Drums are the reason I do what I do today, and will always be my first love. When I was a kid without a drum kit, I used to set up pots and pans to mimic some of my favorite drummers setups. Even when I got older and started playing my own kits, I was often changing the setup to match the drummers i found inspiring at the time. It almost seems like each decade could have its own drum kit identity. Whether its the gigantic tom and double bass drum setups of the 80s, or the four piece alternative kits of the 90s. Here are a couple of my personal favorite drum kits from over the years, which have all inspired the kit setup I use today.
One of the great things about Neil is his continuous drive to seek out new and unique sounds. His kit is gigantic, but its composed of so many eclectic elements that it makes his setup truly one of a kind. Unlike many drummers from his era, Neil actually used every single piece of his kit musically, and not just for show.
Not only did music get a dramatic makeover when grunge entered the picture in the 1990s, but so did all the equipment bands were using. More specifically, drum kits went from being huge monster setups of the 80s and turned towards a more conservative layout. One of my favorites being Sean Kinney of Alice In Chains fame.
The man behind Dream Theater’s unrivaled rhythm section definitely knows how to go big. I must admit, his kit was the one I always copied as a kid. I would draw his kit in my notebooks at school, dream about it whilst I slept, and tried my hardest to attain every piece of his monster.
In a time where triggers have become second nature to a metal drummers kit, Mastodon’s Brann Dailor inspires a whole new breed of drummers. His kit is simple, and represents something more attainable for most people who don’t have the budget for a Portnoy kit. He is one of the few drummers who can make such a tiny kit sound three times its size.
AC/DC’s drummer is and always will inspire drummers till the end of time, and for good reason. He doesn’t focus on fills or cheap tricks to get your attention. His focus is the groove behind the song, and that never changes. He hits the cymbals when they need to be hit, and maintains the power needed to back one of the heaviest bands of all time.
Each one of the above mentioned drummers were a huge inspiration both in my style of playing and the way I approach my kit setup. Not everyone has the same inspiration though, so feel free to share your own in the comments below!