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Friday, 23 April 2010 14:19

So many strange things happened out of the blue in 2009 and all were as a result of me picking up the sticks once again. Friends from school not heard of for 30 years, old band mates from 31 years ago, family friends from 32 years ago, all have been in touch having 'found' me on the internet. The chain reaction of events seems endless and here is another bizarre twist that happened back in November.

Having made the decision to return to playing with a band in September and having been offered the gig with one of the leading Pink Floyd Tributes, Time To Breathe, I suddenly found myself talking in person with Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason just two weeks later!

Nick Mason Of Pink Floyd

Naturally a fascinating experience that enabled me to ask some questions relating to his drumming and their legendary stage show and I have been fortunate to meet with Nick again since to discuss what follows in more detail.

Graham Collins With Nick Mason Of Pink FloydGraham Collins With Nick Mason Of Pink Floyd
Graham Collins With Nick Mason Of Pink FloydGraham Collins With Nick Mason Of Pink Floyd

I was just a few rehearsals into the new show with the band and with lots planned for the future, events took another unexpected twist when I was asked if I was interested in obtaining one of Pink Floyd's very own drum kits? My curiosity was peaked, so I obtained more details and photographs and decided to travel to Wales to check the kit over.

Nick Mason And Gary Wallis The Division Bell Tour 1994

Although it was stated that it could possibly have belonged to Nick himself, my own research quickly showed it to be part of the set used by Gary Wallis on 'The Division Bell' World Tour of 1994 and as featured on the stunning 'P.U.L.S.E' dvd that contained the only official release by the band of a full performance of 1974's Dark Side of the Moon.

Nick Mason  PULSE dvd  - The Division Bell Tour 1994

The kit is a DW (Drum Workshop) kit in Exotic Birdseye Maple with a lacquer finish. Both Nick and Gary had the same kits, although Gary's had a full tom range and at least 4 bass drums in his tour set up.

Nick Mason And Gary Wallis The Division Bell Tour 1994

Gary had apparently flown out to DW and coordinated Pink Floyd's requirements for the tour on behalf of himself and Nick and the drums were some of the first with this lacquer finish. The colour is also apparently unique to the two Pink Floyd kits. Sadly DW's own records are very limited in terms of what the band had.

Nick Mason DW Drum With Roger WatersNick has continued to use his and has it has been seen on stage at a number of special charity shows as well as when Nick joined Roger Waters on stage

After The Division Bell Tour had ended at Earls Court on October 29th, 1994, the kit appears to have been consigned to storage until it turned up at the DrumShack in London.

Top session drummer Paul Beavis acquired one part of Gary's kit from DrumShack around 1995 / 1996, but he had the option to obtain more of the extended kit including one of the DW Gong drums Gary used in his rig.

The section of the kit he purchased is as follows:
10 x 8 440097 (badge)
12 x 9 440039 “
13 x 10 440038 “
15 x 13 440040 “
16 x 14 440041 “
22 x 18 440030 “

After a number of years using the kit, Paul had a few adjustments made by Poole Percussion to lighten his equipment load. Firstly the two largest toms (15" & 16") were converted to floor toms with legs being added, while the second adjustment was in the addition of a DW bass drum tom mount fitting which enabled two double tom stands to be removed from his hardware case.

Paul Beavis DW Drums With Judie Tzuke

The kit has appeared on many recordings and covered many miles on tour as Paul has been the back bone to the likes of Judie Tzuke (Secret Agent (1998), Six Days Before The Flood (Live 2000), Queen Secret Keeper (2001), Drive Live (Live 2002), The Beauty Of Hindsight (2003), The End of the Beginning (2004) ) and Andy Fairweather Low (another Floyd connection there!), while he has also performed with Robert Fripp, Russ Ballard, Leo Sayer, Thea Gillmore, Andy Summers, Toyah, Lisa Stansfield, Robbie McIntosh, Terry Britten, The Waterboys, Alex Parks and Sandi Thom.

Paul was very fond of the kit and only decided to part with it early in 2009 as he was currently using a different kit and felt it could be put to good use in other hands (little did he know!)

It went to Graham Russell Drums who then sold the kit to Simon Adams who played just one show and recorded one album with it for Mary Hopkin's daughter, Jessie Morgan. The album will be produced by her father, legendary music producer Tony Visconti.

Simon kept the kit for a few short months before deciding to down size his drum equipment with a smaller DW kit and that so to speak, is the end of the beginning.
DW Drums Exotic Birdseye Maple

Through my meetings with Nick and additional research, the kit has ended up almost replicating the layout Nick used for the final ever Pink Floyd show at Hyde Park, London for Live 8 July 2005.

I've added a Pearl Icon rack (to mirror the 1994 set up) while I have matched Nick's Paiste Signature cymbal set up with the exception currently of one crash and his custom built Hi-Hats.

Paiste Signature Splash 10"*
Paiste Signature Thin China 14"*
Paiste Signature Full Crash 17"#
Paiste Signature Fast Crash 17"
Paiste Signature Full Crash 18"
Paiste Signature Full Crash 18"
Paiste Signature Heavy China 18"+
Paiste Signature Bright Ride 20"

*Not used by Nick Mason
# To be replaced by a 16" Fast Crash

+Nick also used several custom built cymbals.
Paiste Signature Heavy China 20"
Paiste Signature 15" Heavy Hi-Hats

Nick Mason Paiste Cymbals Live 8

Nick also used a Paiste Signature Heavy China 22" with Roger Waters and a number of Paiste 2002 cymbals have also been used for various shows.

The original built in May Internal Microphone System is still in place in the bass drum and is fully functional making the sound engineer's job a little easier! The only damage to the kit (apart from the odd scuff) is that a repair had to be made to the bass drum after it was allegedly "dropped" by a road crew member with Judie Tzuke which resulted in a spur punching through the shell. However an excellent repair was made and the tone remains unchanged.

May Internal Microphone System

Currently I am using the Mapex Black Panther Aztec steel snare on the kit, but I am looking at other options (once the bank balance has recovered!)

Nick Mason Graham Collins Bird's Eye Of The Bird's Eye

Naturally, Roto-Toms were required and while I had retained my original 10" Remo Roto bought in 1978, I have added Pro Percussion 6,8 & 10 replicas, and also original Remo roto-toms in 14", 16" and 18".

Graham Collins Soundchecks The Pink Floyd DW Drum Kit

Pink Floyd had a large 'e' element in their kits in 1994, so for the Time To Breathe shows, on tracks like 'Learning To Fly', I am using a Roland Octapad SPD-30 which allows me to recreate live the percussion parts played by Gary Wallis, which I then loop before switching back to the DW kit. There were some teething troubles as I was using one of the first Octapads in the UK, but everything is now as it should be. 

Graham Collins The Pink Floyd DW Drum Kit

Nick Mason still retains and uses his kit, which was last seen and heard when he used it for the 'Children In Need' 'All We Need Is Love' charity single recorded at Abbey Road in September of 2009.

Nick Mason DW Drums Children In Need Single 2009

2010 will see 'Floyd on Floyd' as I take the kit out on the road with Time To Breathe, performing a tribute to the classic sound of Pink Floyd and the very tour that Pink Floyd used the DW kit on, the 1994 Division Bell Tour, perhaps now also known as 'P.U.L.S.E' thanks to the CD and DVD archive of the band's final tour.

Graham Collins Soundchecks The Pink Floyd DW Drum Kit

I am sure it will be a very surreal experience recreating such historic moments on the very equipment used on the tour and I can only hope that it inspires my own performance to take it to another level!

Nick Mason Graham Collins DW Drums
Graham Collins The Pink Floyd DW Drum Kit

You can see a video of me playing the kit at my third show after a 25 year break, seen here with Time To Breathe, the classic sound of Pink Floyd. The footage includes some close up shots of the kit during the sound check. You can find out about some of my other projects and drums at or DW Drums at

Time To Breathe - 2010 Promo Click image to play the video





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