You couldn’t call yourself a head banger in the ’80s unless you were into Saxon. The band, who just released 19th album Call To Arms, is still rolling the hard way with drummer Nigel Glockler, a bloke who knows his way around rare and uncommon percussion brands.
At age eight, the future Saxon basher cobbled together various lines from the U.K.’s Carlton-Hayman drum company (which he obtained from a drum shop in Merton, South London, after selling a beloved electric train set).
Starting with an orange-glitter piccolo snare, he later combined a 20" Gigster series bass drum and a 12" mounted tom from Hayman’s President line with a hat and a small crash. “I don’t really count this as my first proper kit,” he says. “I swapped over to bass guitar for a few years but then had a go on what I’d call a proper kit at school and decided that that was the way to go for me.”
When Glockler turned 14, he bought a red-sparkle Premier Olympic, the company’s starter kits circa 1967. Glocker’s had two 12" toms, the second of which he tuned lower. “And if you look at the pictures, you’ll see I’m only using one rack tom,” he adds. “That’s because I got heavily into Grand Funk Railroad and Don Brewer only used one.”
Later on he combined the Hayman and Olympic kits, echoing the late ’60s trend of increasingly larger setups. “It clashed color-wise but I loved having all those drums,” he says. “I borrowed another floor tom off a friend of mine for a while, too.”
The kit was topped with Everplay heads, Premier’s in-house brand, but the original heads on the Hayman parts of the kit were all animal skin. Glockler fondly recalls holding the snare in front of the fire to tune it up higher as the lugs were maxed out.
The setup’s real curios, however, are Glocker’s cymbals: 12" Kamala hats and 12" crash, Krut 16" or 18" crash, Ajax 18" sizzle, and later, a five-star Super Zyn that was either 18" or 20". “The Ajax got so heavily dented later on that it ended up sounding like a China so I used it as a trashy accent cymbal like Bill Bruford’s China on the Larks Tongues In Aspic album by King Crimson after I upgraded to my next kit.”
After arranging a Saturday-evening concert at his school with a few local bands, he then proceeded to play his first gig consisting of Cream, Hendrix, Free, and Jethro Tull covers. “We didn't have a name so a load of friends daubed my front kick drumhead in fluorescent paint,” he says, laughing. “It was the psychedelic era and the name Tangerine Gas was written in the ’60s-type bubble writing. The whole thing looked like the cover of [Cream’s] Disraeli Gears.”
As to the kit’s current whereabouts, your guess is as good as Glockler’s. “I would love to reacquaint myself with it,” he says. “It would be like meeting up with an old friend.”