Tony Williams

Cuban

Senior Member
For over 30 years, the track 'Fred' has been a part of the soundtrack of my life (thanks to Phil Collins.)

Was it ever documented anywhere as to what kit and cymbal set up he used to record it? Possibly a long shot, but I'd love to know.
 

Pedro Benecol

Junior Member
There's a relatively bad sounding but musically incredibly powerful bootleg of the New Lifetime Band, from c. 1976 at the Village Gate. With A.H. on guitar, obviously. If you've listened to Believe It! and liked it, check it out. It's the same thing but on steroids!

For over 30 years, the track 'Fred' has been a part of the soundtrack of my life (thanks to Phil Collins.)
Phil Collins sure knows his drummers, is there a story behind this? :D That is, Phil being one of my early and biggest influences and Tony being a later idol with all the Joneses, Erskines and such. I really love Tony's imagination, chops, relentlessness and ride cymbal sound/clarity. However, the later jazz stuff and some of his aesthetic choices during the Yellow Drums -days are still over my head.

(BTW, here's something I did to One Finger Snap some time ago. I hope you like it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlwY8yW5fHE )
 

Cuban

Senior Member
Phil Collins sure knows his drummers, is there a story behind this? :D That is, Phil being one of my early and biggest influences and Tony being a later idol ...
I toured with Genesis & Phil in the early 1980's and Tony Williams was a regular played by Phil. His drumming was a big influence on Phil, who also introduced me ( as a young teenager ) to Pat Metheny and many other great artists.

Ironically, 30+ years on, I now work for Phil's son Simon Collins, an incredible drummer, singer, musician & producer in his own right. Check out his band Sound Of Contact, (we head out on tour on Friday). Talk about a chip off the old block!

Thanks for the links, I'll check them out.
 
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Pedro Benecol

Junior Member
I toured with Genesis & Phil in the early 1980's and Tony Williams was a regular played by Phil. His drumming was a big influence on Phil, who also introduced me ( as a young teenager ) to Pat Metheny and many other great artists.
Wow! Were you a drum tech or something? I'd love to hear some stories from the road, although I do have the "Chapter & Verse" -book as well as the Genesis studio albums.

Tony and Phil do both have that "push" and playing on top of the beat -style to them. Saw Genesis on the Turn it on Again -tour and even though I've always admired Chester Thompson (the Zappa stuff etc) as a drummer, the music really took 6th gear when Collins sat down on his kit.

Back to the topic, to whom it may concern, one might want to compare the studio version of Allan Holdsworths "Looking Glass" with Tony on drums, to selected live versions, my favourite being the Tampa Bay '89 -bootleg (can be found easily) where it's the almighty Vinnie C on drums. Although Vinnie kicks ass all the time (the version of Shallow Sea from that gig is the penultimate fusion ripping collaboration ever!), it's the studio version that IMHO packs the most Cojones and dauntless risk-taking stuff, with most of it landing on its feet in the process :D
 

AllenS

Junior Member
IMO, he's one of the most important drummers of all time. A prodigy, an innovator, and truly ahead of his time.
 

drmfd

Junior Member
Great to meet up here with fellow TW enthusiasts. Cuban has a question that also wondered me since Believe It was issued. Possibly finding/contacting TW's drum tech at the time could have best answer now, or a family member or more replies here. Don't know contacts for these individuals, but the super engineer & producer Sony/Columbia used on Believe It was Bruce Botnick who really eq'd and captured terrific drum tuning. Fred was also later re-cut by Holdsworth titling song as Kinder. Tony played hihats like no one else, I saw him live many times years ago. Not sure of exact drum/cymbal set up the studio used in recording Believe It, but TW played a particular set configuration at that time with various cymbal combinations. This is info I gathered directly from Gretsch & Zildjian artist relations over the years, so I will pass it along. I hope some of this info helps.
Gretsch USA Custom series drums Solid Yellow Gloss Nitro cellulose gloss Lacquer finish - currently termed TWYL code SPL #69 color finish. Sizes: BD 14 x 24 or at times 16 x 24. SD 6 1/2 x 14 with 20 single lugs and 42 strand wires. TT 9 x 13 and 10 x 14. FT 14 x 14, 16 x 16 and 16 x 18. Silver sealed interiors, chrome shell hardware, occasionally black hardware on drum shells. Up to the 1980's when Gretsch supplied their own stands, he used SD stand #4989, TT Holder #9002, HH #4849, BD Spurs #9011, Cymbal stands #4850 and 4871. The actual SD was #4155. I haven't searched the vintage catalogs to verify these hardware #'s, so I hope the info I was given is correct. Thru the 1970's up into 1980's I saw Tony's kits with different series of Gretsch hardware lines - the TT holders, stands, etc.- usually the top line Gretsch gear live. At times he had drum shell black hardware, but almost always chrome on sets he used. He used clear CS black dot heads on both batter and resonant sides of all drums except the snare-side head, that contributed greatly to his sound with the USA Customs. He had his own stick size made for him, an autographed model at some point, among other similar sticks I'm sure. Now, the elusive and interesting cymbal line-ups...
Tony switched out lots of cymbals for what he felt at the time was right. These are (3) cymbal set-ups he used in later periods, but it may provide some insight into his signature sound and likes.
First set-up - Ride 22 A Custom, Ride 18 K dry-lite. Crash 18 Med-thin (I think A there, but maybe K), Crash 18 A unspecified, Crash 15 A Custom. HH 15 K both bottom cymbals. Splash 8 A and Splash 10 A.
Second set-up - 1994 - Ride 22 K. Crash 20 K Dark, Crash 18 K Dark-med-thin, Crash 15 K Dark. HH 15 K. And, lastly, a variant of these two set-ups ...
Third set-up - Ride 22 A Custom. Crash 18 A Med, Crash 18 A Med-thin, Crash 18 K Dark-thin, Crash 15 A Custom. HH 15 K. Splash 8 A and Splash 10 A.
That's what I've found out, maybe some of this can help and hope it does. TW fans may want to add to this and supply other cymbal set-ups he used in eras closer to the 1975 recording, which is tuff data to find this far along. This info here was obtained from Gretsch and Zildjian.
Frank D.
 

drmfd

Junior Member
Additional info to my post #211...the 3rd listed cymbal set-up was in 1997, shortly before Tony Williams was gone too soon. Sorry I originally forgot to enter the year for that set-up.
The first cymbal set-up was prior to 1994, but not sure what date there or how long before that. Being that there were A Customs in that set-up, it was TW's later period there, maybe others here can pin the beginning of that date range down better, based on entry of A Customs into the market.
Would like to learn of TW's specific cymbal set-up from 1974 onward to any dates.
 

spelman

Senior Member
Additional info to my post #211...the 3rd listed cymbal set-up was in 1997, shortly before Tony Williams was gone too soon. Sorry I originally forgot to enter the year for that set-up.
The first cymbal set-up was prior to 1994, but not sure what date there or how long before that. Being that there were A Customs in that set-up, it was TW's later period there, maybe others here can pin the beginning of that date range down better, based on entry of A Customs into the market.
Would like to learn of TW's specific cymbal set-up from 1974 onward to any dates.
The Zildjian A Custom line was introduced at the January 1992 NAMM gathering.

In 1990, Zildjian ran an ad in which Tony used 15" K Hihats, 18", 15" and 20" K Dark Crashes, and a 22" K Ride. It looks like he used this set-up on the Tony Williams Live In New York DVD (Dec 1989).

I guess Tony played old Turkish K cymbals up until Zildjian started making American K cymbals in 81/82.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
For the Tony die-hards: Have you cats checked this out? http://bigozine2.com/roio/?p=1650

Back in the late-1990s, Bill Laswell, who played with Tony in Arcana, was asked by Verve to choose an album from their catalog that he could remaster. He chose Turn It Over, the second Lifetime recording. Bill knew Tony was never happy with the way the record was mixed and that a lot of the music was left off to make it fit on one album (Tony envisioned a double album).

Well, the project was shelved before Laswell could finish, but someone found a way to release them and you can download the album from the link I posted.

For me, it's like discovering the album all over again. It's just a different animal. The production is more rock and roll and it just sounds more bombastic and has more attitude than the original. There are tracks here that were never released, but you realize even the familiar ones had been edited down, because here they are restored here to full length. It's interesting how there are entire sections of these tunes that were just chopped off but you can hear them now. Really very cool.

I just discovered this recently, along with the Barbarians stuff (PM me if you're interested and haven't already checked that out), and it's been playing constantly in my car and on my phone. Hope you dig it.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Alex, that's amazing. Between you and Anthony, you guys make me so jealous of the musicians you've worked with.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Alex, that's amazing. Between you and Anthony, you guys make me so jealous of the musicians you've worked with.
Recently checked out Nefertiti by Miles Davis

LOVE the little(and large) licks on Pinocchio. Had to reply that numbers as soon as it ended.

What a Drummer.
 
Tony Williams was a great and visionary drummer. He really did change everything about how drums could function in a jazz group.

I recently saw these drum clinic videos from 1985, and I was a little surprised by his comments about not using rebound (part 2, 7:15). But Tony Williams is a legend, and should be understood, no matter what he says. I'm still trying to assess what he meant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFCJs_WvsG4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x5bAyLvzoE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rAw2f_n0-h0
 

JohnW

Silver Member
There's a Facebook page called "Dirty Old Boston", that shows pictures of the Hub going back to the turn of the 20th century. Somehow, I missed this one from yesterday, Tony's birthday:

"Nestled in its final days between the Whittier Street housing projects, the Boston Police Department and a dry, dead and abandoned lot, Connolly's Star Dust Room seemed at first glance to be an inconspicuous home for one of Boston's most famous jazz venues. Connolly's--where patrons once listened to such greats as Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz--closed its doors at 1184 Tremont St, Roxbury for good on March 1, 1998. The single-story building fragment that was Connolly's was the only legacy remaining from a five story Victorian Gothic Tenement, otherwise demolished in 1959. The building's distinctive sign which read "Connolly's Liquors & Cocktails" spanned 27 feet in width and stood at five feet. It was mounted in 1960. A profile of a martini glass appeared ghostly at the end of Connolly's reign, its neon tubing lost to time. In the autumn of its years, an illuminated "Bud Light" sign was projected over the entry.
This interior shot was probably taken by Boston Bernie Moss and it shows Tony Williams, with Jackie McLean and Ray Santisi at their first gig together at Connelly's Star Dust Room. Jackie took Tony to NYC, introduced him to Miles Davis and the rest is history.
THANKS: Jack Woker, Steve Schwartz, Boston Landmarks Commission and the Harvard Crimson for background information.
"
 

Attachments

luckylittleme

Junior Member
I am a big fan of Tony Williams going back to his days with the second Miles Davis quintet. He's that rare Jazz drummer who can also play Rock.
 

Brian

Gold Member
There's a Facebook page called "Dirty Old Boston", that shows pictures of the Hub going back to the turn of the 20th century. Somehow, I missed this one from yesterday, Tony's birthday:

"Nestled in its final days between the Whittier Street housing projects, the Boston Police Department and a dry, dead and abandoned lot, Connolly's Star Dust Room seemed at first glance to be an inconspicuous home for one of Boston's most famous jazz venues. Connolly's--where patrons once listened to such greats as Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz--closed its doors at 1184 Tremont St, Roxbury for good on March 1, 1998. The single-story building fragment that was Connolly's was the only legacy remaining from a five story Victorian Gothic Tenement, otherwise demolished in 1959. The building's distinctive sign which read "Connolly's Liquors & Cocktails" spanned 27 feet in width and stood at five feet. It was mounted in 1960. A profile of a martini glass appeared ghostly at the end of Connolly's reign, its neon tubing lost to time. In the autumn of its years, an illuminated "Bud Light" sign was projected over the entry.
This interior shot was probably taken by Boston Bernie Moss and it shows Tony Williams, with Jackie McLean and Ray Santisi at their first gig together at Connelly's Star Dust Room. Jackie took Tony to NYC, introduced him to Miles Davis and the rest is history.
THANKS: Jack Woker, Steve Schwartz, Boston Landmarks Commission and the Harvard Crimson for background information.
"
Great picture, I know exactly where that is. Tony must be what 17-18 there? 1963?
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
For over 30 years, the track 'Fred' has been a part of the soundtrack of my life (thanks to Phil Collins.)

Was it ever documented anywhere as to what kit and cymbal set up he used to record it? Possibly a long shot, but I'd love to know.
If you look at the back cover of that album, his first tom is most definitely a 12", not the 13" that he used throughout the rest of his career.
 

conTraption

Junior Member
Over the years much has been written about the various Gretsch kits and K Zildjian cymbals that Tony Williams played. As many of you know, towards the end of his life, Williams made the switch to DW drums. He also decided to go for a whole new cymbal sound. Below this picture of his double bass "Ronald McDonald" setup are the drum and cymbal specs that his tech shared with me. Dig the eye glasses laying on the floor tom :)



The Stadium Kit
============
-Drums:
2-18x24
1-9x12
1-9x13
1-10x13
1-12x14 floor
1-14x14-floor
1-14x16 floor
1-14x18 floor
6.5x14 Snare-12 lug
4x14 Snare

-The Full Scale A-Custom Cymbal Set:
22" A Custom Ride
18" Med/thin Crash
18" K Pre aged dry lite ride
18" K dark Crash Med/Thin
17" K China Boy –Brilliant Finish
15" Pair-Rock Hat
15” 2-K Bottoms to make 1 pair
15” A Custom Crash
12” EFX #1
10” Splash
8” Splash

and...

The Main Kit
=========
-Drums:
18x24K
9x13
10x13
14x14
14x16
14x18
6.5x14 12 lug snare

-The Smaller Cymbal Set:
22” A custom ride
18” Pre Aged K dry/lite ride
18” Avedis Med/thin crash
15” A custom Crash center of toms
2-15” K Bottoms-to make 1 pair hat
10” Avedis Platinum splash mounted above 18”
8” splash mounted above 18”
 
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