In 2018 we were pleasantly surprised to bump into “Futureman” Roy Wooten on the Summer NAMM expo floor. After a fascinating but all-too-brief conversation about rhythm, he invited us to check out his bass drum solo performance at an afterparty that night. We obliged, naturally, and later we were treated to one of the most creative uses of a bass drum we’ve ever seen.
In this solo, Wooten uses sticks, rods, fingers, and a Sleishman double pedal to play both sides (and the shell) of a custom Mothertone bass drum. It’s got three spurs to allow it to be placed like a floor tom. Wooten said he takes the drum on tour with Bela Fleck. These drums use a cable-tension system to ensure even tuning, and the pitch is changed by turning one drum key. He even bowed the cables with a violin bow at one point (we were too transfixed on the moment to catch it on camera).
This was Mothertone drums’ “Mother of all Hangs” event, at a hotel a few miles away. Wooten was a highlight of the evening, which featured a wide range of artists and lots of great sounding Mothertone drums.