Tre Cool: Three Times The Cool
Drums Gretsch USA Custom (Champagne Sparkle)
1. 22" x 16" Bass Drum
2. 14" x 5.5"
3. 13" x 9" Tom
4. 16" x 16" Floor Tom
5. 18" x 16" Floor Tom
A. 14" K Hi-Hat (top)/14" Z Custom Hi-Hat (bottom)
B. 19" K Dark Crash
C. 19" A Medium Crash
D. 22" A Deep Ride
E. 21" A Sweet Ride
F. 19" K Hybrid Trash Smash
Tré Cool also uses Gibraltar hardware, Zildjian signature sticks, and Remo heads (Emperor X, snare; Coated Emperor, toms; and Clear PowerStroke 3, bass drum).
One of the most surprising names on the underrated list was Irv Cottler, the Sinatra drummer. During the photo shoot, the velvety croon of Ol’ Blue Eyes and Cottler’s swinging rhythms issue forth from a CD player next to the drum set. A source of inspiration, no doubt. “Hear how good his drums sound?” he says, hooking a thumb at the boom box.
It’s early evening when the photo shoot starts but Cool’s all hopped up from an iced coffee, slamming around the kit, doing triplet fills, a boogaloo-type beat, some ride bell grooving, much of it very unlike what he does on Green Day records. Suited up in a ska-rific ’60s acetate leisure shirt and black-and-white hound’s tooth pants – the pattern echoes his signature stick bag and practice pad – the drummer has morphed from earnest student back to the prankster of punk-rock lore, mugging shamelessly for the camera like a kid at a birthday party, giving a mock service announcement about hearing protection, and stomping on a Model-T horn and bike-bell mounted on the kit like a clown car in a parade.
While a publicist is on the phone, Cool tauntingly screams at him while bashing on the cymbals and toms to drown out the call. “Gimme a Tré Cool practice pad,” he barks. He looks up and grins as he whips out a series of tattoos on the snare, sharp as they were in high school drum corps.
He changes outfits again for another round of photos on a different Gretsch kit, one of three he’ll take on tour in the States, Europe, and Asia, respectively. Someone is quizzing him about surfing and what type of “stick” he prefers. (longboard, dude).
The spoils of success? More like the tools for it. Whether he, Armstrong, and Dirnt are riding the waves off Newport Beach or cruising motorcycles, it’s all part of the prolonged, gloriously messy process that is Green Day. Before the drummer had arrived today, a studio technician was explaining how the three guys are the opposite of bands at a comparable level, or even a more modest level: “They actually go out of there way to spend time together,” he recalled. “Billy Joe and Mike knew each other since, what, fifth grade or something?”
Cool seconds the idea: “We’re there putting the hours in. We spend, like, five hours a day, five days a week doing Green Day song stuff ... or just being Green Day. Writing songs, rehearsing ’em, talking about what we can do, all that stuff. There’s only one way to do it, man. You just can’t leave it to someone else or s__t gets messed up.”
Cool returns to the theme of success and the complacency it breeds. “Priorities get screwed up – or not screwed up,” he says after a hesitation. “They just change, you know? For us, we’re musicians, it’s what we want to die doing. We’ve been on this creative path for a long time, it’s taken flight, and now, it’s in the stratosphere. And we’re enjoying the hell out of it. So we’re not going to do anything to sink it.”