Welcome To The Tour!
posted on 9-17-2012
Greetings and salutations from the road! It's me, Dale Crover of the Melvins Lite. The Lite part being we have one less drummer than what has been our "normal" line up for the last six or so years. Also, with this version of the band we're playing with Trevor Dunn on stand up bass! We have a new record we've recorded with him called Freak Puke!
We did a test run tour with Trevor a little over a year ago to see if playing with a stand up bass would even work. It was then that we decided that it was indeed something cool, and that we should do a record breaking tour of the US. All 50 states, plus Washington DC, in 51 days. If we can accomplish this tour, we'll hold the record for fastest tour of the US + DC by a band in the Guiness Book Of World Records! Melvins have been a band for almost 30 years. Doing something different and off the wall is how we keep it fresh,yo!
I normally play pretty big drums, but I knew that for this line up and tour that I wanted something smaller in size. I needed a kit that was suitable for rock, as well as the brush work I've been doing on some of the new songs. I called the fine folks at Tama to see if they could help out. I'd already been drooling over pictures and videos of the new Silverstar Birch line on the Tama website, and knew that that's what I wanted. I was able to get a Sky Blue Sparkle, 18" x 22" bass drum, 10" x 13" rack tom, 14" x 16" floor tom and 5" x 14" snare. Sure enough, they sounded great right out of the box! Other drummers who have seen me play on this tour have said how surprised they are that I'm able to get such a big sound out of a small kit. Sure, it's the drums, the player and a soundman who knows a thing or two about making me sound great!
After a warm up show in Sacramento ('cause ya have to warm up before doing 51 shows in a row) we drove to Seattle and flew from there into Anchorage Alaska for the first of 51. We've never played in Alaska and weren't really sure what to expect. We had a great turn out and it was a super fun show. Since it was a fly in show I couldn't take the new kit. I was however provided with a nice set of Starclassics.
After Alaska, we flew back to Seattle. This is our old stomping grounds and we always have good shows here. Portland, OR too. Though the power blew out on the last note of the set because of a 3.5 earthquake 30 miles south of Portland. After being in both the Christchurch and Tokyo earthquakes last year, I'm over it. Unfortunately I live in California.
So far we are 8 shows/ states into the tour. Eastbound and down. Not only a long way to go, but a short time to get there (to quote the late, great Jerry Reed). Last night was at the Bluebird Theatre in Denver, CO. The Bluebird is a beautiful old theatre. We love playing places like this. It usually sounds awesome for band and audience alike. I wish we could always play joints like this. Though there is something to be said about playing a grange hall in Cheyenne. The audience two feet away. It really adds to the energy of the show! We're not big fans of playing places intended for sports. It usually sounds horrible and you don't quite have the connection to the audience. Luckily we don't have to worry about that. We know we're a weird band and will never fill the Enormodomes of this great country of ours. Ha!
We are now on our way to Lawrence, Kansas to play the Bottleneck. I'll be checking back in from time to time. Hopefully I'll still have some sanity left.
TTFN! -Dale Crover
Tour In Full Swing!
posted on 10-3-2012
Hello again from the wide open road! We are now in the thick of our World Record setting tour, with 21 shows under our belts. That's 21 shows in a row with no days off! You don't really have days off when you're on tour anyhow. A day off for us usually means that we have a 9 to 12 hour drive to the next gig. We carefully planned the routing of this tour so we didn't have any monster drives. There will be a few doosies on this tour though. It's unavoidable unless we fly, and that would be cheating. Except for Alaska and Hawaii, of course.
All the shows have been going real well. The jaunt through the Midwest was good. We haven't been to the Dakotas for a long time, so it was nice to play a sold out gig in Fargo. After that we played an outdoor gig in Minneapolis. I'm guessing that if the gig was two weeks later we'd be shoveling snow to get to the stage! Great show though! I met a girl there who asked me about my new drums. Turns out she's a fellow drummer and Tama fan; she showed me her tattoo of the Tama logo on her arm!
The Silverstars are holding up nicely. Now that I've had some time with them I've found the sweet spots of tuning them. Some drummers tune to notes. I've found that each drum has a certain pitch that sounds the best for that drum. I don't tune the lugs across from each other to match pitch. I'll start with one lug and tune it to the two lugs on either side of it, and o that around the drum until they all match. Dig? I tune the bottom head slightly higher than the top. I learned this way of tuning from producer Garth Richardson, who worked with us on Houdini, Stag, and Stoner Witch. He liked the way I tuned my snare, which is crank it up and go.
The opening act on the majority of this tour is the LA brother duo, Tweakbird. I've helped produce two of their releases. After the first session we did, I said to the drummer, "I think you need a new drum kit." So, I sold him my kit from the early days: A John Bonham-sized Ludwig kit. I know, I know, I probably shouldn't mention a competitors name here, but this kit lead to the design of my first Tama kit, the Purple Behemoth!
I first started working with Tama in 1993. One of my first questions was "Do you still make the gong bass drum, and can I get one?" My first kit was a Tama Artstar Custom: 26" Kick, 16" Rack. 18" and 20" floor toms, 20" gong bass drum, and 8" x 14" snare drum, all in my own purple metal flake custom color. It was the loudest drum kit ever! The snare was super thick and sounded great! Unfortunately the snare was stolen recently in Dallas. If anyone sees it around the Dallas area, I want it back!
I hadn't planned on getting another kit since I loved the Artstars so much, but then Coady and I tried out the Starclassic Bubingas. Uh oh! We decided now that we had two drummers in the band, we needed matching kits. I decided for this kit I would go slightly smaller. I wanted a combo of the Artstars and an old 1940's be-bop kit I own. 17" x 24" Kick, 12" x 15" Tom, 15" x 18" Floor, 14" x 20" Gong Drum (with floor tom legs), and 8" x 14" snare. All in Egyptian Night Mist. Coady's is slightly different in size. Since he's left handed we jam the kits close together, making it look like one big kit. We still use these kits for the double drummer version of the band.
We are now on the East Coast. The drives are getting shorter for this part of the tour at least. Playing every day has not bothered us one bit. It seems like any other tour really, and by now we are a well-oiled machine! I hope you can come watch us tear it up when we hit your state!
Dale Crover On The Road in Columbia, MO. on September 14th
posted on 9-18-2012
Video courtesty of sickdrummermagazine.com