everywhere on earth. And, though it’s rarely used in musical instrument manufacture, it has a perfect home in snare drums. Titanium Is A Supernova On A Snare Stand.

There’s a formula for getting the classic Al Jackson/Stax sound on your drums, and it’s not really that hard to follow. Hint: ignore your toms and carry a big wallet. Secrets Of Stax Sound.

The cajon has been around in one form or another for perhaps 200 years. But until the 1970s it was mostly confined to rural communities in Peru, played by descendants of slaves. And, it never had snare wires inside until the 1980s. But whoever conceived that innovation remains uncredited. How Did The Cajon Gets Its Snares?

Do artists get involved in designing the products that bear their name or signature? For the most part, they sure do. Lars Ulrich put Tama through its paces designing his kits and snares. Does The Artist Help Design Signature Products?

The world’s heaviest snare drum, constructed by System of a Down drum tech Sako Karaian, may not sound like a Supraphonic. But front-of-house engineers sure love how easy it is to dial in good sound with one. Do You Need A 50-Pound Snare Drum?

You can have a good idea for a musical crowdfunding project. But only if it’s radical enough are you certain to reach your money-raising goal. Radical Innovation Is Key To Crowdfunding.