My first kit was a vintage Pearl. I was at an auction with my mother and my brother Brian – we were looking for a guitar amplifier. The drum kit came up. It was passed in at the asking price. By that time, I was fairly excited, having destroyed our lounge with sticks and Let It Be. My mother sent me to negotiate ie. plead and we purchased it for $45. Many years later, I was given a sponsorship with Pearl. I have played a Pearl kit for most of my live gigs, for a very long time.
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.“
Pearl GLX 9500 “Super Gripper” series drums
Thanks to mega producer Charles Fisher; and the generosity of Gary Hyde, I traded in the DLX for a set of piano black GLX. I was playing on a session for Charles, when he decided that he was unhappy with the bass drum sound. I was soon driving to the nearby Billy Drum Drum Clinic. They very nicely let me have their most expensive drum set; and it’s been a life long musical companion.
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.
My 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. These are high end 80’s Japanese drums, made from USA maple; and they are beautiful.
I was lucky enough to rescue a Pearl MLX series 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’s small size and big sound meant it became my usual 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 floor tom many years later and also had it refinished by spray gun maestro Humphrey, from ColorWorx.
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, which was parked outside my house. Short story: a miracle of some kind bought these drums back to me, since stolen instruments so rarely come home. Incredibly, the police detective who found them was also a distant relative! I play this kit just about every week, because you never know how long you will have anything.