Brooklyn-based percussionist, theater designer, and artist Eric Farber built this month’s monster setup for the Off-Broadway Civil War and science fiction musical Futurity. He created the production with his indie-rock band the Lisps over the course of eight years while continuously adding to the rig he uses during the show. “The longer we worked on it,” Farber says, “the more things I collected, and the bigger it got!”

The drums include a 1968–69 Ludwig kit in sky blue pearl with a 22″ bass drum, a 13″ rack tom, and a 16″ floor tom, plus a mid-1950s Gretsch round-badge snare. A set of vintage 14″ Zildjian A hi-hats, a 21″ Istanbul Agop Mel Lewis ride (without rivets), a vintage 12″ Zildjian A splash, and an ’80s Latin Percussion mambo cowbell round out the standard acoustic percussion of the kit. “The other mounted objects around the drums are assorted industrial materials that are mounted to three Tama Roadpro boom stands and tons of other clamps and boom arms,” Farber explains. “Everything else beyond that includes nontraditional percussion contraptions that are operated by a total of twelve people, including myself.”

Farber, along with the rest of the production’s cast, employs inventive techniques while performing. “I’m the only one using sticks to play—actually, a number-six knitting needle and a railroad-tie nail,” the drummer explains. “All of the other percussion and kinetic movement happens through individual cranks and other simple hand-powered mechanisms.”

The kit also includes an old tractor grill that gets scraped when a crank is turned, crop-thresher teeth jingled by a trombone horn, an industrial fan cover on top of a giant steel kettle that creates a deep reverb chamber, a spring-loaded potato ricer, an antique corn-shelling machine that spins a network of wheels and film reels, and an iron wagon wheel powered by a 1980s Schwinn exercise bike, which plays a programmed beat.

For more about the production, including videos of the kit in action, visit

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