Mick Fleetwood

Mick Fleetwood

The Power Of Fleetwood Mac

by Robyn Flans

Because few drummers are as well publicized as Mick Fleetwood of the reknown Fleetwood Mac, he has become a celebrity, making him one of the most identifiable drummers in music today.

Since each of Fleetwood Mac’s five members satisfies an integral portion of the band, each individual has become extremely visible and well known, and after joking that he has become a focal point due to his rather overwhelming height of 6’6″, Fleetwood admits that because he is involved in all career aspects of the group, from its music to its managerial and business functions, and is, in fact, much the spokesman, he has attracted quite a bit of attention.

Within the last five years, Fleetwood Mac has undoubtedly become one of the most popular bands in music, but as is typical with many major successes, it took many years, along with several personnel changes to hit upon the magical combination of John McVie, Lindsay Buckingham, Christine McVie, Stevie Nicks and Mick Fleetwood.

“In a lot of ways, I think we’re lucky that the band has been around for a long time,” Fleetwood theorizes. “We’re 15 albums old and have all that experience, and yet in the public eye, we’re only three albums and five years old. I think it’s very healthy to be starting a new section of your life when you’re 30 years old because you’re able to put the pressure in perspective and not freak out,” says Fleetwood, nearly 33.

“A lot of people ask me, ‘Did you know when Stevie and Lindsay joined that this was going to happen?’ Of course not, but we just knew that we liked each other and we enjoyed each other’s music outside of being involved as a band, and that was it. And I don’t want to know why it works. It’s just a chemistry. It’s like asking someone why a relationship fell apart. It just did. You can go on talking about it forever, but the end result is that you don’t get on. Musically, it’s the same thing. That’s why people play together.”

Fleetwood’s attitude that certain things should go unexplained and unanalyzed in order to retain the innocent and magical chemistry, is a philosophy he applies to his playing as well. Never having had lessons, Fleetwood recalls that his father provoked his aspirations to be a drummer.

“My father interested me, unwittingly,” he adds in his clipped English accent. “He was not a drummer or a musician, but he was constantly tapping on something and I think I probably inherited it from him. He certainly never said, ‘Son, you be a drummer,’ but my parents always encouraged me to do what it was I wanted to do. It was something I wanted to do and they just said to do my best. I have nothing but thanks as far as they’re concerned, because, without any shadow of a doubt, they made it possible for me to pursue something I loved.

“Unfortunately, my father died about a year ago, but this past Christmas, when I went to England, my mother gave me a picture of my father, age 29, sitting at a drum kit. I never knew that he ever played on an actual drum kit and it was a weird twist. I almost felt as if it had been meant for me to have taken on the task.”

At age 13, Fleetwood’s parents bought him his first drum set, a gigster kit with one 6″ cymbal and one top tom tom, which he kept at home while away at boarding school. Leaving school at 15, which students in England may elect to do, Fleetwood got his first legitimate set, which was a Rogers kit.

“I probably got my first gig from having that kit,” he smiles. “When you’re in little bands, people often say, ‘Well, he’s got a kit that looks good, so let’s have him.’ I was 15 at the time, and the gig was from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. for nine pounds a week at this London drinking club, which I was obviously underaged to be doing,” he recalls.

“I never did practice much.” Fleetwood admits. “Playing the drums to me was a pleasure; more of an emotional pleasure than anything else. To whatever extent I am technically involved with drumming has come just from playing. I’m not a rehearsed drummer and I’m glad I’m not. I happen to think that’s valuable now. seeing as how it has turned out. I would prefer that to being a technical drummer because I think you learn to be a lot more sympathetic to the natural dynamics that you can’t write down—the paradiddles and all that stuff, which I really don’t know. I’m glad I don’t know. I just played to my records up in the attic and picked up drumming as I went along. I would play with anyone who wanted to play with me. I wasn’t worried about what sort of music it was. I was just grateful to be playing my drums on stage with someone else, even if it was terrible. Obviously, later on you become more aware of what you’re suited to, and it was just through circumstance that I started playing with various people and one of those people was Peter Green, which was the start of Fleetwood Mac.”

Fleetwood had been playing with guitarist Peter Green in several little bands, including the Shotgun Express, in which Rod Stewart sang, and then John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers. When Peter Green left Mayall’s band in 1967, he took with him bass guitarist John McVie and Fleetwood, and Fleetwood Mac was born with its first line-up including guitarists Jeremy Spencer and Danny Kirwan. When the other three members departed. Fleetwood and McVie remained together, adding McVie’s then wife, Christine, on keyboards and guitarist Bob Welch in 1970. Desiring a solo career, Welch left the band in December 1974, and Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined to create the successful Fleetwood Mac of today.

“By the time Fleetwood Mac formed, my use as a drummer, hopefully, was a simplicity of drumming. Drums are there to compliment. The rhythm section is there to be subservient to the cream on top. the vocals and the music. That’s why I hate drum solos. I think they’re indulgence. I’d never dream of doing one because it’s not musically harmonious. If you’re going to have everyone else in the band playing drums at once, that’s another story. Then you’re using drums to be a community. Whereas a guitar solo is chordal, involving harmonies and notes, drums don’t involve that, and so, the only time I’d dream of doing anything near to a drum solo is if everything were to get unplugged in the middle of a number—I’d just keep going. I’m just not a complicated drummer. I t ‘ s really pretty basic stuff as far as I ‘m concerned. Everyone always wants to play the drums because it’s really the most basic thing and they think it’s very easy. And it is easy, as long as they don’t try to get clever. As long as they know what an off-beat is, if you’re talking about playing rock and roll, then you can do it. It’s when people start flashing around—that’s why I never flash around —you mess it up. You play within your limits and you’re really good, because then you retain a tension in the music. To me, that’s the art of any playing; certainly the art of what I try to keep doing. I know what everyone in this band does with his instrument is to never go beyond the bounds of what he can do. Push yourself, but don’t embarrass yourself, so actually, the tension is there. It’s important that you retain the innocence you had when you started. When you’ve been playing for eighteen years, you can’t really be naive, so what you can do is identify what it was about your playing when you started, and retain it, intellectually, and just don’t get away from that. Don’t allow yourself to feel that you have to be something else because you’re tired of what you’ve been all your life. When people feel that they have to be bigger and better things, they often screw up. It may be very clever, but it doesn’t actually mean anything and hasn’t got any innocence in it at all—nothing is retained. That’s certainly what I’ve tried to do.

“I don’t want to know what a verse or a chorus is. which I don’t. Lindsay will say, ‘Well, play the verse or do this,’ and I say, ‘Sing the part, because I don’t know what is the verse or the chorus or all that stuff.’ I ‘m really glad of that, because I think it sort of helped me retain that innocence. There’s nothing worse than a slick drummer, in my opinion. Some of the big band drummers are incredible because they’ve got real earth in them somewhere—spontaneity and real flair. You see someone who is a great technician and it doesn’t do anything for you. I’m always trying to not learn anything. I know a lot about drums, but it all came over a long period of time. It’s not the only way of doing it, but if I were given the choice, that’s the way I would have done it anyhow.”

Fleetwood says that one of his favorite drummers is Charlie Watts because he has managed to compliment the various styles through which the Rolling Stones have gone throughout the years.

“A band is as good as its drummer. Imagine the Rolling Stones without Charlie Watts. No matter how many styles they got off into, he was right there with them. When they got off into “Satanic Majesties,” they got a bit out of context from what they were really about, and if Charlie Watts hadn’t been playing in there, they might have been in real trouble. Actually, I must say that the Stones are my favorite band. They’ve written some great stuff, a lot more than people give them credit for, actually, and they still play really well as a band. The Beatles were primarily songwriters. and that’s not saying that they weren’t the greatest, but they never got into the band kind of playing. There’s something about the Stones that when they’re on, they’re amazing for a rock and roll band and Charlie Watts is a great drummer. The rest of the hand knows i t . too. I must confess, one of my all time fantasies is that I would love to do a couple of gigs playing for the Rolling Stones. I would love it!”

After his Rogers set, Fleetwood used a Ludwig set for live performances for many years, until only about ten months ago, when he switched to Tama.

“I left Ludwig because they used to make very good drums, but I found they just started going downhill. At that time, I was using the German made Sonor in the studio and I approached them to build me a stage kit and they said they couldn’t do it because they haven’t got the lathes to make the bass drum pattern that big. The Japanese being what they are said that they would make the lathes in order to make it up.”

For live performances, Fleetwood uses a 28″ bass drum, explaining, “I always wanted a big bass drum for years and years, and luckily, when I was able to afford it, I did just that. If you hear the band live, you realize why. The dimensions really suit me, because physically, I’m big, so it doesn’t look stupid and I’m not drowned in drum kit. I’m also really pleased with the sound, which is very big and fat.”

The change from Ludwig to Tama, however, was not without complications.

“Because the metrics are different in Japan, the rims of the drums they custom made for me were metrically wrong, so what happened was that the skins were falling under heavy duress of my pounding on them and tuning them up, that at all occasions, they would slip through the hoop. The skin wouldn’t break, it would just collapse, and I realized that this had to be wrong. As soon as we put the old rims from my Ludwig kit on them, it was okay. Now that it’s all worked out, I’m really pleased with the kit, so I don’t want anyone to think otherwise, but it did happen and it was turning into a nightmare. I broke three snare drums within about five numbers one night and I was dying!”

Another adjustment Fleetwood had to make at the beginning of this last tour was one of a psychological nature.

“Up until about a year ago, I drank very heavily on stage-not beforehand, but during the show, I consumed an awful lot of liquor. I can no longer do that because I found out that I have a mild case of diabetes and I can no longer drink at all. That was an emotional turn around for me to have played drums for that long, putting away a few, and while I knew what was going on, I was less inhibited. I really was worried for a while that my whole playing attitude would change on stage, which it did, for about ten days at the beginning of this last tour. I’m drinking water up there now.”

That is one of the reasons Fleetwood admits he is obsessed with sweating on stage.

“I have to sweat. If I don’t sweat, I feel psychologically that I’m not playing that well. It’s all a psyche job, but it effects everything, and directly it effects how you play. That was a really hard adjustment to make after 18 years, not being able to turn around and take a gulp, aside from the fact that very often, these big halls have drafts coming up. I like to be wringing wet and there’s nothing worse than getting hot and having a draft—I get cramps, just like an athlete, so I have big heaters behind me. I am a very physical player, so if I’m getting hot, but not sweating, it freaks me out.”

Before every live performance, Fleetwood carries out a ritual.

“I really psyche myself up. I always change about 40 minutes before we go on stage and I wear the same things I’ve worn for the last ten years. Not the actual garments, of course, but they are the same. There are these two wooden balls that I hang between my legs and I never go on stage without them—they’ve been there for about 15 years, at least. On they go and I feel safe. I get my talking drum and tune that up and get the sticks and start walking up and down the corridors, jumping and kicking, doing high kicks and breathing exercises. I do that and it works. I don’t sit and endlessly tap on things, but I do limber up before I go on stage.”

With the exception of the large bass drum he uses for live shows, his live and studio set-ups are identical. All his drums are 9-ply Rosewood, except his snares, which are metal. He has two 14″ toms on top, both with different depths, and a 20″ and 18″ floor tom.

Fleetwood prefers Paiste cymbals to Zildjian because he claims, “They’re much more sensitive. Zildjians tend to be a little bit like bits of metal. Paistes have much finer highs in them and they’re much more orchestrated. I’ve just always really liked them.”

He has a 26″ cymbal on the left, then two 20″ crash cymbals, a 24″ ride and an 18″ Chinese.

“I try not to use my favorite ones too much, because on the road, they really take a beating. I keep my cymbals polished a lot. I didn’t do it for years and years and years, and it’s no big revelation, but it really makes a big difference. Every night, those cymbals are polished and if I leave them more than two or three nights, the tonal difference is amazing. It isn’t just subtle, but quite startling. It seems that not many people do take that
much care on the road, and I certainly didn’t but now I do and I’m really pleased. I’m also pleased that a lot of people and players comment—they may not like the playing, but they always say that the drums sound really, really good.”

He spends a lot of time preparing his sticks as well.

“I use 5B Regal tips, but I can’t understand why they haven’t invented a rock and roll stick like mine. What I do with them is take off all the veneer, except the actual center piece, where the stick hits the rim for rimshots. I leave that section because they would break if I didn’t, but aside from that portion, I get the veneer taken off the top and bottom with rough sandpaper and then make some grooves in it. What happens is that it’s so hot up there that your hands get wet on the veneer and you can’t hold onto the stick. You get cramps trying to hold on really tight and your hands should be really loose. So, I pummel the sticks to pieces, and the few people I’ve told about it think it’s a great idea. It’s invaluable to me. Sticks don’t fly out of my hand anymore.”

Something else Fleetwood is very particular about is his drum heads. His drums are double-headed and he uses heavy heads on the tops and lights on the bottoms. He uses a medium Canasonic on the top of his snare, which he swears by for live playing.

“I change the skins all around for every gig. I change the bottoms every ten days and the difference in that care is amazing. I change the snares and everything. I’m lucky because I can afford to do that—it’s definitely a luxury, but needless to say, it does make a lot of difference.”

Another luxury is that Richard Dashut has been touring with the band. Dashut, along with Ken Caillat, engineered, as well as helped the band to produce their last couple of albums, Rumours and Tusk.

“I’m eternally grateful to Richard for forcing me to tune my drums up,” Fleetwood says, warmly. “He comes on the road to do our sound and he’s always there at sound checks with me, and since drums are Richard’s forte and he plays really well, himself, he notices straight away if something isn’t right. Again, it’s a luxury that he can be on the road with us, because not only have you got somebody you love as a person, but somebody who makes the records with us too.

“We’re changing our sound all the time now,” Fleetwood states. “A lot of people, and we, ourselves, in times gone by, would get a drum sound and a position of the drum kit in the studio, and there they’d stay, with the same bits of tape on them, through an entire album. Now, I’m really keen on getting as many exciting drum sounds as possible. Whatever sounds good. In the studio, you shouldn’t be scared to do anything. As far as musical egos are involved, it’s much healthier not to have those rules.”

Fleetwood happens to love both the touring and the studio work.

“I happen to enjoy traveling. I don’t feel insecure traveling, whereas some people do and can’t wait to get home. My father was in the Royal Air Force and we were never in one place for more than three years, anyhow. So I have no problem with the road. Some people do. Lindsay would instantly choose to be in the studio his whole life. So, when we’re on the road, he has his eight track recorder in his hotel room and he’s quite happy. Between touring and recording he wouldn’t hesitate to make a choice. With me, I can quite honestly say that I like doing both—a lot. If I really, really had to choose, I suppose I would say recording, mainly because it’s something that’s not repetitive. Being on the road is repetitive; you do play the same set every night, and while no gig is the same and we all enjoy it, it’s not as artistically rewarding. For the moment, it’s very rewarding and challenging, but on a record, for better or worse, you stand to be judged and you stand to judge yourself.”

Their most recent critically acclaimed Tusk album took a year and a half to record and Fleetwood was present every inch of the way.

“I love being in the studio, so I’m in the studio all the time, whether Lindsay is there or Chris is there, one of them is there or three of them are there, I am always there. I just don’t like not being there, because if something happens that I don’t like, you can’t come back three weeks later and say, ‘Ooh—maybe you should have done that,’ because you weren’t there and it’s not fair to say anything then. If you’re there all the time, you can make valid comments and put your money’s worth in. John hates being in the studio and sometimes he’ll come down a month later and has to try to get me to go in and say something because he knows he shouldn’t say anything, but the fact of the matter is, he should have said it then, a month or six months before. Maybe you don’t like the studio, but either it’s worth it or it’s not. To me, it’s worth it because I want to be involved in as many moves as the band makes as is possible. I’ve always done that. I just don’t like something happening without my knowing it. It’s not even selfish. It’s just that you know that you’ve become a part of it. You can’t understand that that’s the best anyone can get it because you haven’t seen him work for eighteen hours trying to get something right, and end up saying, ‘But couldn’t that be . . .?’ And you say, ‘No, because we’ve tried everything else and that’s the only way we can do it,’ or ‘That’s the only way those chords sound good together.’ And you know you’ve heard it, so you don’t feel bad about it. You feel great because you know that that’s the way it is. So, I don’t just don’t have a problem with it. I don’t get bored or disappointed, I just enjoy doing it. Lindsay loves it, John hates it, Chris is pretty alright and Stevie comes in when she needs to. She’s not, quote, a musician. She plays piano and writes lovely songs, but she’s not involved in spending three, four, five or how many hours of tuning up drums or changing different cymbals and such. I love all that fiddling around in the studio. It’s just my nature.

“We take a long time in the studio for many reasons. We’ve certainly made albums in six weeks, two months and things like that in the past, but it’s a matter of professional indulgence in that we feel that whatever money we spend on an album is our money; money we never get back. You may say, ‘Well, you’re going to get it back, because you know your records are going to sell.’ Quite right, and I also know that if the records weren’t selling, we wouldn’t be spending a million dollars in the studio. We produce ourselves and we grow a lot as a band in the studio. We try not to repeat ourselves and when you’re faced with the same five people, which, of course, we’re happy about, we have to work very hard at keeping it fresh. So it’s something that we feel—it’s our money and we’re throwing it back into our livelihood. It’s not because we just sit around, which, of course, happens sometimes, but primarily, we work all the time. We choose to do it like that and it’s really as simple as that. We are perfectly capable of not spending that amount of time, but we’re learning more and more, as we should be, in the studio. Not necessarily learning how to get more technical, but perhaps less and less technical, using very sophisticated machinery in the proper way without letting it use you. That’s a real danger and that’s where we spend the time and money. We do write a lot and reconstruct a lot of stuff in the studio. We’ll scrap things and re-do them if need be. We’re perfectionists to the point where it may be worth it to scrap something because it’s gotten too perfect and try to get it until there’s a good feel. If we’re going to spend a lot of time on something, we’re very aware of not getting it so together that it doesn’t feel anything anymore.

“Often you spend a lot of time getting back something so it feels like it could have been done live. Stevie Wonder spends a lot of time making his albums and that’s the way he wants to do it. He produces himself and he knows what he’s doing. We have five people, three of which are very involved—Lindsay is the most involved in the technical and musical aspects of any one person, I’m always there and Christine is pretty much always there, and as a band, nothing gets done unless everyone thinks it’s a good idea. So, that can be time consuming. Luckily, we all think and feel pretty much the same, but it’s not as quick as having someone standing there with a whip telling you what to do. That’s the magic of this band. If we made it like a military operation, we probably wouldn’t be together. That’s not to say that we won’t make an album much quicker. We may suddenly choose, as an exercise, to make an album really quick and that album, because we make it quick, again, will be a different type of album. Really, there should be no restrictions, artistically. We’re just lucky to have the money to spend and we should probably own a studio because then we wouldn’t have to spend the money. We had the studio booked out for a year, and I would imagine that really, eight months of that year was absolutely solid in the studio. We don’t let anyone else in the studio, so at $300.00 an hour, 24 hours a day, it’s a lot of money. It was a very expensive studio, but then again, the Eagles’ album cost more than ours and they only got a single album out of it. Ours was a million two and I think their’s was a million five.”

In addition to the music, Fleetwood also manages the band. “I’m involved with the business stuff because as a person, I just do that because I don’t want anyone else to do it, and since the band doesn’t do it, I just do it. That is not my ambition, to be a businessman. I am a musician in Fleetwood Mac. I just play the drums and the other useful part is that it just seems to be a certain section of my personality, for all its faults, that I tend to bind things together and if something is falling apart, I just seem to be the one who gets off his ass and does something about it. I decide what and when we’re going to do something and luckily there is a good core of people around to carry it all through. I meet with the record company and lawyers and all of that. I get paid to do it, mind you, although not terribly much,” he laughs, adding, “But I’m not complaining.”

Until just recently, Fleetwood was also involved in the management of other artists.

“Until January, I, along with John (McVie) and a young lady, was managing Bob Welch, Danny Duma and Turley Richards, but now that I’ve ceased that, I’m only doing Fleetwood Mac. I just don’t want to be morally responsible for something that I feel I can’t actually do properly. When I’m on the road I don’t really feel that I can fulfill that as a service, so that’s what I told them. I know them all as friends anyhow and it wasn’t really a big business deal. I was involved professionally, but mainly as a friend, getting them record deals and things like that. I really am sort of glad I have that off my shoulders now, because, quite honestly, I was spending extra energy I should have been putting into Fleetwood Mac.”

When asked if he has time for a life, Fleetwood replies, matter of factly, “I would have to say no, I don’t. Not as of now, no. But I enjoy doing what I’m doing, so I don’t worry about it. I get unhappy when I get stuck at home. The gypsy part of this business is in me. When you’ve been doing it for nearly 20 years, that’s what you do. Being at home is not what you do. It is hard, I suppose. I’m separated from my wife, but I don’t feel that I’ve sacrificed anything for this. This is quite simply what I do and I’d be a hideous person to be with if I wasn’t doing it or if I tried to be the old man at home. It’s just the way it is and there’s nothing wrong with it. I’m doing selfishly what I want to do. I might not do it forever, but I don’t particularly see myself doing anything else. I enjoy having the time off and it’s very nice having lots of money, but I’ve also played and not had money and I don’t feel any different playing. That’s the key, I think. If you want to be a drummer, make sure you really enjoy playing, rather than thinking that this is the only way you can make a living, so you’re going to stick with this because you can’t do anything else. I enjoy what I’m doing. I also know that I don’t do anything else. I’m probably capable of it, but I don’t do anything else. You have to make sure that it’s your real love, rather than the threat of a need of a job. If someone is determined to do it, he has to be prepared in his mind that he’s going to be playing for 15 or 16 years, before he makes a dime. If you love it that much, then do it,” Fleetwood advises. “And if you get lucky, which is how it happens, there’s no telling. But don’t do it unless you really love doing it. If you really enjoy the emotional experience of playing and being creative through playing drums, do it. Otherwise, do it on weekends or something. I always wanted to play the drums. I knew that I wanted to be a drummer and I was determined that I was going to be a drummer and I was, and because I felt that way, whether I made money or not, absolutely did not matter at all. I went through hell, but I loved every minute of it—freezing vans coming back from Newcastle with frost on the inside, sleeping in the back of the vans. You don’t even think that’s hard work because you love doing it, just so you can play those drums at that gig,” he recalls with intense passion. “If you’re not prepared to do that, don’t. You have to work hard just to play, not to think that once you play, everything is just going to be instant recognition and instant rock and roll star. It’s hard work and you’ve got to love that hard work and not complain about it. If you start complaining about it when you’re starting off, you might as well forget it. There’s a lot more hard work when you make it, I assure you.”

Engineer Richard Dashut On Drums

“I’m a drum fanatic. The drum sounds are a very critical part of your mix. There’s an old adage: If you can get your drums to sound great, everything else will fall into place around it, frequency- wise, in terms of mixing. For me, live, the drums can be one of the most exciting sounding of all instruments, and with Mick, he’s so big anyway and his kit is so physically big, that it would be a damn shame to see this big visual out there and to hear a dinky cocktail sounding drum kit—like it should be in a lounge. Plus, mixing the sound can be very repetitious night after night with the same songs, and artistically, for me to get off, I have to make sure those sounds are the best they can possibly be, otherwise, what’s the point of even being there? Being on the road, there are 24 hours to the day, but only two of those hours are doing the gig and all the other hours are focused on doing those two hours and it would be a pity for me to thro away that whole trip by having mediocre sounds.

“Each song has a different character. Some of Lindsay’s songs are a lot different from Christine’s ballads, so what I do is change the equalization, especially on drums, from song to song. I’ll go from a real fat snare and kick sound to the next song, which will be Lindsay’s, where I’ll thin the snare right out so it sounds like a trash can, which is what we’ll want—a real rough sound.

“The most important part of the drum sound is tuning the drums properly. We’ve gone through many stages. When I first met Mick, I hadn’t been an engineer too long and had just started learning to tune drums. Mick had never really tuned his drums—he’d tune them up, they’d sound good and he’d leave them that way for a few months. So, we kind of grew up together with that. Now, we like to tune the snare drum very, very tight, almost like a membrane. He uses a deeper snare, an 8″, and we find that by tuning the bottom skin right up so tight, and having done that, we can tune the top skin how we need it, but the depth remains with the snare because the bottom skin is so volatile. Every time you just touch the top skin, the bottom reacts. The only problem is that you have to replace the bottom skins of the snare quite often and that can be quite costly. This is a point that most drummers forget. The bottom skin is as important as the top, if not more. Just because you don’t play on the bottom, you don’t dent them and drummers tend to leave them on for months or years. But if you tune them up as tight as I’m talking about, it looses its elasticity and starts stretching after two or three shows. The Canasonic on top doesn’t dent, so you can play a whole show without denting your snare and it has a very deep sound. It’s not as crisp, perhaps, as a Ludwig, but overall, what you’re getting is longevity through a show and a head that stays in tune fairly well. Also, they don’t break. The little bit of high end you lose is worth it.”

“I think every engineer takes pride in his drum sounds. Most of the problem with drummers I see, as far as getting a sound, is that they expect you to do it all on the board. The point is that with any sound, you need to start with basically a good sound and take it from there. Any time you do something electronically, you start losing things. If you start off with a lousy sound from the instrument itself, it’s just going to go downhill from there.”