Have I been messed up in the 80s?

Today I heard on the radio about the reunion and the upcoming tour of 80s cult band Spandau Ballet. I guess I was 12 when their first chart breaking single “True” has been released. John Keeble sat behind a pure white SDSV kit with even two bassdrums. However I was also wondering why he was always playing acoustic drums on live pictures and videos. 25 years later I heard him say in an interview that the only track they ever used Simmons sounds for was “Chant No. 1”. It was all an illusion! John got his Simmons by Dave Simmons personally. Serial number 3! AND HE ALMOST DIDN’T USE IT FOR RECORDINGS? Unbelievable. A reason to feel messed around? No. Much less artists really used Simmons drums on their recordings as those who affected using Simmons due to pounding on hexagonal pads in front of a camera. The Linn 9000 was used on records much more often. Still I have to state that Simmons drums and the MTV age stimulated each other very much. Both were a stroke of luck for each other.

I must admit that I was (and I am still) one of those who were more blinded by the design than by the sound. I became aware of what the Simmons sound is actually about much later. Still there were enough artists that established the sound also on countless recordings. So what… I think I wouldn’t have hasitated to use Simmons pads on “Top Of The Pops” as this really had the potential to accelerated the record sales. And I am really thinking about getting myself a ticket for a Spandau Ballet show, also in order to ask John Keeble to sign on one of my pure white beauties 😉

Good night

7 Responses to “Have I been messed up in the 80s?”

  1. Paolo says:

    If you look on youtube for videoclips of the eighties, you’ll find several clips in wich ther are simmons kits, usually associated to sound of other drumm machines (linn drum first of all).
    I think that Simmons had a lot of fortune during the heighties for their great visual-appeal. Simmons sounds are great, but common people was attracted much more by the design.

  2. Dennis says:

    On the other hand there were quite a few bands that used the simmons for sounds and showed only acoustic drumsets in their videos because it fitted their image better, such as hard rock bands in the early 80s.

  3. You are also right, Dennis. I just wanted to point out my personal way to Simmons. In order to complete the list let me mention the group of those drummers/producers who created drumsounds with both: acoustic drums mixed with analog sounds afterwards (as Ronny Vannucci did on Killer’s Human lately)

  4. Jim Donato says:

    I found this blog looking into the history of the ClapTrap. I’d swear that Spandau used the SDS for far more than just Chant No. 1! (though it is their best track) You listen to the single version of “Instinction” (remixed, seriously remixed by Trevor Horn) also from the “Diamond” album and tell me that’s not a Simmons that was reverbed for a good seven seconds. It makes all the sense in the world since the producer of their first two albums was Richard James Burgess. I think Keeble must have sustained some dain bramage in the 80s. He used SDS for more than the recording of Chant No. 1.

  5. Hi Jim,
    I haven’t proved this by checking each and every Spandau Ballet recording. It’s a statement made by John Keeble himself in a BBC production called “The shape of things that hum”

  6. Carlos says:

    John Keeble used Simmons in the True album, he also used an acoustic
    snare, and in the tour he trigger the Simmons snare with the acoustic snare, I got the Over Britain (1983) concert in laserdisc and you can see the trigger in the top side of the snare, also the sound is noticeable.

    And the Keyboard player for that tour (Jess Bailey) is the one who also record the keys in the True and Parade album.

    Check this video at 1:55 and you will see what I’m talking about.


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