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We sent an old drum to the guys at PimpCo to breathe new life into an old dog Words: Jules Tabberer-Stewart Images: Eckie & Chris Newell


ver come across an old drum or a kit and thought, ‘I’d love to return it to its former glory’? It is sad when you see an old, once-loved-butsince-been-used-and-abused drum go unloved. That’s exactly what I thought when I came across an old Premier tom in an old junk (or ‘antique’ as the wife would say) shop. The drum I found was a 12x8” Premier tom circa 1972, which we believe to be a mahogany shell with reinforcement rings. When I found it, it still had a very old (and pitted) smooth white ‘Everplay’ head (made by Premier) fitted underneath, and a mid-’90s Premier SD clear

batter head on top. The tom was missing the mounting bracket and internal damping felt (which is an adjustable device fitted inside the drum and pushes against the batter head). It did still have the die-cast hoops and all of the slotted tension rods – although the chrome was a little pitted and tarnished – and the Premier-style fulllength tension lugs, and was finished in a ‘Silver Star’ metallic wrap finish that had seen better days. So, the plan for this drum: turn it into a great snare drum. I know the purists and Premier aficionados out there might question that choice – but I didn’t have the full kit, just this one tom. And what’s worse than seeing a great old drum

go to waste? The drum (even with the old heads on) still sounded really warm. I’d heard a story that Dave Grohl has used a snare drum that was something like 12x10” on the Nirvana In Utero album. I wanted something similar and I saw a great chance to do that with this drum. A quick call to Chris Newell at PimpCo to talk through the ideas and the plan was set. I saw a chance to change the look completely. The old wrap was long past its best and it had holes (in the wrap and the shell) from where the bracket had originally been fitted. I wanted to keep all other components as original; I just needed to choose a snare throw-off and snare butt for the conversion.

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the FIVE STAGES of Creating the ‘lotus’ snare drum





Remove the wrap

Repair the shell

Apply the wrap

Polish the hardware

Chris gently heats the glue and peels off the old wrap.

the holes are filled, bearing edges checked and the snare beds are cut.

– so, the PlAn for this drum: turn it into a GreAt snare drum –

the glue is applied and the wrap lined up. it’s put through a roller to remove any air bubbles and make sure it’s glued firmly, all the way around the shell.

the components were in good enough condition that they could be polished, rather than re-chromed.



holes for the new components are drilled, all shell hardware fitted, heads put on. finished!

So Chris was either going to re-chrome or polish all the shell hardware and tension rods, fit a new wrap, cut the snare beds in the shell, cut slots in the bottom hoop for the snare wires, fill the holes in the shell and fit the new snare components. As some of you may know, I’m a Formula 1 nut. And I’m as interested in the classic F1 years as I am in today’s F1. Lotus is a team that were huge in their ’60s heyday. Stirling Moss, Jim Clarke, Graham Hill, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna … they all drove for the team, and Lotus won the constructors’ world championship seven times. So I wanted to create a wrap which captured some of the history. I created the wrap design

thanks to d’addrio/evans for supplying the drum heads and snare wires

with the help of one of the Drummer design team (thanks, Dan) and sent it off to Chris to print. I purchased the Gibraltar ‘deluxe’ snare throwoff and Dunnett-style butt end and sent them off to Chris. I called Elaine at D’Addario and I’d sourced a 12” Evans Genera coated batter head and Hazy 200, with Puresound custom snare wire for the drum as well. The rest was down to Chris to pull the whole thing together.

the finished product

The wrap design, once printed and fitted to the drum, looks fantastic. PimpCo have done a superb job with the finish here – it can’t be faulted. On

practicality grounds, in the end the bottom diecast hoop could not be cut to fit the snare, so a new, triple-flanged snare side hoop was fitted. The grommet that fits the Premier badge to the snare hole was of a smaller size than today’s, due to the age of the drum, so unfortunately the badge couldn’t be refitted. But those minor details matter not because the sound that this drum makes is wonderful. It’s like a firecracker – tight, punchy with lots of attack, and that lovely warm property remains. It looks gorgeous too. Thanks, PimpCo, for pimping my drum!

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Q&A with

© Tina K

Al Murray and Chris Newell of PimpCo We speak to the brains behind PimpCo’s customising outfit DM: When did you start PimpCo? Chris: PimpCo got going in March 2010. I think Al came up with the name. We’d been talking about what we might do for a few months. DM: What inspired you to start up your own custom drum finishing company? Chris: I was speaking to Al for a while on Facebook and he mentioned he had asked a company to gold-plate his hardware and they couldn’t do it. I said I could get that done for him. So I did; we had it coated in 24-carat gold.

we are doing is a bit different and, we hope, credit crunch-friendly … New drums from old and all that. DM: Al, how did you partner with Chris? Al: I knew about Chris’s snare drum work and it seemed a shame he wasn’t making drums anymore.

“What we are doing is a bit different and, we hope, credit crunchfriendly ... New drums from old and all that”

Al: And it looked incredible. We called it the ‘Golden Wonder’. After Chris sorted this out for me we were wondering why there didn’t seem to be a company that did drum I’ve always loved drumming – customising and makeovers … so we decided to set one up ourselves. and as the PimpCo concept developed it seemed like it would be fun and interesting to get the DM: How did you get started? company going. Chris: I had run a drum company (Marrell Drums) and been an Chris: I met Al on Facebook and artist relations guy for several we both have a love of drums. companies too before, so I had lots of experience. I started to research ideas in September 09 and created a DM: We understand you’ve had the official nod from folder full of things we could do. Roland and Premier. How did that come about? DM: What difficulties have you Chris: We were called by Roland faced along the way? UK and we were asked if we would Chris: We so far haven’t had like to put together a selection of many problems, no more than any business has when they start up. We wraps for a promotion they were offering. I created 20 wraps for them deal with them and move on. within two weeks; they then floated that across the Roland Planet stores Al: The drumming world is in the UK and the rest is history. competitive and friendly, and aside from the big companies there are lots of interesting people doing great Al: I’ve always played Premier stuff, kind of under the radar. What and have had a long and friendly

association with them; they’re a classic British brand! It was suggested to us to pimp some old Genista kits, so we did. We gave some classic drums a contemporary twist. Premier were so impressed with the work we do to their instruments they issued a statement: “Premier recognises the high quality and attention to detail of PimpCo custom work, thus providing the perfect complement to our legendary instruments.” To say we are proud of both of these achievements is an understatement. DM: What are some of the favourite pimps that you have done? Chris: My personal favourite is the Premier kit we wrapped in tattoo designs by London Ink/Magnum Opus’s Phil Kyle … stunning, colourful works of art. I also love the bubinga wrap we do which we created from scratch digitally. Al: I’m a big fan of the Chromatics hardware powder coating we do. It’s the kind of custom thing that only the superdrummers could ever get their hands on … and we do it. We’ve made it accessible for everybody.

DM: What has been the most difficult job that you’ve done so far? Chris: The most difficult job has to be the frost kit we did for Craig Blundell. It was a massive kit; we had to do it on a tight deadline and we had several technical issues that cut it right to the bone to get finished. But we got there in the end and were very pleased with the results. Al: And it looked ****ing amazing! DM: Any notable artists used your services so far? We have done work for Steve White, Craig Blundell, Roger Waters, plus celebrities Like Eddie Jordan, Al Murray, and we hope to be doing some work soon on a very special motorbike for Jay Leno. DM: What does the future bring for PimpCo? Chris: We plan to carry on with what PimpCo is so passionate about, which is offering a makeover service second to none, all backed up with great customer service. Al: What he said!

If you’re looking to breathe new life into an old kit, or customise your drums and hardware, give the boys at PimpCo a shout! 01902 790111,, Twitter: @pimpcocustom

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PimpCo Lotus Snare Drum  

PimpCo Lotus Snare Drum. From Drummer Magazine issue 95.

PimpCo Lotus Snare Drum  

PimpCo Lotus Snare Drum. From Drummer Magazine issue 95.