Did you know...?
"I mean, it was pretty much The Tube's idea in the first place — they paid for a car — they chose a bloody Daimler. So it's their problem if the show got censored!"
The speaker is Luke Cresswell, one half of the, er, performance duo The Urban Warriors who recently took drumsticks, Doc Martens, and finally a sledgehammer to the aforesaid Daimler in a spectacular display of syncopated destruction. It was brilliant. It was the single most-complained-about moment of broadcasting in Channel 4's often turbulent history. It said something about the importance certain sections of this society attach to property. ('Good grief! That could be my Daimler!')
It was also inevitably censored from the following Tuesday night repeat of The Tube. But there's more to Luke and his partner Tin Tin than freelance car-wrecking. There's the Heineken lager ad, for instance, where the chaps, helped out by friends from an earlier enterprise - the busking band Pookiesnackenburger - wreak their patented havoc on an assortment of dustbins, railings, chunks of iron — and lager cans. The resulting din puts more serious metal-bashers like Test Department and Einstorzende Neubaten in the shade. It's so loud!
"That was the hardest thing, getting to sound so loud on tape. We did it at Air Studios in London - just me, the video producer Nick Lewis, and the house engineer. We miked up the dustbins, the metal, in this big ambient room they've got - and I just did it, more or less as you see it on telly. We beefed up the sounds a bit with drum-machine bass drum, and loads of reverb."
Shooting the action, (one third contemporary dance, one third Burundi, and one third total hooligan), was expedited by the fact that the whole thing is a routine from the Pookie days where Luke first developed his self-taught unique polyrhythmic style: "It was a busking band, so all I had was a snare drum slung around my neck. I started filling in hi hat parts on the rim, putting in accents. It was just the natural thing to do."
Following the break-up of Pookiesnackenburger, Luke and the other band members pursued various projects — he's now part of a 'real music band' called YesNo People, currently getting their act together, and of course there's The Urban Warriors, formed initially as a street performance act at the Edinburgh Festival 'just to make some money'.
Things have developed since then, with Luke and Tin Tin playing around the cabaret circuit on an assortment of snare drums ('We do this sort of boys brigade drumming'), bass drums, and dustbins. Oh yes. And knotted tea towels: "We swing them around our heads, a bit like baton-twirling, whipping the hell out of three bass drums — salvation army ones, sounds great, really... portentious. Knackers your arms though..."
Plans for the future include a possible single with Simple Minds drummer Mel Gaynor, and a continuing presence on the cabaret circuit. So if you're walking down the road one day and you see a couple of hard looking geezers totalling your motor with drumsticks — take it easy. They might be artists.
(More info on the whereabouts of The Urban Warriors from Off The Kerb Productions, on (Contact Details)). TR
Feel that your music is accessible, flexible and even a bit international? Well aren't you the lucky one, because there's a record company which would suit your needs down to the ground. It's Jigsaw Records who are a 'very A&R based' bunch of people interested in developing 'long term acts with an international appeal'. Sounds a bit like Eurovision record company but without so much of the inherent nastiness, doesn't it? Anyway, they're interested in accessible music and bands and also say that the bands should be prepared to record songs by other writers, particularly for singles. Well if you still fancy trying your luck then you should contact Jigsaw on (Contact Details). CH. H.
There seems to have been a quiet revolution going on in the snare drum market. Up until now precious few manufacturers have produced an extra deep metal shell drum, although they all make an 8" deep wooden one. My info is that it isn't simply a matter of adapting the machinery which usually makes a 6½" drum, therefore it would involve the company in considerable cost. All this being equal, Pearl's S-714-ED has really eaten into the market. I feel that an extra deep snare is not exactly everyone's cup of tea. They don't tend to be as sensitive as a shallower drum because the vibrations have to travel further from batter to snare and back again. Therefore they need to be hit harder to bridge the gap. This of course makes them fine for heavier sorts of music because they do have a great deal of depth and punch. I don't feel they penetrate quite so well, but if you're miked up this isn't a consideration.
Anyway the Pearl drum has a very good steel shell with two strengthening beadsand an inverse flange set at 45° to the bearing edge. Because of its extreme depth it needs 20 single nut-boxes and uses those slightly thicker, triple-flange Super Hoops. The drum has Pearl's S-OII snare mechanism which is really substantial with adjustment at both sides and outriggers to accept an extra-long set of snares. The drum comes with a coated Ambassador head and for my money sounds really crisp. It really is a very good drum at a reasonable price. So far it doesn't appear in the catalogue with Super Gripper nut boxes but I'm sure it could.
Remo too have come up with a very useful and adaptable snare drum, this time specifically for the recording studio. It's designed to please even the most fastidious of engineers and consists of an 8" deep Liberator 'Acousticon' shell complete with quick change PowerSnap lugs, three different pitched PTS heads, two different snares, a muffler kit, and a fitted, heavy-duty vulcanised-fibre case. We've talked about Acousticon shells before, but if you aren't familiar with them they're made from wood-fibres impregnated with resin. This results in a very hard and resilient shell. The nut boxes are hinged so you can change the heads quickly and a series of claw-hooks and tension screws holds their built-in hoop tightly. These heads are brush coated and have their own sounds since they are factory tuned, but you can change them as usual with a tension-screw key. The different snares are made from wire, which gives a bright, modern sound, and gut for a more military, less breathy one. Their strainer is mostly cast with a side cam action, while their butt-end has been redesigned and is now totally cast.
All the above is the heart of the recording drum; but one of Remo's 'Muff'l' kits is also supplied. It consists of a light plastic, flat 'polo' tray designed to fit over the drum's bearing edge below the batter head. It acts as a damping device, and is cleverly shaped to accept either a ring or a complete circle of overtone-killing foam rubber. They supply two circles so you can easily drop one in on top of the snare head to create a virtually soundless practice drum. Now, I don't wish to bore you, but my calculations reveal 10 different alternative sounds for each head. So in conjunction with the two snares this gives you a possibility of 60 variables; all of which can be further tuned with a drum key. That should be sufficient for even the most discriminating engineer!
The Liberator is indeed very bright, and to me the most resilient of the extra deep snare drums. If you're in the fortunate position of participating in lots of session work (or plan to be), it would contribute greatly to your percussion equipment. It could even save you money in the long run since you wouldn't need to invest in several alternative drums. BH
News that two name American guitar companies have now sorted out UK distribution is good news for fans of the Yankee axe. Firstly the name of Pedulla may not be very familiar to all but they're a highly respected Stateside company based in New England. Better known for their basses, although they do manufacture six-strings as well, Pedulla will be available here through the Bass Centre, (Contact Details). It is the 'Buzz' fretless bass which should be of most interest — not cheap but regarded as 'state of the art in fretless circles' it features an unusual body design, double octave fingerboard and optional EZ-Q active controls. A review of the Buzz bass in an American IM&RW bass supplement had this to say in conclusion; "Five stars. A superior instrument in construction and versatility, the Buzz stands unique in a field rife with those who won't take a chance."
Guild Guitars will be far more familiar and the news here is that Blue Suede Music, (Contact Details) — home of Tokai and Fernandes — will handle the UK distribution. Blue Suede Music hope to have not only the wide range of solid body electrics available but also Guild's fine Jazz and acoustic instruments. Certainly on the electric side the Guild stand at this year's Frankfurt was packed with some very 'Rock'n'Roll instruments plus, of course, the Brian May replica instrument with specially made DiMarzio pickups.
Good news for everything except your bank balance — neither of these companies produce cheap guitars but judging by the way Hamer have taken off here there are obviously a lot of people who feel American is best! DB
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