|07-25-2012, 03:47 PM||#21|
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Augusta, GA
HUGE POST AHEAD!
So again, I was very fortunate to go backstage and chat with Henry once more. This time at West Palm Beach night 2, the band's last stop before their one month break.
Up until the day of the show there was a good chance that I was going to finally meet Carter. Someone was going to arrange that for me, however his family was with him in West Palm Beach and his time was limited. I certainly didn't want to interfere with time spent with his family. The meet up never happened but I'm still holding out hope for the fall/winter tour.
I sent Henry a message while my wife and I were tailgating in the lots before the show. I received a reply once we were grabbing a quick bite to eat in the "food court" within the gates to the venue. I didn't expect to hear anything back because he's hit and miss with responding to messages. But I know that he's a busy guy. My excitement immediately grew when I read his message. He asked if we had lounge passes yet and looked forward to seeing us.
We made our way to our seats and saw Henry on stage tinkering around with Carter's kit. I shouted out his name to get his attention and he made his way down off the stage and into the seats to come get us. He congratulated us on our marriage (the show that night actually marked the end of our honeymoon spent in West Palm Beach that week). He then walked us through the very crowded lounge (which was stage right) and through the gate which went backstage. From this point forward I just fell into a complete daze, trying to take in everything that I'm seeing and experiencing. I'm passing equipment, road cases, various people from the crew, and numerous security personnel to which Henry gives them the nod to signify that we are with him. We finally make our way to Henry's "office" which essentially is just a rolling road case with the top propped open where he proudly displays various pictures of his family (as well as all the night's setlists, which at this point the night 2 setlist wasn't finalized yet). Henry really misses his family when he's on the road, he doesn't hesitate to show us photos of his kids or talk about his family. Being in the military and having to spend time away from my family while working I can totally relate.
His road case sits next to the monitor sound boards located at stage left. I recognized Ian Kuhn, the monitor engineer, roaming around while we were there and Anthony Giordano, the stage manager, was chatting with Henry in the midst of us hanging out on the side of the stage. We spent a couple minutes just chatting about what he did during his time off last year and if he had went to the beach yet. Before long he takes us over to Carter's kit being careful not to trip on any of the many cables that snake their way along the stage. Carter's kit is hiding behind a black curtain that Henry put up in front of the kit while the opening band, Tower of Power, performed. Just to the front right of Carter's kit sat legendary drummer David Garibaldi's kit who is also a Yamaha artist. His kit was I believe a Birch Custom Absolute with a sub-kick in front of his bass. His kit was beautiful of course but it was dwarfed by Carter's behemoth towering over it.
Henry removed the curtain for a photo op and then the immediate question that I asked him was why the switch back to the Recording Custom toms. The answer he gave me was because the Phoenix toms being a thicker shell didn't resonate as much. He said that the RC toms sound much better and make the "speakers reverberate more." However he kept the PHX kick because it still sounded good. He said that for the recording of the new album the same arrangement was used, RC toms and PHX bass.
He's back to playing the Ludwig Black Beauty snare because with it being a metal shell it projects more volume than the limited edition Van Halen snare made of rosewood.
When checking out his kit I noticed that one of his "auxiliary" side toms, the one to the left of his hi-hats, had an interesting badge. It's a custom made 15" (x16"?) Recording Custom floor tom made specially for Carter. From what I could tell it lacks the stained inner shell which is a signature thing for RC toms.
The other side tom to the right of his snare was explained to me as a "floating tom." It's a regular rack tom but instead it sits atop this mesh head on top of a snare stand, kind of like a trampoline. Because you know the tom would be choked of its free resonance if it just sat on top of the snare stand all by itself. I thought this was an interesting little method he had rigged up.
Henry also talked about the switch to clear Pinstripe heads. He said that the previous Ambassador X heads would lose their tune easier after Carter had been playing them. The Pinstripe heads hold their tune better apparently. But looking back this kind of contradicts why he switched to Ambassador X heads in the first place. Because they were single-ply heads versus the Emperor dual-ply heads and Henry thought that single-ply heads were easier to tune. Pinstripes are dual-ply as well. So while it might take longer to tune them they happen to hold their tune longer I suppose.
Henry "flattened" out (dropped down) the flat ride (no pun) because Carter wanted to see Jeff and Rashawn better from behind his kit.
We joked about the Chinese wedding bell. I explained to him before in Atlanta at another show the whole story behind the Chinese wedding bell. He said that's why you have to be cautious when fans give you things and that essentially he's not returning it since it's become such an integral part of the kit. I thought that was funny.
The lighting isn't that great for picture taking on the stage but I managed to snap a few with my cell phone. You're kind of damned either way, you don't use the flash and it's too dark but when you do use the flash it reflects off every damn thing . With all those cymbals, chrome, and clear heads how could it not?
After touring the kit we made our way back to the side of the stage because Tower of Power would soon be coming on to perform their set. We continued to talked more about various things. I could have literally filled up the whole time asking him countless questions but I didn't want to seem like an over-crazed fan. So I keep it chill and shoot off a question here and there all while he still continues to work. I tell him how appreciative we all are of his hard work every night and that he holds a celebrity status to many of us. I also mention to him that there are hoards of followers that pour over every minute detail with the kit (including me).
At one point while talking some guy comes up and presents Henry with this really nice (and expensive) golf club driver. We joke that he should go test it out by driving some balls into an empty spot of the lawn. I asked Henry if he liked to golf and he said yes. He's been playing ever since he was a kid with those little plastic clubs (like Tiger Woods!). I told him that he should come to Augusta some time to attend the Masters Tournament.
We got back to the subject of shop talk and I joked about Carter's high mounted suspended cymbals back in the day. I then asked what drums Carter originally played when he first started with the band. What he told me I found surprising. He said that his first kit with the band was actually a pieced together kit, a "mongoloid" kit he called it . That some of the cymbals were broken, that the feet on his bass were broken and they had to tie a string from the bass around the snare stand to the hi-hat stand so that the bass wouldn't slip away when it was played. He said they were broke back then and it was a time where you'd just roll the bass drum down the street and into the back of the van. Now that's some funny shit! I then asked him if he was so broke then how did they afford that nice Dangerous Ocheltree snare. He said that all of Carter's snare have been given to him and that he has a whole rack of snares.
I then asked him one last begging question, how he got started being a drum tech for the band. He said that back in the day when Coran Capshaw was managing Trax he was running the books for him. When DMB became the house band there he just started to help set up. Eventually when they started touring Henry jumped in the van and went with them.
He said the typical tear down and pack out time for Carter's kit is about 25 minutes and how it all fits into I think he said three big trap cases.
As we were talking I noticed Tower of Power starting to form up out back and then Dave Matthews came in to shake a couple people's hands. Then out of nowhere David Garibaldi appears right before my eyes to talk with Henry. I couldn't believe it. A legendary drummer standing right in front of me! Not long thereafter Dave walks by barefoot to make his way to the front of the stage to introduce Tower of Power. After coming back he returns to the side of the stage to hang out for a little bit.
I then told Henry that he could kick us out at any moment (even though I really didn't want him to). He said that he's in denial because of all the work that was ahead of him. He said that he had so much to pack within the next 45 minutes as Tower of Power played and that he had to head back to Charlottesville to unpack everything. If that wasn't the case then I don't think he would have mind us staying there on the side of the stage (which would have taken un-fucking-believeable to a whole new level). So he lead us back to the lounge and had the bartender hook us up with lounge passes so that we could drink free the rest of the evening. They must travel with the same lounge bartender everywhere because I recognized him from the two times in Atlanta two years ago. So the bartender whips out two lounge passes and a Sharpie, he writes the night's code word "gator" (get it? Florida Gators) on them as well as the initials "CB" to note that's the party we were with.
We then shook hands and I wished him a great show and that he enjoyed his time off with his family. He said to let him know what other shows we were going to and that he'd see us again.
As much as I remained calm and collected on the outside, on the inside of me I was doing back flips. Henry is a really great guy, he's humble, easy to talk to, and just a very generous and appreciative person. He's very laid back and cool tempered. And that's the way you need to be when working long hours in the heat day after day away from your family.
One last thing. We also talked about the heat because it was dreadfully humid that day. He said that the previous night the band didn't play as hard or as well because of the heat and how they had to bring out extra AC units towards the back of the stage to blow cold air onto them. Carter has his own AC unit blowing directly onto him from behind. I also heard from someone else that the band partied late into the night because some old friends from out of town were there. I'm sure that also contributed to how well they performed. And they came onstage pretty late too. It was something like 8:45 I think. Maybe they were either A) still hungover, B) still hydrating, or C) waiting for the sun to go down and it to get cooler. Or maybe it was a combination of all three.
Oh and that's not entirely it either. While we were chatting I noticed a guy with a Steadicam walking around. Some other guy walks up to Henry and asks if he can put a Saturday Night Football decal on Carter's kit. Henry lets him walk over and put it on his timbale. Henry explained to me that they were there for ESPN/ABC Sports College Gameday football. Kind of like what they did in 2009 with the release of Big Whiskey. They used lead ins and lead outs from the new album to go to and come back from commercial break. They were shooting video throughout the show for that type of thing and they were gonna get some shots of that SNF logo sticker while Carter was playing. Kind of strange but that's commercial marketing for you! Henry laughed and said that someone at ABC Sports must really like the band. I then shouted Go Buckeyes! because Henry is from Cincinnati and my wife is from Toledo.
A lot of people thought the Steadicam on stage throughout the night was for some future DVD release but I think it has more to do with this ESPN thing considering that was the crew they were with.
Anyway, we had a great time from our seats as usual. I met a fellow TDCer there and we talked some. I only returned to the lounge once because it was extremely overcrowded.
The encore left me a bit disappointed but I was at a DMB show and it's hard to not smile then. The band left almost immediately after the show. You could see their buses pull off while people were still leaving their seats. They were staying at The Breakers which is a very luxurious oceanfront hotel and resort in West Palm Beach.
I didn't take as many photos this time because I was trying to act more casual And plus like I said before the lighting wasn't the best. I'll post a link later to the Facebook album which will contain the photos.
Last edited by BeaufordBuddy; 07-25-2012 at 07:26 PM.