Episode 3: Brandon Paluzzi, the Drum Gear Geek, and his DW Thin Aluminum

I have known Brandon Paluzzi for 20 years. Our paths first crossed in 1997 in the early days of the internet, before discussion forums, on an archaic discussion medium called Usenet newsgroups, in rec.music.makers.percussion, or RMMP as we called it. It was in many ways the wild west: unmoderated, wholly lacking in design or consideration for user experience; but the discussion stayed mostly on-topic and the depth and detail were often outstanding.


In Episode 3, I talked with Brandon Paluzzi, who has done almost everything you can do on the drums. I think of him as something of a drumming polymath.

After studying Jazz Performance at Carnegie Mellon University, he spent four years on football fields with WGI indoor marching drumlines. He then moved to London, England for nine years to play with his band, Outside Royalty. The band signed with Sony, earned a four-star review in Rolling Stone, and performed in an arena tour supporting The Cranberries.

Brandon’s gear setup page on the Outside Royalty site warms my geek-nerd heart. It looks like it’s ripped from Modern Drummer Magazine, complete with setup diagram and details of muffling, electronics, shaker, and more. With OR, Brandon played a Gretsch setup in Bonham sizes: 26, 14, 16, and 18 with 7×13 brass (maybe a Worldmax Black Hawg?) and 2×10 Sonor snares. His cymbal setup included all Zildjians: 10″ K. splash over an 8″ china made up x-hats, 15″ K. hi-hats, a 22″ Sound Lab Prototype ride, a 24″ K. Light ride, an 18″ K. Dark Thin crash, a 22″ A. Swish Knocker with 20 rivets, and a 7″ bell. In Outside Royalty, Brandon played a Yamaha DTXtreme drum sound module, triggered with a Roland SPD-S multi-pad, Yamaha TP80 pads, and Ddrum acoustic drum triggers on the main snare, floor toms, and bass drum. A Rhythm Tech DST tambourine with brass jingles, and a Rhythm Tech LIVE shaker rounded out the setup. DW 9000 kick and hi-hat pedals plus a special Sidekick pedal enabled him to play the 16″ floor tom with his foot. Yamaha 700 series stands supported everything. Innovative Percussion sticks, mallets, and other implements were and are his brand of choice; and Remo drumheads rang on all the drums.

Today, he plays in a couple of really interesting bands. In Silencio, a multimedia tribute to the music of David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, Brandon plays a tiny Pearl Midtown kit with a 16″ bass drum and 13″ floor tom; a solid maple Dunnett 6.5×14 snare drum, a Roland SPD-SX multi-pad, K. Zildjian cymbals, and DW Ultralight hardware. And in the Bachelor Boys, a rolling lineup of high-level area players who do weddings and events like the recordings, Brandon plays a Ludwig Signet kit with a DW Thin Aluminum 6.5×14 snare, more K. Zildjian cymbals, and DW Ultralight hardware.

He’s also done a healthy amount of session work, film scoring, AND he spent a year playing marching quads professionally as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers drumline. He started his blog, Drum Gear Geek in 2017, oh and by the way, he’s a brilliant guy with a day job as a founding software engineer for healthcare company, Big Health, which support mental health therapy online… a very noble and valuable cause.

We get deep into his DW Collector’s Thin Aluminum snare drum on this episode including a discussion of the very thin 1mm aluminum shell, the Mag throwoff and 3P multi-position butt plate, True Pitch tension rods, heavy 3mm True hoops, powder coated shell finish, and even input from DW’s own John Good.

Listen to Drum Showroom Episode 3 here, and please subscribe and leave a review if you like what I’m doing. It would really mean a lot.

Apple Podcasts/iTunes | Google Play Podcasts | Stitcher | Soundcloud


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