During this year’s edition of the Musikmesse, held, as always, in early spring in Frankfurt am Mein, Germany, we met up with a few drummers whose skills, professional CVs and (as it turned out in eye-to-eye contact) also personalities deserve the attention of anyone interested drums, let alone rock drums.
Will Hunt is an experienced drummer with numerous musical collaborations under his belt. In the last 20 years, he has worked with such acts as Dark New Day, Static-X, Mötley Crüe, Methods Of Mayhem, Staind, Slaughter, Vince Neil, Michael Sweet, Black Label Society, Vasco Rossi or Device. Currently, he is a member of Evanescence, White Noise Owl and Rival City. Evanscence will be on tour across Europe in June. Will is endorsed by such brands as Zildjian, Pearl, Remo and Vater.
Will Hunt (Evanescence) talks to BeatIt, Pt. 4
Beatit.tv: Let’s talk gear. Let’s start with drums. What do you use?
Will Hunt: Pearl. Here, I’m playing a regular Reference kit. With Evanescence and Vasco Rosssi, I’m playing a Reference Pure kit in a chrome finish. It’s actually a Music City Custom. Basically, they take these Reference Pure or Reference drums and they put a wrap on them and get it to you custom coloured in two weeks. Pretty amazing! They sound amazing, I love them. I’m using Zildjian cymbals, obviously. I’m doing a combination of some heavy A’s, which sort of took over the Z3’s. Some 19’s. I’m using a new line called the S Line, which is kind of a little less expensive model but they’re freaking amazing!
B: Very bright.
W.H.: Yeah. Like, it’s a different metal pressed. They sound great and they’re very durable. For me, I need that.
B: You bash the hell out of your cymbals.
W.H.: Yeah! I finished the last Evanescence tour and I ran out of the heavy A 18’s and that’s how I got turned on to them. They sent me an S series 18 and I think I had like five more shows and that was it. I put that thing on there and by the end of the tour that thing was just all bent but wasn’t cracked. And it still sounded great! It still had that thing! This is amazing!
B: What’s the hi hat you use?
W.H.: I actually switched over to the S Rock hats. I love them. They’ve got a great frequency. They sit in the mix really good. It’s the top end that’s not obnoxious, it’s real sweet. They just cut through and are not overly, obnoxiously loud.
B: What about the ride?
W.H.: That’s a 21-inch Mega Bell Heavy A.
B: Heavy metal…
W.H.: It is. It’s thick, man! I love the ride because it’s dry. In the studio, depending on what kind of song it is, I may switch that for a 21-inch Sweet Ride.
B: Effect cymbals? Do you use any?
W.H.: Currently, I’m not using them here, but I use some Oriental trash splashes. I’ve got a 12-inch splash over here, chinas over there. Oriental chinas. Just stuff to do accents on. That’s part of why I use the ride. I use the bell more for accents than I do as a natural rhythm maker.
W.H.: Remo. Powerstroke 3 on the kicks, Emperor X on the snare, which for me is great, man! They can stand up to the abuse. I can keep one of those on a couple of shows, if not more if I had to. They sound good, man. For me, you gotta smack ‘em but they sound great. Doesn’t choke the drum but it’s really durable. Clear Emperors on the toms and clear Ambassadors on the resonant side.
B: And the bass drum?
W.H.: It’s Powerstroke 3.
B: What sticks do you like to use?
W.H.: I’m a Vater guy. I love Vater, man! I’m using my version of the Virgil Blaster – Virgil Donati stick. They made that for me with no lacquer on. Works good for my hands when I start sweating. That stick is the best feeling stick that I’ve ever used in my life. It feels right. You just know that feeling.
B: Pedals. Is it Pearl?
B: Which ones?
W.H.: I started playing Demon Drives when they first came out. They were direct drive and felt too light for me. So I went back to the Eliminator. That’s a great pedal, man. Really good pedals. And then, they came out with the Demon Drive chain drives. Now, that’s the best pedal I’ve ever felt in my life. That thing is the real deal. It’s so adjustable so it’s like I can make it heavier if I need to. It all depends on what I’m playing.
B: Snares. That’s a very individual thing for every drummer. People collect loads of stuff so, even if they’ve got deals with companies, they have their Black Beauties, Supraphonics, Radio Kings or whatever. Have you fallen victim to that?
W.H.: Absolutely. I’ve got some pretty crazy stuff but I’ll be honest with you. It’s interesting. When we recorded the last Evanescence record, we recorded at a studio called Blackbird in Nashville. To say the studio is stocked with an amazing array of drums would be an understatement. The Ed Sullivan Beatles kit is in there.
B: THE kit, you mean?
W.H.: THE kit is in there. I got to play it. Really nervous about it. They’ve got this vast array of snares. Some of the snares they have is Kiplingers – one off Kiplingers that that guy made, one of which was used to record the ‘Superunknown’ album by Soundgarden. We brought all these snares in. I had my wood Pearl Reference snare, which is about that thick. Even though I used a couple of those Kiplingers on a couple of songs, out of all the snares we used, the one… Again, this was a blind test ‘cause the producer was in the control room and he’s like: ‘Ok, try another one!’. ‘That one!’. That Pearl Reference hung in with the best of the best of the best. It’s a great drum, man! A lot of guys don’t like wood drums. They like metal snares. This snare drum, I think because of the density of that wood and how thick it is, has got a sweet spot. Such a wide array of notes and you can make it sound like a metal snare if you want to. If you wanna pitch it down, it’ll still have some attack, bite and bark. Does that too, man. I’ve got a bunch of other ones. I’ve got a Black Beauty, a DW Edge. It’s been on some recordings. There’s a company in Cleveland called Fortune Drums. All the guy makes is snares and I’ve got a couple of those. Those are fascinating. I’ve got a Brady made of jarrah wood. It’s like 10 inches deep. That’s gonna be a classic piece since there is no more Brady.
B: Absolutely. So, obviously, you’re gonna hang on to that one.
W.H.: Oh, yeah! I need to get it fixed. Needs a little love but it’ll get there…
Drummers and Drumerettes! Will Hunt in the fourth part of an exclusive interview for Beatit.tv!