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Jim's Ludwigs


Raspbernie

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"I left music in 1977," explains Jim Bonfanti, "and in doing so, decided to sell my drums. They were a chrome Ludwig set that I had custom ordered piece by piece. It was not a catalog set—it was a custom set that I put together myself. I had owned other Ludwig sets. In fact, I used a different Ludwig drum set on each album. This was the set that I used on Side 3. I loved those drums. I loved the way they sounded. I loved everything about them. It killed me to sell those drums, but I had to. So I sold them.

"I didn't own another drum set until 1992, when I bought a used set out of the newspaper want ads. After playing on them a little bit my interest in music started coming back. I kept it harnessed because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but in 1994, I played with Wally Bryson at the Rock Hall when they placed the last steel beam in the structure.

"Playing at the Rock Hall really got me interested in playing again. It was fun and the first time I had performed in front of some people in a long time. Then what really got me going was a show I played at the Odeon in Cleveland with Wally, Dave Smalley and Scott McCarl. It was after that show that I started thinking about how much I'd like to get my Ludwigs back—just to have them.

"They were my favorite kit and I thought that I should have them back. So, I contacted Ralph Vitale, the same person who helped me sell them. He tracked down the guy I sold the drums to: Sandy Loparo. Amazingly, Sandy still had the drums. So, Ralph and I drove down to Sandy's house where I had every intention of buying the drums back. We went down into his basement where the drums were kept. The snare drum was missing but all of the rest of the kit was intact. Due to heavy touring, they were a bit beat up and looked kind of sad.

"I started to talk to Sandy about buying them and he said, 'You know what, Jim? You have a lot of sentimental value with these drums. You can just have them.'

"I was speechless for a moment. Obviously I took him up on it and brought the drums home. It was amazing to have them back. Because they looked so sad I decided to refurbish them. I initially tried to refinish them in the same chrome covering that they originally had. But the chrome covers didn't properly attach to the drums, so I needed to send them back.

"I ended up choosing a marine white pearl covering. I had a set in the '60s like that, and always liked that color. So I decided to go with that and I'm glad I did. It's a timeless color, while the chrome definitely dates back to the '0s."

Raspberries: TONIGHT!

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