From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - April 2016
Strange tales of flying cymbals, tumbling rack toms and wandering bass drums abound this month. The Wounded Kings had two festival shows, one in London and then the following week another in Manchester. As is the gold standard for these types of things we had to share the ‘in-house’ equipment and get everything changed over and re-jigged in 15 minutes. At the London show I was sensible enough to set up my cymbals on my own stands which is something I always do by default as the consequences of not doing so will become clear later in the blog…
So into the capital and after a good six hours in a transit van and a £10 Waitrose lunch stop (it was payday weekend after all!) we arrive to a sizeable but fairly empty room and a makeshift barbecue outside. Luckily we weren’t due on for a couple of hours so by the time we got on stage to play it was a far more ego-enhancing crowd.
As I was setting up my stands and cymbals at the side of the stage the front of house engineer came flying over to me and read me the riot act about not having enough time to change anything over etc. but I reassured him in fairly firm, colourful but friendly English that it would be fine and I would be ready in time and I always know I’ll be ready before the guitarists are! It was a worthwhile move and despite some strange onstage sound issues it went of without a hitch and before I knew it we were back on the M25 again for the return journey.
So then the following week it was Manchester. I like playing up t’North for a couple of different reasons: everyone is always friendly, the crowds are always lively, I have no idea where I am or what I’m doing which makes it all very exciting but most of all they don’t mind jumping onstage to retrieve your drums for you when they fall over! The first song everything was going great. The band were playing well, the sound was good, the drums felt good, the crowd were behind us and I felt like I keep going forever and then during the second song my beloved 24” Giant Beat went pinging off the cymbal stand and then from there on in it was a continual battle to keep the drum kit on the riser. As was previously mentioned I always use my own cymbal stands to ensure that things like cymbals flying of the stage don’t happen. We had a very short change over and from what I could see the stands looked OK so I thought to myself “Ah they’ll be OK” and left my hardware in the van.
I won’t be doing that again!
One kindly gentleman came up onstage to put it back on the stand and in between songs I managed to get back to where it started although it had a fairly hefty dent in the side of it from hitting the deck. Oh well I thought that’s very gutting but I’m a professional (almost) and the show must go on! So back to it and then the next thing I know the bass drum is a mere few inches from taking leave of the drum riser! How could it get any worse? Well next thing I know I was being attacked by the rack tom in front of me (are we still calling them rack toms?) which is now insisting that it must make friends with my snare drum, again a kind gentlemen, this time a fellow drummer, held it up for a bit and tried to reposition it for me but I ended the gig with the kit and myself looking battered and dishevelled. I’m not proud to say this but I acted like a petulant child as I was leaving the stage but I love playing live and I find it devastating when it all goes to crap for no good reason, and I went off in a bit of a strop. I did move house the day before and was physically and mentally a bit tatty and I do love that cymbal.
The release date for The Wounded Kings new album is now confirmed and we are cranking up the machine for touring and press. It’s been a long time coming and it’s going to be interesting to see what the reaction will be. In terms of drumming it is way more dynamic and I get to stretch out in to some smooth almost jazz like parts in some of the songs but in a very 70’s Santana/psychedelic kind of way. The gear is still the same but the set up is slightly different which helps keep it all fresh. I’ve got a whole bunch of new heads to try and so far I’ve fallen in love with the Aquarian New Orleans, which is a single ply head, but with a massive power dot stuck on top. It’s kind of got the best of both a double ply and single ply head. It’s open and fat but really responsive and dynamic. I think it’s a keeper!
Referring back to my recent house move it’s meant that I now cycle to work every morning which is a fairly modest 5 mile round trip but even in a few weeks I can really feel the benefit when I sit behind my drums and I feel more relaxed and capable because I feel just that little bit stronger and fitter. I’m not going to get preachy, but I was surprised at what a difference it’s made and just wanted to share with you any case anyone else needed some inspiration or some reassurance that it won’t hurt your drumming if you get a little bit fitter! If I can do it anyone can!
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