I've heard of your band! What a great name. So sorry to hear that you guys got cancelled!
Hmmm, had trouble constructing a good drum/tub design eh? I'd be happy to share my thoughts regarding construction tips about this idea when we meet. You should know that Dr. James used only a small rock n roll kick bass drum for his design. It was around 24' in diameter. It had a plastic head. The center, where the hole was, was reinforced with leather washers. They were about 1/4 inch thick, 2 1/2 to 3 inches diameter and were glued on the top and bottom of the head.
I'd have to agree that most tub designs do differ, but many of the ones I've seen differ only slightly in construction. As to differences in playing, well, it's a folk thing. Different folks will, according to their abilities, approach the idea differently to try to make it work as best they can for their own purposes.
That fact may be an opportunity waiting for you! Why not host a tub playing workshop at your next local festival? I've been doing that very thing with another folk instrument, the musical saw, here in the Northwest at the Folklife Festival. I've hosted three so far and I'm going to apply to offer the same workshop again next year.
There is one fellow out this way who has taken on the task of standardizing a tub design of his own and selling them at various festivals in this area. They have a striking look. Do they work any better at reproducing tones than the more traditional broomstick and clothesline? That's a matter of opinion,... but they look good! ;o)
Jack's email has changed. He is no longer readily accepting email at his hotmail address. I'm not so sure that he enjoys all of this online madness anyway. I did all of the keyboard work to find us cheap flights to and from the event.
Great to know that you'll be there. Looking forward to meeting you. I'll tell Jack that you've been trying to reach him.
Saw ya later!