The collection that got so big, it needed its own store

Sometimes, a hobby can get a little out of control.

For Hampton's Paul Owen, his collection got to the point where he needed to downsize, which isn't easy when you collect drum kits. 

"Oh my gosh, at peak probably about 25 kits … it just became an obsession for just loving collecting drums," Owen said.

His basement was full, the kits all carefully packed away in protective covers, and that meant he had no room to display them for prospective buyers. So this month, he temporarily rented a storefront on Main Street in Hampton.

And Paul's Drum Shop was born.

But it's only open until the kits are gone.

Graham Thompson/CBC

"It's just like a big fancy yard sale," said Owen, who has retired from his day job but still plays the occasional musical gig. "All I'm doing is like, I'm not bringing in new stuff to sell or anything like that. This is just my own personal stuff that I'm trying to get rid of."

Owen started collecting drums while playing in bands in the Saint John area, and moved from rock to pop to country.  That's how the collecting started.

"Sometimes when you start playing these different types of music, then you start to realize 'OK, you know, I could probably use a different drum set for this kind of application,'" Owen said.

"And you say to yourself, 'Well, how do I justify that?' Well, if I had one at home, I could have a practice kit at home and one on the go, so I get the phone call, I can go out the door."

That's two kits. How do you get three?

Graham Thompson/CBC

"Then all of a sudden 'But then I've got a practice place to go to, so I need one over there. … Anyway, so it just snowballs."

It also involves "a lot of begging to my wife," Owen jokes.

The kits run from $550 for a small Yamaha starter set to $3,500 for a large Drum Workshop kit that Owen said retails for over $10,000.

But since he bought most of them used, he said, his collection isn't as expensive as it looks.

"If you were to buy one Harley Davidson and dress it to the hilt, it'd be more than I've got in here," he said.

Steven Webb/CBC

Owen said different sets can have remarkably different sounds.

"Birch sounds different than maple, sounds different than oak, sounds different than mahogany," he said, "And not only do the shell wood types make a difference sonically but so do the bearing edges, where the head contacts the shell."

Owen said an experienced drummer will decide on which kit to use based on many factors: the size of the stage, the size of the room, and whether the drums will be miked, along with what style of music is being played.

Steven Webb/CBC

He is keeping three drum kits for himself. Everything else must go.

But Owen admitted it isn't easy to part with his drums.

"The trouble with this it's kind of like, you know, saying so long to someone who's going to move away."

He expects to close up his temporary shop by June.