The on-going History of FRANKIE
Conceived from a simple suitcase and kick-pedal setup, Ben's live rig has evolved and grown with his performance demands. Nicknamed 'Frankie' in its early stages (after Frankenstein's Monster) for its somewhat cumbersome but effective marriage of percussion and amplification. Built from a vintage Samsonite luggage suitcase, the first piece of the puzzle was how to incorporate a kick pedal into the mix. The Pearl chain drive kick pedal was shortened to adapt for the tight proximity to the drum skin and to keep the pedal hitting in the centre of the small drum head, a 13" TomTom found at a flee market for about $10. Ben took a table saw to the drum and chopped it in half, after which drilled holes into the suitcase and mounted it within. The next step was amplifying the drum as a half a drum sounds about as flat as you'd expect. Opposite to the drum head on the inside Ben mounted a low frequency kick drum microphone that can be plugged directly into the sound board via XLR cable. Inspired by a local ragtime bands ability to setup/tear down in much less time than an average act and the tight time slots of the Open mic lineups, Ben was determined to make his suitcase the whole band. After responding to an online ad, the Marshall Lead 12 that landed inside the case was purchased at a local music shop after spending 30 years inside a Blues studio. Ben immediately got to work dismantling the amplifier and with his brother-in-laws help was able to rewire the speaker inside the the walls of the suitcase.
Frankie was an adaptation that Ben utilized to make himself stand out at local Open Mics and was mobile enough that with a power source could be used for busking, though its only seen the streets of Hamilton once since its conception; Ben and Frankie have performed together at almost every live stage in the city (with no plans of stopping).
Frankie 2.0 might even be in the conceptual phases...