Following on from the WORLD’S BIGGEST DRUM blog, I thought this drum was another interesting example to fill in another part of the jigsaw in this ongoing human quest for the biggest drum ever.
Although it has been overshadowed in recent years, at the time this drum held the title as the World’s Biggest Drum, as certified by the Guinness Book of Records and seen on Roy Castle’s UK Record Breakers TV show in 1987.
Designed by East London Supreme Drum Co. proprietor Lou Dias, with wood working expert Frank Cahill at his side, together they built the ‘Supreme Drum’ using laminated strips of wood that were bent and joined together. The result was a shell with a diameter of 12 feet and 9 inches, and a height of 4 feet. Each part of the shell consists of 6 layers of Finnish Birch plywood to form a 1 inch thick piece of wood. The wooden counterhoop was also 1 inch thick as well as 4 inches deep.
Unfortunately they couldn’t find an animal who was willing to supply such a large surface area of his skin so they created one by stitching together strong sail cloth from Southampton that could withstand the ton of pressure that the lugs would apply to it.
This drum surpassed the other large drums such as the drum at Disney Land, which sat 10 feet and 6 inches in diameter, and the Boston Jubilee Drum at 12 feet in diameter.
The first performance of this new largest drum was held at London’s Royal Festival Hall with such audience members as ELP’s Carl Palmer, Status Quo’s Jeff Rich and world renowned percussionist and author James Blades.
Carting this drum around was not for the feint hearted as it had to be dismantled every time it was transported.