A welded, spider-like skeleton of steel re-bar comprises the spindly but strong frame. “I bent it and welded mounts onto the re-bar,” says Anderson, an accomplished welder. To make the base, he took a broad piece of Corian and attached a thick piece of diamond-plate steel upon which everything is bolted. “I drilled holes, and put posts through the bottom of the base,” he says. “Once it’s bolted to the frame, it’s real sturdy — you can do a handstand on the thing and it’s not going to bend.” The spider frame is one piece, and all the pads can come off by simply loosening up little hex screws.
Of course, an electronic kit must have a brain, and Anderson chose the Roland TD-10 (not the AB Normal Brain!). The brain interfaces with the rack of gear that perches upon the frame-mounted custom tabletop, a rig that includes a Tascam DA-40 DAT machine, Akai S6000 sampler, DrumKat midi controller, Iomega Zip drive, and mixers. Mainly, he runs the TD-10 into the sampler so he could mix the samples with the V-Drum sounds, and he runs separate stereo outs from both devices. He plans on using all of the TD10’s eight individual outputs eventually.
The cymbals incorporate three velocity-sensitive Roland triggers that have been strategically spaced to avoid dead spots on the pad. By wiring the grounds together and twisting the three positive leads together at the jack, Anderson can send all three triggers through one cable. Although there are three triggers, it only has mono triggering action. He aims to set up the ride cymbal with dual-trigger capabilities soon and is on the path to figuring out how to modify his cymbal pads to handle choking. He uses a Roland hi-hat controller for realistic hi-hat action. The snare drum is dual trigger to accommodate rimshots, but the toms and both kick drum pads are single-trigger.
Anderson hasn’t taken the Frankenstein kit out on the road yet, but used it recently on an MTV online event and uses it regularly for rehearsing, and creating and recording new material on his Digi001 Pro Tools system. “It’s a beast to move around. The base itself probably weighs a couple hundred pounds. When I originally designed it, it was more of an artistic, workable thing that I sculpted and welded. But the spider frame comes off — it’s only bolted onto the base — and I can get it in the van; it takes up the whole van, but I jam it in there. I need more than just the drum tech I have on the road with me now to move it.” Frankly, it’s too heavy.
It’s Alive! Until he has more than one Igor to help him move the monster kit around, Anderson uses a more portable acoustic DW kit with an epic 13"-deep Pearl brass-shell snare for his live shows. He enhances the acoustic sound with four homemade Corian and re-bar pads to trigger samples, and ddrum triggers on all the drums to trigger the V-Drum brain. “It puts the sound over the top,” says Anderson. “You could put an 808 or 909 thump on the kick drum so when you hit it, you feel it. It sounds really cool.”
Anderson is essential in filling out the four-piece band’s live sound, especially in recreating the multi-layered sound that’s on the new record. To bring that vibe to the live shows, Anderson took samples created for the album and transferred them over to his Akai S6000 sampler, which he controls with the four pads. “I also control a DAT machine when we play, because we use some guitar backing tracks.” When the band calls for a sound-scape between songs, he’ll twist an organic sample to fit the bill. “I’ll take a something, like a piece of metal, sample it, then I’ll time stretch it and lower the pitch and really degrade it until it’s unrecognizable from the original sound. Then I’ll either put it in a loop, or on DAT, or just use the sound as an effect.”
For an even greater level of control, Anderson uses Shure in-ear monitors while performing. He deals with the drawback of lacking lows from in-ear monitoring by incorporating a Guitammer ButtKicker underneath his throne to help him lock into the feel. But sometimes there can be too much feel, if you know what I mean, so he finds it necessary to put a compressor/gate in line with the Butt Kicker to block out any other stage sounds. “If I didn’t use the gate, things could go nuts,” says Anderson. He sends all his drums through his mixer and splits the signal out to the house. “That way, I get my own in-ear mix of my drums, my clicks, my samples, everything — it’s all contained in my little box so I don’t have to worry about anyone else controlling it. I can do it all on my own.” And it is all about control, isn’t it?