“It’s funny that we’re doing this gear thing,” Josh Freese tells us, as we catch up with him between world tours with pop/rock legend Sting and a one-off show at the House of Blues in Anaheim with his longtime punk band the Vandals. “I think some guys who have more time to prepare might show up with extra gear that they might not normally use. But we decided to do this last-minute, and I’ve had this kit for almost fifteen years. I have two kits at my house. One is set up in my studio with microphones on it, so that never leaves. This kit is what I use for quick gigs here and there. I don’t go out of my way to beat it up, but I don’t mind if it gets a nick or scratch here or there. They don’t need to go into a museum—though they’re gorgeous. And they sound great.

“When I first started playing Paiste cymbals, I only used the Signature series,” Freese continues. “That’s what made me fall in love with their stuff. There are other things that they’re making that I haven’t even checked out yet. My go-tos are the Signature, Dark Energy, and some Twenty series. I like rotating some sounds, but I never go too far out. You’ll never see me using only two splashes and 20″ hi-hats. When I’m on tour, my setup’s not changing. I’ve got some backup cymbals in case one breaks, but I’ll go like eight months with the exact same setup. When I’m home, it’s more whatever I feel like throwing in the car that day. But again, it’s never too drastic. Even though there’s a huge array of things that Paiste and DW make, I feel like I’ve found what I like. I’m like, ‘This sounds great, so let’s move on.’”

Drums: DW Collector’s series maple in white lacquer finish with silver stripe
A. 6×14 snare
B. 9×12 tom
C. 16×16 floor tom
D. 18×22 bass drum

Cymbals: Paiste
1. 14″ Signature Dark Energy hi-hats
2. 18″ Signature Full crash
3. 21″ Twenty ride
4. 19″ Signature Full crash

Heads: Remo Controlled Sound Coated snare batter, Emperor Coated tom batters, Powerstroke P3 Clear bass drum batter

In-ear monitors: JH Audio Roxanne

Hardware: DW 9000 series double pedal, DW 5000 series two-leg hi-hat stand, and a Roc-N-Soc throne

Sticks: Vater Josh Freese H-220