Gear Diary: Kristin Leonard from The Shivas

by Miro Justad


Name: Kristin Leonard

Band: The Shivas

What was your very first drum kit set up like, and how old were you when you got it?

The first drum kit that I used belonged to the first drummer of The Shivas. It was a modern Pearl kit, with standard rock n’ roll dimensions. I used a bass, snare, rack tom, floor tom, high hat, a ride cymbal, and a rock crash cymbal. I was 17 when I started playing on this kit.

Tell us about your basic setup that you have now:

The kit that I play now is the first and only drum kit i have ever owned. It’s a 1956 WFL with a 24″ bass, 16″ floor, 13″ rack, and a matching 14″ snare. I use a vintage Zildjian ride cymbal as well as a rock crash. For a long time I didn’t use a high hat. I use it for a few songs now but I still don’t use it very much. I prefer using my floor or ride cymbal.

When and where did you get this drum kit?

I got this kit from Revival Drums in Portland, Oregon. Revival sells the coolest vintage drum kits and cymbals! I’d love a sponsorship 😉

Kristin Leonard photo by Chris Rod
photo by Chris Rod

Are there any pieces of gear that have stayed with you from the beginning?

I guess my rock crash is the only piece of gear that I have been using the entire time I’ve played drums. I guess because it does the job and hasn’t broken yet.

If you could only hold on to one piece of your kit what would it be and why?

If I could only hold on to one piece of my kit it would definitely be my floor tom because I use it the most. In general I favor the floor tom but I especially like warmness of mine.

Do men frequently ask if you need help with your setting up or breaking down your kit at shows? If so what is your reaction to that/any advice for other female drummers on this topic?

Men don’t ask me if I need help setting up my drum kit as much anymore. It definitely still happens sometimes but not as much as it once did. I don’t really have advice to give to other women who experience this. Just know that you can react however you want to. There’s no right or wrong way to respond and you are allowed to feel however you feel and do whatever feels right.

Check out music and all things Shivas here:

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