Drummer Mike Mesey Builds Chopper Drum Set

July 9, 2010
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Mike Kesey and his chopper drum set
American Greed drummer Mike Kesey sits proudly behind his unique chopper drum set.

Rock & Roll and motorcycles have always gone together, but Mike Mesey has taken this relationship to another level. The drummer for the band American Greed has built a one-of-a-kind chopper drum set from real motorcycle parts.

The drum kit features a fork that is the envy of many a chopper at over 10 feet long. The super-stretched fork rises up between twin bass drums and connects to apehanger handlebars that tower over the kit. Mounted to the ends of each handlebar are titanium Zildjian symbols. The chopper drum kit has a custom-fit leather set resting in front of a 14-inch wide rear fender. The backside comes complete with an 11-inch wide Big Bear custom wheel. Twin six-foot long tail pipes point skyward off the rear and are designed to shoot out fog or flames. The drums are custom painted with black tribal flames over orange and red explosions while the band’s name, American Greed, stands out in big print on the face of the twin bass drums.

“We measured everything so it would be designed just for me, from the custom handlebars that hold the symbols to the frame and seat made specifically for the way I sit at my drums. I’ve been wanting to build this chopper drum set for more than 20 years,” Mesey says. “This is just the beginning of this thing. I’m going to keep adding to it as I have more ideas.”

Mesey enlisted the services of Mark Siddle of Cutting Edge Cycles out of St. Peters, Missouri, to help him bring his vision to life. Cutting Edge Cycles specializes in custom motorcycle projects, but this was even a first for them.

“We had never built a chopper as a drum set before,” says Siddle. “But we’re always doing fabrication for motorcycles so this was a fun project. We just made up the rear section, got the parts together and built our own frame.”

Mesey is currently working on a tour with his band American Greed in support of their debut album, Livin’ the Dream. His resume states that he was a former member of Chuck Berry’s band and the Midwestern classic rock band Head East. And though he’s toured with the likes of Sammy Haggar, ZZ Top, Boston and Styx, he considers the completion of his colossal chopper drum set as one of his greatest accomplishments.

For more information on Mesey’s cool chopper drum kit and American Greed, visit www.americangreedrocks.com.