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From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - February 2015

From The Frontline - Myke Heath

Did everyone check out all the Winter NAMM footage presented by the very same people that bring you this excellent website? Shame on you if you didn''t! What an amazing world we live in now to be able to share videos and information so quickly and easily! It was only less than 90 years ago that we had spoken word and sound for the first time on a movie.

Some of you may remember I half jokingly said that maybe this year would see a surge in bigger sizes and it looks like I might''ve been on the money with that! Sabian launched an entire range of cymbals calledďBig and UglyĒ although I think they''re anything but'' and DW/PDP launched a mid range kit with a 26Ē bass drum.  16Ē hi hats also featured heavily although I do draw the line at 15Ē personally and I find myself nearly forever crash-riding on my beloved and ever-faithful 24Ē 2002 ride anyway. I think itís the one piece of gear Iíve had longer and used more often than anything else.

I try to remain very loyal to the brands of equipment I use but sometimes that is tested by issues with availability and of course pricing. So do you sacrifice sound over loyalty? Personal preference over money? Iím at the early stages of beginning to build a drumming career so at the moment I donít have a lot to offer to a manufacturer other than love and enthusiasm for the product and it makes me shy to approach anybody about artist support, and I find it massively painful to big myself up in a professional context. If I could just swear and shout a lot Iíd be ok! Wouldnít it be great if there could be some kind of synergy with drum retailers too? You could represent the shop as well as the manufacturer. Iím sure itís been tried. In my days of working in drum/music shops I used to supply the odd drummer/band here and theyíre but mostly in an emergency. I wouldíve really enjoyed being able to get more involved in the artist support side of things.

So why all this talk about gear then? Simple really: itís been a quiet month! (also as Iím writing this Iím fighting off the man flu I recently acquired and my brain is on half power). Iíve been writing, rehearsing and planning but no major live action. Thatís when my mind wanders to gear and dreams of endorsements. What do I really need? Rototoms of course, or maybe a big china cymbal! Of course in reality I donít need any of these things but lust and obsession are hard things to control especially with time on your hands. I could start my own personal artist website, do some videos or add more followers to my social media accounts? Yeah all good ideas and I donít have any reason to not do those things but it doesnít appeal anywhere near as much as looking at new gear.

Most of the shows booked abroad this year are all fly-ins mostly which means itíll all be borrowed gear anyway. I think itís funny that they are better-paid shows but all the time and effort spent in to getting your bands sound goes out the window. Surely they want you to sound your best? Thatís why they book you and pay you!? Iím forever grateful though to be able to play in another country by popular request.

The pre-production sessions are currently going very well with The Wounded Kings and I canít lie that this isnít my favourite part of the process but itís becoming a lot of fun and itís feeling very creative. Hopefully weíll get to test these songs live before recording which is something we havenít done before and even though the studio booking isnít until July Iíve already started the discussion with Chris the recording engineer about drum sounds and recording ideas which once again is a new experience for me too. Iím really tempted to go no hole on the front head for that proper old school Bonham boom but I donít have the heart to put it to Chris after the last time recorded with him without a bass drum hole in the front head. It wasnít a popular idea. 

On a slight tangent Iíve bumped in to a few people of the last few weeks who I used to be in bands with and subsequently have given up playing music (Iím known as the musical Black Widow of Exeter by the way!). Interestingly they have been inspired to want to play again and itís mostly come down to a small number of new bands that they have heard or seen and even the odd documentary too.  Brilliant. That makes me feel really warm and fuzzy because these guys are great musicians and I never understood why they gave up in the first place. I wonder how many more people will come out of the woodwork and pick up their instruments again? Is there change around the corner? Iíd like to think so.  

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