Led Zeppelin’s When the Levee Breaks: drums

Rick Beato has a GREAT you tube channel. But, Beato might have this wrong.

First of all, I have to say that this is the best music channel on YouTube and I recommend it to everybody who’s a musician or otherwise that I talk to. I have to say however that I’m in the camp that says Bonham played a sixteenth note double on that bass drum note. I fully concur that Johns was using echo on the track. I fully concur that you’re not going to get that kind of slap back in a stairwell or lobby. Here’s the questions I have, however. (I’m using a slow meter to calculate this so keep that in mind as I refer to the notation.) First, why isn’t there an echo on that second bass drum beat on the sixteenth note upbeat on the end of the 2nd beat? I played around with Echoplex and the like devices back in that day, and Johns would have had to ride the second one to not get two echoes even if the Echo unit was only on the bass drum. Otherwise, He would have had to physically modify the tape. (These young recording engineers these days have no idea the tools they have at their disposal that weren’t available back then.) Also, Plant and Page covered this song multiple times and it’s clear from those recordings the bass drum was played a double beat. (Plant pays attention to these things. Remember, he burned Jason Bonham at the O2 concert for using a double bass drum pedal. And rightfully so.) And lastly, I’ve listened to a number of bootlegs of the song live by Zeppelin and it’s pretty clear (although the audio is typically terrible) that Bonham was doubling that first beat. “But Johns said…” I don’t know where he had his recording rig set up, but it’s a sure bet it wasn’t someplace where he could see the inside of the bass drum and the pedal.  A genius, yes. Omniscient, no. Jimmy Page is likewise a genius on his instrument, but he sure fouled up on his explanation of that recording. Again, thanks for providing this channel for us musicians and other like-minded music listeners. I’m a relatively new follower, but I appreciate your insights. I’ve been playing drums for over four decades, both with and without a click, but your description of how computers destroyed music in that series of videos is priceless and absolutely true.

By the way, I came across this while searching to see if anyone had discovered how Bonham got such a great HI HAT sound.  I believe I have the answer… more to come.

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“Hooked,” our new tribute to ….

“Hooked,” our new tribute to Sting, Stevie Nicks, and Pat Benatar, is about to book some more dates; I’ll try to post when we’re playing.

Here’s a snippet of our first show we did a couple month’s ago:
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Converting An Old Supraphonic Snare with Powder Coating


I know I’m going to get some “interesting” input over this “vintage” snare… B/O Badge, probably early 70’s, picked up for a song badly corroded, so I decided to experiment… Can you tell which football teams I’m a fan of?

Had this done at a local (but large) shop in West Palm Beach (Tolliver’s). In one pic you can see the board I mounted the lugs on… $80 and a couple weeks to a month turnaround. It was an experiment, and I would give them more guidance next time. They bead blast the shell and parts, then bake on a coating. There’s a couple small bubbles on the bearing edge but I didn’t bother to sand it.

I picked up a power coated supra (shell only) for parts a few years back… which gave me the idea. I’ve seen a couple but none with the lugs and rims, though. Time will tell how long the coating with withstand rim shots….







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Moving Farther Into the Audio Visual Field

I don’t talk about it much here, but while playing music is love, my main bread and butter is corporate audio/visual, and I’ve wound up doing more and more installations of sound systems. It’s a great fit with my computer/networking background, since the line is rapidly blurring between the two fields (at least, as far as connectivity goes).

I can set up a medium size venue running 32 channels or more of sound, multiple speaker arrays, monitors (both floor and in-ear), with main deck at the front-of-house (out in the audience) with as little as ONE (1) piece of Cat5 cable, instead of a thick, bulky snake. And I can transmit full HD video from the same location using a single thin piece of coax, or fiber.

New affordable digital mixing boards and powered arrays can reproduce arena-quality sound at a fraction of the cost previously required. (And a fraction of the weight!).

I’ll have more information to follow but I wanted to update my blog since I’ll be addressing some of the nuts and bolts of incorporating this technology here…

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Got some more Sabian APX cymbals but haven’t had a chance to record them yet… here’s the 24″ I’ve had for a while.

I started out playing Paiste cymbals, but back then (and even now) they have a reputation for breaking.  I couldn’t afford ’em.  I probably don’t hit as hard now but now I only play Sabian so I decided to try out the APX line which is a Pro B8 alloy; I like them but judge for yourself!

Click here to check out these APX Cymbals available on eBay!

Here’s a link to the solid hats on Amazon.

These are great bargains on eBay and other places (if you like them).

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Final Cut of Sound Chaser demo is up on this site… Our Tribute to Yes!

I blew it and didn’t put it up here as I did on our TributeToYes.com site (and facebook page).  Here’s the link to the full video!



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We’re back to the studio for video! And check out our audio!

Full promo should be up in a day or so!

Sound Chaser: A Tribute to Yes Music

We were in the studio Sunday finishing up our promo; we should have the promo video up here in a few days!

Here’s a snippet (from a cellphone camera) of our video shoot for our promo!

And here’s the full audio track from our promo!

Keep checking in!

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Wishbone Ash: A Fantastic Show by a Classic Prog Rock Influence

I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Wishbone Ash for the first time last week!  It’s been decades since I listened to them on vinyl, and they treated me to one of the best concerts I’ve heard in a long time.  If you live in or near one of the privileged few areas they’re visiting on tour, you’ve got to see them!  Check out their tour dates at http://WishboneAsh.com

I was still a teenager when first exposed to their music, and it had a distinct influence on the bands and genres I’ve listened to (and played) over four decades.  When I saw that the band was playing one of my favorite local venues, I looked up the current band lineup. I had to go and take a listen when I saw that Joe Crabtree, the “baby” of the current lineup, had played with Pendragon and David Cross of King Crimson.   I play drums in a progressive rock tribute band (http://TributeToYes.com), and I knew that Wishbone Ash was a significant contributor to the genre.  The videos I found of Joe on YouTube showed that he was, despite his superb technical skills and pleasant melodic style of play, very humble.  (You can find out more about Joe at http://www.joecrabtree.com.)

I have to admit that I remembered little of Wishbone Ash outside of the Argus album (it was the 70’s, after all), but from the first few notes of the show at the Bamboo Room I could discern the pervasive influence of their music on many other bands. The textured, melodic twin leads of founding member Andy Powell and  Finland’s Muddy Manninen were reminiscent of the Allman Brothers (who were formed the same year as Wishbone Ash).  The incredible tightness and fluidity of the two guitarists were mirrored by Crabtree and bassist Bob Skeat, who’s been playing with Powell for 17 years.  The music brought back memories of Uriah Heep, Genesis, Procol Harum, and with melodies reminiscent of the Grateful Dead and CS&N.

While the ticket was more than I’d paid for a concert at the Bamboo Room in the past (the “cozy” venue seats a bit over a 100), it was the best concert value in recent memory. The band played new material off their excellent brand new album Blue Horizon (see link at the bottom of this blog), their “Live Dates” album in its entirety, and songs from “Argus” including their hit “Blowin’ Free.”

I’ve edited some snippets of the concert together via YouTube below (no full songs, just teasers, because you need to hear this band live) so you can experience a taste of these fine musicians.

Check out the 7/4 groove at 11:45 and the classic “Blowin’ Free” at 16:40.  And find a venue where you can hear this band!

Here’s a link to their new album!


Great method for Cleaning and Polishing Cymbals (when they’re really nasty)

I’ve been a proponent of “non-cleaning” for years, mostly because I couldn’t find a cleaner that would faze fingerprints.  But I spend a couple hours polishing my kit, cleaning all the chrome, and then have crappy looking cymbals when I play out.  And since people expect my kit to look like the ones the guys playing the arenas — who all have bright, shiny [new] cymbals – I figured I’d better try to polish them up.

I tried just about everything (Off the shelf brass cleaners, Groove Juice, Zildjian and Sabian cleaners), and arrived at Barkeeper’s Friend.  I comes in a power and a paste; I use the power since it’s cheaper and makes into a stronger solution than the paste.  I wet the cymbal down, sprinkle the BK Friend across it, and mix it into an even pasty layer.  I let it sit for a few seconds (or minutes, if it’s really nasty).  Then I rinse and rub it off the cymbal. It works fabulous (kiss the logos goodbye if you’re not careful, however) but… the cymbals would tarnish up much faster after I used it, and if a drop of water hit them, it would spot tarnish. I figured there must be some acid left from the Barkeeper’s Friend. So, I decided to try this combination:

Barkeeper’s Friend, get them shiny.  Rinse them like crazy, dry them up good.  Then, I use Zildjian polish evenly across the cymbal (which, like Brasso, always turns black, no matter HOW good I clean the cymbals up beforehand) and polish them only part way back to the shine the BKF gave them.  (My theory is that whatever is in Brasso and the Zildjian polish reacts with the bronze and instantly oxidizes.)  So I have cymbals that have a bit of patina and no fingerprints or stains, and a residue of Zildjian polish.  And it seems that the Zildjian polish keeps them from tarnishing as quickly.

By the way, for some reason, the BKF works much better with fingers than with a cloth, especially on spots.  I’ll make a paste and I can clean up almost any spot with the paste and a finger.

Now, someone will say that cleaning ruins the sound of the cymbal.  I acquired a Zildjian that had such a heavy bottom logo that it was like the paint on the roadway; I decided to to a before and after video when I decided to clean off that logo. Put on headphones and decide for yourself the difference…

If I can find a really nasty cymbal I’ll try to throw together a video showing me cleaning it up…

Check out these APX Cymbals available on eBay!

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Ludwig snare drums (while they have shortcomings) are still the best…

I just posted a new video snare drum demo, this time of a Ludwig Anniversary Edition 6.5×14 Maple snare.  I think this snare rivals the Black Beauty and COB snares…  While the stock P-85 throwoffs have their problems, and Ludwig has had some QC issues over the years, I’ve never played a stock snare that sounds better than the Luddies…  Here’s a playlist of some of the different Ludwig snares I’ve demo’ed over the last few years… and there’s lots of other demos on my YouTube channel, including some Rogers and Pork Pies among others.

I just watched the Buddy Rich Memorial concert, and I’m never surprised to see endorsers of other drums still sneak in a Ludwig Supraphonic to play…

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