Sit on your trap case!

Daniel Glass’s podcast conversation with Brooks Tegler reminded me of the old days when drummers sat on their trap cases and a cushion. I learned in the podcast that Gene Krupa was the first to sit on a purpose-made drum “throne,” which in his case was a “box throne” designed at the urging of a concert promoter who didn’t like the look of Gene sitting on his trap case. The box throne was never put into production, but was followed by the canister throne that was—I learned—initially open at the bottom, but later turned into a . . . trap case! . . . by putting a bottom on it and putting clasp hinges on the lid. I still like the minimalist beauty of just sitting on the trap case. Here are two photos of the great Kenny Clarke sitting on his trap case. The first might make you think that this was only done in rehearsals or recording sessions when the drummer didn’t want to haul a lot of gear, but the second one is clearly a performance. As for not wanting to haul a lot of gear . . . who needs a lot of gear, eh Kenny? Bass, snare, hats, one cymbal—done!

Here’s Krupa himself, sitting on a trap case:

And here he is again, sitting on what appears to be that custom-made box throne, wrapped in white marine pearl to match his drums:

4 thoughts on “Sit on your trap case!”

  1. Great stuff Eric. Worth noting that the trap cases of the ’30’s and ’40’s were more like heavy duty (hinged/top-opening) suit cases as compared to the later (strapped) models. Even so, (as I still use a couple of them myself), they made great seats too…..(with just the right cushion, of course)…HA!
    Gene even used a thick cushion on his canister thrones as well. Life-long back ‘issues’…

  2. Dear Daniel and Brooks,

    Great to hear from you! And Brooks, thanks for explaining about older trap cases—that resolves the little bit of doubt I had about the first photo of Krupa. The case he’s sitting on looks like exactly what you describe.

    As for back issues, I have been (so far) free of those, but I have often meditated on the fact that both my profession (English teacher) and my hobby (drumming) involve lugging around ridiculously heavy items—either boxes of books, or drum hardware. Why, oh why, didn’t I take up the flute?



  3. Interesting 🤔 I’m a gene Krupa fan, drummer fan. 👍 🥁🥁🎼🎶🎵
    – Mark Silva
    Tampa, Florida

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