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By Ryan Smith|  Comment(s)

PASIC: Drums, Mics, and more Drums!

November 10-12, 2011

Indianapolis, IN

The Percussive Artist Society International Convention (PASIC) is one of those events I look forward to every year. Being a drummer myself, this event is close to my heart.  So are a lot of people that attend from many other great companies like Pearl, DW, Zildjian, Remo, Vic Firth, Vater, Istanbul and so many other individuals.  I have been fortunate enough to have not missed one of these events for the past 15+ years.  Everyone pitches in to help make each event happen and it’s such a great feeling to see all of the same people each year.

The convention has been in Indianapolis for the past 3 years so the drive up from Nashville is not too bad, when you’re rockin’ the iPod.  Like the trip 2 years ago, I was in Nashville handling duties at the Country Music Awards and directly after the show finished, I loaded up the gear and headed North for Indy.  I arrived at about 5 AM eastern time, grabbed about an hour of sleep and then brought all of the gear I had in the PT Cruiser into the convention center so it could be passed out for the various events starting around 9 am.  After passing that out, I passed out in the hotel room for another 4 hours.  After that, I went back to the Convention Center and caught a few clinics and chatted with some of the aforementioned manufacturers.

Later that evening, I was invited to 2 special events.  The first was a short party for Pearl artists and employees.  Shure Artist Horcio “El Negro” Hernandez was there as well as a drummer from Australia named Grant Collins.  It was great to catch up with Horacio as he is always gigging somewhere in the world.  He was happy to have a DVD from the Modern Drummer festival from earlier this year.  His performance there was pretty amazing.  Go pick up a copy and see for yourself!  A 12 piece band complete with a Flamenco tap dancer.  I’ve never seen a performance like this before where a drummer was trading 8′s with a dancer.  It was very cool!

The next day, Friday, I arrived early in the morning as Jim Riley’s Clinic was coming up at 1 pm.  I was able to catch drummer Rich Redmond’s clinic at 11 am, which was very informative.  Rich is not only a great studio drummer but also tours with country star Jason Aldean.  He had plenty of great advice to offer attendees about how to succeed in the music business and  a lot of it has to do with having a positive attitude.

The first time I saw Jim Riley’s clinic, I was taken a bit by surprise by his ability to play other genres besides the gig that pays his bills – Rascal Flatts.  He mentioned during his clinic that the last time he played at PASIC a few years ago served as his launchpad for doing drum clinics. He is very well spoken and a solid groove player.  He has been with Rascal Flatts from the beginning and it’s great to see his success, not only as their drummer but as their Musical Director. I put up some Beta 98AMP’s on his toms and used the Beta 181/C for overheads.

AT 5 pm, Grant Collins, a Pearl drum endorser had an enormous kit but chose to not have us close mic it.  Instead, we put up 6 condensers around the front of his kit about 3-4 feet off the ground to capture his toms and his cymbals, put a Beta 91A on each of his  front 2 kick drums and Beta 52′s on the rest and his gong drum.  It sounded pretty amazing!

Friday night after dinner with the Pearl guys, I stopped by the Army Jazz Blues Band concert up in the Sagamore Ballroom.  Special guest drummers Peter Erskine, Simon Phillips, Keith Carlock, John Riley, and Ed Soph all joined the band for a few numbers each.  It was great to see each drummers style shine through with this group.  At the end of the evening, Jim Riley was side stage and I introduced him to Peter Erskine for the first time. Peter had noticed an article in the most recent Modern Drummer magazine about Jim’s studio.

Closing out the clinic events on Saturday for PASIC was Simon Phillips.  His Tama kit was placed on stage and he had already brought his mic set which consisted of KSM137′s in shock mounts on all of this toms, 2 SM27′s for overheads, SM57′s in his Octobons and 2 Beta 52′s permanently mounted in his kick drums.  Simon was interested in hearing how the new Beta 181/C might sound on a few of his toms.  We listened to his stock mics then switch out 4 of the 137′s for 4 of the Beta 181′s.  He liked them just enough to want to go with them for the clinic.  Simon did a long drum solo and then took questions at the end of the clinic while also mentioning all his supporting companies and their gear.

Once Simon was done, I packed up a few more things and headed to go see  a great new band Shure just started working with called Mona.  I will talk about them in a separate blog.

Thus ends another successful PASIC and planning will begin soon for next years’ event in Austin, Texas.  Looking forward to that trip – come join us, wont you?

Ryan

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