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Rolling Stone, Drums: A Look at the Equipment of the Pros

Rolling Stone, February 22, 1979


MICK FLEETWOOD: "Obviously," laughs Mick Fleetwood, a lanky 6'6", "physically I'm real big. So I had Ludwig make a custom kit in a larger-than-average size. Not only does it give more punch and projection onstage, but it's more comfortable for me." Fleetwood's custom wood set consists of a 28" bass drum with a Pearl pedal, a steel snare drum, 3 tom-toms, 5 cymbals (a mix of Zildjian and Paiste) and a hi-hat.

"I really don't have any particularly wild secrets," he says, "but I do pay a lot of attention to cleaning the cymbals before every concert. And I find that changing the skins and heads once every two gigs -- even if they're not dented -- makes a hell of a lot of difference in tone. It's expensive, but it's a luxury I don't hesitate about now."

Fleetwood has collected some 300 percussion instruments over the last 12 years. Some are just small, 1-note, obscure, cranky-looking items, like hollowed-out vegetables; others are prized possessions. Like the two African "talking drums," made for him by a Nigerian in England 11 years ago. He plays one of those in every Fleetwood Mac concert.

"I'm getting fed up with drummers," Fleetwood says. "That means me as well. Everything has gotten so technical and so hi-fi that a lot of musicians are being used by the machinery as opposed to them using the machinery. I don't think unnatural, unearthly sound waves are very healthy at all. Music is for people to listen to. Not space cadets."

Thanks to Kayde for transcribing this and posting it to the Ledge and to Anusha for forwarding it to us.