February 12, 2019 was a very good day for all Guns ‘N Roses, Slash, and Myles Kennedy fans in Poland, which probably also includes a large portion of Alter Bridge listeners. It was on that day that Slash, Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators visited our country and played an excellent and energetic show at the Atlas Arena in the city of Łódź. The man behind the drums for the band is Brent Fitz. We must admit he is a very nice and open bloke, who quickly agreed to show us around his office. It’s always good to know what kind of drums, cymbals, heads and hardware are used by a sticksman who has collaborated with the likes of Alice Cooper, Vince Neil, Theory of a Deadman, Bruce Kulick (KISS), Gene Simmons (KISS) or Brad Whitford (Aerosmith).
Hi! It’s Brent Fitz here. We’re in Poland at the Atlas Arena. It’s Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. We’re on the ’Living the Dream’ tour and let’s have a little look at the drum kit.
DW drums. My favorite is always maple shells. This is a 13”, 16”, 18” Black Lacquer DW Maple kit. The bearing edges that I had done by them a little softer so the kit has a sort of warm sound, tunes really nice and more mellow as far as some of the overtones. I’m using clear Emperor heads on the kit. The kick drum is a 26” x 16” with the new Steve Smith Black Dot head – a Power Stroke with a black dot, so it’s kind of a new thing.
The snare drum. I’m into steel snares on this kit. I have two kits on tour with me right now: a Stainless Steel DW kit on my other rig. This is the European rig right now. I use good old steel snares on tour. It’s a 14” x 6.5”. I think on my other tour I was using a Nickle-Over-Steel or something. These are just good workhorse touring snare drums. In the studio, I sometimes like some different snares. I wanted to mention a little secret weapon that I discovered while in the studio, which is the Big Fat Snare Drum. This is my new favorite addition. It’s a 20-dollar investment. If anyone wants to go to your local drum store and buy one, it’s the coolest thing. I was doing a session in Canada and our producer was like: ’We wanna get this really fat snare sound so try this’. We used to do this in the 80s, when we’d cut snare heads and put them on top. I don’t know what it is about this particular design with the edging, but it sounds amazing. I just love it. It turns into a much deeper and fatter snare sound. For rock and the type of music we play, it fits in nicely with the mix.
I’m using a DW extended footboard kick pedal and hi hat ’cause I have bog feet. It’s really great that they’ve come up with an extra inch longer pedals. They’re great for guys with larger feet. On the hi hat as well. It’s all DW 9000 series hardware. I like straight stands for the crashes – old school. Maybe for the ride, I will use the extended arm. Everything’s pretty classic and old school – one up, two down.
I just added a DW Pancake drum over here. Just for some effects at the end of songs. Of course, the cowbell’s important in a lot of music that we’re doing with Slash and Guns ’N Roses songs over the years. So it’s sort of been incorporated into what we’re doing with a lot of the new music. This is an LP custom one of a kind because it’s a chrome bell with a ridge rider on it. I tried a couple of different ridge riders to see which one didn’t choke the bell too much. I was using these chrome bells for the longest time that were fatigued after like 6 shows and I just had to figure out a new plan. I love the look of a chrome bell and wanted to have a ridge rider on it so if you go over to DW and ask them to sell you one…
I gotta introduce you to Imy James, my drum tech, who just recently won Top Dog award. He’s a top dog, top drum tech and I’m very honored to have him on tour with me right now. You were out on the road with Guns ’N Roses for the last three years working with Frank Ferrer, you worked for Daniel Adair. Those are both DW drummers. Cora Coleman with Prince and then you did Tommy Aldridge for many many years. Of course, one of our heroes.
Cymbals. Wanna talk about Sabians? I’m Canadian. Sabian’s factory is in my country. I’ve been playing them since 1981, so I’ve always played them and I love them. Recently, I’ve gotten into the HHX series. I’m using the Legacy ride and the HHX hi hats. These sound great. The bottom hat has the ridges in it, so they’re both crispier for live. I was using the X-cellerator hats and these are actually a little mellower and they fit a little better for what we’re doing right now. AAX series for crashes. I like big, explosive, not really thick crash cymbals. I don’t hit them too hard so I’m never breaking a ton of cymbals. I like thinner cymbals and I like them big, so it’s three 20” crashes and a 19”. This is an Iso Crash. It’s kind of a special cymbal. A few years ago, they put it on the Vault tour and I just loved it. I’m still using them. They have holes in them. I don’t know if that’s a regularly available cymbal. It’s still one of my favorites and I love it for crashing. It’s fuckin’ great! Excuse me. This is a raw bell crash. Sometimes I change them – a Stage Crash or a Raw Bell Crash. These are X-plosion crashes. This is the go-to. Anyone who needs a good rock crash cymbal to add to their kit, a 19” or 20” X-plosion is killer. I love that cymbal, I’ve had them for years and that’s always my go-to. So that’s my favorite Sabian cymbal right there. That’s a 19” X-treme china and that’s basically the gist. The ride is a 22” Legacy.
I’m comfortable on 22” rides again and I’m almost always using 13”, 16” and 18” toms. Sometimes I’ve had a 28” kick drum on tour. DW made me a whole bunch of great kits with 28s. I switched over to a Stainless Steel kit on the other rig that we’re using and they only make 26”. So I said: ’Alright, I’m only gonna commit to this tour to two separate kits with 26” kicks. It just sounds great.
The sticks are from Vater. I’m so in love with these. These are the Vater MV10. They’re 2B. I’ve played 2Bs my whole life but what I wanted was a little extra length. I’m tall and I like to be able to reach around the kit but I didn’t want a bulky 2B that made me feel kinda sluggish playing big arenas. Check it out. This MV10 is just a little bit thinner than 2B and it’s three quarters of an inch longer, so it feels like it’s a thick stick but it doesn’t feel thick. I love it. I use grip tape, which I never did before. Maybe in the last 7 or 8 years, I’ve been adapting. Because the stick is thinner and I put the grip tape on it, these just feel vey fast around the kit. I only use one pair of sticks during the show. People ask me all the time: ’How many pairs of sticks do you go through?’. Even Imy, on the first day working together, was like: ’Wanna use a bunch of chained up sticks halfway through the show?’. I was like: ’No. Same sticks through the show’. This is my soundcheck pair and I’ll probably use this during the gig and they’ll probably last me the whole night. If I break one, it’s a rarity. Maybe on the ride or something. I just love these Vaters because they’re a little bit smaller than 2Bs and they feel real fast around the kit. MV10 is a marching stick. A lot of guys say: ’I don’t see them in music stores too often’. It’s because it’s a specialty stick and it’s a little bit longer. So these are my go-to sticks.
The throne is a Porter & Davies TT 6. There’s a thumper built into the stool itself. I really like the bicycle seat style and I had this one custom made with just a leather top. I think with TT6 you can use your own power amp. I had a few power amps just off stage here that we used for many years. We added this on the last tour so I don’t have hardware sticking out in the bottom. You don’t have to turn this thing up very much and you literally feel it in the entire body. It’s really great because it’s so precise, there’s no latency. It really helps. There’s no monitors here, no extra subs.
I use the JH Audio Roxanne in-ear monitors with this and it’s perfect. It’s so great. There’s no extra speakers blasting into the kit and we don’t have monitors out front either. Everybody’s on in-ears, amps are blasting from the bass and Slash on guitar but otherwise everything’s really tight.