I bought some Vic from Musician Friend and during the 5th song on the first set it BROKE about a 3rd of the way down the shaft. Now I play hard also, but I can usually go 1-1 1/2 shows before a wear one down enough it breaks. So I called Musicians Friend and they replaced it for free...
I had to cry myself to sleep the other night.. I sat down behind a kit in a studio for the first time in many many many months.. bought a brand new pair of sticks from the venue, and the head of my vic just went flying within the first 30 seconds... I couldn't believe it!
It must have just been a rotten apple though, because evne though i was hitting quite hard, it's just as hard as i normal play, and i've had to retire many pairs of vics because they're splinter so much from rimshots, but would NOT break!!
they've still got my faith and devotion though!