Vintage drum gear: Rogers Dave Clark kit

5th Aug 2013 | 14:28

Vintage drum gear: Rogers Dave Clark kit
Rogers Dave Clark kit
Circa 1963

Each month Rhythm Magazine tracks-down and checks-out vintage gear in order to marvel at a bit of drum-making history. Here we have a kit once owned by a drum icon...

The first goodie photographed by Rhythm at last year’s National Drum Fair was a real find. We have Rogers expert Alan Watt to thank for finding the kit and investigating the story behind its provenance.

On 20 March, 1966, Dave Clark himself awarded the kit to Melody Maker prize winner Carol Offord at the Wimbledon Palais. Carol gave the kit to her friend John Tillett who kept it until this year when Alan bought it from him. He has sympathetically restored it with superb results.

It seems that this is the actual Red Sparkle English Rogers kit, built by Boosey and Hawkes in their Edgware factory, that Dave Clark played between 1963 and 1966 in Europe with the Dave Clark Five.

Vintage drum gear: Rogers Dave Clark kit
Rogers Dave Clark kit
The two separate tom mounts are unusually positioned on the bass drum, evidently a custom request by Dave Clark.

The DC5 was the first British band to benefit from The Beatles’ success in the USA, leading the so-called British Invasion with ‘Glad All Over’ and ‘Bits And Pieces’.

These were massive hits worldwide and Clark made a fortune as he famously held the rights to his band’s music, eventually selling 100 million records.

Clark was a brilliant group leader and entrepreneur who co-wrote, produced and then leased his own recordings, a fantastic achievement back then. With his gleaming film-star smile, Clark bashed out the stomping beat to his hits on this customised kit.

Alan says, “In 1964, when I was eight, dad took us to see the DC5. I remember being surrounded by screaming girls and this drum kit sparkling on a podium above the rest of the band.

“There aren’t many drumsets that could be said to be so associated with a particular performer, sound or time. Dave Clark’s red sparkle Rogers became the most important English Rogers set ever made, easily recognisable with its two mounted toms, extremely unusual for its time.”

Vintage drum gear: Rogers Dave Clark kit
Rogers Dave Clark kit
The kit came with a complete set of original fibre cases, two of which still have DC5 painted on them.

The sizes are 20"x14", 13"x9", 12"x8", 16"x16" and 14"x5" wood snare. The ‘wrong way round’ toms were a DC trademark and Alan argues that Dave must have asked B&H specifically to position the two Swiv-O-Matic tom mounts to accommodate this set-up.

Aside from replacing the missing front bass drum hoop, Alan says, “Seven lugs needed to be replaced. Many of the tension rods and claws had seen a hard life too. DC appears to have acquired his Rogers kit in August/September 1963.

“Rogers drums were made under licence in the UK between 1961 and 1967 by B&H. Promotional material presented them as Rogers drums made in the UK, the term ‘English Rogers’ was coined later. The DC5’s popularity inspired Rogers USA in 1967 to produce the ‘Dave Clark Londoner’ set.”

Vintage Gear continues each month in Rhythm Magazine.

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