By johanne James
Hi there and let’s talk about the drum riser.
Some engineers don’t like them as they believe they take up a lot of space. Me? Well, I like them as they give me a sense of superiority! Lol. There I am, looking down on everyone for the reality is that most of the time I’m looking up. Most people are taller than I am when they’re sitting down, so bring on the drum riser! Someone once said to me, “Gosh. You looked so big on stage, but you’re tiny”. “I know,” I said, “it’s all an illusion”. Risers also make the drums sound that bit better as the sound isn’t being absorbed by the stage. I do play quite loud so they give me that extra bit of volume, because on some of the larger stages, believe it or not, the drums can get lost, hence the other boys in the band may ask for kick and snare in their monitors. There have been times when the riser has been too big for the stage and therefore had to be removed. In fact, there have been times when the riser was the stage! Then on the other hand they have been way too small only for house engineers to say “I had a ten piece band up here mate, so what are you talking about?” I can only imagine they were midgets, for only a midget would fit on this stage. Mate!
They also look good for aesthetics.
For if you have seen Threshold you will notice by looking at the stage I am on the left with Richard on the right, so there is a symmetry and balance. I couldn’t tell you whose idea it was to put the drummer on a riser, but I would like to thank him. Not all drummers like them as they would rather be on the stage with the rest of their band mates as I suppose they can feel a little disconnected. It does happen sometimes on the larger stages that everyone else is so far away that you need binoculars to see them and when they eventually grace you with their presence, they seem so small as you can be so far up. It’s just as well that I don’t suffer from vertigo! I was once on a riser and preparing to jump off and go back stage only to discover a sheer drop behind the curtain, for had I not come to my senses, I wouldn’t be writing this column. I couldn’t believe how high up everything was. It would have been a case of many broken bones, I can only thank the universe that nothing drastic happened.
Anyway, love them or hate them, they are a fixed part of any stage set up and I think they serve a good purpose for they help us to be seen as we, drummers that is, are always put to the back of any stage. It’s almost as though we were an afterthought! Lol.
Thanks for listening.