Eleven years ago Col Hatchman broke the Guinness World Record and became the Loudest Drummer in the World. When I asked him how he did it, he explained “there wasn't anything I did that night, that I don’t do every time I perform a show.”
Cols record was an earsplitting 137.2 dB (decibel). To understand what a grand achievement this is, it’s imperative to understand what a decibel is. A “Decibel” is a measurement of volume and pressure produced by something or someone. Like the speed of a car is measured in kilometres/miles per hour, the volume of sound is measured in decibels. The interesting thing about decibel levels is the way that it scales up. For instance, 90dB is 4 times as loud as 70dB, but 100dB is 8 times as loud as 70 dB, and then 120dB is 32 times louder than 70 dB.
To give you an idea of how loud things are, a vacuum cleaner is around 70dB. A freight trying passing by 15 meters away is about 80dB. Standing beside a jackhammer is 100dB. Thunderclap or chainsaw 120dB. Military Jet aircraft take-off from aircraft carrier with after burner at 15 meters 130dB. Col Hatchman playing drums 137.2dB. Standing beside a Jet engine 140dB. Ear drum rupture happens at 150dB.
So hows his hearing,”You know, its surprising how little damage my hearing has suffered. The human body is an amazing thing! I have been touring for a couple decades and just like my other band members, we never wore earplugs on stage. We did’t have in-ear monitoring systems either. Onstage with Nat Col & the Kings, the Screaming Jets, and all of my other bands, I have always had ridiculously large fold-back speakers pointing directly at my head, just so I could hear the rest of the band. I clearly remember my soundman saying to me one night as I walked up to my drum riser, “I think I’ve got you sorted tonight Hatchy, you’ve got just over 5000watts of power sitting there”, as he points towards a stack of speakers taller then me that was located about one meter behind my drum throne.”
Given that the previous world record of 109dB was hammered by Hatchman into the next millennium, it’s safe to say that the “Loudest Drummer in the World” record will be staying in Australia for a long while… maybe even for good.
He has taken a break from the rigourus touring schedules in the last few years, and has built a successful, exciting company called “Drum Corp”. It is a creative musical education company that builds music programs. “We inspire primary aged children to play and perform music, as well as run adult programs for corporate events.” Hatchman said.
His enthusiasm for music is electric, and its obvious why this rockstar turned entrepreneur business man is now successfully changing the music education industry. You should check out out his company at drumcorp.com.au