Friday, September 5, 2008

BB Had "Lucille," Clapton Had "Blackie," and I... adieu to my beloved and rare, circa '1970 maple Rogers drum kit.....

The Rogers kit has been lovingly pounded in my family for decades, most recently by me for the past two years, and really the only kit on which I've had any practice or play time.

Prior to that, my older brother played them until he replaced them a few years ago with a snazzy new Gretsch kit and left them in his basement on which to merely practice or jam. The Rogers suffered only minor damage to the bass drum rim over the years and was otherwise still the pristinely crafted and sonically impressive kit for which the brand was famous; amazing, considering the history of spaztastic Miklasz action the kit has seen.

Recently, my brother joined a second praise band in De Kalb, IL, which meets at a second church, and he was growing weary of lugging the Gretsch back and forth 4 nights a week. He was happy that I was putting the Rogers to good and regular use, but also wished for the convenience of having two kits at his disposal. Naturally, this left both of us with a vexing conundrum, since neither my or my band's budget could currently invest in a new kit here in Chicago.

One of the singers in my band found an almost-new, 5-pc poplar, Tama kit (plus cymbals, plus stands) for free on some online bartering site while I was on holiday 2 weekends ago, which was sitting unused in a drummer's basement on the South side of Chicago. I have no legitimate room to complain, because the donation of the kit to our church was indeed very gracious, but upon whacking the Tamas with my sticks for a trial fill this week, I could barely muster a cringe.

The Tama Imperialstar 5-pc Compact is an entry-level jazz kit, so it looks (and sounds) dwarfed compared to the size, tone and construction of the Rogers. The stock cymbals that came with the kit are manufactured out of spray-painted tin and, dare I say, even shittier than what I formerly thought were the world's most vomitrotious cymbals, the Sabian B8 series I bought in 2006. Luckily, I am keeping my Sabian B8's as well as the incredible Zildjian A-series ride cymbal I received for my last birthday.

Holy Hell, my dead grandpa's ball sack has more action left in it than the snare drum that came with this kit. I'm hugely spoiled, however, because the only other snare I've ever played is the Rogers Dynasonic, universally rated as one of the world's finest sounding snare drums.

Playing any new drum kit is similar to driving a car to which you're not accustomed. With both feet and hands simultaneously employed, the response time, agility and technical structure of a song's composition have to be re-worked and re-tooled, which isn't as simple as it may seem, particularly for a drummer like me who is competent but by no means a virtuoso, posing an interesting, even if not a welcome challenge.

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