Roger Whitsett: How I use e-drums on stage

I’m the drummer for the Pizazz Band. We are a regional touring band. We play a variety of music. My band plays anywhere from 50 to 60 shows a year.
We run a “quiet stage” with no amps, monitors, side fills or acoustic drums. We use a Behringer X-32 digital sound system for FOH and personal monitor mixes. Everyone has in-ear monitors and iPads to have their own personal monitor mix.
In my band, I use a full electronic kit based on a Roland TD-50 module and low-volume acoustic hi-hats. This kit will be replaced with a Roland VAD 706 Gloss Cherry Finish Kit.
I run seven direct outs to FOH. I run a left and right ¼” feed from my module to my mixing board. One of the reasons why I purchased my Roland TD-50 RW kit is I can have two totally separate mixes, one to FOH and my own personal mix. I can add effects or change the levels of my drums without affecting the FOH mix. I haven’t had any issues with this kit playing shows – other than replacing the occasional audio cord. I’ve used this kit indoors, outdoors in hot, cold and muggy/steamy weather and it has held up to the task. I have yet to see any bands that we normally play with, including national acts, use a fully electronic kit. Most drummers that I have talked to are concerned about the reliability and durability of the e-drums – and the cost!!! The other issue is the Roland “sound”. Some people think that the drums won’t sound “real” enough. If you take the time to set up the module properly, you can get great sounds from it. I’ve received a lot of compliments for the way that my drums sound.
There are still a lot of acoustic drummers and e-drummers who think that these drums are not “real” drums and can’t take the abuse of the road. As with any electronic musical instrument, you have to take care with them and they will perform.
Some drummers think if you lose power, then you can’t perform – and that’s true to a point. But the same thing can happen with a sound system, amps, monitors, guitars, bass and keyboards!
Also you have to have good, reliable equipment. If you are considering going the full-electronic kit route, try to get the best equipment money can buy. It can save you a lot of grief in the long run. I chose Roland V-Drums because of reliability, durability and quality. A lot of the places that my band plays at don’t have fully stocked music stores that carry electronic drums, so I have to have equipment that can stand up to the rigours of the road.
My Roland V-Drums allow me to play at the same velocity as my acoustic drums. I don’t have to worry about my drums being “too loud”! I have access to hundreds of sounds that I can use at my disposal. I can create different kits for the different genres of music that I play. I don’t have to worry about the sound of my drums changing because of the environment that we are playing in. My drum sound is the same at every show. Also it is less work for the sound person to dial in my drums at every show. My band normally sound-checks two or three songs and we are ready to perform.
I use my SPD-SX pad for percussion sound and our band’s introduction before we start to play. I also use my sample pad to sample different sounds from songs that we are going to perform. I do believe that one of the reasons why my band stays busy is because of the use of my e-drums. It is my hope that more drummers will start to use e-drums more at shows.

Roger’s rig
Roland TD-50 RW kit and a Roland SPD-SX SE sample pad
Zildjian 14” L-80 hi-hats miced with a AKG C310 mic.
2 x 16” CY-RT cymbals
2 x 15” CY15-R cymbals
CY-18” R digital ride cymbal
CY-5 cymbal
2 x PD-105 10” toms
2 x PD-125 12” toms
PD-14DDS digital snare
KD-A22 kick drum converter pad
2 x BT-1 bar triggers
Yamaha 12-channel mixer
MEE Audio MX7 in-ear monitors
Apple iPad (for personal monitor mix)
Gilbraltar/Tama drum rack modified for use with my Roland V Drums.
All drums are encased in ATA Flight Cases.