For the past thirteen years, Puerto Rican–born drummer Tony Escapa has been manning the throne with Latin-pop superstar Ricky Martin, who is currently in the midst of a six-month residency at the Monte Carlo Casino’s Park Theater in Las Vegas. The setup Escapa is using for the residency is the same one he takes with him when the band hits the road. “This is my main touring kit,” he says. “Yamaha is super-consistent, sound-wise and with tour support all over the world. My setup has always been a six-piece, but I’ve added electronics and other things over the years.”

Most notably, Escapa has expanded his cymbal setup to meet the demands of Martin’s multi-genre music. “I have three hi-hats,” he says. “There are a lot of songs that are electronic, so having the regular hi-hats on top of that would be too much. The 17″ effects hi-hats are used as another color, and the tiny hi-hats fit better when we’re in a more electronic realm.”

The drummer also supplements his acoustic tones with loops and samples that are played from a Roland multipad. “The SPD-SX is used to play some things to make the show sound bigger,” Escapa explains. “We always play live, but there are some sounds that I trigger. We go through every song, and I pick out what I’m going to play from the recordings that will make the show more organic. I can’t really get the techno bass sound out of the acoustic kick, so I grabbed a sample of that. [But] the acoustic kick is what the dancers use to keep time, so it has to be going the whole time.”

Escapa has three floor toms on his setup so he can replicate the sound of multiple players when the band launches into segments of the show that are more percussion-heavy. “I use the 18″ floor tom as a surdo,” he says, “because we play some [samba] batucada stuff that involves a lot of drumming for fifteen to twenty minutes straight.”

Tony also has to be mindful of his snare tone when jumping between Latin, pop, and rock tracks in order to convey the proper feel. “I have a high-pitched [aluminum] snare for the techno-pop and Latin stuff,” he says. “And I have a low-pitched [steel] snare that I use for the ballads and rock songs. The Yamaha snare stands allow me to remove the top quickly to swap the drums. I only have a few seconds to change them, and sometimes I barely make it.” [laughs]


Drums: Yamaha Hybrid Maple in Silver Sparkle finish
A. 6.5×14 Recording Custom Aluminum snare (swapped with 6.5×14 Recording Custom Brass and 7×14 Recording Custom Steel throughout the show for different tones)
B. 13×14 tom
C. 7.5×10 tom
D. 8×12 tom
E. 15×16 tom
F. 16×18 tom
G. 18×22 bass drum

Hardware: Yamaha, including Universal Tilt cymbal stands, mini hi-hat boom, and double-tom mount; DW 9000 Series double pedal

Electronics: Yamaha twenty-channel mixer and DTX MULTI-12 pad, Drumlite system (in toms and kick) with MIDI module to link to show lighting, Telefunken DC7 drum mic pack, and Cleartune CT-500 Elite and CT-6E in-ear monitors

Percussion: LP Black Beauty Cha-Cha and Bongo cowbells

Cymbals: Zildjian
1. 14″ New Beat hi-hats
2. 12″ Oriental China Trash
3. 17″ A Thin crash
4. 18″ A Thin crash
5. 10″ A Flash splash
6. 8″ A Flash splash
7. 10″ ZHT hi-hats (discontinued)
8. 17″ K Custom Special Dry Trash crashes (used as hi-hats)
9. 23″ A Sweet ride
10. 19″ A Thin crash
11. 20″ A Custom EFX crash
12. 14″ Oriental China Trash

Accessories: Vater Josh Freese H-220 sticks, cup holder, and double-stick holder

Drumheads: Remo White Suede Emperor tom batters, Ambassador X batter on aluminum snare, CS Coated batter on brass snare, P77 batter on steel snare, and Smooth White PS3 batter and front bass drum heads (custom printing by Woodshed Art)