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Diary of a Drum Tech Pt. 13

Hello all,

Charlie WattsI am still in the shop repairing and re-wrapping.

Our first job is to reduce the depth of two Tama toms and wrap a 14 x 7.5” snare for former Badly Drawn Boy drummer Alex Thomas.

The original wrap is still on the toms so we overcut the depth and trim it up to size using a router to smooth it off. The offcuts of shell are to be used as drums also.

Our next job was to prep a ”70”s Premier kit, Rototoms and Paiste 2002 cymbals for a ”70”s recording session at Abbey Road with Brett Morgan on the tubs.

Our old mate Henry Spinetti was lined up for the recording but was mid session at Air Studios with Katie Melua and William Orbit for her new album.

Loaner From AustriaWe also sent a Ludwig Champagne Sparkle out to a closed session (private)

With Christmas on its way we started to close up shop on the 18th to get in the festive mood as we have lots of family birthdays during this period.

On New Years Eve we do our normal show with Eric Clapton & Guests. The band consists of Henry Spinetti, Andy Fairweather Low, Gary Brooker, Chris Stainton and Dave Bronze.

No special guests this year although we have had Pete Townshend, Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Georgie Fame in the past.

Charlie Watts' Kit RearNext on the agenda are some dates in Europe with Charlie Watts and the ABC&D of Boogie. The band features Axel Zwingenberger, Ben Waters, Dave Green along with Charlie swinging away.

Due to the snow it was touch and go as to whether we would fly. It snowed the night before I was due at Heathrow and indecision took over me. Shall I leave tonight in case it gets too deep and icy for the trip tomorrow?

To save shipping one of the famous Gretsch kits, we used a loaner from Austria provided by a friend of Axel. The kit turns out to be a 1940”s Slingerland Radio King 24/13/16. in White Marine Pearl and after a few tweaks sounded fine to me. One part was missing though… the snare! Presumption was that we were bringing ours … wrong!

Fortunately the hire company in Prague brought a snare with the double bass to save our bacon which proves you must always double Czech! They provided a ”70”s Gretsch Square Badge COB 14 x 5” which we kept for the rest of the dates.

I have always had a hankering to walk into a pub and flick the lid up on the piano ala Chas & Dave but only if I could play Boogie Woogie AND piano!

Snow In PragueUpon arrival in Prague we depart the hotel for a meal with the promoter Willi Turk at a Cuban restaurant which was a good start. The snow is deep but with State law making winter tyres compulsory on all vehicles getting around is no problem.

Most drummers are great people but considering Charlie has been with the greatest rock”n”roll band in the world for nearly 50 years he has impeccable manners, is hands on, easygoing and very down to earth. A very cool guy.

The following day of the show we depart for Bad Ischl, Austria and are to meet our tour bus at the services as the bus is too big to come into town to collect us. As we get to the services the entrance and exit are blocked by a truck stuck in the snow so we head for the next services where we meet up finally.

More SnowBad Ischl, Austria is our next gig where everyone looks and plays like Thomas Lang…joking,joking! The gig is like a mini Royal Albert Hall in appearance but is used as a cinema mainly. It is a sold out show so another gig has been added.

The following day we depart for Munich which is a 4hr drive through beautiful scenery. Waiting for us in Munich is Bill Harrison who is taking over from me for the last 2 shows. Bill has been in Hawaii with Ray Cooper and Elton John for their two man show. Bill was Keith Moons’ tech up until his early death. I always think of that when I pass by Moonies former house in Chertsey on New Years Eve.

After collecting Bill from our hotel we head for the gig to set up for soundcheck. Former Spencer Davis drummer Peter York is a guest tonight with his wife as they live close by. I haven’t seen him since ’75. A superb drummer whose looks happens to remind me eerily of my eldest brother.

HouseThe following morning I depart Munich from the railway station by our hotel for the airport as it is cheaper and quicker than by taxi. After a 2 hour delay at the airport due to London snow we finally get clearance albeit the last flight that day as all others were cancelled… phew!

Upon my return the snow is melting and our couriers finally collect a Camco Silver Sparkle kit going out to Jan Akkermans drummer, Ton Dijkman, in Holland.

One of our Rogers Holiday kits is prepped, personally delivered and set up in Suffolk at a private home studio in a Tudor Barn.

Charlie Watts RearNext month is the start of Eric Clapton/Jeff Beck rehearsals. Bat for Lashes are out too and Placebo resume rehearsals for another onslaught.

See ya,

Yard.

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