I first heard John Tempesta’s name in the late 1980s when he was Charlie Benante’s (of Anthrax) drum tech. I next heard he was playing with thrash metal band Exodus, and then I kept hearing his name and seeing his photo everywhere.
Fast forward many years and I saw John Tempesta has his own signature snare drum and I even got a chance to check one out in person at my local drum shop at the time. To me, it seemed like a cool drum but I wasn’t a fan of the badge and that’s always been a thing of mine, I don’t know why. Having spoken to other people about it, that seems to be the polarising aspect of this drum actually; you either don’t mind the badge or you don’t care for it.
Badge aside though, the drum has a 14×7”, 2mm thick nickel plated brass shell, with die cast hoops. It comes with 42 strand wires – I had to replace these on mine as one or two broke – and a double-sided snare adjustment mechanism.
Out of the box, it’s a good looking drum and really is very capable sonically.
Mine is a players drum; it’s not in pristine condition and even a casual look at it will confirm that. But, I bought the drum knowing that and I didn’t care. Structurally, the drum is all there and a few scuffs and scratches have never bothered me. What does interest me though is the sound the drum makes, and that is loud and punchy.
While I think this snare is arguably a ‘rock’ drum, personally, I think it’s a good all-rounder, something I’m reminded of whenever I pick it up.
But, what I really like about the John Tempesta signature snare drum – in fact, I’d say that was it’s most overriding quality – it really does have a lot of punch to it, especially at the right mid range tensioning. Power, punch and a wonderful ring, a great combination…