A "Seasoned" 1970s Zildjian Cymbal

Asa Lane, a drumming colleague of ours and employee of Fork's Drum Closet here in Nashville, posted this story to Facebook today. Too interesting not to share. What are your thoughts? Have you ever done this? What was the outcome?

-NSMD Staff


Back in October of 2013, I "seasoned" this 1970's brilliant finish A. Zildjian & CIE Constantinople 20" ride with black walnut sap, and buried under 2 feet of Pure Michigan soil out in the woods behind my folks house for 7 months.

I put it in the ground with it having a lot of brightness, a good bell, but was more of a gongish crash-ride type sound. It just wouldn't open up for crashing, nor did it have quite the definition to make a successful ride cymbal.

After 7 months, and being smack in the middle of the frost line (42") during one of Michigan's coldest winters in quite some time, the cymbal changed in nature in the following ways:

  • Wide open crash-ability. The cymbal now has a gorgeous feel to it when crashed on. Still has minor stick definition, though. I can only imagine that the shifting soil throughout the freezing/thawing periods messed with the metal somehow, and opened it up.
  • Due to the cymbal in essence being an "A" Zildjian with a brilliant finish (first series to have a brilliant, I believe), it originally had a nice glassy overtone to it. This also unfortunately included annoying highs that were a bit piercing. The annoying highs are still there, but definitely have reduced noticeably. The glassy aspect though, still is pretty much still there, but actually is kinda pleasant.

After wiping the cymbal down with a rag (no cleaning) and throwing it on a kit, I know this cymbal will make a great crash, with a cool bell. Nothing life changing, but definitely a useful cymbal.

Plus, it's 100% Pure Michigan. :o)


"Secret Agent Man" with Mickey Jones

Recording:  Secret Agent ManArtist: Johnny Rivers Drummer: Mickey Jones Year:  1966 Chart Position: #3

The opening guitar riff is definitely recognizable and was destined to become a classic.  The song is timeless, evidenced by its resurgence in today’s movies and commercials.  I had the pleasure of speaking to Mickey Jones regarding his role in recording this popular drum track.

LSL:  When and where was this song recorded?

Mickey Jones:  We recorded it in late 1965 at Western Studies in Los Angeles.

LSL:  Can you give us some background on this recording?

MJ:  We were on tour in England and our producer Lou Adler, one of the hottest record producers in the industry, was with us.  Lou ran into another producer while were on tour that produced in England the TV show Danger Man.  They were going to sell the show to CBS in America and retitle it Secret Agent Man.  They needed a theme song and they loved Johnny Rivers.  Lou said, “I think we can put it together”.  We got back to the States and Lou got Phil (P.F.) Loan, who wrote “Eve of Destruction” and Steve Barri to write “Secret Agent Man” But unfortunately they only wrote one verse and one chorus – it was just for the opening theme of the new TV show.

Disc jockeys started playing it as bumper music and we started getting requests to do it in the show.  It was only 30 seconds long, so Lou Adler had this brilliant idea and took us back into the studio.  We recorded this at Western Studios in Los Angeles with Bones Howe engineering.  Lou brought in a couple of hundred people before our recording time and them we  came in to do the recording – his idea was that he wanted it to sound live at the Whiskey a Go-Go because when the record came out, it was on one of the live Whiskey albums.  So we had all these people in the studio and I’m not sure if we did the tracks and then they added the people or if the people we in another part of the studio and he was able to blend the live sounds, but it was not live at the club; it was just that he had a lot of people in the studio.  He needed a couple more verses for the song so they went back and wrote follow-up verses.  The song came out and it was definitely a Top 10 record.

In retrospect, with Johnny River’s career, this was probably the largest record he had, and it’s poignant to me today because I still receive correspondence from drummers across the country regarding the record.  To bring this to the present time, Chase Master Card used our original track in a major advertising campaign!  I was really proud to be the drummer on that track.

LSL:  Your playing on that track was so muscular and groove-oriented.  Were you allowed free rein to come with the parts for that song?

MJ:  Yes, and that’s just the way Johnny and Joe Osborne, the bass player, and I worked it out.  That it; there is nobody else on that record.  I was always a pretty percussive, hard player.  I was known as the guy in town with the heaviest right foot.

LSL:  What kit did you use on that track?

MJ:  I used my Black Oyster Pearl Ludwigs.  I bought them in 1961 when I was working with Trini Lopez, and I used them all around the world with him and with Johnny Rivers, Bob Dylan, and the First Edition.  My set with Johnny Rivers was pretty basic – 14”x22” bass drum, 9”x13”ride tom, and two floor toms, 14”x14” and 16”x16”.  My cymbals were Zildjian – 20” ride, 18” crash, and 15” hi hats.  I sold that set to the Hard Rock Café chain, currently on display at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square, New York City.

LSL:  Do you have any closing comments about this song?

MJ:  I think the defining track for Johnny Rivers is “Secret Agent Man.”  I have to say that this song was probably the defining one for me with Johnny.  When we had Johnny Rivers, Joe Osborne on bass, and me, this little trio made more music than anyone I’ve known.  I’m honored to have been a part of musical history.

Editor's note - Mickey Jones is known as the character actor's character actor. You've seen him on tv and in the movies. He also played drums with Trini Lopez, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and Bob Dylan.


Drori Mondlak Releases New Album

Performing their original compositions, KLARO! blends the romanticism of European classical and folk music and fuses it with the rhythmic fire and swing of the American jazz tradition together with the harmonic sophistication of contemporary improvised music. The group is co-led by two critically acclaimed international artists - alto saxophonist Karolina Strassmayer, and drummer Drori Mondlak.

From Drori's Press Release:

We dedicate our new CD Small Moments to the beauty of music and its enduring power to move the soul.  After two years of touring and performing the music of our previous CD Joining Forces (2011), our desire was to keep our creative juices flowing. In early 2013 it was time to write new songs, gather our close musical friends, record, and take the new show on the road. And that’s just what we did!

The Musicians: Our long-time collaborator, guitarist Cary DeNigris, once again contributed his virtuosity and originality. A new voice in KLARO!, bassist Ingmar Heller, laid down the groove with great warmth and feeling.

The Drums: I used my beloved WMP Ludwig 1971 Jazzette kit. I added a 16” floor tom. These drums are 3 ply clear maple shells and they sound fantastic...warm and resonant. The snare drum was a 1939 Leedy Broadway Standard - 8” depth, 3 ply maple shell with parallel throw off. The fact that this drum still has the original snare wires gives it that real dry orchestral response and has tremendous sensitivity and articulation. Rim shots produce a beautiful ring from the brass rims and lugs on the shell.

The Cymbals: All Zildjian cymbals from the 50’s. My main ride is a 22” old stamp K, left side ride is a 20” old stamp K, lower right side is a 20” trans stamp A ride/crash, to the right of that is a 16” trans stamp A crash, the hi hats are a pair of 13” old K’s.

The Studio: During our tour in Germany we traveled to Ludwigsburg to record at the great Bauer Studios. This is one of the oldest studios in Germany with an incredible sounding room with great acoustics. We recorded with all four musicians together in one room to create the intimacy and connection of a live performance.

For more information, visit the following links:

http://klaro.bandcamp.com/album/small-moments http://www.drorimondlak.com/ http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Drori_Mondlak.html