The vintage drum community, both in person and online, is a very tight group. No matter where you're from or what your age is, you're going to know most of the other people in the field.
A few years ago, I connected with Joe Cox, one of the UK's up and coming drum technicians and restoration experts. We both enjoyed showing off our collections on Instagram, which led to conversation, which eventually led to us meeting up in the states.
Among other things, Joe has been working with Bob Hall and Catfish and the Bottlemen for a few years now, which kept him stateside almost three months in 2016. In spring of that year, Joe and Bob had a day off in Chicago and asked if I wanted to hang out, to which I happily agreed. We hit up all the major music shops in town, ran up to a couple more shops in Kenosha, and then headed back down for a true Chicago meal – pizza at Lou Malnati's. We all had a great time and agreed to make it a regular playdate when the band came into town.
Later that year, Joe invited me out for a sold out show at the Aragon Ballroom. The older I get, the less I like crowds, so Joe was kind enough to take me backstage, where we checked out Bob's drum kit, had dinner, and hung out for a while. I even got to stand on the side of the stage to watch both Bob and Joe do their thing with the band. It was incredible.
Months later, Joe told me that the band was coming through in May 2017 and they'd probably have a day off in Milwaukee, which meant that we had to get into some trouble. And this time, Joe said both Bob and lighting director Scott Galloway would join us! We had a full crew in the car yesterday, I'll tell you!
To start the day off, Joe and I grabbed grub and headed to Music Go Round in Greenfield, Wisconsin. It's one of my favorite shops to find vintage drums at. And sure enough, we ran into good friend and vintage nut Brian Szymanski and well-respected vintage drum broker and beard extraordinaire Ken Anderson. What a treat! It was nice to get Joe connected with guys that I've known and worked with for years, and we were even lucky enough to score a couple snares off of Ken!
The rest of the day played out nice too. The whole gang went down to Antiques on Pierce, grabbed tacos out of a truck, went hiking at Cliffside Park in Racine, and finished the night with dinner and drinks at Maharaja.
It's these little connections that form into acquaintances that lead to lasting, wonderful friendships. I'm grateful to have these guys always give me a holler when they come through town; and it goes to show you that in this day and age, people from anywhere in the world can connect and become great friends.