“When I was in high school, there was a drummer that everyone looked up to,” says Joe Bertram of Deerfield, Illinois. “And not just everyone who was into music, but all the kids. He could play anything and was self-taught. He was a real prodigy, if you will.”
That drummer’s name is Dave Picchietti, who currently resides in Lake Bluff, Illinois. Bertram explains that in high school Picchietti was in a Rush cover band, and he’d watch the drummer intensely to try to learn his secrets and the drum solo to the classic Rush song “YYZ.”
Although Bertram lost touch with Picchietti over the years, he had heard that the drummer had an operation that left him in a wheelchair. “Luckily I reconnected with him about seven years ago,” Bertram says. “And it was great! His condition leaves him slurring his speech and unable to walk without a cane or walker. But he still has
Recently Picchietti had Bertram over to show his pride and joy: a beautiful cherry-red Signia kit in immaculate condition. When the drummer was setting the kit up with the help of his two sons, he noticed the screws inside the shells holding the lugs were rusted and oxidized. “He replaced every screw and washer inside that amazing set,” says Bertram. “And the toms were all tuned pretty high. Dave asked me to help tweak the tuning, and as I brought the batter heads slowly down, they just started singing. It was great fun for me to get these drums sounding better for him. He had the kit’s Tama gong bass drum special ordered to match the Signia, and the Paiste crotale by his hi-hat is tuned to the same note as the intro to ‘YYZ,’ of course!”
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