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Jem1

Bonzo's Presence Ludwig kit...

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As one of Bonzo's biggest fans being a drummer, I have never had full confirmation as to what kit he actually used to record the 'Presence' album. I know all about the earlier kits, such as the maple and green sparkle. Bonzo recorded I.T.T.O.D on the Steel Ludwig, but I am almost sure the kit on Presence was a Ludwig silver sparkle. I have heard many stories about a silver sparkle being around at Musicland Studios, and Bonzo loved it, so used it, but I really want to know the truth. I would be very grateful if any of you could give me any information on this. He had used a green sparkle in the studio between 1971 and 1975, but as we know he used four different models on stage with Zep. Thanks. Jem. )

Edited by Jem1

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From what I've heard and apparently in the book A Thunder of Drums, he used a Silver Sparkle in the studio, there aren't really any pictures to prove it.

Silver-Sparkle-300.jpg

Some think this might be his silver sparkle, but I think its his green one.

Edited by ZeppMan93

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Don't know about him using the Stainless Steel kit on ITTOD, Plant says Bonzo only used wooden drums for recording...

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John Bonham used the Green Sparkle kit on everything from the 4th album on except for Presence which he used the Silver Sparkle.

Not sure what he played on Bonzo's Montreux,.

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Thanks guys. I think he used the steel kit on Bonzo's Montreux, but who knows? :P

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John Bonham used the Green Sparkle kit on everything from the 4th album on except for Presence which he used the Silver Sparkle.

And how do you know that...?

This "Silver Sparkle kit" is slowly etching its way into Bonham-Lore. Okay so Jeff Ocheltree says he "saw it". Until pics appear, though, it remains in my mind at least as just another smoky myth...

Interesting to note that a Silver kit may have lived at Musicland at the time, but again until pics appear or some credible source chimes in...

We've seen the pic of Polar Studios circa 1978 with two Bonham sized kits in the recording room....one looks to be green, the other silver or stainless, but Jason Bonham himself apparently claimed those were NOT his dads kits...

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I'm sure I've seen somewhere that Dave Grohl bought Bonham's kit that was used at Musicland for Presence.

If I remember rightly there's a video uploaded on YouTube showing this kit and how it got sold etc.

I think it was via the Bonham family and Mick Hinton through to Grohl.

Hope this helps and it's correct, forgive me if I'm wrong....

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And how do you know that...?

This "Silver Sparkle kit" is slowly etching its way into Bonham-Lore. Okay so Jeff Ocheltree says he "saw it". Until pics appear, though, it remains in my mind at least as just another smoky myth...

Interesting to note that a Silver kit may have lived at Musicland at the time, but again until pics appear or some credible source chimes in...

We've seen the pic of Polar Studios circa 1978 with two Bonham sized kits in the recording room....one looks to be green, the other silver or stainless, but Jason Bonham himself apparently claimed those were NOT his dads kits...

The Silver Sparkle is pictured in A Thunder Of Drums. Bonham's Wikipedia biography as well as other sources state exactly that... Green Sparkle on all Albums from 1971 on except for Presence which was the Ludwig Silver sparkle. I consider Jeff Ocheltree extremely credible. He was Bonham's personal Drum tech. I think it's safe to take his word.

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There are NO pics of the "Silver Sparkle" kit, not in Thunder Of Drums, nowhere. Wikipedia is as reliable as the person who typed it and I find it highly unlikely Jeff Ocheltree was anywhere NEAR Musicland studios when Zep were recording.

Why would he be...?

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I don't have my copy of the book in front of me seeing I'm not home. But I'll take another look tonight..I could have sworn it was in there.If I'm wrong I will certainly admit it.. But why do you have so much doubt that he played a Silver Sparkle kit?

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You know, just because something appears in print doesn't mean it's gospel.

"A Thunder of Drums" claims Bonham died age 31....seriously - the only Bonham biog out there and they can't even get THAT right...

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...But why do you have so much doubt that he played a Silver Sparkle kit?

I'd like to know the truth! The FACTS. As far as I'm concerned, it's just a rumour. We've seen loads of pics of Bonzo sitting behind various kits that he used on AND off stage....and that Silver Sparkle just ain't one of them.

I could set the cat amongst the pigeons and say Bonham played Zildjian cymbals! Whoa!! you say, he played Paiste! Yes, he was ENDORSED by Paiste, but he OWNED Zildjians! How do I know this? Photos!

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You might find this photo interesting, the large version of my avatar. It's the cover of the Polar Studios information brochure, taken at the time that Zep had just been recording ITTOD.

The photo is of the drum room at Polar, and you can see two kits - one green, one silver - in rather familiar sizes.

Now, this is just a brochure, and it doesn't say "John Bonham's kits at Polar" on the photo, but the photo dates check out, so they might indeed be Bonzo's kits. If so, try your eyesight out on that silver kit: Sparkle? Chrome?

drumkitwc1.jpg

Edited by huw

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According to Paul Allen, friend of Mick Hinton and a person who was present at the studio in Munich during the recording fro Presence, Bonham indeed used his GREEN SPARKLE kit for these sessions. This video interview with Paul is available on YouTube at:

Edited by IpMan

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Huw! Long time no speak, how are you?

You and I have had this conversation before, regarding your avatar. Sam the Webmaster claimed he showed Jason the pic and Jason dismissed it...

Certainly looks to me like a Green Sparkle and a Stainless in THOSE sizes..

tiptop22 - there is an amusing film of Dave Grohl handling one of Bonhams snare drums, that's all I can see....

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Hi Bonzoghost, good to see you.

Yeah, I remember now: Sam did say, very briefly, that Jason had dismissed that photo, but he didn't go into any details.

Such as how much time Jason spent at Polar Studios whilst they were recording, etc?

Personally I still have my suspicions that the photo really does show Bonham's kits. I checked out the dates that the photographer visited the studios to take the pictures (which match), and the makes & configurations of the kits used by ABBAs drummers (they don't match), etc etc

It seems quite a stretch to think that photographs taken at a studio where Zep were recording, showing drums in unusual sizes (26" bass, 15"x12" rack), that match Bonham's known configuration, that don't match the usual kits of ABBAs own musicians, and whose set up in the room matches the description that the studio manager gave of Bonham's set up in the big drum room, might not be Bonham's? With all due respect to Jason - I'm not buying that.

Anyway - the Presence drums seem to be solved. That's a neat video.

:)

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It seems to me that Bonham had a fave Green Sparkle kit that he always recorded with from around the 3rd or 4th LP, and when ITTOD rolled around he took the Green and the (then) newly aquired Stainless kit into the studio too...

I totally forgot about that video, that guys seems genuine with his remarks. It's highly likely that someone who knew Mick Hinton might have popped across to Munich, yes?

By the way, that guy Terry in the video is a pretty good drummer himself, he has a few cool vids up on Youtube. His Bonham licks are impressive. Thank Huw :bubble:

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The green sparkle Ludwigs have always been a mystery to me. The kit was supposedly destroyed onstage during a riot in Milan in July 1971. I've seen photos of the aftermath and the bass drum looks like it survived but afterwards may not have been road-worthy or studio-worthy. Yet Bonzo played a green sparkle set onstage until the end of the March 1973 German tour. How many green kits did he have anyway? Safe to say at least two. I'm still unconvinced either drum set in the Polar brochure belonged to Bonham, especially the green one. In the studio he insisted upon having a front head on the bass drum, no mic holes---the green one in the photo has no front head, there looks to be a pillow stuffed in there too.

But those tympani drums are definitely a clue. They look exactly like Bonzo's stage tympani, and the intro to 'In The Evening' keeps echoing in my head........

Sod it! =\

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The green sparkle Ludwigs have always been a mystery to me. The kit was supposedly destroyed onstage during a riot in Milan in July 1971. I've seen photos of the aftermath and the bass drum looks like it survived but afterwards may not have been road-worthy or studio-worthy. Yet Bonzo played a green sparkle set onstage until the end of the March 1973 German tour. How many green kits did he have anyway? Safe to say at least two. I'm still unconvinced either drum set in the Polar brochure belonged to Bonham, especially the green one. In the studio he insisted upon having a front head on the bass drum, no mic holes---the green one in the photo has no front head, there looks to be a pillow stuffed in there too.

But those tympani drums are definitely a clue. They look exactly like Bonzo's stage tympani, and the intro to 'In The Evening' keeps echoing in my head........

Sod it! =\

Probably three Green Sparkle kits in total, in various locations across the globe. One in the USA and two in Europe perhaps? It's been documented that a brand new Green Sparkle kit was delivered to Headly Grange during the fourth album sessions, so that would put two in England at least.

As for the Polar Studios pic - there are too many co-incidences at work for that NOT to be Bonzos gear, whether hired or his own. A front head removed and a pillow stuffed into a drum means absolutely nothing. Perhaps they were "experimenting" with different drum sounds? There were two kits there, one with a ported head and one without. There is nothing to suggest he did or didn't record with a muffled bass drum. Maybe that pic was taken before the band even arrived at the studio? We just don't know.

The clincher with pic of course though, is that Stainless kit. Take another look. 26" bass drum, 15x12 tom, 6.5" snare and a big Ride cymbal. I'd say your looking at the kit that most of ITTOD was recorded on.

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I hate to admit it but until about ten seconds ago I thought the other kit was silver sparkle, but it is indeed stainless steel. So as Ed McMahon used to say to Johnny: "You are correct, SIR!" What really convinced me was the cymbals around the set. I know Bonzo's gear well enough I ought to have seen it the first time I looked; that is indeed his cymbal configuration, and heights too (ride very close to the bass drum). I agree that that is the drum room for the IN THROUGH THE OUT DOOR sessions. Richard Cole said Jones and Percy recorded during the day, and the heroin-fueled Pagey and Bonzo played at night. Plant stated, "Jonesy and I wrote most of the tunes because we got to the studio ahead of everyone else." Sounds like everybody in the band's got their story straight.

I would not agree the lack of a bass drum head meant 'absolutely nothing' to John, he was anal about that, and in every studio photo I've seen of him the front head is on, intact, without any circular mic cutouts.

As a side note I saw Bonzo play his blonde wood kit in August 1969, "a" green one in August 1971, his Vistalites twice in May 1973 and that stainless steel kit in May 1977. All sounded great. Dave Pegg (Fairport Convention) would agree with me, I think. Peggy said he visited the Bonhams right after Bonzo had bought Jason a miniature kit. He asked Bonzo about the 9/8 time signature part in The Crunge. Bonzo demonstrated on Jason's little kit. Pegg was agog: "I forgot all about my question. Bonzo sounded just like the record on that toy set."

Forgive the digression (and all quotes are paraphrased).

post-9637-0-42818500-1398385231_thumb.jp

Edited by Dirigible

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I would not agree the lack of a bass drum head meant 'absolutely nothing' to John, he was anal about that, and in every studio photo I've seen of him the front head is on, intact, without any circular mic cutouts.

Sorry, that's not what I meant! I meant the PHOTO - not the sound it might produce. I don't think Bonham did any recording with a pillow in there. That could have just been an experiment that was ditched on the first day of recording. So what I'm saying is, just cos we see a PIC of Bonzos drums with a pillow we shouldn't dismiss the likelyhood that they were probably his kits! If BOTH kits had pillows, I'd be a bit more scepticle. BUT maybe, just maybe, one or two numbers on ITTOD WERE recorded with a more contemporary and "modern" bass drum sound? Maybe it's time to dig the album out and have a closer listen....? :bubble:

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