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From The Frontline - Myke Heath Blog - February 2015

From The Frontline - Myke Heath

Did everyone check out all the Winter NAMM footage presented by the very same people that bring you this excellent website? Shame on you if you didn''t! What an amazing world we live in now to be able to share videos and information so quickly and easily! It was only less than 90 years ago that we had spoken word and sound for the first time on a movie.

Some of you may remember I half jokingly said that maybe this year would see a surge in bigger sizes and it looks like I might''ve been on the money with that! Sabian launched an entire range of cymbals called“Big and Ugly” although I think they''re anything but'' and DW/PDP launched a mid range kit with a 26” bass drum.  16” hi hats also featured heavily although I do draw the line at 15” personally and I find myself nearly forever crash-riding on my beloved and ever-faithful 24” 2002 ride anyway. I think it’s the one piece of gear I’ve had longer and used more often than anything else.

I try to remain very loyal to the brands of equipment I use but sometimes that is tested by issues with availability and of course pricing. So do you sacrifice sound over loyalty? Personal preference over money? I’m at the early stages of beginning to build a drumming career so at the moment I don’t have a lot to offer to a manufacturer other than love and enthusiasm for the product and it makes me shy to approach anybody about artist support, and I find it massively painful to big myself up in a professional context. If I could just swear and shout a lot I’d be ok! Wouldn’t it be great if there could be some kind of synergy with drum retailers too? You could represent the shop as well as the manufacturer. I’m sure it’s been tried. In my days of working in drum/music shops I used to supply the odd drummer/band here and they’re but mostly in an emergency. I would’ve really enjoyed being able to get more involved in the artist support side of things.

So why all this talk about gear then? Simple really: it’s been a quiet month! (also as I’m writing this I’m fighting off the man flu I recently acquired and my brain is on half power). I’ve been writing, rehearsing and planning but no major live action. That’s when my mind wanders to gear and dreams of endorsements. What do I really need? Rototoms of course, or maybe a big china cymbal! Of course in reality I don’t need any of these things but lust and obsession are hard things to control especially with time on your hands. I could start my own personal artist website, do some videos or add more followers to my social media accounts? Yeah all good ideas and I don’t have any reason to not do those things but it doesn’t appeal anywhere near as much as looking at new gear.

Most of the shows booked abroad this year are all fly-ins mostly which means it’ll all be borrowed gear anyway. I think it’s funny that they are better-paid shows but all the time and effort spent in to getting your bands sound goes out the window. Surely they want you to sound your best? That’s why they book you and pay you!? I’m forever grateful though to be able to play in another country by popular request.

The pre-production sessions are currently going very well with The Wounded Kings and I can’t lie that this isn’t my favourite part of the process but it’s becoming a lot of fun and it’s feeling very creative. Hopefully we’ll get to test these songs live before recording which is something we haven’t done before and even though the studio booking isn’t until July I’ve already started the discussion with Chris the recording engineer about drum sounds and recording ideas which once again is a new experience for me too. I’m really tempted to go no hole on the front head for that proper old school Bonham boom but I don’t have the heart to put it to Chris after the last time recorded with him without a bass drum hole in the front head. It wasn’t a popular idea. 

On a slight tangent I’ve bumped in to a few people of the last few weeks who I used to be in bands with and subsequently have given up playing music (I’m known as the musical Black Widow of Exeter by the way!). Interestingly they have been inspired to want to play again and it’s mostly come down to a small number of new bands that they have heard or seen and even the odd documentary too.  Brilliant. That makes me feel really warm and fuzzy because these guys are great musicians and I never understood why they gave up in the first place. I wonder how many more people will come out of the woodwork and pick up their instruments again? Is there change around the corner? I’d like to think so.  

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