Steve Barney's The Wanted drum setup in pictures
We all know that, as drummers, our job is to be the rock on stage, keeping the rest of the band in line. It’s a sizeable task, and when you hit the kind of level UK sessioneer Steve Barney is at, the demands just keep on piling up.
On his latest enormo-pop gig with chart-topping, hysteria-inducers The Wanted, Steve has not only the rigours of sold-out arenas, tons of pyro, triggering samples and generally holding together a huge show to deal with, he’s also faced with a pretty daunting challenge in drowning out the hordes of screaming girls that fill each venue the band plays.
Rhythm got a first-hand glimpse of the eardrum-bashing madness surrounding The Wanted as a group of teenage fans are let into Birmingham’s LG Arena while the band is mid-soundcheck. As dozens of doe-eyed fans sprint to the front of the stage to paw over their five pop pin-up idols, we spy a gleeful smile play across Steve’s face as he continues to lay the beat down in his unmistakably thundering style.
“I hit pretty hard but I think they probably win that battle,” Steve laughs when asked about the ear-piercing volume from the crowd each night.
Here we bring you pictures and details of the kit Steve uses with The Wanted, plus snippets of that interview, which you can read in full in Rhythm issue 202. Or you can subscribe to Rhythm Magazine to read interviews with the world’s top drummers each month.
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Next: The kit
Premier Series Elite (in Gold Fade Sparkle Lacquer): 22-inch kick drum; 12-inch rack tom; 14 & 16-inch floor toms; 14x8-inch Premier maple snare (in Gold Fade Sparkle Lacquer); 14x6-inch Premier Artist brass snare
How do you put a kit together for a show like this?
“I’m a bit of a creature of habit. I like the way my drums sound. I like the toms nice and beefy. I’ve got a 12, 14, 16-inches. There’s nothing special going on with them, I just hit them hard.
“I’m really happy with my drums, Premier have been very loyal to me over the years. I love this new kit. It gets so many great comments. Cymbal-wise I really like Zildjian As and find they cut through really nice on pop/rocky stuff.”
Zildjian: 15-inch A Custom Mastersound hi-hats; 11-inch Oriental Trash Splash; 18-inch A Custom crash; 20-inch K Custom ride; 19-inch A Custom Projection crash; 18-inch Oriental Trash china
We noticed you dishing out some punishment to your china as well during soundcheck...
“I’m a bit of a china fan, really. My biggest influence years ago was Phil Collins. I saw Genesis when I was nine. I think people have forgotten he was a phenomenal drummer. I first heard a china when I saw Phil and I’ve always had one.”
Premier 6000 Series hardware; Premier 6000 kick drum pedal; Roland SPD-SX sampling pad; Roland Acoustic Drum Triggers (RT-10K kick & RT-10T snare); Behringer Eurorack mixer (MX 802A); Porter & Davies BC2; Sennheiser HD 25 headphones; Vater Universal sticks; Protection Racket cases and drum rug; Baskey Matt Markers and Kick Stops; LP Shakers/Cajon
With all the gigs you’ve had over the years, has it been a case of taking your core pop-rock style and tailoring it for each gig?
“I think if I wrote down everyone I’d played for it’d be pretty extreme. But no matter what style of music you’re playing and with what artist it’s all about being supportive, reliable and on it.
“Whether that’s Shirley Bassey, keeping an eye on the conductor, or with The Wanted where it’s high-energy pop rock. It’s a small industry and it’s very hard to get in. I’m very grateful to have been let in, and I just want to stay in!
“More drummers are becoming more interested in doing the session thing. People didn’t used to think like that. It sounds cheesy but you have to just love it, and I absolutely love it.
“The more you learn about the industry there are things that are grating, it’s a business. It can be difficult for musicians. That’s a whole different side to anything I got into it for - I manage myself, I haven’t got a manager I’ve just got a mobile phone and a bit of luck. It’s hard enough to make money, let alone then giving 10 percent to someone else.
“But all my gigs have had rocky elements. If you get a gig there’s a reason why you get them. Jeff Beck was rocky, Anastacia is rocky, she’s more of an r’n’b rocky thing and it’s quite guitar-y.
“I play quite hard on that but it’s a bit more chopsy towards the funky r’n’b style. You have to adapt no matter who you’re with. You change your spots for whoever you’re with.”
Jay joins Steve at the kit...
Where did the idea for a spot of double drumming in the show come from?
Steve: “Last year Jay was playing a bit of tambourine on an acoustic song and he said he wanted to learn drums, so I planted the seed. I told him for the arena tour he should get a kit and do it.
“The lads are big Coldplay fans and we do a Coldplay medley so it seemed right for Jay to play on ‘Fix You’. He comes out of the stage on a lift and he absolutely loves it. It’s a great moment for the fans, one of their idols comes out of the stage with a drum kit!
“He’s great as well, he’s definitely got natural rhythm. And at 41 I want to get some boy band lessons from him so maybe we could just swap!”
Jay: “All the lads play [an instrument]. We’ve been together two years and I was always the one that didn’t play anything. I felt like I was letting everyone down and then last year seeing Steve on our theatre tour, he is incredible. He is genuinely inspirational. I think a lot of fans were surprised at the quality of our band, they really are top notch.
“Steve suggested maybe getting on the drums and I thought, ‘Why not?’ It fits perfectly. I’m really glad how it’s gone and hopefully it’ll get better and better with time. I know Steve is really excited to watch me get better. It feels good.”
You’ve got a cajon as well, Jay.
Jay: “There’s a bit in the show when I do a little bit of rhythm percussion stuff to Coldplay. At first I was god-awful, but I use Steve as a visual aid. While he’s doing something complex he’s still giving me pointers. I can’t believe how talented he is and doing a pop show. He makes it so much more than that.
“Recently we were in America but the band were back here crafting it. They make the show musically what it is. We had these guys on the theatre tour and they’ve got the skill to do it on an arena tour as well.”
Now check out Rhythm’s current Issue 203 for interviews with Butch Vig and former G N’R sticksmen Steven Adler & Matt Sorum. Or subscribe to Rhythm here for a monthly dose of new gear reviews, kit buying guides, pro drum lessons and all-star interviews.
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