Archive for April, 2010

Being on the track of Simmons

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

I am still sceptical about Google Streetview. Probably all the information that Google collects will cause the end of the world one day, similar to the scenario drawn in Terminator 2. But to come back to the main issue of this post: Just for fun and after a long time I checked Streetview in order to find out what happened to the old Simmons production facilities. Surprisingly even the side roads such as Abbey Mill Lane where Simmons produced the SDSV have been photographed in 2009:

screenshot from google streetview

in the center of the picture you can see Abbey Mill where Simmons produced on the top floor. Yes! British high technology came from probably one of the most picturesque places in Britain! On the right you can see “Ye Olde Fighting Cocks”, the after-work pub…

I took the opportunity and “looked around”: Hatfield Road, where Dave Simmons (likely) built his Musicaid gear (SDS3/4) and the first SDSV prototypes, Abbey Mill, where they started the SDSV production in 1982 and the Alban Park factory, the huge production facilities. Of course Alban Park has changed during the last 23 years: the old Simmons facilities are now a Best Import ltd.. It’s the building in the background next to the Volkswagen dealer. Abbey Mill is now a Bed-And Breakfast accomodation.

All information which I have provided here is unproved, but it will be proved soon 😉

Bill Bruford and the beat

Friday, April 9th, 2010

When I remember right, consumer VCRs conquered the world at the beginning of the eighties. One of the first drummers who released drum videos was Bill Bruford, who recently announced his (hardly believable) retirement. The title of this video tape was “Bill Bruford and the beat”.

It has been produced in 1982 in Baltimore, Maryland. The intention of this video is not learning drum techniques but Bill Bruford reports about his philosophy of drumming. And of course he demonstrates his playing, his style and his sound which still appears pretty advanced:

I accidently noticed that this video tape has been released on DVD in 2009 so I did not hasitate a second to get myself a copy.
It is NOT remastered, so don’t expect brilliant sound and video but still better than the Youtube fragments. You get an awsome documentary of Bill Brufords work at a reasonable price.

As we know Bill Bruford was one of the first (and one of the last) Simmons drummers. This particular setup features a set of very early SDSV pads beside a bunch of more or less exotic acoustic gear.