Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five Items To Bring On Stage Before Drumming

If you are a drummer, you are more than likely to be the only person on the stage who gets to sit all evening. You are usually behind the singer, or tucked away in a corner of some small stage. The guitar player will usually try to invade your space, or push you further back, just to make room for the amps. It can be a tense few moments, when you (or your roadie) puts the kit in place. By the time you sit down, it's usually dark on stage. You hope that everything is in place as the lights go up. When they do go up, I hope that I see five essential things in front of me, aside from the drums.

Five Key Items To Bring On Stage

  • #1 Duct Tape.

I know that it may seem to be silly to have to list it at all, but you would be surprised to find that many of your band mates will ditch the heavy roll of duct tape and leave it at the practice space, thinking that they won't possibly need it. Perhaps they think that the venue owner will have some, or someone else in the band may bring some along. Don't trust that crucial item to anyone but yourself. I won't list the reasons you need Duct Tape. Trust me.

  • #2 The Gibraltar Drink Holder
Some people laugh when I set up my Gibraltar drink holder. It attaches to my high hat stand. I can reach for it in the middle of a song, or between songs. It keeps me from bending all the way to the floor. You don't want dirty looks from your guitar player because you are using his Marshall Amp for a drink holder. You won't be tempted to place it on the back line, only to find that it vibrated right off the speaker, splashing you in the back and pissing off the sound engineer. Finally, the drink holder will also keep you from kicking over your own drink. Bonus!
  • 3# Ditty Bag for Drummers
I will never forget the time I snapped the spring to my drum pedal in the middle of a set. We were the headline act, and the opening act had already packed their gear and left. I was ready to swap out the broken spring because I had a ditty bag full of essential hardware. That bag has felt rings, cymbal screws, duct tape, drum keys, ear plugs, bandages, wing nuts, snare string, and more. We stopped the show and it took all of 90 seconds to replace the spring.
  • #4 Multi Tool
It's a screw driver-knife-pliers-file-bottle cap opener-saw device, and I would be dead in the water without it. I love it when your guitar player's bridge needs tightening, and he looks around in a panic, just hand him your Multi Tool.
  • #5 Set List
Yep, I said it. You cannot rely on anyone else to provide you with a set list. You may think that you will read the list off of the singer's copy, but what if your singer goes nuts and the set list flies into the mosh pit? What if someone steals the set list from the guitar player before the show is finished? What if everyone else forgets theirs? All of those things have happened to me, and more.
I encourage others to add to this list, but if I have those five items, I'm comfortable, happy and kicking butt behind the drums.

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