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We also caught up with Rick West, Clem's drum tech, who talked to us about keeping the hard-hitting rock'n'roller in business, and in a plexi-glass box...
Tell us about the screen that surrounds Clem…
“The plexi-glass we use is custom-made,so as to not have any seams in the middle, and nothing in sight-line – one of a kind, and it is a monster. The cleaningof that glass is of most importance – NO finger prints! The glass itself is used to isolate drum and cymbal bleed as much as possible. The drum kit itself is cleaned daily, all the chrome is cleaned, and the drums cleaned with Trick drum polish.The glass is cleaned with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.”
Clem is a hard hitter, does he go through many sticks and heads?
“During a Blondie tour, we will go through between three to five pairs of sticks on a show day. Clem’s sticks are checked for weight on a postal scale then the varnish sanded off from the middle down. The sticks can only be used once! The stick weight will change due to the stick being sanded and exposed to moisture and sweat. Clem uses Vic Firth 5a sticks, wooden tips.
“Toms have Remo coated Emperors on the top and Clear Ambassador on the bottoms. I like to change them on a regular basis for consistency reasons. Generally speaking on a Blondie tour, the batter heads are replaced weekly. The bottom heads are replaced at the beginning of that run. Bottom heads are replaced at least three to four times a year. Bass drum batter head is replaced monthly or as needed – that’s a Remo Powerstroke 3 on the batter side.
“Snare drums… now here is the magic! Snare heads are replaced daily, the head that I generally use is a Remo Coated Ambassador. The bottom headis Remo Hazy on the snare on the left and DW bottom snare head on the main snare. I do carry a few extras such as Remo CS batter and Emperor X, sometimes depending on the venue. Snare wires are 42-wire snares.”
How about cymbals?
“Cymbals are replaced on a regular basis. Thefact that I hand-polish Clem’s cymbals (with Zildjian cream polish) everyday thins them out,so therefore they break, and/or crack on a regular basis. We carry with us at least two sets of complete cymbals at all times. I hand-pickClem’s cymbals at the Zildjian factory, generally twice a year.”
What electronics does Clem use?
“The only electronics in Clem’s set-up isthe Octapad that sits just left of the hi-hat.The Octapad is programmed with electronicdrums and all the percussion sounds used throughout the show.”