Dave Clark's Rogers Red Sparkle Drum Kit


This is Dave Clark's Red Sparkle drum set, it was the most important English Rogers set (Rogers USA drums made under licence in the UK by the Ajax drum company of Edgeware, North London), one of the most influential sets of the 60s and the one of the most iconic drum sets of all time.

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These drums were won in a contest and presented to the winner, Carol, by DC in March 1966. (Thanks to John Briggs for this info.)

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Carol gave the drums to her then friend, now partner, John.

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You really couldn't wish this kind of good luck on a nicer couple. I phoned them out of the blue when I found out about this story and they were happy for me to come and take a look.This is the only drum set that John has ever owned. He has made good used of it through the years playing in a variety of groups but has taken excellent care of it, keeping it in the original cases.

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Although he uses it rarely these days he is still very attached to it.
John's set was DC's original Red Sparkle Rogers which he used for European appearances between mid 1963 and early 1966.
The drums are in great condition. I couldn't see any fade in the wrap although there were some dark spots. Each of the drums still has it's own English Rogers logo still intact, which is rare as they are very fragile. All other parts are intact apart from the front bass drum hoop, Ts and claws which have been lost. Thankfully John has never felt the need to drill holes in the drums, as so often happens, and in doing so has preserved a piece of rock history.

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All the drums have a serial number of 78*** which places them in August/September 1963, apart from the floor tom which has a serial of 81001 which places it around December 1963. I think that this difference in date can be explained. Photos of the DC5's concerts show that they had some floor toms set up at the front of the stage. It looks like DC came forward and used them at some point in the show. Early on, these floor toms were in Red Sparkle the same as DC's drum kit. The band were carrying around at least four 16x16 floor tom toms. So, it wouldn't be surprising if at some point these got mixed up, or maybe DC choose the "sweet" one for his own set. This means that we can say with some confidence that DC's set is dated August/September 1963.
There are some factory custom touches to this set. The collet plates on the bass drum are not in the usual locations.

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The collet on the players left is in the usual factory location, and as here, would normally have been a straight collet. There would then normally have been an angled collet on the other side of the drum for the disappearing cymbal holder. Every other English Rogers bass drum that I have ever seen has had this configuration even though other fittings may have been added later. In the case of DC's bass drum, the angled collet has never been fitted and instead a straight collet has been put top and centre for the extra tom tom. This is clearly factory custom. There is no reinforcement plate inside the bass drum as you would normally find with ER. The two mounted toms have Ajax dampers/mufflers. This is unusual for ER and would probably been at customers request. There is no damper in the floor tom, which again sets it apart.
In order to get the toms close together on top of the bass, DC swung them round so that the collet plates on the toms were almost facing him. This pushed the toms much further over the front of the bass than most drummers would be comfortable with and meant that he had to push his snare far forward to get close to them. The swivo tom arms still have all their screws (although only two per arm are really needed), and the swivo arms are both standard length.

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There has also been some after-factory customising as well. There are 6 or 7 pairs of small holes around the shell. The execution of these is a little untidy and there appears to have been a small plate that was held onto the inside of the shell at these locations.
There are also a couple of chrome headed bolts in the bass drum. Thanks again to JB for pointing out that DC had flashing lights in his bass drum in the early tours. (However, I should have showed these photos to my Mum and Brother, as they both have vivid memories of those flashing lights from when we saw the DC5 as a family in 1964.)

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This is one of the inner pages of the English Rogers 1964 catalogue

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Inside the catalogue was a postcard itemising DC's setup.

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DC's endorsement deal with English Rogers would appear to have started in August/September 1963, with his "photo" appearing in the catalogue in 1964. Does that seems a little hastily produced? A silhouette inserted in an already prepared catalogue maybe, and details on a separate piece of paper. Drum catalogues were probably prepared many months in advance.
Incredibly Ajax never pushed home their advantage in making available any twin tom outfit in the English Rogers range. As a company they had a long history of two toms on the bass drum right back to the 40s. In the US the Dave Clark Londoner set-up as it became known was hugely popular. Ajax it would appear missed the boat.



Other Sets in the UK
I am been reliably informed (thanks again to JB) that this photo was taken on 2nd September 1964 at Borehamwood film studio, north of London while filming "Get Yourself A College Girl."
The group were on a summer season at Blackpool and were flown by Dick Emery (British TV star) in his private plane for the filming ( they returned the same night). The set was probably supplied by the film company as it would have been impractical to transport the drums in a light aircraft. This is an English Rogers Red Sparkle but it is not the same set that John has. The differences are: no dampers in the toms, no collet plate top centre of the bass drum, black bass drum hoops, Ajax stands as opposed to the swivo stands that DC normally used.and although there are a lot of photos on the net of this set it looks like DC may only have used it for one day.
There are a small number of photos on the net showing DC playing some other English Rogers sets but the main successor to John's set would appear to be the White Pearl set with the beavertail lugs of which there are plenty of photos on the net and DC appears to have used right up to 1970.

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Other sets in the USA
My understanding is that this was the first appearance on the Ed Sullivan show.

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/74257888/Michael-Ochs-Archives

If you were in the USA and ordered a DC bass drum from Rogers USA between 64 and about 66, this is what you would get.

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Note the symmetrical angled collet plate positions. When set up this would look like this. These are not standard positions for collet plates.

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If you look at the photos and video of the DC5's first appearance in the USA it does appear that this is exactly what DC was playing. That would tend to tell us that Rogers had this setup prepared for DC before the band first arrived in the US.
Rogers USA introduced the Dave Clark Londoner outfit in their 1967 catalogue. This had two toms mounted on the bass drum using their new swiv-o-matic duel tom holder and was shown in Red Sparkle.

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Clearly John's set along with the slightly later US versions were the inspiration for The Dave Clark Londoner. The Rogers/Ajax deal had come full circle
It wasn't only DC who played this set.................

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It may be that DC was not the most gifted drummer around in the 60s and it may also be that he didn't make much use of the extra tom toms on this drum kit, but despite that, this drum kit represents a milestone in the evolution of the rock drum kit. DC was not the first drummer to put two toms on his bass drum, and the same set-up had been offered by some drum manufactures, but with the success of the DC5 this set-up was popularised. Once DC had done it, it wasn't long before others added extra tom toms to their sets. By the end of the 60s Ringo had two toms on his bass drum, and through the 70s and 80s more and more tom toms became the norm. Most sets bought off the shelf these days would be expected to have two toms on the bass drum. Interesting to think that all this may have come about simply because Rogers drums were being produced just down the road from where DC was based.



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