True Masterpiece: A One-off Innovation/Renovation Drum Co. rebuilt Slingerland Spitfire

Fullerton 9/72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
366
Reaction score
178
Location
Florida USA
Background:

I bought this rebuilt Slingerland Spitfire snare drum from Steve Maxwell several years ago. It belonged to a completely overhauled, white sparkle lacquer, five piece Slingerland bop set, 18,12,13,14, 14 snare. While I didn't want the kit (not my sizes), Steve accepted my offer for just the snare, and it has become the centerpiece of my Spitfire collection ever since. The remaining drums sold soon after, perhaps to someone here.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Innovation Drum Company was in the news a few years back, advertising that they made the world's finest (and most expensive) drums. Stories abounded of well-healed former drummers, now attorneys and bank president's, ordering custom made kits at no-expense-spared rates. The president of the company was (or maybe still is) Stephen F. Badalament. Utilizing materials like titanium, aircraft-grade aluminum, silicon bronze and Michigan hard rock maple in the construction of his drums, Badalament stated in his press releases that his custom-made instrument orders always begin with a one-on-one consultation with the client to discuss specific needs and playing style, and can take a year or more to build. Some of his custom sets went for tens of thousands of dollars, but that was before the crash of 2008. Jazz drummer Lenny White is one of his enthusiastic clients. He wrote of his company's product:

"It’s beyond handcrafted. That’s the easy part. It’s so engineered. We use certain materials for our gaskets so they stop vibration, gaskets inside that retard loosening of any kind. Our tension rods are made of tool steel. Our hoops [rims] are made the same way they make church bells in Europe, so they resonate. They are guaranteed to be completely flat and perfectly round. There are no metal to wood contacts. I don’t do it for aesthetics. I do it for sound. Everything is basically for the sound.”

His sister company, Renovation Drums, restored and updated vintage drums for clients, with similar materials, and for similar prices. He reportedly redid the set Charlie Watts had rebuilt prior to the Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon” tour.

Anyway, this snare is a twelve-lug 5 X 5.5 spitfire, reportedly rebuilt for the client from a 1979 drum. The hardware was all engraved and re-plated, and the shell is a one-ply maple with reinforcement rings, and the finish is a flawless, scratch-less white sparkle lacquer. High quality gaskets all around. Either the shell is new, or it was a heavily reworked Radio King. RK's were listed in the '79 catalog as having had a twelve lug option. But I want to say that it is new. The date (on the silver plaque!) is April 13, 2008. The client was Rich Vertel, apparently a close friend of Mr. Badalament according to the silver plaque, who's name is plastered and engraved all over this drum. I have not found out who this drummer was. Presumably he passed, and his family sold the kit to Maxwell Drums, for nowhere near what it cost to build. This drum looks like it has never been played.

The Drum - one of the most beautiful snares I have ever seen. The indoor light does not do it justice:

0-12 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The plaque dedicated to his friend "with profound love and respect". Note the insulated drum key holder:

0-13 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

TDR strainer:

0-14 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Underside view. Note the solid one piece shell with re-rings. The client's name is custom printed on the head!

0-15 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Color paper labels on the inside:

0-16 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-7 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Two more labels:

0-8 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The silver plaque:

0-9 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Upper and lower hoops are engraved "Slingerland" all around:

0-4 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

"Spitfire" engaging. Its very hard to photograph.

0-10 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The clients name, "Innovation Drum Co.", and "Chicago, Illinois", are also engraved around both hoops.

With Indoor light, it looks silvery:

0-5 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Close up of the badge. The only flaw with this drum is that the new gasket partially obstructs the lettering, and I believe that the gold on black badge is was too early to have appeared on a Spitfire, with was produced from 1979-80 only.

0-6 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

I took these last pictures outside, now it looks whiter:

0 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-1 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-2 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-3 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Did anybody here buy the rest of the kit?
 

Prufrock

Very well Known Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
1,079
Reaction score
227
Location
USA
Incredible drum! Thanks for sharing.
 

Baby

Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
5
Background:

I bought this rebuilt Slingerland Spitfire snare drum from Steve Maxwell several years ago. It belonged to a completely overhauled, white sparkle lacquer, five piece Slingerland bop set, 18,12,13,14, 14 snare. While I didn't want the kit (not my sizes), Steve accepted my offer for just the snare, and it has become the centerpiece of my Spitfire collection ever since. The remaining drums sold soon after, perhaps to someone here.

The Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, Innovation Drum Company was in the news a few years back, advertising that they made the world's finest (and most expensive) drums. Stories abounded of well-healed former drummers, now attorneys and bank president's, ordering custom made kits at no-expense-spared rates. The president of the company was (or maybe still is) Stephen F. Badalament. Utilizing materials like titanium, aircraft-grade aluminum, silicon bronze and Michigan hard rock maple in the construction of his drums, Badalament stated in his press releases that his custom-made instrument orders always begin with a one-on-one consultation with the client to discuss specific needs and playing style, and can take a year or more to build. Some of his custom sets went for tens of thousands of dollars, but that was before the crash of 2008. Jazz drummer Lenny White is one of his enthusiastic clients. He wrote of his company's product:

"It’s beyond handcrafted. That’s the easy part. It’s so engineered. We use certain materials for our gaskets so they stop vibration, gaskets inside that retard loosening of any kind. Our tension rods are made of tool steel. Our hoops [rims] are made the same way they make church bells in Europe, so they resonate. They are guaranteed to be completely flat and perfectly round. There are no metal to wood contacts. I don’t do it for aesthetics. I do it for sound. Everything is basically for the sound.”

His sister company, Renovation Drums, restored and updated vintage drums for clients, with similar materials, and for similar prices. He reportedly redid the set Charlie Watts had rebuilt prior to the Rolling Stones’ “Bridges to Babylon” tour.

Anyway, this snare is a twelve-lug 5 X 5.5 spitfire, reportedly rebuilt for the client from a 1979 drum. The hardware was all engraved and re-plated, and the shell is a one-ply maple with reinforcement rings, and the finish is a flawless, scratch-less white sparkle lacquer. High quality gaskets all around. Either the shell is new, or it was a heavily reworked Radio King. RK's were listed in the '79 catalog as having had a twelve lug option. But I want to say that it is new. The date (on the silver plaque!) is April 13, 2008. The client was Rich Vertel, apparently a close friend of Mr. Badalament according to the silver plaque, who's name is plastered and engraved all over this drum. I have not found out who this drummer was. Presumably he passed, and his family sold the kit to Maxwell Drums, for nowhere near what it cost to build. This drum looks like it has never been played.

The Drum - one of the most beautiful snares I have ever seen. The indoor light does not do it justice:

0-12 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The plaque dedicated to his friend "with profound love and respect". Note the insulated drum key holder:

0-13 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

TDR strainer:

0-14 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Underside view. Note the solid one piece shell with re-rings. The client's name is custom printed on the head!

0-15 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Color paper labels on the inside:

0-16 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-7 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Two more labels:

0-8 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The silver plaque:

0-9 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Upper and lower hoops are engraved "Slingerland" all around:

0-4 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

"Spitfire" engaging. Its very hard to photograph.

0-10 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

The clients name, "Innovation Drum Co.", and "Chicago, Illinois", are also engraved around both hoops.

With Indoor light, it looks silvery:

0-5 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Close up of the badge. The only flaw with this drum is that the new gasket partially obstructs the lettering, and I believe that the gold on black badge is was too early to have appeared on a Spitfire, with was produced from 1979-80 only.

0-6 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

I took these last pictures outside, now it looks whiter:

0 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-1 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-2 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

0-3 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Did anybody here buy the rest of the kit?
Very nice, sure would like to play it!
 

dtk

DFO Star
Joined
Oct 6, 2005
Messages
8,680
Reaction score
488
Location
Needham MA...
wait...you have a spitfire 'collection'....wow...to both the drum and your collection.

I recently flipped a beat COB 5x14...that drum was heavy. I'm kind of fond of the 2 for 1s as well.

Great story-great drum thanks for sharing
 

Fullerton 9/72

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2013
Messages
366
Reaction score
178
Location
Florida USA
I have a NOS, 2-to-1 COB, 5" spitfire. It is heavy as anything. The idea did not originate with Slingerland. There was a Chicago drum maker in the 1920's named Frank Wolf, methinks, that created it. Slingerland just updated it. Modern drummer and Pearl Artist Dennis Chambers brought it back, but updated and up-lugged it, with his signature Dennis Chambers Model - a 12 over 8 lug drum! Here's the original 1979 ad:


0 by Stephen Duffy, on Flickr

Here's Dennis's modern aluminum version:

1588273938505.png
 

Latest posts



Top