Category Archives: Drums & Music Related Thoughts

Melbourne’s Festival Hall

It was so good to hear the announcement this week that Hillsong Church here in Australia, have purchased Festival Hall in Melbourne.

What a game changer for them!

Such an iconic venue.  Everyone knows where it is or has been to a gig there and it is in such an incredible location.

I am so happy for Hillsong to be making their Melbourne home in such an amazing venue.

And for them to own it, is even better.

I saw Hillsong’s announcement on social media…

I follow one of their drummers on Instagram.

But I also saw it on the nightly news.

The news did a great job of making it known…

They showed some footage of Brian Houston and a few seconds of some of the Hillsong church services.

They showed something of the life and energy of Hillsong.

They even mentioned that as a community bonus, Hillsong was going to continue making the venue available for commercial leasing, meaning the gigs and shows there, could continue.

Then came the disappointing part…

They informed us that “some artists are saying they will boycott the venue.”

Really?  In a time where the artists are complaining that the arts have gone silent, that there is nowhere to perform to a crowd, that they have suffered great hardship mentally and financially as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic…

But they don’t want to play in a building owned by Hillsong Church.

How sad!  I would have thought they’d be super keen to play there.

The venue will be completely refitted in the most amazing way.  The best sound equipment, the latest technology, beautiful furnishings, luxurious green rooms, perfect acoustics…the list could go on.

It will be a far better setup, than the building that was put on the market over two years ago as a non-viable, non-profitable venue by the owner Chris Wren

But despite having nowhere else to play, and this historic venue set to become one of the most amazing venues in the city of Melbourne, “some artists” want to boycott what will be one of Melbourne’s premier venues…for no other reason than, it is owned by Hillsong Church.

And the same people would no doubt say that those in Hillsong Church are judgemental, discriminatory and dismissive…

The irony!

Congratulations Hillsong and Melbourne.

In Ears Revolution

Recently at Extreme Life, we made the change from using floor monitors to using in ear monitors. This brings us into line with many professional musical settings and provides many advantages to Extreme Life.
For example, our front of house mix is now exceptionally “clean” as there is absolutely no monitor spill. You know that “muddy” sound that comes from speakers that are pointing away from you…well it’s not there any more, so the sound being heard in the room, is all from the front of house speakers. The huge benefit of that is, that we are only hearing what we are meant to be hearing and it is equalised and mixed for our listening. This produces a much more appealing sound for all in the room.
For the musos, we purchased a Behringer Powerplay personal monitoring system from Streamstone Audio (highly recommend these guys, check them out at This provides every muso with a personal 16 channel mixer to select and mix their own personal monitor mix. They can then plug in what ever earphones/headphones/monitors they like (and provide themselves for their own personal use) and there they have their monitoring.
Personally, I chose some lovely Future Sonics Mg6Pro in ear monitors and am absolutely loving the sound I am getting from them.

These are a custom molded in ear and do the job beautifully. Others have tried everything from the standard iPhone ear buds to many different generic fit in ears and all obviously produce a result according to their price range. I would suggest in ears that actually insert into the ear canal and form a seal, as they provide much better isolation than “open” ear buds, but anything of a reasonable quality will provide a starting point.

Some of our musos found the transition a little challenging at first for varying reasons, but most having been on at least a couple of times now, are starting to enjoy the benefits of this change. The ability to adjust your own mix live and on the fly, is amazing. No more waving at the sound guy trying to get his attention so he can try to decipher your code for whatever change you are attempting to request!

I recently added a Sennheiser wireless system to my mixer and highly recommend this. It is a bit of expense to get up and running, but well worth the lack of cables and clear, strong sound being piped into my ear canals.

One of the biggest benefits I have noticed after using these for some time now, is the volume. I can play with the volume settings far lower than when using a floor monitor. Floor monitors all have to get over top of each other and all the other instruments, whereas with in ears, there are no amps on stage (they are all mic-ed up under the stage or instruments running through a DI) and the isolation of the ear buds cancels out whatever stage sound there is (like acoustic drums). This lack of volume leaves me feeling far less fatigued at the end of every session. Also, along with the isolation, it really helps me to “lock in” to my role and do my job to the best of my ability.

In summary, I am really enjoying the benefits of this transition and would recommend you look into it if you haven’t already.


Sleeved Washers…

It’s not too often that a new product hits the drummers market that gets me really excited…but today I received one that has got me very excited!

Sleeved Washers are amazing!

If you play drums, you know the frustrations we have previously shared.  Snare drums that detune as you play them because the tension rods are vibrating loose, high toms that detune to lower pitches as you play, floor toms with rattling tension rods as you try to tune them loose enough to get that huge, low pitch rumble we all love from our floor toms.  Well these issues are a thing of the past on all my drum kits and snares now thanks to these new sleeved washers.

The sleeve on the washer, fits down into the hole in the hoop (whether a triple flanged or die cast hoop) and totally isolates the tension rod from the hoop.  There is no metal on metal contact at all.

My snares now stay in tune and have no tension rod rattle, my toms hold their pitch and my floor toms rumble without the rattle.  If you play drums, you need these on your snares and drum kits.  Have a look at their website (the link is above and on my page of things I really like) for further details and information and I hope you find them as awesome as I have.

Great Music Video Clip…

Hey friends,

You have to check this out.  This is a great new video clip from the band Gangs Of Ballet:

These are some great guys making some great music…well worth a look and a listen.

I may even have some stories about a few of these guys up my sleeve, hey Brad!!

Days Off And A Holiday Project…

Some time ago I was looking for a hobby to help me keep my mind off work and on something constructive on my weekly day off.

Being a very keen drummer, it seemed only natural to find something that involved one of my very favourite past times.

I headed in to Noise Music and acquired an old traded in drum kit that I modified into a practice kit for myself (see pic of original project).  Quite happy with the end result, I gave it away and set out to find another one.  As I took on more projects, my confidence grew and I found myself getting more and more adventurous in my attempts.  A joint effort between myself and Noise managed to find some manufacturers shells on Ebay that were used for displaying available finishes.  As such, they were not drilled and were in the perfect condition to be used for whatever we wanted.  So I took them to see a good friend of mine that has a huge industrial saw, and he cut them up into various depths for me so they could be made into snare drums (various snare photos).

Having enjoyed some success with some snare drums, I set out to renovate and restore a Premier Artist Birch kit I also managed to acquire from Noise Music after another great mate of mine had finished using it as a teaching kit (See pic LTTN Kit).  Once finished with that one, it went to Life To The Nations, a church in Melbourne lead by more good friends, Matt and Elodie Doty.

Something I have always wanted to do though, was to restore an old vintage kit…enter the Star (See Star pic).  Star drums were around in the sixties and later became known as Tama.  The particular kit I managed to secure was from about 1964.  It was a bit of a mess, but nothing my newly learned skills and quickly growing confidence weren’t willing to have a crack at.  So I stripped the drums back to bare shells, sanded the old stringy wood to a super fine finish, re-cut and hand sanded the bearing edges and re-wrapped them in a lovely finish from  All the hardware was cleaned , polished and replaced and finally some lovely Fiberskyn heads were fitted to finish it off “old school” (see pic of restored Star kit).

A number of kits have been refurbished since.  Some added to my personal collection, some sold and one or two given away.

All of this to say, that recently on my holidays I was quite keen to rip into another project and dug up enough parts to bring this little beauty to life (see pic of holiday snare).

Not bad for a couple of days R & R I have to say…sounds great too!

This is definitely a hobby I intend to maintain, firstly because it is the first one I have ever had that has actually put any dollars back in my pocket and secondly because I thoroughly enjoy it…both the process and the end result.  I get such a sense of satisfaction every time I finish every part of the process, acquire a new skill and particularly when it is all finished and I get to hear it.  What a way to spend the odd day off…at least until I get a new murdercycle anyway!

I may post some pics of some more projects another time, but enjoy this gallery for now.

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