June of this year was a special time for all King Crimson fans in Poland. The band did a total of six shows in our country – two at the Earth Hall in Poznań (June 13 and 14), three at the ICE Congress Center in Krakow (June 16, 17, 18), adding to that a warm-up gig and the Aula Artis on June 12. The band also set up camp in the city of Poznań for a few days to rehearse before the tour kicked off, so they were also to be seen sightseeing and relaxing there.
BeatIt simply could not miss out on such an opportunity to interview some of the best drummers in the business. We kick off with the great Gavin Harrison, who is just about to show us around his drum kit he is using during King Crimson‘s 2018 tour. You will see Sonor drums with Remo heads on, Zildjian cymbals, LP percussion, Gibraltar hardware, Tama Speed Cobra pedals, Nord Drum 2 and 3 including pads, and also a few surprises.
” Hi! I’m Gavin Harrison. I’m gonna take you around the drum kit that I’m using on this 2018 King Crimson tour. This is my warm-up pad. When we’re rehearsing, I normally warm up on my Vic Firth pad. This is my Potter & Davis BC2, that’s the engine. It’s a tactile monitoring system, so I plug the bass drum into it. You probably know this system, right? It’s amazing. Without delay.
These are four custom drums. Obviously, all of them are Sonor drums. I don’t even know what they call them. Maybe log drums? They are all 8-inch, and the depths are: 9”, 13”, 17”, 21”. They all have two heads on, which means you can use a foot pump. I pump some air into one of the drums. I’ve actually got seven of these drums. They’re all odd sizes in depth: 9”, 11”, 13”, 15”, 17”, 19”, 21”. I took every other one here and I bought a few of these whammy pedals. It’ fantastic fun to bend the notes on seven different drums. But for the purposes of what we do here, one is enough. This is the fun of having an endorsement. You can ask the company to make you custom pieces. Recently, they made me a 20” x 16” floor tom, which is amazing.
This is the Nord Drum 3 pad. I have various patches set up for certain parts of the songs. This is a really nice thing to do. On the other side, I’ve got the previous thing – the Nord Drum 2 with the pad, so I have some good possibilities. The hardware is all Gibraltar hardware.
This is a custom Zildjian cymbal – a 16” Crash of Doom. These are five custom bells. Some I made and some Zildjian made for me. This is a new 20” Sweet Crash. I’m really enjoying playing this. These two bells are the original ones which I made from crash cymbals which I’d split. I’d broken them here, but the bell was OK. I cut the bell free and I really liked the sound of them. Originally, I made about six or seven and then I showed them to Zildjian and they’ve made me some other sets. I’ve got a set in America, a set in Europe, a set at home. They all get mixed up.
This is a custom 11” crash/bell. Let’s call it a crash bell. This is one of the new A range 17” crash with a large bell. This is a 22” High Definition K Ride. Lots of stick sound on there. Another Sweet crash. This is kind of new for me, the Sweet crashes. This is a 19” Sweet crash. 12-inch Oriental China Trash and a 22” Swish Knocker. I took the rivets out.
The drums are all Sonor drums and Remo Vintage Emperors on the first three toms and regular Emperors on the floor toms. For some reason, I wanted a little bit more attack. I experimented with them and it just felt a little bit better. This is a 12” version of my Protean signature snare that I made with Sonor. My friend Russ Miller gave me this… What do they call this? Rim…click? With a 12-inch snare it’s quite hard to get a good cross-stick sound. I contacted my friend Russ Miller and said: ‘I know you make this wonderful thing’ and he sent me one. What a good guy!
I’ve just started using this little LP 6-inch micro snare. Just for fun.
Of course, the Vic Firth signature sticks, which I’m really enjoying playing. These are Tama Speed Cobra pedals. I think that’s all the equipment I’m using. I usually put Remo Powerstroke 3 on the bass drum. I’ve tried lots of different skins and I keep coming back to that one. It just gives me the right tone.
I’ve had a tom configuration like this for quite a long time. The 15” and 18” floor toms, I’ve only been using for the last four or five years. When I had a 14” and a 16”, I’ve never found a 14-inch floor tom that didn’t sustain too long. I don’t like to put any gel or stickers on the drums. Inside the floor toms, I’ve cut a ring and I drop it down inside. Also, with a very small amount of cotton wool inside. If you put a bit of velcro and touch the toms together phisically, that can stop some of the ringing. If you’re in a venue where the floor toms are ringing a lot, and it depends if the stage is hollow or the subs are underneath, it’s different every day, sometimes that can help you a bit ‘caus they just take a little bit of sustain out of each other. When you put a gel or gaffer tape on the head, it really changes the feel and the tone of the drum, which I don’t wanna change. That’s just a trick I found by mistake one day.
That’s all the equipment I think is quite a complicated drum set but we’re playing quite complicated music. Surprisingly, I do need everything you see here. Even though there’s three of us. We need a very large variation. As you’ll see in a minute, Pat has a different, more percussive angle going on with some of the metallic stuff that he’s got, which is amazing. There’s no point having three kits the same. That’s why I’m using a 12-inch snare drum ‘cause I wanted a different tone of snare drum to Jeremy and Pat. Sometimes we’re playing all together and if you’ve got the same bass drum sound and the same snare drum sound, it doesn’t quite work.”Share