Mike Pedicone's drum kit in pictures
You haven’t made it in rock’n’roll until you’ve had your first death threat. Mike Pedicone doesn’t sound too rattled by his particular death threat, partly because it was made by a 12-year-old South American tweenager with Hello Kitty hairclips (she was scared he was trying to break up the band), but also because it underlines the all consuming, froth-mouthed, shrill-voiced passion of the My Chemical Romance fanbase.
As a well-known hardcore drummer with The Bled and Gavin Rossdale, Mike is used to industry respect but not teen hysteria, and he’s been on a steep learning curve since replacing Bob Bryar in the line-up last summer.
As yet, Mike is not an ‘official’ member, and narrowly missed playing on fourth album Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys, but there is little doubt that his live skills have silenced the doubters and appeased the stalkers. “It’s actually kinda cool,” he beams, “that our fans are so loyal they’re willing to kill somebody!”
Rhythm caught up with Mike to take a closer look at his new RCI Custom Acrylic kit, discuss his gig with MCR, and find out how he made the move from guitarist to drummer extraordinaire. Here - among the shots of the aforementioned kit you’ll see in this gallery - are snippets from that interview.
First up: Mike Pedicone’s drum setup…
RCI (USA) Custom Acrylic (Clear Finish) drum shells assembled by Noble & Cooley, with custom hardware: 22"x20" kick, 13"x9" rack tom, 16"x16" and 18"x18" floor toms on legs
Your kit is sounding good live…
"Yeah, the acrylic kit I’m playing on now, they’re RCI shells but Noble & Cooley put everything together. RCI shells are made using a different process. I’m not exactly sure what that is: it was explained to me a couple of times but it went beyond me a little bit!
"I guess that it’s more of a latch system with RCI, not like on older acrylic shells where it’s just a hard edge that is glued together. RCI shells are stronger and the sound that we’re getting out of them is pretty incredible."
"I remember we did the Radio One session and everyone was blown away by how the acrylic kit sounded on the recording. I haven’t recorded an album with that kit yet: the first show that I played on that was at the Hammersmith Apollo."
Pearl Jimmy DeGrasso 14"x5.5" custom brass snare, Pearl 14"x9" African mahogany snare, 14"x5" black Noble & Cooley snare (back-up)
"For these shows it’s mainly the RCI, but I still play on my Noble & Cooley maple kit. All the drum sizes are exactly the same, and that sounds great too, but there’s a slight difference and sometimes the wood one just sounds that little bit better. I like them both and I’m hitting them hard enough!
"I have my African mahogany Pearl snare and I change that with a Noble & Cooley alloy snare."
19" AAX X-Plosion crash, 14" AAX X-Celerator hi-hats, 19" AAX Stage crash, 10" Paragon splash, 22" AA Raw Bell Dry ride, 20" AAX X-Plosion crash, 20" Paragon crash, 20" Paragon china
And what do you like about Sabian cymbals?
"You can get pretty much any sound you’re looking for from Sabian, whether it’s a real dry wash or a real crisp high-end crashing sound - they just have it all. I’ve spent hours with Chris over at Sabian hitting cymbals, and whatever I’m feeling that day, they’ll ship out to me."
Hardware, sticks and extras
DW hardware; LP Tambourine; Gibraltar table stand/mount; Guitammer Buttkicker attached to DW throne; DW 9000 DBL kick pedal; Rhythm Tech stick jinglers
Pro-Mark 2B & 5B sticks
Which are your favourite songs to play live?
"The set right now is just really solid: a really hard-hitting set. I do have a lot of fun in this band. All the new songs are a lot of fun to play, because they’re really stompy, four-on-the-floor bangers. I like Sing a lot, because what’s happening on the drums is a little more technical.
"We’re putting a little tambourine on one of the sticks, and when they were in the studio they said they were flipping the beat around, so playing that one is a lot of fun."
Do you have to time your beats to match the pyro?
"There was pyro in the past, but we haven’t done much of that apart from an NFL show we played. Some of the time I’m playing on a metronome, so they can pretty much tell where stuff’s gonna happen. We have a pretty great lighting guy, so it usually matches up pretty well."
Mike's guitarist roots
Let’s talk about your roots…
"Well, I was the guitar player and singer for all my bands in high school. I only made the switch in 2001. I do remember that I always wanted to play drums growing up, but they’re just such an expensive instrument, and they’re so loud, and my dad certainly didn’t want that in the house!
"Even at high school, it was just one of those instruments that was so hard to attain, and the one kid in the neighbourhood who had got a kit, he’d be the drummer for every band in town.
"I remember I walked into a marching band when I was seven, and just hearing the kick and feeling it in my chest… that was the first time I was really excited about drums.
"I had guitar heroes and drum heroes. Of course, all the members of Led Zeppelin. If you’re playing rock and you say Zeppelin isn’t one of your influences then you’re lying, because without Jimmy Page and John Bonham, rock would be completely different."
The switch to drumming
So what prompted the switch?
"Well, The Bled wanted me to play but they had two guitar players, so I thought, ‘Well, why don’t I just try out on drums?’ Eventually, I just learnt that way, just by sorta going at it for about a month with those dudes, and then we ended up doing a show and it worked out from there.
"No formal training, never any lessons… it’s just from sitting with the guys and playing. Both of my parents are pretty musical people, so I just feel like I inherited all of it from them, fortunately."
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