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"Evolution of a Drummer"
I admit it!! I am hopelessly addicted to all things percussive. If there is a drum in the room, it seeks me out and pulls me in with its tractor beam. I love the look, sound and feel of a drumkit. It is a beautiful sculpture that emits a seductive sound…its siren’s call. I half-jokingly refer to myself as a “recovering drummer”.
For me , there is nothing more alluring than a drumkit that has been creatively set up and personalized. Combining my two passions, drums and art, could only lead to one thing…custom painted drums. Because I could not afford or find drums to match my orange sparkle kit I wrapped them in chrome contact paper. I was soon painting my band name or relative artwork on my front kick drum head.
The first actual drum shell I painted was my Yamaha Recording Custom kit, a multi-color textural swirl . That drum kit was seen by the drum tech for Guns-N-Roses at the time and before I knew it I was painting two kits for Steven Adler of G-N-R at the height of their Appetite for Destruction tour. I have since been asked to create custom drumkits for some of the biggest names in the music business, from Aerosmith to ZZ Top.
I was playing with X O X, a fairly popular band here in Houston when Frank Beard of ZZ Top came to see the band. He liked my drums and asked if I could paint a kit for him. That chance meeting has turned into a 17+ year friendship over which I have created 13 custom drumkits and traveled the world with ZZ Top as Frank’s drum tech.
In October of 2002, while on tour in Europe, Frank had an emergency appendectomy and I was asked to fill the drum spot. So with very little sleep and no rehearsal I played 3 sold out shows starting in Paris. In a career spanning 30+years, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees ZZ Top have never performed without those three original guys, until then . Mucho thanks to Billy, Dusty and Frank for trusting me up there behind the kit. It was an honor and I had a blast!
I also have the pleasure of being Alex Van Halen’s drum tech. I painted some drums and drum heads for him starting back in 1991 and was asked to tech for him in 1998. Alex’ s drumming talent and his creative drumkits inspired me to do what I do…so to help create a drumkit for him and to sit behind him every night is indeed a dream come true.