It doesn’t matter if you’re a mere beginner or seasoned pro – every drummer dreams of a sanctified space where one can pursue any possible percussive proclivity. We’re talking about a drum room, folks. Whether it’s in your basement or a locked-down rehearsal space, it’s a place where you can express yourself without the complications of angry neighbors or sanctimonious bandleaders. In short – heaven.
Kind of like Rich Forristall’s drum room. He calls it his “man cave,” and it commands the upstairs room above his detached garage in the “woodsy” Connecticut town of Killingworth, “where you can make a lot of noise and no one hears you.” There he practices, occasionally rehearses with bands, but perhaps most importantly, houses his prize possession: a DW Collector's Series kit with Ebony Satin maple shells, black hardware, and brass tension rods. Even though he continues to swap out various parts of his kit, it currently comprises a 22" kick, 10", 12", 14" toms, a 13" Remo Mastertouch piccolo snare, and Tama Octobans.
Oh yeah … and a cowbell.
Forristall considered some other brands before he bought his DWs in 2004. “A friend of mine let me use his DW that he just got from Dynamic Percussion in Manchester, Connecticut,” he remembers. “I loved the feel and the sound so much, the next week I headed over to their store to check it out. That’s when I saw those black hoops, gold tension rods, black maple satin stain.” You can almost hear him panting. Needless to say, it was love at first sight.
Check out the overhead shot of Forristall’s kit. We couldn’t help asking why he sets up his toms in a triangle, so that they surround him on three sides. “Using this config allows me to lower the toms even more so that I can keep the cymbals low and have better sight lines to the guys I play with,” he explains. “No matter which way you move, you can always go high to low with either hand. And switching up configs forces you to explore new ways of putting together fills and grooves. Basically, every time you switch up your set, it’s like playing a whole new drum kit.”
Apparently, he’s as much of a cymbal geek as he is a drum nerd. “I have a bunch of cymbals that I switch up,” he says. “I like the really old Zildjians. They feel like history when you hit them and they define the sound of the kit. The ones I have I’ve come across through trades and used gear shops. I have a 20" and 18" crashes in my current setup. The 20" has a nice crack and some rivet holes. I also alternate a ’70s 22" heavy and 18" medium ride. The 18" is newer and I use it for smaller rooms because the 22" can get loud when you’re hitting heavy. I also use 14" Sabian hats. I'm a big fan of accent cymbals, so I have a 14" China, 10" Wuhan splash, extra thin 12" A series splash, and a 10" Paiste Rude. I also sometimes add a 16" medium crash and 12" Wuhan China.”
While thumbing through the photos Forristall sent, we spotted a humble old kit stacked in the corner of the room. It turns out to be the very first drum kit he got at the age of 11, which you can check out in the photo below. “Can’t seem to part with it,” he says. “It’s a Maxwin kit made by Pearl. When I used to play out with it back in high school I got sick of trying to explain who Maxwin drums were, so I switched out the head for a Pearl.”