What Is a Drum Technician?
A drum technician is the person on tour who’s responsible for the setup, break down, and maintenance of the artist’s drum kit. They’re also in charge of ordering replacement parts for the drum kit, maintaining good relationships with their drummer’s sponsors, and reporting drum gear inventory numbers to the appropriate people.
Skills Required to be a Drum Technician
To be a successful drum tech, having a solid understanding of a drum kit is an absolute must. Responsibilities include making sure that everything is in working order when setting up and breaking down the kit and fixing or replacing anything that’s broken. A lot of the job is anticipating problems with the kit, so staying on top of drum stock is important so gear can be changed out as needed. Being organized is a key factor for success in this line of work because the day-to-day tasks are setting up and breaking down a giant puzzle, and the more that the drum tech can streamline the process, the better. They also need a great sense of time to make sure they’re staying on track because they have more work than most technicians with the same amount of time to get it all done.
Daily Tasks of a Drum Technician
A drum tech begins their day at the venue, ensuring that all the gear was unloaded from the truck and pushed into the venue. They unpack the drum kit and start assembling it. Time is of the essence here because they’re working with the same amount of time as everyone else, but they have a longer list of tasks to get accomplished. One way to do this is to have perfected measurements using tape on a carpet to help them mapping out the setups for their drummers to ensure quick and proper placement for everything in the kit.
Not only are drum techs responsible for assembling, line checking, and being present for soundcheck issues, they also need to set up a practice rig for their drummer somewhere else in the venue so they can warm-up for the show. They’re responsible for two different drum kits and all the spare parts. It’s critical to know exactly where everything is and finish each task in its entirety before moving on to the next one. It’s easy to have things be misplaced, especially with how much gear a drum tech is responsible for.
During the show, they’re paying very close attention to their drummer and watching for anything that could go wrong with the kit. They need to be prepared for broken sticks or cracked cymbals and quickly get to their drummer to replace any damaged gear. They’re also responsible for ensuring smooth changeovers during the show from band to band. It’s super important to help out the other technicians on tour because everyone is trying to reach a common goal, putting on a great show!
At the end of the night, the drum tech disassembles the kit and packs it all back up, keeping in mind that they need to do this quickly and efficiently. The more organized they are for the pack up, the better the load in the next day.
Drum Tech Tips
- Always finish what you’re working on before you start something new.
- Bigger tours are easier to get fired on because they don’t have the patience for the learning curve, so keep that in mind when taking jobs.
- Learn your artist’s sponsors and make sure you keep good relations with them, especially when you’re the one in charge of ordering their gear
- Develop a system for setup ASAP and keep your specs handy for easy load-in and load-out
- Pack up the kit as quickly as possible, but with intention at the end of the night so your morning is easier the next day.
- Take care of yourself because you’re going to age so much faster if you don’t. Eat healthily, drink water, get enough sleep and make sure you’re in good health on the road.
- The grind never stops, so you can’t stop grinding. If you need to have a side job to get started in touring, do what you have to do!