John Siomos & His Dark Green Ludwigs

DolFan54

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Thanks for the update on John’s kit! I will do an update on the snare drum I have of John’s when I get it back from my drum repair guy!
 

BonzoBonham

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Hi all,
I know this is an old thread but for the sake of consistency I wanted to post here to keep the story going.
As a few of you may already know, John Siomos' 1970's green Ludwig kit is currently on the Peter Frampton tour that just started. This is Peter's final tour, as he was recently diagnosed with a rare degenerative muscular disease and wanted to finish while he's still at the top of his game. Since this is the final tour, he has brought out John's original green lacquer Ludwig kit to play select songs. Peter's current drummer, Dan Wojciechowski recently did an update in Modern Drummer detailing this.
I have provided John's ride and crash cymbals that I obtained several years ago, which consist of a 22" 60's A. Zildjian ride and a 15" Super Zyn crash. Peter contacted me earlier this month because he wanted to use them, and they are now in his hands (actually Dan's drum tech's hands). The bad news is the ride cymbal has a crack in the bell put there while owned by John...and it has affected the sound. They might use it in a couple of the more special shows during the tour. I have talked to Dan many times and got the following details on the original kit: The sizes were 10" concert tom, 12" and 13" mounted tom, 16" floor tom, and a 24" bass drum. For the current tour, they have brought out the 24-16-12 and they have RIMS type mounts on the two toms. As mentioned several years ago in this thread, the kit was sold with the original cases on eBay circa year 2000. As to whether John sold them himself or through a broker I do not know. Peter eventually ended up with them. By the 2000's the finish was in poor shape, and at some point in time the drums were refinished. Dan indicated he thought they were refinished before Peter obtained them. The drums were re-lacquered in the same green color as they were originally.
I plan to meet up with him when he comes to Kansas City in August and can provide more of an update then. That's all I really know at this point.
Here are two photos sent to me by Dan showing the kit with the ride cymbal.
So the finish is a lacquer, not a wrap then. Interesting.

BJ Wilson had a Ludwig kit done in the same fashion. It was originally a mahogany lacquer, then a few years later he stripped it and had it re-lacquered bright red. Then again later had it re-lacquered for the final time, in piano black.

Wonder if the kit was originally a Thermogloss Maple before it was painted green by any chance? Things to wonder...
 

Rhiannon15

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John quit the business around '79 when he was never properly paid for Frampton Comes Alive. He became an EMT in New York. His co-workers never even knew he was the same guy that was on the biggest selling live album of all time.

I chatted a bit with his wife Barbara after John's death through emails. She told me 2 things I never knew about John. He was the drummer on the very first Carly Simon album and he was the drummer on Hello It's Me by Todd Rundgren.

I also thought they were black for years until I got ahold of a bootleg DVD where you can clearly see the dark green tint.
John was never married to Barbara, though she likes to claim that they were. He was married to Nicole Hagen Siomos, with whom he was with for years. They split in the early 90’s, kept in touch until the mid 90’s, then unfortunately lost touch for the remainder of his life.
 

wflkurt

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I know Ludwig offered a variety of lacquer finishes throughout different periods but I find it kind of odd that they aren't ever listed in the catalog finish options. I don't know if what John had was called emerald green lacquer but I found this picture from the 1967 catalog. Lacquer finish options are available in the 70's but they never say what the choices are. At least I couldn't find it. It looks like most of the lacquer finishes were intended for lower lines like club dates or used on marching drums. No doubt Ludwig would make whatever the customer asked for.


Green Ludwig.JPG
 

bellbrass

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I just revisited this very cool thread after a few years...I wonder where the re-finished drums that once belonged to John are now. I don't know if Peter will ever tour again; I have no idea how his health is holding up, although he still gives interviews and seems to be doing fine.
 

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John has alWAYs been a favorite of mine. He had such a great funky swing to his playing. Check out the mic on the bass drum!
That was a trip down memory lane. Bob Mayo from Rat Race Choir in the group there. Rest In Peace. John was a great drummer. Never understood the Frampton Comes Alive insanity though, cause all these songs were from Frampton's Camel era and those albums did not sell that well before Comes Alive.
 

Deafmoon

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network television would never allow a music act 10 minutes straight now...think of the commercial dollars at stake!
They would not show the musicians for sure. But, if they were allowed to inte
Nice pictures added. I know that there really isn't much out there chronicling John Siomos in terms of pictures. It's a sad story, really...He really got hosed as so many did in that era. A great player who also did quite a bit of high profile studio work as well, who never really made any money from all of that talent. Frampton's management screwed the band over big time and it eventually broke up that "Comes alive" band. They were a terrific outfit and he had the perfect ride cymbal with that out of this world bell! Thanks for adding the pictures.
if you think John got screwed, go read how Tommy Bolins Manager coerced Tommy into signing a Life Insurance policy over to him as the beneficiary! Within a few months of this, Tommy died, the Manager collected and no one ever questioned the Managers involvement til many years later.
 

p83

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That was a trip down memory lane. Bob Mayo from Rat Race Choir in the group there. Rest In Peace. John was a great drummer. Never understood the Frampton Comes Alive insanity though, cause all these songs were from Frampton's Camel era and those albums did not sell that well before Comes Alive.
most people don't know that ''comes alive'' is indeed a collection of three songs each from his 4 studio albums at the time plus a humble pie song. his first 2 solo albums are really good. the first is an all star album (with ringo on drums) and the second is a band album. 3 and 4 are ok. the cool thing was he did not give up on his songs or try to reinvent himself. he just presented what he had done up to that time live and people were now ready for it.
 

bellbrass

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most people don't know that ''comes alive'' is indeed a collection of three songs each from his 4 studio albums at the time plus a humble pie song. his first 2 solo albums are really good. the first is an all star album (with ringo on drums) and the second is a band album. 3 and 4 are ok. the cool thing was he did not give up on his songs or try to reinvent himself. he just presented what he had done up to that time live and people were now ready for it.
And a key factor in the success of Frampton Comes Alive was the use of microphones in the audience. Before that album, crowd noise was secondary to the performance, and even considered by some engineers and producers to be an annoying interference. Somebody behind the desk made the very wise decision to incorporate the audience as part of the experience for Frampton Comes Alive. Heck, you feel like you're at a great big 70s party when you listen to that album. I remember very well what some sections of the audience were shouting to other sections during quiet parts. I don't ever remember hearing that kind of thing on a live album before that.
 

wflkurt

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And a key factor in the success of Frampton Comes Alive was the use of microphones in the audience. Before that album, crowd noise was secondary to the performance, and even considered by some engineers and producers to be an annoying interference. Somebody behind the desk made the very wise decision to incorporate the audience as part of the experience for Frampton Comes Alive. Heck, you feel like you're at a great big 70s party when you listen to that album. I remember very well what some sections of the audience were shouting to other sections during quiet parts. I don't ever remember hearing that kind of thing on a live album before that.

Recording technology had come a long way since the early 60's. I know it was tough to record the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl as the fans were just so loud. I wonder if some of the people behind the desk avoided crowd noise as they probably thought of that Beatles album. It sounds great how they used it on Frampton comes alive though.
 

p83

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And a key factor in the success of Frampton Comes Alive was the use of microphones in the audience. Before that album, crowd noise was secondary to the performance, and even considered by some engineers and producers to be an annoying interference. Somebody behind the desk made the very wise decision to incorporate the audience as part of the experience for Frampton Comes Alive. Heck, you feel like you're at a great big 70s party when you listen to that album. I remember very well what some sections of the audience were shouting to other sections during quiet parts. I don't ever remember hearing that kind of thing on a live album before that.

manager dee anthony is you man. it was his idea to pump up the crowd. he also encouraged frampton to make the crowd part of the show.
 

DolFan54

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That was a trip down memory lane. Bob Mayo from Rat Race Choir in the group there. Rest In Peace. John was a great drummer. Never understood the Frampton Comes Alive insanity though, cause all these songs were from Frampton's Camel era and those albums did not sell that well before Comes Alive.
Most of his studio albums were sort of mediocre. I think some of it had to do with Frampton playing all the instruments on many of the tracks. He had put together the perfect live band for his songs and they really did Come Alive compared to the studio versions. When he did I'm In You everybody couldn't wait to hear it but it fell right in line with his first 4 solo albums, sort of mediocre at least IMO.
 


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