Ron Hales Story

In an email I asked Ron Hale for his story with the drums, I asked :-" I  was wondering as to how you came to have two red kits in your collection, and a natural snare? I also notice that you have some tape on the floor tom to control the ringing.


Can I get some more information about how you decided to choose Peavey drums over any other drums?"


He replied "Well... you asked for it!


One day, probably 1995, I walked into Memphis Drum Shop and saw a hidious set of stained purple drums with the word PEAVEY on the bass drum head. I don't play guitar, but anyone in Memphis at that time who used Peavey electronics or instruments were usually made fun of by other musicians.


So I see the drums, my lower jaw drops, and I turned to the (then) owner, and ask, "Why?" He held out a pair of sticks, and said, "Go hit'em". I replied, "I'm not getting behind those ugly...." and was cut off, with him giving me a glare, holding the sticks out further, and repeated, "GO HIT'EM". Reluctantly, I took the sticks, sat behind the kit, and hit the 14" tom. BOOM! I thought, "Holy Shit!" I turned towards Robert, and he's smiling, and nodding his head. I never even asked how much they were, but I left there knowing that if I ever got another set of drums, they would be Peaveys.


So.... time goes by. I got married the next year, and rarely played my Ludwigs. Then, in 1999, I bought a new boat, and decided to sell my drums. My wife was never thrilled with the boat, and when I decided to get a bigger motor, I knew she would have a fit if we used "our" money. So, I sold the Ludwigs.


Time goes by. Then, early in 2004, my wife and I go to a friend's house who is having band practice. Since they were practicing in a soundproof room, we called them on my wife's cell phone when we reached the front door, so that they would know that we were there. So everyone starts chatting, from which I quickly became bored. I turned to the drummer and said, "Mind if I go hit your drums?" He smiled, and gave me his sticks. Knowing that the room was soundproof, I knew that no one else could hear what I was doing. I sat behind the kit, and did nothing for 10 minutes. It felt totally foreign to me to sit behind a drum set, and I quite frankly didn't know how to start. All of a sudden, the guitar player comes back there,   and asks if I wanted to jam with him. "Sure", I replied. "What do you want to play?" We agreed on the Stone's Honky Tonk Woman. I started the count on the cowbell, and from there, it was a complete disaster for me. My hands and feet wouldn't do what I was trying to tell them to do. My wife wanders back, and sees me behind the drums for the first time in probably 10 years, and she is thrilled! You could see it in her eyes. After all, she DID fall in love with a drummer! But she did not notice how badly I was playing them.


We left the house, and she's telling me how well I played, but I am just torn apart inside... knowing that I had "forgotten" how to play the drums. After a couple of days, I get over it.


About a month goes by. We're at my wife's favourite club, when the guitar player comes up to me, and asks me how the Psychic Plowboy reunion is coming along. I looked at him, puzzled, and replied, "What reunion?" He let's out a "whoops", and quickly ducks into the crowd. I'm standing there, trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about. Then it dawned on me..... my wife is trying to put together my band behind my back! (The Anti-Yoko)


The next day, I confronted her about it. She confessed that yes, she was behind it. I looked at her and asked her, "If I do this, does that mean I can buy a new set of drums?" She replied with a smile on her pretty face, "Yes".


I quickly find out that the Peaveys are out of production. Damn! Ebay to the rescue! I start looking for Peavey drums in March of 2004, checking listings every day (I still do this to this day, both, and I also check Vruk pedals. You can definately see my footprints that I leave there). In the meantime, I borrow a friend's set of Pearls, and start trying to get my chops back.


Months go by...... Finally in early August of 2004, I find them.... a blood red, 6 piece set of mint condition Peaveys on a Pearl rack. Starting bid is $2250, with a "buy it now" price of $2500. I notice that I'm only the 2nd person to see them, by the counter at the bottom of the sale page. I then go to work, but these drums are still on my mind. I fire up the computer at work, and check them again...... 5th person on the counter. I go back to work, and about two hours later... I check again. 87th person on the counter. I said, "F&^% it!", and clicked "buy it now"!


We make arrangments to have them shipped out of Niagra Falls, New York. The people there start trying to get me to send them more money for the shipping, saying they had underestimated the price. I was saying a deal is a deal, and that they should stick to the E-Bay contract. They do a partial shipment. A few days later, I get some of the drum kit. I open a box that is VERY well packed, and marked "fragile". Excitedly, I open the box, revealing a beautiful red 12 inch tom. As I start to remove the packing paper, I noticed red paint flakes falling to the floor. My heart sinks. The 12 inch tom has been badly damaged in shipping.


The next day, I called the people in New York, and told them what had happened. They seemed as upset as I was about the broken tom. They asked me what I wanted to do about it. I replied that I would keep the drums, and get FedEx to pick up the rest of the kit at my expense (which ended up being quite reasonable, because a friend of mine worked there). I did manage to collect $400 from the UPS insurance, which was not an easy feat in itself.


So the search for a repair/replacement for the 12" tom begins. I first send the broken drum to The reply is that it cannot be fixed. I find out about a drum restorer in Nashville's Fork's Drum Closet. The reply is that the shell alone would cost about $400, and is not worth repairing, and it would never sound the same again.


Meanwhile, I'm on E-bay, everyday, looking for a replacement. Anyone who bidded on Peavey items would get an e-mail from me, asking them for their help. That's how I got to know so many people who play Peaveys. I did find a black diamond RP-500 to use while I continued the search. That's the grey drum in that video that I linked you to. I combed pawn shops, called music stores in the Memphis, and the Meridan, Mississippi area. I got Robert Hall, the former owner of Memphis Drum Shop and drummer for Jerry Lee Lewis to keep an eye out for one. A friend of mine got one of Jane's Addiction's drummers in on the search in the Los Angeles area. I put up reward signs in my skateboard shop, and in music stores all over town. I contacted Aubrey Fulton at on their drum forum. I even ran classified ads in the Meridian Star, which is the town newspaper where these drums were made, offering a $500 reward for the drum.


Eleven months goes by. NOTHING! I begin to realise that I would have to repair my drum, myself. Online, I met a gentleman name Mark Wilson from Newcastle, who had the same exact kit as me. Same colour, same sizes, same series, and believe it or not, a busted 12" tom resulting from abuse by freight shippers. He told me of a place in New York that could probably sell me a shell. I then wrote Precision drums, and asked if they had 3 ply maple shells. They said yes, and I ordered one. $52 including shipping.


I start to see exactly how this drum should be repaired. Since the bridges (which were intact) were created using a laithe, the old shell would have to be removed on a laithe. I start calling woodworkers throughout the city, trying to find someone with a laithe that would accomidate an object over 15 and a half inches. I finally find a man who works out of his garage in back of his house. That is when I took my jigsaw, and sawed my tom into three pieces, cutting off as much of the old shell as I could. I take the bridges to the man's house, and told him what I wanted done. He said he would try. About a week later, he calls me, and tells me that he could not "chuck up" the drum without it wobbling. He then tells me he has chiseled out the old shell by hand. Once again, my heart sinks. I feel that this guy has ruined my bridges, and my chances of ever repairing my tom.


I have my brand new shell, still in it's box, as I approach the woodshop. He greets me, and shows me his work. Wow. It looks pretty good! I take the shell out of the box, and slide the bridges onto the shell. A perfect fit! My heart soars! This game ain't over yet! Cost: $125.


I continue to get as much informaion as I can from Aubrey Fulton, and one of the former line workers that actually made the drums at Peavey. We discuss different types of glues to use, and how I should apply pressure inside the shell while the glue (Loctite) dries. I'm also trying to find someone who will lacquer my drum. Because Memphis is VERY humid in the Summertime, I was adviced to wait until the Fall to get my drum painted. The humidity would have an adverse effect with the lacquer.


Then in July, I see another red Peavey kit for sale. $1800. It's for sale out of eastern Kentucky (a very scary place to be). I win the drums, and insist on picking up the drums myself. The whole Kentucky road trip is a story within itself, and I'll save it for you at another time. I pick up the drums, and everything is in pieces, and in boxes. No heads are attached, lugs and hardware are in plastic bags. The drums themselves are filthy, covered in cat hair and cigarette tar. These people clearly had no respect for these drums. I put the toms in what cases I have, and make the long drive back to Memphis (700 miles).


I get back home, take out a 10" tom, and started cleaning the drum up. I then held it up to the tom that I had. It was NOT a match. I had just driven almost all weekend, and paid $1800 for a set of drums that did not match mine. Well, what the hell. You really couldn't tell the difference from over 5 feet away.


I was really starting to get frustrated.


Then 2..... yes.... two friggin' days later, I get a call at work from a guy named Keith, who worked a local music store. "Ron" he said, "I got your drum, man. Come on down here and get it." Sure you do, I thought. I went down there, and in the box, from the Peavey factory, was the drum I had been looking for. I was happy, yet kinda pissed off a bit, because I had contacted Peavey, had people who knew Harley Peavey contact him, ran ads in the newspapers.... and this guy finds the drum. He knew a girl that worked at Peavey, who had access to the warehouses, and she found the drum. They also had a red 8" tom that is in the picture with the "Kentucky" kit that's in the background.That picture that I sent you was taken shortly after I received the 8" and 12" toms. That 8" tom is now on Mark Wilson's kit in Newcastle, England.


Still awake? That answers two of your questions: Why I have two red kits, and how I decided to choose Peavey drums.


Now I answer the question on why I have a natural snare. (this one is a LOT shorter)


Mark has never like the bulkiness of his 14" snare, and rarely plays it because of that fact. I knew he was looking for a 13", and I found one. Barely played, almost mint Peavey snare.


I wrote Mark to tell him about it. Since I thought myself the Peavey price expert, I told him that because of it's rarity, size, condition, and the fact that natural drums are the easiest to match colours with, it would go for about $425. The bidding was going for about $200, with the reserve "not met". About two days before the auction's end, I was at home, and quite frankly, had quite a few beers in me. No one had increased the bidding, and my drunken curiousity started taking over. I figured, "Two days left, and it should go for over $400..... (hic), let's see how much the reserve is". I start bidding in $5 increaments, and kept bidding, until the reserve was met.....  $375. I wrote Mark that I knew what the reserve was, and that he could bid on the snare. I then went to bed. I got up the next morning, and discovered that I was STILL the high bidder. I then wrote Mark again, "Dude, I REALLY don't want the drum. Please make a bid on it." Time went by, when I signed on one more time, just before I went to bed. I was still the high bidder. I wrote one more time to plead to Mark to make a bid. He didn't, and I won the drum. Beer and E-Bay are not a good combination! I got the drum, and it was AWESOME. I packed away the original heads, and snare wires, and put some better ones on. It's "crack" is unbelievable! Sorry Mark, I'm keeping it! Your loss!


Last question: Why do you have tape on your floor tom?


The sound tech at the Complex (where the live show was shot) put it on there. Until I put a new head on it, I just never bothered to take it off. I do, however, use Remo Zero-Rings on all my toms. When you hit a tom with a Zero Ring, the ring floats for just a second above the drum, so it doesn't muffle the sound. Then, it settles, "killing" the ring. I lov'em!


I just spent about 3 1/2 hours typing this on Christmas day. I hope all your questions were answered.


One more thing before I go. The older Kentucky kit was different than my first kit because the Kentucky kit's wood was first stained red, then shot with clear lacquer. The newer "first" kit was shot with red colured lacquer. If you look closely, the wood grain shows up a lot better in the older kits, where the colour is more uniform in the newer kits. If you look at the pictures of the green kit on your website, you can see the wood grain very well. It's an older kit, with a badge that has a slight yellowish tint to it. The newer kits have a bluish tint to it, along with patent pending numbers for Austrailia.


Also, and Peavey kits that have tom posts going into the bass drum, and black badges, were likely the last kits made......   and made in Taiwan.


I'll send you more pictures later, but right now, my hands are starting to hurt from typing. This is easily the longest letter that I have written in my life of 45 years.


-Ron Hale

Memphis, TN "