My kits, Your kits, Star kits!


   Let's start right at the beginning of the classic concert tom era. Here's Hal Blaine with one of his two "Monster Kits". Although this configuration helped spawn Ludwig's Octa-Plus set-up, note that there are only 7 toms, not 8, and the depths are more consistent, unlike traditional concert tom sizes.
   From the driver's seat of Hal's kit, on display at the Museum of Making Music at NAMM headquarters in Carlsbad, California.
   This kit is seen at the Donn Bennett Drum Studio in Bellevue, Washington, and was occasionally listed on ebay at a premium starting bid. The story goes that one of Hal's sets of toms sounded better than the other, and this kit - the second made by Blaemire - is believed to be the better sounding one.

Photo: Bermuda Schwartz

   Speaking of Blaemire, in 2012, the Jenkins-Martin Drum Company began making fiberglass drums with the same specs as the classic Blaemire shells, coincidentally on the 50th anniversary of Allen Blaemire's first shells. While concert toms are not the primary focus of the company, they kindly made these concert toms to my specs, basically an Octaplus with the smallest 3 toms being slightly deeper than traditional sizes. This is very much a tribute to Hal Blaine's Monster Kits, and makes me want to play "Indian Reservation" all day long!

These toms can be heard on "Jackson Park Express" on Weird Al's 2014 album MANDATORY FUN.

Photo: Bermuda Schwartz

   These mid-'70s Vistalites belong to me, and are original right down to the rods, washers, and lug gaskets. It's not an Octa-Plus, nor is it a catalog item. The serial #s are fairly close on the toms, so I suspect it was a special order. It was featured as DRUM! Magazine's Drum Kit of the Week in March, 2010!

Photo: Bermuda Schwartz

   Here's an example of a balanced mic placement, just past the bottom edge of the drum. No mics are necessary for the batter. These drums were used on "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me" and "If That Isn't Love" on Weird Al's 2011 album ALPOCALYPSE.

Photo: Bermuda Schwartz

   Neil Diamond drummer Dennis St John's red, white and blue Slingerland All American outfit. That's a 20" kick drum, and a 14" floor tom. Some of Dennis's best work with it is heard on HOT AUGUST NIGHT. It's unfortunate that Slingerland issued the official photo of the kit in black & white.

Photo courtesy Dennis St John

   Here's a color close-up of Dennis' drums. The kit originally had 8 toms, but the 6 and 8" toms were stolen at a venue in 1972.

Photo courtesy Dennis St John

   A rare color pic of Dennis with his entire set of All American concert toms, taken at reherarsal with Neil Diamond, early 1972.

Photo courtesy Smith-Nelson

   Dennis St John's Cutaway kit as featured in Neil Diamond's THE JAZZ SINGER movie and soundtrack album, including the hit single "America". This kit has probably the very first full set of Cutaway concert toms, made at Dennis' suggestion after seeing them used at a corps show in 1979. These were a very generous gift from Dennis, and include an additional kick, floor tom, and more cutaway and standard concert toms.

Photo: Bermuda Schwartz

   Nigel Olsson on tour in 1980.

Photo: Demetrios Pasic

   Tama's display at the 2012 Winter NAMM Show, featuring a full set of concert toms. It was one of the most stunning kits at the show, I believe the finish is Mappa Burl.

Photo: Tom Doogan

   Jerry "Drumjinx" Jenkins in 1979 with his Ludwig Sound Projector Two kit (minus its plastic Sound Projectors.) Yee-haw!

Photo courtesy Jerry Jenkins

   Keith Moon and his white Premier kit with copper hardware in the mid '70s.

Source: "The Drum Book" by Geoff Nicholls
(Hal Leonard, 2008)

   More of the Moon the Loon.