I brought the “Green Machine” home from Guitar Center the other night, in the pouring rain. Unusual for Los Angeles this time of year, cold and muggy, not much fun…

… but it didn’t matter, because I finally got my 1970’s Ludwig drums homes, the ones that will define my voice for a long time to come.

I didn’t intentionally seek out a John Bonham kit; I just happened to find one in the exact color I have wanted for over twenty years, when I last had a green sparkle Ludwig kit. But believe me, when you hit these things, John Bonham speaks.

I used to listen to him in high school, and his drumming on “Since I’ve Been Loving You” (Led Zeppelin III) was the song that taught me how to play the blues… with unapologetic power. His sheer impact was numbing, and I loved the SLAM it sent through the speakers and my ancient headset.

His simple beats and punch were perfect for the music, and that of course, was his lesson legacy. He gave what the songs needed, and you never went away hungry.

What did go away for me was the appreciation and the pursuit of heavy metal power drumming. I got into jazz, discovered John McLaughlin, and strived to become a young white Billy Cobham. At the same time, I was diving into Tower of Power and David Garibaldi’s sophistication, Lenny White’s funk fusion with Return to Forever, and just about anything that Peter Erskine played.

I wanted funk refinement, complex time signatures, mental gyrations with polyrhythms… and I chased it for a long time. I held back, not letting the power out for fear of blowing the song out of the water…

But the morning after I brought the Ludwig’s home and got them set up, I sat down and just PLAYED them… and I have to tell you… no amount of time passes to far that can’t be bridged in moments if you are playing the right instrument to get you back to where you started. For me, this kit has sent me back in time, offering a second chance at something I took for granted for FAR too many years…

It was always my hope and goal to put out an odd meter funk/fusion CD, one played on a kit the size of which I now have. My feeling is this: if you’re gonna play, play with everything you’ve got. Put your fist through a brick wall and keep on going. I used to feel that every day as a kid in Delaware, and somewhere along the line, it got reigned in and tamed…

… but not so much that it can’t come back out and finish what was started.

As I sit here watching the 2003 Led Zeppelin DVD, John Bonham is captured for all of us to learn from. His playing was the truth for the music he was breathing life into, and that Ludwig Supraphonic 402 snare just smashes the back beat like nothing I’ve heard since. Whatever he had in him, it came out with a vengeance on the kit that best served his voice.

I know I’ve found the same, and even though it took a while — a very long while — I’ve no doubt that what will follow will rattle some windows and shake some walls… which is just fine. It really is.