L.A. Percussion & Backline Rentals

L.A. Percussion & Backline Rentals consulting | eclectic, world, orchestral perc | emil richards studio collection | backline | staging BY APPT ONLY. Please call 310.666.8152. High-end orchestral percussion, drums, drum sets, ethnic percussion, and eclectic percussion for rent.
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Operating as usual

08/23/2021

Another studio percussion instrument that’s
had a long history in recordings via Emil Richards. A good part of his collection is here at LAPR. This is the lujon.

Lujon consists of metal tongs suspended inside a box; under each is a resonator. Emil often played it with a soft mallet. Although lujon was used in many types of films, it was notably used in underscoring chase scenes.

Some composers who wrote for lujon include Jerry Goldsmith, Henry Mancini, Gerald Fried, Dave Grusin, and John Williams. Bruce Broughton used it in Silverado (1985).

Orchestrally, it’s called for it Henze’s Orpheus: Apollo Trionfante, and Berio’s Circles, and Rouse’s Gorgon.

Emil bought his lujon (that you see here) simultaneously with Shelly Manne from craftsman Bill Loughborough in the 1960s.

Here Abby is giving it a quick spin with fingers; it can be played with a number of different implements that dramatically change its sound. The pitches can be tuned a bit with an allen wrench, although the instrument needs to be treated delicately.

08/20/2021

Part 4: We took delivery of Emil Richards’ studio instruments in a couple of phases. Around this time, LAPR owner Abby embarked on interviewing him. This would end up being a few hours of recorded phone calls about his instruments and their origins, how he used them, how composers used them, and some of the recordings they were in.

Understandably, since he’d played on over 2,000 recordings over 50 years, it was an overwhelming task for Emil to recall what each instrument was used in. (Some of the interview would include him reading off cartage orders for different films.)

Abby was intrigued about these instruments that were now in our possession, and made a list of films that he had mentioned, plus others listed on his website, and started actively listening to the scores with headphones. This went on for a few months, and we made the decision to put the results of her findings, linked with the time of appearance, and with other details, on our LAPR instrument website.

It definitely put a smile on our faces to suddenly hear one of these instruments pop out (or peek out) in the soundtrack! Our favorite was discovering that Emil’s / our rub rods were prominent in the DeLorean reveal in Back to the Future. It started becoming real, and our sense of ambassadorship for this incredible, historic collection was growing.

(Video: Abby playing Emil’s / our rub rods in one iconic part of Back to the Future + the film 🎥)

08/20/2021

Part 4: We took delivery of Emil Richards’ studio instruments in a couple of phases. Around this time,
LAPR owner Abby embarked on interviewing him. This would end up being a few hours of recorded phone calls about his instruments and their origins, how he used them, how composers used them, and some of the recordings they were in.

Understandably, since he’d played on over 2,000 recordings over 50 years, it was an overwhelming task for Emil to recall what each instrument was used in. (Some of the interview would include him reading off cartage orders for different films.)

Abby was intrigued about these instruments that were now in our possession, and made a list of films that he had mentioned, plus others listed on his website, and started actively listening to the scores with headphones. This went on for a few months, and we made the decision to put the results of her findings, linked with the time of appearance, and with other details, on our LAPR instrument website.

It definitely put a smile on our faces to suddenly hear one of these instruments pop out (or peek out) in the soundtrack! Our favorite was discovering that Emil’s / our rub rods were prominent in the DeLorean reveal in Back to the Future. It started becoming real, and our sense of ambassadorship for this incredible, historic collection was growing.

(Video: Abby playing Emil’s / our rub rods in one iconic part of Back to the Future + the film 🎥)

Part 3: The process of working out our whole deal with Emil happened over about a year. During this time, he and Celeste...
08/16/2021

Part 3: The process of working out our whole deal with Emil happened over about a year. During this time, he and Celeste, his wife, visited us and went to sushi a few times, and of course, our warehouse.

It was during these dinners when we learned about some of his desires for the development of his renowned Collection.

A little context: his instruments vary from Western chromatic tuning, to microtonal, to unpitched, to more sound design-esque. They were from many cultures, and some were tuned sets that didn’t usually come in tuned sets (like satellite drums or sleigh bells). The ones we chose were mostly the ones he was known for: the one-of-a-kind, eclectic instruments. After all, we already had a good selection of standard orchestral and some world percussion at that point.

So, even though these instruments made many “appearances” in film / TV / albums over the decades of his working in the studios, it was Emil’s belief that more could be done with them - and what he meant was in their orchestration. He felt like they were often written for in a novelty sense, out front. But they could be treated more texturally as well, like other instruments are.

(We do remember him pointing out that Lalo Schifrin was one of the composers who actually wrote for them more texturally.)

Furthermore, he noted, little exploration had been done in terms of “marrying” (this was his word) these sounds together. There was so much yet to be developed in just the acoustic percussion realm.

These were such interesting conversations, and us, both being CalArts alumni and of this envelope-pushing, artistic mindset, latched right onto these concepts. This enlightenment would ultimately set us on a unique path in percussion.

Pictured: 1) Dan, Emil, and Abby w/ the lujon; 2) Emil playing his water chimes at our warehouse; 3) Emil playing glass marimba while Abby and our youngest look on.

08/14/2021

Part 2: After that initial shocking phone call from Emil Richards where he told us he chose us, we agreed to meet with him in person. His instruments were in storage at one of the cartage companies here in LA, and in order to figure out what would be good to add to our collection, we'd have to comb through piles of them (!).

Even though we are percussionists and collectors, we still had to view this somewhat from a perc rental company lens. We didn't need all of his instruments; some were ones we already, for example. Since we have always bootstrapped our company as a small family business, we also had to make some considerations for pricing.

But what was really cool is that he gave us first choice for almost every instrument in his collection.

And so, after multiple days, we were able to choose some of the instruments in his collection that were quite eclectic, rare, and useful:

Chromatically tuned anvils. An 1800s Schunda cimbalom that was used in the Mission Impossible theme. Rub rods, a mystical sound in many films from the '80s-'00s. The metal angklung, an antique chromatic instrument that played a big role in Lost and many other Michael Giacchino scores (featured in video; this was taken from one of these selection meetups).

And about 70 other instruments, each of which could produce dozens of different sounds with a variety of rubbing or striking implements.

Part 1: One of the landmarks in our small business was the day Emil Richards called us up because he was mostly retiring...
08/12/2021

Part 1: One of the landmarks in our small business was the day Emil Richards called us up because he was mostly retiring and looking for a new home for his renowned studio percussion collection.

We had barely spoken to him before but we must’ve had a reputation… 🤔

Emil was probably the most recorded percussionist; he has played on over two thousand movies, TV shows, and albums. He played the xylo part in The Simpson’s theme, bongos in Mission Impossible theme song, and the finger snaps in the Adams Family theme song as well, just to give a few examples.

He was just as known for his eclectic but useful instrument collection as he was for his role in the studios. He was a pioneer, working with many esteemed composers pre-production to come up with new percussion sounds. They’d call him up and ask what he had that’s new that they could use on an upcoming project.

So here we are, this husband and wife team of percussionists with this small business of about six years. We were constantly reinvesting to build our instrument collection, so we had new instrument deliveries almost every day at that point. It wasn’t such a big deal to get new gear anymore, tbh.

But one day in 2010, Emil Richards calls us up and tells us that he wants us to be the future owners and ambassadors of his collection. That he wanted to keep his collection together as much as possible, he didn’t want it in a museum, and that he wanted it to live on (and be further developed) in Los Angeles. By us.

That was a show-stopper. ✨ 🎥

Added a new tag to the Sound Search 🔍... by popular demand… sort out the big drums! And because it’s a Sound Search, it’...
08/05/2021

Added a new tag to the Sound Search 🔍... by popular demand… sort out the big drums! And because it’s a Sound Search, it’s about, well, the way they sound. So, some of these drums look smaller but sound hella big. 🧏🏻‍♀️ We combed through them for ya. 👏🏽 😊 go to lapercussionrentals.com > sound search (at top) [make sure you make it plural ‘rentals’ so you don’t end up ahem, somewhere else.]

Added a new tag to the Sound Search 🔍... by popular demand… sort out the big drums! And because it’s a Sound Search, it’s about, well, the way they sound. So, some of these drums look smaller but sound hella big. 🧏🏻‍♀️ We combed through them for ya. 👏🏽 😊 go to lapercussionrentals.com > sound search (at top) [make sure you make it plural ‘rentals’ so you don’t end up ahem, somewhere else.]

08/03/2021

Our chromatic set of log drums has officially been restored! These are from Emil Richards’ renowned studio percussion collection. Thank you to @rusticpercussion for taking this on! 💗

07/29/2021

Piano guts - just a handful of sounds here in a few seconds. They are able to handle a wide variety of implements, allowing a huge range of possibilities. From Emil Richards renowned studio percussion collection here at LAPR. ✨🎥

07/27/2021

We matched up this set of chromatically tuned angklung that we have from Emil Richards to the Klingon Theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Emil collaborated with, and played for, Jerry Goldsmith on many of his scores. He and Jerry would meet at his warehouse and tinker with sounds. At this point, this set of angklung had probably recently been acquired by Emil from a Baptist church (he told us it was in the 1970s) and this film came out in ‘79.

And, the other news is that we just put them on stands, upside down and with bungee to make them quickly rebound (as opposed to swinging around). This setup, called angklung toel (‘towel’) was an idea that we got from watching videos from Indonesian players, and it makes playing multiple notes by one person much easier.

Two more sets from Emil will be put on stands soon!

(Thank you Rustic Percussion for the build and the cool video demo!)

07/23/2021

It’s like a musical saw, but narrower and thicker. That’s probably why this instrument from Emil Richards was dubbed by him as the ‘giant flexatone.’

07/15/2021

Fixing bamboo angklung - Angklung crack over time in this dry LA weather. After we got Emil Richards’ angklung (multiple sets - this is just one) it was important to us to restore and tune them.

This set of angklung was most likely in Planet of the Apes btw! 🦍 🦍

So I was trying to figure out how to fix these splits, because I wasn’t able to clamp anything. Not only is the frame often in the way, but the angles that these tubes need to be held at are extremely precise, they’re all different, and somewhat fragile.

What could I use that would bind two pieces of bamboo together, quickly, while I held it in place with my hand?…

…Model race car tire glue combined with a rapid setter. It’s a little flexible and bonds immediately. It works astonishingly well.

We are about to put this chromatic set of Emil’s angklung on stands for easier playing by one person (woo hoo!) so we’re going through the set once again and fixing and tuning. This is just one angklung, obviously, as this set spans over two octaves. 🎞

07/14/2021

The other set of rub rods - they are square shaped and hollow (as opposed to round and solid). They are a little drier and more pure. ✨

07/04/2021

Happy Fourth. Took this video of ours from a few years ago and gave it a soundtrack. 👍🏽 Be safe out there!

06/23/2021

Check out this rack of angklung - setup upside down, chromatically, and with bungee material to keep them from swinging around. It’s called angklung toel (pronounced, “towel”). Love the ingenuity to make this an even more versatile instrument for a single player! (And being able to share these ideas over the internet!) You see this angklung toel setup more in Indonesia and we are looking to do the same with some of our angklung here at LAPR. Just makes sense! Stay tuned…

Video from @kbritokyo Indonesia in Japan.

06/02/2021

The extended version of this amazingness… um, wear headphones, but turn it down…

05/29/2021

Hilarious.

05/19/2021

(5/5) Short improvisations highlighting different implements on stone and glass marimba, together. My favorite discovery is the ribbed sticks in one hand while hitting with the other hand. A little edgy (lol) but interesting.

05/17/2021

This is the Beat Seat. Multiple snares, including another very accessible snare panel that’s quite responsive. Free up the hands. It’s pretty comfortable to play, too! Side note: Different shoes = different bass timbres. 😉

05/13/2021

It’s all true. 😎 More where that came from! And more to do and explore with these famous, underground instruments.

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26450 Ruether Avenue #208
Santa Clarita, CA
91350

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L.A. Percussion & Backline Rentals there’s something in Colorado waiting for you to pick up🤣
Earlier this week my new Facebook friend and studio vocalist/musician Ed Zajac was so kind as to notice a little piece I wrote last year for a L.A.P.R. Composers soirée and took it upon himself to record a new performance of it. So I thought I would create a quick scene mash-up since it was originally inspired by one of my all-time favorite films "Amelie". Thanks again, Ed and also to Dan and Abby Savell over at L.A. Percussion & Backline Rentals who gave me a reason to compose it in the first place.
Lol! I always thought Henley was singing "TIMPANI twisted"!!!
You wouldn’t happen to have a contra bass triangle would you?
You are cordially invited to join our new site for European Tambourines and Frame Drums. This group is intended to be an educational and information sharing forum on tambourines, mostly hand played, jingled drums from the European continent. These include the Italian tamburello and tammorra, the Spanish pandero and adufe, the traditional Irish bodhran, the Ukrainian buben, the Greek tympanon and dafli, the French, English, and German Orchestral and Folk Tambourine, as well as the many other local European frame drum traditions. We do appreciate other frame drum traditions but want to maintain our focus here on European models, their makers, history, playing techniques, and social contexts. https://www.facebook.com/groups/259631881402753/
Aww Damn!
Dan thanks for supporting the Vibe Summit once again