Vintage drum gift fuels a Windsor girl’s classic rock passion

A Slingerland branded drum set from the 1970s is proving to be the perfect gift for 11-year-old Windsor musician Addi Bonadonna.

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Few 11-year-old girls would be excited about a 1970s Slingerland drums.

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But Windsor’s Addi Bonadonna – who grew up on a classic rock music diet like Fleetwood Mac and Pink Floyd – is thrilled and grateful to play on her new drums.

“I like them a lot,” said Addi, who has been playing drums since the age of five. “They sound a lot bigger and better than the ones I had before.”

The drums were given to Addi last week after a long restoration process by John Burrows, the father of Windsor rock musician Jeff Burrows of The Tea Party.

John Burrows said the original kit owner, the late John Jeffs, donated the drums to him with specific instructions.

“He didn’t want to sell them at all,” Burrows said. “He wanted me to restore them, clean them, make them playable, then pass them on to someone who would make the best use of them – someone who deserves it.”

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11-year-old Addi Bonadonna plays her newly acquired Slingerland vintage drums outside her home in Windsor on August 30, 2021.
11-year-old Addi Bonadonna plays her newly acquired Slingerland vintage drums outside her home in Windsor on August 30, 2021. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

John Jeffs died in July.

Burrows estimates that the restoration required more than 100 hours of work. “Oh my God, I spent weeks on it,” he said. “Dip the parts in WD-40, scrub them with a wire brush. This is a 50 year old kit.

The Slingerland brand was built on its popularity among jazz drummers in the 1940s, but the name continued to grow in the rock and roll era of the 1960s and 1970s.

Burrows knew Addi from fixing his bass drum pedal earlier this year. The young girl thanked him by recording a video message expressing her gratitude.

“I thought it was really cute,” Burrows said. “So I was working away, and that’s when it hit me: nothing would sound better to play 70s music than 70s drums.”

“These Slingerland seashells are simply beautiful. They sing. You hit those toms, they have this nice, deep resonance. And the trap is also a killing … Snap and boom! “

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Last week Addi’s father John Paul Bonadonna took her to Burrows for a visit, where she was introduced to the drums – then announced the new surprise that she now belongs to him.

Along with rehabilitating the entire ensemble, Burrows personalized Addi’s drums with his name, the name of the original owner, and the logo of the group Addi plays in: Leave These Kids Alone.

A five-member group aged 11 to 17, Leave These Kids Alone has a repertoire made up exclusively of classic rock hits. Addi’s older brother Alex, who plays lead guitar in the band, worked on the mastering of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain.

What about Addi’s favorite song to play right now? Come sail by Styx.

“There is a lot of drum roll. I can show the sound of the drums, ”she explained.

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John Paul Bonadonna helps his daughter Addi set up her battery outside their Windsor home on August 30, 2021.
John Paul Bonadonna helps his daughter Addi set up her battery outside their Windsor home on August 30, 2021. Photo by Dan Janisse /Windsor Star

John Paul Bonadonna takes pride in raising his children with an appreciation for musicality and history from the golden age of rock.

“This is where you can hear the instrumentation. It’s not just what I listened to growing up, it’s timeless stuff. There’s a reason Here Comes the Sun is one of the most downloaded songs on iTunes, ”Bonadonna said.

“This era will never be passed. And if you want to play real instruments – guitar, drums, bass, keyboards – this is the music to emulate.

Leave These Kids Alone will perform live for free this Friday at Belle River at Lakeview Park Amphitheater (River Street) starting at 6 p.m. Discover the group online at www.facebook.com/kidsaloneband.

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