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Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 - 10:13 am
I managed to buy a VHS of the Wienybuds Videostars tape mentioned in the compilations. With the exception of Sky and Kiki Dee , the content's pretty dire - but at 99p you can't really argue. Considering the age of the tape, it's in very good condition. It's an ex-rental - were rental tapes made out of sturdier materials? I'm in the process of doing a DVD transfer for posterity. While I'm doing that, here's a larger pic of Tristan's drums that I put in the "Herbie and Richard" thread, plus a couple of others. And no - Tristan's NOT wearing shorts (and not naked either)

He's not wearing shorts!
Group shot Tight t-shirt
Next message Chris posted on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 - 01:14 pm
Thank goodness for that! Just wearing flesh coloured trousers!

Which reminds me, yes, I did once play a gig wearing just my underpants. Funny thing was, nobody seemed to notice!!!

I'm just trying to figure out - from the pics - how Tristan has an odd number of mounted toms. Usually, tom-toms are mounted in pairs. I'd say that the bass drum has two mounted on it, there are clearly two very large ones - about 14" or 16" - mounted to his far right, so just trying to figure out the mounting/configuration of the three to his left. Maybe one of them is mounted singly on its own stand? Be great to see the video as this may make things clearer...
Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 - 10:05 pm
Well spotted Chris. There's another hidden by the cymbal at the bottom left. Yes, Tim - it was a snare question :-) You only get to see this on certain shots. The one just left of the cymbal is paired with another on their own stand. When you watch the video, it's obvious that it had to be made over several sessions and that the cleaners (?) moved the kit around in between.

Unfortunately my PC went down during my first attempt at making a DVD, so I aborted the recording while I reinstalled XP. Didn't lose any data. At least my backup strategy is sound :-)
Only a power failure can stop my second attempt tomorrow morning (touching wood).
Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 16 November, 2005 - 10:39 pm
Sorry - that should have read "...bottom RIGHT". And before anyone asks, I'd hooked the PC and DVD/HDD recorder to the VHS, in an attempt to make a simultaneous recording to mpg and dvd - in order to later make a dvd with a full menu - OK?. I SHOULD have known better. (it's age...)
Next message Chris posted on Thursday, 17 November, 2005 - 01:21 am
With regards the hidden tom-tom - I was wondering whether this was the case. It must be small, maybe 8" in diameter. So, he's playing an ELEVEN piece kit!!! I don't think they come much bigger than that, unless, of course, you used two bass drums. You'd need telescopic arms (or very long drum sticks!) to reach the tom-toms if there were too many more! Something I've often thought about making (telescopic arms, that is...).
Next message Tricky posted on Thursday, 17 November, 2005 - 10:11 pm
Done! The quality of the various tracks is extremely variable - it's not a fault of the VHS tape, rather the source material. Some visual artefacts look like the sources were carelessly stored films - probably to be expected for a compilation of that era. Most of the acts are, well, downright embarassing....

Chris, I've scanned the VHS cover and will bodge a DVD case cover from it tomorrow, then get it in the post asap.

Tristan's drumsticks look like he went to B&Q and cut a couple of lengths from a dowel rod with an axe. Didn't impair his playing quality though. Did he ever play with tips? Wait... B&Q didn't exist then...
Next message Tim posted on Friday, 18 November, 2005 - 12:16 am
I doubt his sticks are from B&Q - as a top professional Tristan couldn't risk not being able to get the tools of his trade. I was once told they got their name because the other letters were out of stock. Though they do still trade, whilst rival chains like Do-Some-of-It seem to have disappeared.

So that's an 11-piece kit... is that including the cymbals?
Next message Chris posted on Friday, 18 November, 2005 - 01:48 am
No, 11-piece only refers to the actual drums. Looks to me, from the pic, like he's using three or maybe four crash cymbals and a ride. Plus, of course, a pair of hi-hats.

With regards the sticks: I have a feeling that you can buy tipless sticks, which are the same diameter from top to bottom, with no 'shoulder'. They are obviously not that common. Tristan could be using these, or could merely be holding a conventional pair the 'wrong' way round to add extra 'wallop'. I have seen him swivel his stick round when playing live - but that was only because he splintered the top clean off!

Ironically, speaking about him making his own sticks, I have seen a newspaper cutting (again, possibly on a Brian Bennett related site) in which a Tristan Fry is described as a maker of drumsticks. Surely this cannot be 'our' Tristan Fry, can it? I shall investigate further...

By the way, thanks, Tricky. I shall look forward to getting the DVD. Can't wait!
Next message Tricky posted on Saturday, 19 November, 2005 - 11:44 pm
Chris, due to various unrelated cock-ups, I was too late to get the DVD in the post today. I'll send it first class on Monday morning - should reach you sometime Tuesday if the post office blurb is to be believed. I've used my DVD/HDD recorder to make this, so there's only a basic menu. You can skip through it (5 minute intervals) and use fast forward. I'd thought of using my PC to split it into tracks and add a full menu, but it would probably take a couple of weeks. I've got a good mpg of it, so might do it if I get snowed-in.

I suggest you watch Eddie Grant just once - you'll understand why!

Richard reckons Sky are embarrassing to watch - I can't really agree, although Herbie looks a bit bored. Look out for his pullover...

I won't spoil the plot any further. Glad I got the tape in such good condition, it made for an easy home transfer. At least the DVD can't degrade that fast and it's preserved for posterity!

Because it's a VHS transfer, there's a blank screen for about 10 seconds before the video starts. I did this to make sure that any "garbage" you usually get at the start of old tapes was blanked before I started recording. Let me know what you think of the quality - it's the first VHS transfer I've done with this recorder, so any criticism is welcome.
Next message Tricky posted on Sunday, 20 November, 2005 - 10:18 am
A picture says a thousand words.
Next message Chris posted on Sunday, 20 November, 2005 - 04:17 pm
Thanks. I shall look forward to receiving it.

My dad's got a Panasonic Hard Drive/DVD recorder and so has my friend Paul (obviously since he copied the TOTP edition with sky), so I'm used to seeing all sorts of weird and wonderful recordings!

Yes - a very small tom-tom to Tristan's extreme left, which I'm sure he couldn't have reached easily! Looks to me like an 8" or even 6", so I would imagine that they don't come much smaller than that. The one next to it can't me much bigger than a 10". I think he uses the smallest one at the beginning of Danza - on the Bremen gig, anyway.
Next message Tim posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 12:15 am
So is that the missing tom on the left? 'Cos the one on the right looks bigger than what's visible on the first pic. And why can't we see any of the other toms or the low cymbal (is that a lo-hat??) that's between it and the snare?

Is there some tricky continuity going on here....
Next message Tricky posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 11:43 am
What ? - me be devious ? - perish the thought . OK - the final, final, final? proof

The cleaners must have moved it !
Next message Chris posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 12:35 pm
So, there we have it - including partially visible bass drum, it's an 11 piece drum kit! That small tom tom IS small! Does he ever, even on Sahara, do a drum fill that includes every tom in the range? I think it would be just about possible, without it sounding too protracted.
Next message Tim posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 06:03 pm
Have the cleaners moved it indeed! Possibly, 'cos Tris is using sticks not brushes so he couldn't have swept his kit away himself, could he.

Seriously, the cymbal next to the snare drum, is that a low-mounted hi-hat?
Next message Chris posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 07:03 pm
Next message Tricky posted on Monday, 21 November, 2005 - 07:04 pm
Tim, it's a lo-hat (Charleston cymbals). The only reason I know is because I've looked at their movement frame by frame - you can clearly see the rythmical up/down movement. The camera shots change so fast while they're playing it's virtually impossible to focus on it in real time.

In one sequence, even at 25 frames/second, Francis beats the camera as he one-handedly "walks" the keyboard. It looks like a short---term---repetative---recording---flaw at first, but a frame by frame study proves otherwise. Talk about a fast reaction time....
Next message Tricky posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 01:07 pm
I didn't check it frame by frame because I'm sad - I was looking for recording flaws, honest !
Next message Chris posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 01:27 pm

Just arrived home to find the videostars DVD waiting. Just watched it - well sky, anyway. Actually, not as embarrassing as Richard seemed to find it (maybe he's just got better taste than me!). It was certainly arty (loads of close ups and moody shots of faces, deep in concentration - love the bit as Francis seems to smirk to himself, in a kind of self-satisfied way, as he plays those fast synth runs towards the end), but as with the Bremen gig, I felt that maybe the director or editor wasn't quite on the ball. All in all, a joy to see after 25 years, even if it is amusing for the wrong reasons here and there.

I haven't had the courage to watch any of the other tracks, as there is stuff on there that I'd hoped never to see again! But, doubtless, curiosity will get the better of me before long - although I suspect that I'll have to be very drunk to get through all of it (Imagination, Kelly Marie, Korgis, for G*ds sake!!!).

But thanks, Tricky. Most appreciated. I shall try to dig out some more sky stuff when I'm down in Cambridge at Christmas...
Next message Tim posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 02:05 pm
Did Tris use all the toms?

Thanks for the advice on the hi-hat/lo-hat. Am I right that the **-hat in the pic is quite small?

One last question. In calling it an 11-piece kit why don't you count the cymbals? Or is that because it's called a drum-kit...
Next message Chris posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 03:31 pm

No, he didn't use all the toms! Most of his fills seemed to begin with the larger ones that are positioned more or less in front of the snare drum.

I wouldn't have said that the hi-hat in the picture is especially small. It looks like the cymbals (there are obviously two) are set fairly low, but that's a matter of preference and they are easily raised or lowered on their stand. I'll admit to never having heard of a lo hat!

Basically, yes. You just count the number of actual drums - everything else is percussion, so is additional. You can add cow-bells, chimes and other things as well as cymbals if you want, but they wouldn't add to the number of drums.
Next message Tricky posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 05:42 pm
There's a site, Groove Merchant, that describes a variety of percussion instruments - with pictures!. One, the Dumbek, look more like a piece of so-called modern art than an instrument. A snippet from the description of the "Drum set" :-

"Later on the sock cymbal also known as lo-hat, lo-boy and Charleston cymbals (a short stand with a foot pedal that could be used to crash two small cymbals together) was added, then replaced by the hi-hat (same idea, but taller so cymbals could also be played with sticks)"

I'm not being devious (again), honest :-)
Next message Tricky posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 07:32 pm
Chris, as regards the other content - isn't there a saying about curiosity killing the cat ? :-) It won't kill you - but you might wish you could die....
Next message Chris posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 09:22 pm
Curiosity Killed the Cat. Maybe we should at least be grateful that they're not on there...

I will try to pluck up enough courage - or reduce myself to a state of hopeless inebriation - to watch the rest of the DVD. But I can't promise! Nice of them to put sky on at the end, by the way. The implication being that they were an impossible act to follow, perhaps?

Sounds like the hi-hat did evolve from the lo-hat and lo-boy, etc... Whether or not Tristan's were technically a hi or lo-hat, I couldn't really say. Maybe he was a collector of antique percussion as well as the owner of a stick manufacturer? Certainly, in all my years of playing drums - and perusing shops and catalogues - I never once came across one described as such.
Next message Tim posted on Tuesday, 22 November, 2005 - 09:40 pm
So long as there's not a tom-boy....

Thanks for the Groove Merchant link Tricky. I've also been looking on and those pics make me realise what a modest little set-up Tristan is playing. There's a bit there about hi-hat sizes plus some sound samples too.

Curiosity Killed the Cat. Maybe an escape there Chris, but after a trip to Hull I guess you were hoping for Everything but the Girl and the Housemartins.
Next message Chris posted on Wednesday, 23 November, 2005 - 12:27 am
...would probably prefer to listen to Mick Ronson over either of those, Tim!

Just took a quick look at the wikipedia pages on drums and hi-hats - actually quite interesting. I had always described the technique of 'cooking' as 'choking', and this seems to sum it up better, as you are literally 'choking' the sound. Still, either way...

Neil Peart was obviously a totally non-ostentatious performer, wasn't he? Actually, a friend of mine once leant me some Rush albums - including a live one - and I'll admit to having been totally blown away by Peart's drum solo. I would wager that he did use every single drum and cymbal in his kit!

And, finally, I'll admit that that little incident I mentioned earlier - the one about me once playing the drums clad only in my underpants - actually took place in a club in Hull. Good Lord - what was I thinking? It was the same night, by the way, that one of our guitarists got so drunk on Caffreys that he fell off the stage. So maybe thoughts of any kind weren't that prevalent amongst any of us that night. Ah, those were the days...

It's happy hour, again...
Next message Tricky posted on Wednesday, 23 November, 2005 - 10:42 am
Have you noticed that Wikipedia describes it as a hi-hat ? The giveaway of course is the spike that carries the upper cymbal. I've seen this used fairly recently - just can't remember where. Possibly in one of the "Back to the Future" films or "The Shining". Or one of the many (slightly misleadingly named) brass band (beer!) contests held in Saddleworth. Mind you, after the fifth pint of Theakstons Old Peculiar you tend to forget even how to walk....
Next message Tim posted on Wednesday, 23 November, 2005 - 04:58 pm
I don't remember any percussion being used in 'The Shining', but I do remember an axe...

No, wait! It wasn't that that sort of axe.
Next message Bill D posted on Wednesday, 23 November, 2005 - 09:13 pm
It's spelled 'Old Peculier'. It was the name of a legal court in Yorkshire.
Next message Tim posted on Wednesday, 23 November, 2005 - 11:42 pm
A quick Google search tells me that Old Peculiar is a very common mis-spelling - and to be honest that's pretty good after five pints of the stuff.

Back to 'The Shining' - less Fender, more offender methinks.

And as to playing drums in your underwear Chris, the road to Hull always was paved with good intentions...
Next message Tricky posted on Thursday, 24 November, 2005 - 10:17 am
Thanks everyone for highlighting my temporary dyslexia. Very much appreciated. (Have you heard about the dyslexic pimp who bought a warehouse?)(I'll forego creating crude a joke about people "playing in their underwear" :-))

For those with a P2P software (such as eDonkey) who want to download a mpeg, look for "Sky - Toccata - Wienybuds Videostars - VHS rip.mpg" (157 Mb)

Now that the retail sector is telling us it's the festive season, is it time to start a thread entitled 'Christmas Booze...'?
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