Equipment - Drums

  1. What drove Mike to create the Siamese Monster? faq id: 101
  2. How often are the heads on Mike's drums changed? faq id: 102
  3. Does Mike have to buy his drums? How much do they cost? faq id: 129
  4. Is there any limit to the number of drums Mike can get from Tama? faq id: 130
  5. How does Mike go about tuning and muffling his bass drum? faq id: 134
  6. Does Mike prefer clear or coated drum heads? faq id: 135
  7. Does Mike use clear Diplomats or clear Ambassadors? faq id: 136
  8. Does Mike have any tips for tuning drums? faq id: 138
  9. Why did Mike switch from Tama to Mapex, and then back to Tama again? faq id: 141
  10. Why does Mike have 2 snare drums in his kit? What are the advantages? faq id: 145
  11. What is the black dot on Mike’s bass drums? faq id: 146
  12. On the Melody Master snare drum, can you flip up each of the throw offs separately – that is, can you flip up the left and right independently. Wouldn't this give you the four different positions (1-off, 2-left up, 3-right up, 4-both up)? faq id: 149
  13. Since Mike has his 8” tom at the same height as the 10” tom on the left bass drum, this requires the hi-hat to be placed at an angle not ergonomic for the left foot. How is his hi-hat placed to over come this? faq id: 150
  14. What is Mike’s opinion on ________ brand drums vs. ________ brand drums? faq id: 152
  15. CLICK HERE TO SEE AND PLAY MIKE'S DRUMS faq id: 153

Questions and Answers

  1. What drove Mike to create the Siamese Monster? faq id: 101
    MP: I had been using my last setup for the last two albums and tours, and I felt that it was time for a new kit. When I started to put it together I was faced with the decision of going bigger or smaller. I had been using smaller kits on the Transatlantic and Liquid Tension albums. Most of the clinics I had done were also on a smaller kit, and I was really starting to enjoy it. But the more I thought about it, I felt that going smaller with Dream Theater just wouldn't be appropriate. I didn't think the fans would accept seeing me perform on a smaller kit. I can remember when Neil Peart scaled down to a single bass drum. As a fan, I was disappointed. So I came up with the idea of putting together the small kit with the big kit and incorporating it all into one huge kit. It's set up so that I can play certain songs with one kit, and then move over to the other kit for a different sound.

  2. How often are the heads on Mike's drums changed? faq id: 102
    Answer: Snare drums can usually last 3 days. The rack toms usually get changed once a week and the floor toms every week and a half. Bass drum heads usually stay on throughout an entire leg of a tour. The sound engineer will also help determine during set up which (if any) heads need changing.

  3. Does Mike have to buy his drums? How much do they cost? faq id: 129
    Being that Mike is under a sponsorship contract with both Tama and Sabian, his equipment is provided to him for free.

  4. Is there any limit to the number of drums Mike can get from Tama? faq id: 130
    MP: No...same with cymbals, sticks, heads and percussion.

  5. How does Mike go about tuning and muffling his bass drum? faq id: 134
    MP: Loose heads and alot of muffling. (good 'ol faithful pillows for me!)

  6. Does Mike prefer clear or coated drum heads? faq id: 135
    MP: I am open to trying all different things (especially in the studio). I also used coated heads on the small kit for Falling Into Infinity and on some of the toms for Liquid Tension Experiment and TransAtlantic.

  7. Does Mike use clear Diplomats or clear Ambassadors? faq id: 136
    MP: Neither of those on the top. I use Pinstripes for the most part on the tops, but I do use clear ambassadors on the bottoms.

  8. Does Mike have any tips for tuning drums? faq id: 138
    This is one of the things that Mike pretty much leaves up to his drum tech “Ho.”

  9. Why did Mike switch from Tama to Mapex, and then back to Tama again? faq id: 141
    MP: In 1993, as Dream Theater was starting to “break,” I was getting many drum endorsement offers. Because I had been playing Tama for so many years, I felt the need to “play the field” a bit before “getting married.” Mapex was starting to establish themselves as an up and coming company, and I liked the idea of being “a big fish in a little pond” as opposed to vise versa. (unfortunately later on, I became a big fish dying in an empty swimming pool!!! ) Jump ahead...I decide to go with Mapex...they build me a beautiful U.S. Maple kit...I love it. Problem #1 - shortly after, they stopped offering the US Maple series to the public, which means I am playing and endorsing a type of drum set that the public can't even buy. Problem #2 - They changed U.S. distributors and the drums were very hard to find in stores...and I had started doing alot of clinics, which meant that I was playing clinics on Tama drums, Pearl drums, DW drums, Yamaha drums, etc. because the dealers weren't dealing Mapex. I then did a few very *high profile* drum festivals where I strongly suggested to Mapex that they might want to consider shipping my kit with me in order for Mapex to be properly represented at the shows. They asked for me and my management to arrange for the shipping and send them the bills. A few months later when we were waiting to be re-imbursed for the *10's of thousands* of dollars we laid out for them, they told me they wouldn't re-imburse us until I signed onto them for another 3 years!!! I flipped my lid, told them I will *definitely* not be re-signing to them unless they paid back my manager (which they immediately did) and then I split. As word got out, the drum companies came running back to me - and ultimately, I returned to my first love (Tama - who had just introduced the great new Starclassic line) and I've been back home ever since!

  10. Why does Mike have 2 snare drums in his kit? What are the advantages? faq id: 145
    MP: 2 different Snares = 2 different sounds, tunings, snare strainers, etc. (Actually 2 Melody Masters on a kit = 6 different sound possibilities)

  11. What is the black dot on Mike’s bass drums? faq id: 146
    MP: Those are Danmar (?) Bass drum beater pads to help give a bit more punch. (I don't always use them though.)

  12. On the Melody Master snare drum, can you flip up each of the throw offs separately – that is, can you flip up the left and right independently. Wouldn't this give you the four different positions (1-off, 2-left up, 3-right up, 4-both up)? faq id: 149
    MP: Only 3 positions: 1,2 & 4...or is it 1,3 & 4? Don't have one in front of me.

  13. Since Mike has his 8” tom at the same height as the 10” tom on the left bass drum, this requires the hi-hat to be placed at an angle not ergonomic for the left foot. How is his hi-hat placed to over come this? faq id: 150
    MP: Actually when I designed my rack system (not bass drum mounts) with Tama, I started by placing the hi-hat next to my left kick drum pedal first. Then I placed the 8” tom next to the HH, and then the 10” next to the 8” and so on. So my toms aren't exactly centered around my bass drums. They're actually all revolved around the placement of the hi-hat.

  14. What is Mike’s opinion on ________ brand drums vs. ________ brand drums? faq id: 152
    MP: Like anything else, it is all a matter of opinion....different strokes for different folks. What drums you like best or which is better or worse, is all up to you.

  15. CLICK HERE TO SEE AND PLAY MIKE'S DRUMS faq id: 153