Chad Clark of Heaven Below

Chad Clark of Heaven Below of Modern Drummer Drummer BlogThis year you can find me with my prized black-on-black Noble & Cooley drums touring with Heaven Below throughout the U.S. and Canada in support of our EP. The first single, “When Daylight Dies,” is gaining airplay across the country. In addition to Heaven Below and previous albums from several other artists, I can be found on upcoming releases from Caitlyn Taylor Love (Disney XD), Gary Jefferies (Asphalt Ballet), and performances with Lukas Rossi (Rockstar Supernova) among a funk/R&B band or two.

I was raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, by a biker dad (think Hell’s Angels) and a physician’s assistant (doctor) mom before moving to Los Angeles at seventeen. As a kid I once performed with the Tommy Dorsey Band as a guest drummer (the chair of my favorite drummer, Buddy Rich). In high school I served as a classical percussionist and timpanist in the honor bands of every major university in Iowa (UI, ISU, UNI, and Drake) while taking local college courses and playing rock clubs in between. Back in Iowa I never thought my career path would have me performing in places like Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Hungary, and South Central L.A. LOL.

I’m honored to have worked with tons of great people, such as members of Guns N’ Roses, Puddle of Mudd, Disturbed, All American Rejects, Foreigner, Sly and the Family Stone, David Archuleta’s band, Nikka Costa’s band, Brian Setzer’s band, Frank Gambale’s band, Steve Vai’s band, and of course Dirty Dan McBride (that dude with the red guitar from Sha Na Na in the movie Grease—cool!). Advertisement

Care for a good story? A few years ago I was driving back from a gig, half asleep as usual. Arriving home I noticed my kick was missing. I raced back to retrace my path and realized that my favorite Noble & Cooley bass drum had flown airborne out of my truck and was reduced to splinters on a Los Angeles freeway. Now, this was no ordinary bass drum. Every engineer in town loved this kick, and its sound definitely played a role in getting session work. I collected the “body” and sent a picture of it to Noble & Cooley, explaining how I was in the middle of a record and couldn’t afford a replacement (which was no longer in production anyway). Out of sheer luck, Noble & Cooley’s owner, Jay Jones, called and offered to meet me at the Los Angeles NAMM convention that week. They quickly manufactured a new kick and helped me during a very difficult time. I am not only forever grateful, I am also a lifelong Noble & Cooley player and consider them family. You don’t necessarily get that with other drum companies. I look forward to a great future working with Nick (Jay’s son), who is now a part of the company.

My kit consists of the original Noble & Cooley Horizon series made from maple with mahogany inside. Toms are 10″, 12″, 14″, and 16″ suspended by RIMS, and a 22″ kick. I rotate snares between a 5 1/2×14 Noble & Cooley Alloy Classic and a 6 1/2×14 Ludwig Black Beauty Supraphonic. I’ve been using Paiste cymbals forever and rotate 13″ Signature Sound Edge hi-hats, a 20″ Signature Bright ride, a 22″ 3000 Rude ride, a 19″ 2002 crash, a 20″ Prototype crash, an 18″ Signature Power crash, a 17″ Signature Full crash, a 14″ Signature Crystal crash, and a monster 22″ 3000 Rude China, which flips everyone off every time I play it! My pedals and hi-hat stand are from Drum Workshop’s 5000 series. Heads are Remo with coated Emperors on top of the snare and toms; chrome Starfire (or Ambassadors for studio) on bottom, and a coated P3 on the kick. Everything travels in freeway-resistant flight cases now!

A very special thanks to Modern Drummer and publicist Chip Ruggeri for allowing me the opportunity to introduce myself.

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