L.A. psychedelic revivalists Bigelf are so dedicated to accurately replicating the sound of ’70s European prog rock, they use vintage equipment exclusively. For drummer Steve “Froth” Frothingham, whose primary influence is Guy Evans of the British prog pioneers Van der Graaf Generator, that means switching between two prized old kits.
On Bigelf’s latest album, Cheat The Gallows, Froth uses an original Hayman kit purchased through the classifieds of the vintage-gear publication Not So Modern Drummer. “That’s the kit I want to go to my grave playing,” he proclaims. “The Haymans have a very resonant wood sound–almost paper-like. They just sound so good!”
Live, the drummer favors his early-’70s green Ludwig Vistalite kit. The five-piece set features slightly larger drum sizes than the Haymans, including a custom 8×14 Vistalite snare. “I like the sound of a deep snare, so I had this one made,” Steve says. “I found a 14″ Vistalite concert tom and brought that to the Pro Drum Shop in L.A., along with a ’70s chrome Ludwig snare to use for the hardware. They made this new Vistalite snare with the correct bearing edges and everything, and it sounds even better than my original snare!”