Many years ago, back in 1989, to be exact, I found myself with a last-minute call to go out with Alice Cooper for the Trash world tour. At one point, early on, it was the middle of winter and we were in Scandinavia playing arenas that were also ice-hockey rinks–needless to say, it was often quite cold. I recall, we were flying into Helsinki during a blizzard and to boot, I was coughing up a storm–no pun intended–so, thinking I had Bronchitis, I went straight to the hospital in hopes of acquiring a prescription to knock it out. Little did I know, I was walking around with a full-blown pneumonia and therefore, in the hospital longer than expected, making me late for the gig. I missed sooundcheck, but got out just in time to go straight to the venue and pretty much straight to the stage–no warm up.
I tell this story because in the beginning of “Billion Dollar Babies,” which was the second song in the set, I would play a drum fill that went from the 6-inch concert tom to the 20-inch gong drum and had me reaching way out for the gong drum in a split second. It was during that reach and hit that I felt ‘something go’ in my right wrist. All I recall was the feeling of an electrical shock surge from my wrist, through my forearm and to my elbow. I got through the gig, but even the slightest touch to my wrist or that area was painful beyond belief. I didn’t know what I was going to do…I couldn’t possibly play in that much pain, and yet, there were several months of shows ahead of me.
I honestly don’t recall how I came to realize that if I squeezed my wrist, I felt no pain at all when striking a drum. That led me to tape up my wrist(s) for the rest of the tour via first wrapping a piece of tissue around my wrist (to save the tape from tearing out my hairs and ripping off my skin) and then wrapping one or two revolutions of duct tape around my wrist–tight enough to stop if from moving too far, but not enough to cut off circulation. For those of you that may have seen Alice’s Trashes The World video, what looks like me wearing wrist bands is really black gaffer tape over white tissue.
Anyway, that got me through Alice’s tour and straight onto the next tour with Satriani, and fortunately saved my wrists, though I did have to go through some deep tissue massage/physical therapy after the tour to eradicate the scar tissue that built up… apparently, I had torn a muscle when reaching for the gong drum, having not warmed up enough while playing a chilly hockey arena in the Scandinavian winter–go figure.
Well, ever since then, I’ve been very conscious of warming up/stretching out and taking care of my wrists (as well as the rest of my body), though to be honest, I have noticed that as I get older, my body handles the wear and tear less and less. In the studio, I can still play for 10-plus hours completely pain free and knock out an entire record if I have to, but onstage, if I don’t have the time to warm up and stretch out, I will sometimes experience a little bit of pain, in the form of an ache in my right wrist/forearm.
Which brings me to WristGrips. As some of you may know, I got another last-minute call recently to jump out on tour with The Musical Box, the premier Genesis tribute band. Getting the call on a Tuesday night, had me on a flight Wednesday morning, once again in the middle of winter, on my way to New Hampshire (brrr) to play the first gig. I did think about taking a roll of gaffer just in case, but remembered having just received a package in the Drumhead mail with a request to review a new product called WristGrips. So, I grabbed the package, put it in my suitcase and headed for LAX.
As expected, it was cold in New Hampshire, lots of snow on the ground, and with no time to rehearse or properly warm up, found myself onstage with the band and ready to play the first gig just a few hours after landing. I did my stretching and warm up, and armed with WristGrips, I felt confident and ready to play the two-plus hour show of heavy prog, and did so with success.
When first taking them out of the package and having a look, what immediately came to mind was, “That metal clip looks like it’s going to hurt.” Well, surprisingly, not at all. When placed properly–if in fact I did so, with the clip running along the side of my wrist–you wouldn’t even know there was anything metal anywhere on the straps.
They were very easy to put on, and very comfortable to wear. They didn’t loosen up or move at all, regardless of the constant and somewhat heavy playing throughout the entire show. They give you a feeling of strength and control, without fooling you into thinking you can over-exert yourself and possibly create injury. As a matter of fact, a plus, at least for me, is they made me more conscious of my grip, which had me using less wrist and more fingers–all those Gary Chaffee exercises paid off once again!
I used them every night on the tour and will be doing so from here on out, as well as in the studio, where I recently found myself recording all day, including one track using left-hand traditional grip, and yes, they work for that too.
To sum it up, I highly recommend WristGrips to anyone, as a precaution and preemptive action against future injury, as well as for anyone that is or has experienced any kind of pain and/or has any wrist issues, and even for someone like myself, that’s trying to avoid a reinjury.
There will always be a pair of WristGrips in my stick bag from now on for live and for studio.
Lastly, I also gave a pair to a friend who’s a mixologist with wrist pain from shaking drinks and cocktails for many years–success!
Why do musicians love protecting their wrists with WristGrips?
– Increased stability, security, flexibility
– Increased endurance and hand strength
– Vibration dampening (important for drummers)
– Increased blood flow and oxygen to wrists
– Decreased swelling and pain
– Decreased pain in carpal tunnel, median and ulnar nerve
– Minimizes and reverses arthritis and tendonitis
– ONE SIZE FITS ALL!
Order WristGrips today and if you aren’t playing longer with decreased wrist pain within 90 days, send them back to us and we will issue you a FULL REFUND!
WRISTGRIPS WRAPS (2 wraps) – $19.99