Archive for October, 2009

organic electro beats – Oli Rubow

Friday, October 9th, 2009

I just returned from a great concert in a Jazz Club in my hometown. I saw the band Hattler performing (->video sample). On drums Oli Rubow who is a great innovator in drumming along with electronic beats. While electronic drums always tried to immitate or even substitude acoustic drums, Oli goes the other way round: He tries to immitade fat analog sounds with acoustic gear. How does this work? Check out his homepage.

Suitcase kit and Musicaid SDSV

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Yesterday I got an email by Earl Harvin, professional drummer. One of his last projects was the latest Pet Shop Boys album “Fundamental”. He sent some pictures of his suitcase kit and a very early SDSV brain given to him by Lol Creme (10CC, Godley and Creme):

Suitcase kit

Some facts and tales about the suitcase:
Dave Simmons only built around 15 suitcases, all by hand! I have seen some with Alumium edges and some in black plastic suitcases (like my one). The black suitcases are said to come from a local angler requirements store, but this is not proved. The suitcase got pretty well known by the band Saga who integrated the suitcase into a famous drum solo/drum battle between Michael Sadler (singer/suitcase) and Steve Negus (drums)

Musicaid SDSV
The first SDSV kits had been produced even before “Simmons Electronic Drums” had actually been founded. The early SDSVs do not only show the “Musicaid” logo on the back side as well as on every module, they also have red pushbuttons (instead of black ones) to switch the sounds:

Musicaid SDSV

Musicaid SDSV

The old Musicaid company got bankrupt in 1981 (although the sales showed an amazing positive tendency) but after a short production break “Simmons Electronic Drums” has been founded and the SDSV became very famous.

Just another white SDSV

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Sometimes it is really hard to resist. For me this is the case when I am offered an SDSV at a reasonable price. This time I more or less fell over a 5-piece SDSV (standard BD, SN, 3xTT) with 4 small and one bassdrum pad in pure white. And yes, my inner voice forced me to take it. As my Simmons buddy Michael only lived 13km away from the seller I took the opportunity today to pick up the drum set and visit Michael for a cup of coffee afterwards. Michael, who is at least the best Simmons tech that I know, could not resist to take a look inside my new baby because channel four and one tom card did not work properly.
By the way he also demonstrated the next level of his SDS3 clone (sometime Michael causes me anxiety…).
Before I left, he asked me “how many white SDSV kits do you have now?”. “Three” (plus two red, one black and one blue). Still I believe the SDSV is the sexiest electronic drum system ever built. That’s why I already know that whenever I will fall over the next one for sale, I will take it.

Another visitor in my Simmons museum

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Today Jan M. from Cologne visited me. Being only a few years older than me we both grew up with Simmons drums. He is also a mad collector like I am, but today he focusses more on acoustic gear. Still he loves Simmons drums as they had been part of his young carrier as a musicain. We talked a lot, not only about Simmons, but also about the old Techstars, Dynacord and today’s development in electronic drums.

After several gallons of coffee we agreed to meet again very soon, at least I offered him the unique opportunity to play on an SDSV

Dear Simmons gear heads!

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Even the vintage Simmons drums made it into Web 2.0. For those who do not know who I am and what I am doing here just a few words:

Simmons Electronic Drums are the mother of all electronic drums and conquered the stages and Top Of The Pops in the early eighties. Only to mention some bands and drummers: Phil Collins, Paul Young, Re-Flex, Herwig Mitteregger, The Cars, David Bowie, Kajagoogoo, Spandau Ballet and many more…. Even non-drummers could easily recognize the drum pads by their significant hexagonal shape. The company founder, Mr. Dave Simmons developed countless innovative features on electronic drums, nevertheless the company was forced to close in 1995 after years of raugh competion. Since then E-Drums are boring (yes, all) 😉

My target is to collect, restore and archive that great vintage gear and of course to go out and show it. Pictures and information about all of my vintage gear is organized on There you will also find almost any manual, flyers, adds and catalogues from that time. Some demo videos are placed on youtube

Since 2006 new “Simmons drums” appear in several music stores. These “Simmons” drums have nothing to do with the old British “Simmons Electronic Drums” factory from St. Albans (GB). On the contrary US retail chain “Guitar Center” undertook the name rights. Since then cheap chinese mass ware E-Drum sets are labeled “Simmons”. If you buy one of those expecting to get a piece of pop history, you have been fooled!

However… old Simmons drums still have a lot of fans and I am proud and happy that I got to know many of them through my site over the years. I am also proud and happy that some former employees of of the Simmons company got in touch with me talking about the “happy times”.

Finally I would like to thank you guys out there for all the great feedback I received so far. I will try to keep you up-to-date about upcoming events. And I can tell you there will be some!

Thanks for reading