I managed to piece together a marginal electronic kit, so I headed out to Houston for what I hope is the first of a new era of jams with Rod. Mainly I confirmed what I had suspected for a while... those hard rubber pads are death on my wrists and knees. So I began to look in earnest for an alternative. I lucked out and found some great pads and a new drum rack at Drumbalaya, a shop in Seattle that specializes in this sort of thing. They are Yamaha RHP-80s, and I grabbed up the four they had left at a great price. They are real drums, with real heads, and they feel great. No pain at all. They are eight inches in diameter, which is a little small, but portability is a factor here, so I can make the adjustment. To replace my kick pad, I am going with a Drumtech Fat Pedal, which is basically a pedal with no beater. Extremely compact. If I like it, I'll get another for that sweet double bass action.
Which brings me to my second point. I have long hated double bass drumming. Only maybe 2% of all drummers use it creatively, and even most of those guys end up doing the generic "solo over sixteenth notes" eventually. I never saw the potential of it, other than some flash in fills, and had decided it held nothing for me. I had made my peace with it. And then I heard Porcupine Tree.
Gavin Harrison plays for them, and his work is incredibly exciting. He reminds me of Danny Carey, but seems so much more musical in his choices. I liked the band the moment I heard them, and the more I listen to them, the more I realise how much I have left to learn. So I was pleased to discover that Harrison has written two books about his approach, and released a DVD, which is on its way to me. He managed to get me excited about technique in a way I haven't felt since I was 11 and just starting to play. Bastard.
And playing... I am auditioning for an instrumental band this week. It's the first thing I've heard since I moved here 8 years ago that I feel like I will be happy playing and to which I can make an honest contribution. First audition in a year, which could lead to my first shows in eight. I hope I manage not to suck.