Travis Barker: A Drumming Legend and His Gear

While many drummers prefer to stay behind the scenes, there are a few who manage to captivate audiences and gain the same level of recognition as the other members of their bands. Travis Barker is...

While many drummers prefer to stay behind the scenes, there are a few who manage to captivate audiences and gain the same level of recognition as the other members of their bands. Travis Barker is one such drummer. Known for his energetic playing style, his work with Blink 182, and his ventures into different genres, he has become one of the most prominent musicians of his generation.

Who is Travis Barker?

Travis Barker, born in Fontana, California, in 1975, is best known as the drummer for the American rock band Blink 182. However, his journey to success was not an easy one. Barker honed his skills and tried to make it in the music industry for many years before achieving mainstream fame with the release of Blink 182's iconic album "Enema of the State" in 1999.

Barker's musical journey began at a young age when he got his first drum set at the tender age of four. He took lessons and joined the marching band in high school, playing the snare drum. He also played in jazz ensembles and developed a love for punk rock and hip-hop.

After achieving some success with the ska-punk group The Aquabats, Barker found himself standing in for Blink 182's drummer, Scott Raynor. What started as a temporary arrangement turned into a permanent position from 1998 onwards. Since then, Barker has sold millions of records with Blink 182 and various other projects, touring the world extensively and making a name for himself in the music industry.

Travis Barker's Drum Set and Gear Breakdown

Travis Barker has predominantly played OCPD drums throughout his professional career, but he has recently been using DW drums. It's uncertain whether he is officially endorsed by DW drums, but videos and live performances show him using their gear. The reason behind the switch from his long-term Orange County Drums and Percussion gear remains unknown.

Let's take a closer look at the specific equipment Barker has used, both in his time with Blink 182 and in his other endeavors.

Travis Barker's Cymbals

Travis Barker’s Cymbals Travis Barker utilizes a variety of cymbals to give Blink 182's music depth and decoration during live performances. He is endorsed by the iconic cymbal manufacturer Zildjian, who have released signature sets based on his preferences.

Barker's go-to hi-hats are the 14” A Custom Mastersound set, which produce a crisp, tight sound when closed and can deliver high volumes when played open. He also incorporates an 11” K Custom Hybrid splash cymbal for accenting and variation.

In addition to these, Barker commonly employs three ride cymbals in his setup. The smaller 20” K Ride functions as a crash/ride hybrid, while the slightly larger Brilliant A Sweet Ride cymbal, measuring 21” in diameter, produces a bright and expressive tone. For a powerful and clear sound that complements his heavy rock and punk style, Barker turns to the 24” K Light Ride.

When it comes to crash cymbals, Barker favors the 20" Oriental Crash of Doom, which effortlessly cuts through the mix.

Travis Barker's Snare Drum

The snare drum plays a pivotal role in Travis Barker's style, given his background as a snare drummer in a marching band. Whether he is playing his DW or OCDP set, Barker's main snare head is the Remo Emperor X, typically measuring 14” in diameter. This renowned snare head delivers a crisp, thick sound with a fast attack, making it ideal for rock music. Its durability is also crucial, considering how much punishment Barker inflicts upon it during live performances.

In his hip hop and electronic projects, Barker often opts for a 13” or 10” version of the Emperor, with the bottoms consisting of Ambassador weight heads.

Travis Barker's Drum Kit

Travis Barker’s Drum Heads Until recent years, Barker was commonly seen using a customized OCDP drum set, affectionately named the "Cocktail Kit." This unconventional drum set perfectly suited Barker's unique drumming style. In addition to his cymbals and snares, the kit comprised the following:

  • 15×24” kick drum
  • 15 x 24” floor tom
  • 10×6” tom

More recently, Barker has been spotted using DW drum sets in his videos and during live performances with Blink 182's reunion tour.

Travis Barker's Drum Heads

Travis Barker’s Drum Hardware and Other Gear For a drummer who hits as hard as Travis Barker, selecting the right drum heads is of utmost importance. As mentioned earlier, Barker relies on the Remo Emperor X for his snare, tightly tuned to produce the desired sound.

On both heads of his kick drum, Barker opts for Remo Clear Ambassadors, which he also uses on the batters of his toms. However, for the bottoms of his toms, he prefers Remo's Clear Emperors.

Travis Barker's Drum Hardware and Other Gear

Travis Barker Drum Set and Gear Breakdown Travis Barker is endorsed by DW for his hardware. He chooses the DW5000 single pedal as his kick drum pedal of choice and uses gold-plated hardware from the American manufacturer. His rims are made by Gauger.

Barker has been endorsed by Zildjian for his sticks for many years and uses his own signature Travis Barker Model sticks or the Travis Barker Double sticks. He also incorporates his signature CLS Rock Ridge Rider cowbell made by LP into his live drum set.

Audix microphones endorse Barker, so you'll often see him using their dynamic and condenser mics when recording. He also has his own signature cymbal and drumstick bags.

Bands and Associated Acts

Blink 182 is one of the best-selling rock bands of all time. The longest-serving lineup of the band consists of Mark Hoppus on bass and vocals, Tom DeLonge on guitar and vocals, and, of course, Travis Barker on the drums. The band began its career in 1992 under the name "Blink" and spent the majority of the 1990s building a fanbase and touring extensively. Their breakthrough came in 1999 with the release of their third album, "Enema of the State," which propelled them to mainstream success.

Before joining Blink 182, Barker played drums for the California rock band The Aquabats, where he experienced some commercial success in 1997 and 1998, shortly before his involvement with Blink 182. Apart from Blink 182, Barker formed the rock band Box Car Racer in 2001 alongside Tom DeLonge, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2002. Although the album was a commercial success, it remains their only release to date.

In addition to his rock ventures, Barker has played drums for various hip-hop and rap artists, produced countless tracks, and collaborated with Adam Goldstein under the name TRV$DJAM, releasing the album "Fix Your Face" in 2009.

What Makes Travis Barker a Great Drummer?

Travis Barker may not be the most technically skilled drummer, but his popularity stems from his powerful style, vibrant personality, and innovative drum parts composed for Blink 182 and his other projects. When performing live, Barker effortlessly combines theatrics and technique, striking a balance between putting on a show and maintaining impeccable timing.

His mastery of using cymbals to control the dynamics of a song is especially impressive, providing depth and filling the midrange and treble frequencies in a three-piece band like Blink 182.

Furthermore, Barker's consistency in releasing music over the years has cemented his reputation. His foray into hip hop projects introduced him to a new audience and showcased his ability to play feel-based drums in addition to his signature rock style.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Has Travis Barker Drummed For?

Although Travis Barker is best known for his work with Blink 182, he has played drums for many other artists across a wide range of genres. Some notable acts he has collaborated with include Foo Fighters, Machine Gun Kelly, Avril Lavigne, and Trippie Redd.

Who is Travis Barker's Favorite Drummer and Influences?

Travis Barker has cited Tommy Lee from Mötley Crüe, Alex Van Halen from Van Halen, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, and Danny Carey from Tool as his biggest influences on the drums.

Travis Barker's talent and immense contributions to the music industry have made him a drumming legend. With his unique style and remarkable gear, he continues to inspire and entertain drummers and music enthusiasts worldwide.