My first drum kit was a Pearl, which was already quite old when I got it. Pearl have made drums for everyone at some stage, so they’re very good at it. I was given a sponsorship with Pearl some years later and still enjoy playing their drums, having played a Pearl kit live for most of my gigs, for close to 40 years.

Pearl DLX

My original sponsorship set was from the DLX series, which are now prized by collectors, owing to the combination of maple, birch and mahogany.

The DX 7300 Series (covered finish) and the DLX 7500 Series (lacquered finish) were introduced in 1984 and featured 7 ply shells: birch (outside), mahogany (middle), and lamin (inside) for superb sound with fantastic low-end punch. Priced affordably, they nevertheless featured high-end components such as double braced hardware, SuperHoops, and Pinstripe heads. In 1985, a five-piece DX kit with 22” bass drum and hardware listed for $1650, the 24” bass drum version listed for $1720.

Musicians Club Sydney
DLX kit at a Sharon O’Neil film clip.

Pearl GLX 9500 “Super Gripper” series drums

GLX 9500 Series and rack.

Thanks to producer Charles Fisher; and the generosity of Gary Hyde, I traded in the DLX for a set of piano black GLX. The GLX “Super Pro” series featured all 6 ply, 7.5 mm all maple construction, 2.3 mm rolled steel “Super Hoops”  and “Super Gripper” quick release lugs. These are well built drums, with a lot of attention to detail, similar in construction to the Masters Series. The GLX’s are also heavy, owing to the weight of the hoops and the two piece lugs. Manufactured from 1985 – 1988, the basic kit retailed in 1985 for US$2,440.

I was playing on a session for Charles, when he decided that he was unhappy with the bass drum sound. My respect for Charles meant that I was soon driving down the road to the Billy Drum Drum Clinic, which was fortunately nearby. They let me have their most expensive drum set. It’s been my life long musical companion.

The original GLX kit was : 22″ x 16″ bass drum; 16″ x 16″ floor tom; rack toms in power sizes – 13″ x 11″ and 12″ x 10″; and a 14″ x 6.5″ maple snare drum. I later ordered an 10″ x 8″ rack tom. This drum has a clear interior, while the rest of the kit is finished in black lacquer, inside and out.

Pearl Super Gripper GLX snare
GLX catalogue
Jeff Porcaro was also an endorsee.

I was lucky enough to rescue an MLX 20″ bass drum, in a sort of walnut colour, just before John and Mick from Hydes mounted it upside down on the ceiling of the store, as some sort of sale promotion idea. I had it refinished in black lacquer and it became my main bass drum. Power toms soon became unpopular. But the 10″ x 8″ and 12″ x 10″ had a nice interval between them, so I used them mounted on the 20″, with the 16″ floor tom, until I found a 14″ MLX many years later and had it refinished as well by spray gun maestro Humphrey, from ColorWorx.

20″ MLX bass drum
14″ floor tom – BLX?
Humphrey is really good.

The picture below shows the configuration much as I have played them, for about 30 years. They have held up really well and sound wonderful.

This kit was once stolen from my car, parked outside my house. Some type of miracle bought these drums back to me. Stolen instruments so rarely ever come home; and incredibly, the person who found them was a distant relative in the police force. I play this kit just about every week with The Kites.

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