Simmons Drum Kit

sds_7kit.gifI found this YouTube video about Simmons drums yesterday — and it was great fun watching it, for many reasons.

Simmons electronic drum sounds were the trademark for many Brittish synth pop bands in the early eighties, but other bands like New Musik also used them. They had a very distinctive sound, you should know it by now as one of the electronic drum sound memes in your mind.

Going back to my memories. I was in two bands (actually same members, but two different musical angles) where we needed a Simmons drum kit, and our nice drummer saved enough money to get the first kit in Finland, maybe in any of the Nordic countries. At that time they were custom made, and you had to wait for three months or so before they were delivered. The price was also half-way astronomical.

Anyway, what you could do with them! You had a really unique sound, few bands sounded like you. Today most of the equipment is within reach for anyone, which is good from a democratic point of view, but makes it harder to sound different just based on the equipment you have.

When we arrived on gigs, the sound guys were confused when all we asked for were 12 ports or so in the mixer board — all instruments including drums where connected directly into the board. The only mikes needed were the singer microphones.

Our drummer had to re-learn how to hit the fixed pads, he used to complain about this from time to time. The kick was really strong, you could really push the kick sound out with live gigs, which was great.

Once, at a gig, we could not get out any sound from the Simmons kit, we were desperately looking for the problem cause. The ultimate reason was that one of the light technicians had built a power supply chord that looked like the ordinary chords, for 380V (in the Nordic countries, you have different plugs for 220V and 380V), and we had plugged in the kit into the 380V outlet. Fortunately the electronics did not get damaged, and we found a proper outlet and could start the gig.

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