Skip to main content

Watch Tool's Danny Carey change a broken drum during a song without missing a beat

Danny Carey playing drums while his drum tech swaps in a new snare drum
(Image credit: Joe Slaby/Instagram)

You know The Grudge. From Tool's third album Lateralus, it's a cornerstone of the band's live set, performed over 300 times since its debut at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA, in May 2001. 

The Grudge begins with one of those drum licks that could only come from Danny Carey, who sets up the The Grudge's stuttering heartbeat before augmenting the song's multiple shifts in gear with melodic snare and tom work and no small amount of mind-boggling skill. 

Under such circumstances, the last thing any drummer needs is for the snare head to break, but that's what happened at a Tool show earlier this year at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Carey isn't phased. He looks down to survey the damage, then over his shoulder at drum tech Joe Slaby, to let him know what's happened. Slaby reaches in, squeezing around his boss to grab the broken drum and pull it from its basket. 

For the next few seconds Carey plays on without the snare, but there's no missed beats or shifts in cadence. And then, on Carey's signal, Slaby reaches back in – no small feat, considering that VK Drums solid bronze snares can weigh up to 10kg – and swaps in the replacement. 

Proof that practice makes perfect, Carey smiles and shrugs his shoulders at the successful conclusion to the mission, reacting as if the breakage were nothing more than an amusing interlude but delighted at its smooth handling. Two professionals at work, nothing to see here, move on. 

As far as slick handling of mishaps go, it's right up there with that time Stevie Ray Vaughan broke a string mid-song, resulting in the world's smoothest guitar changeover. Watch both videos below.

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.