Behind the kit 1995 - 1998
This kit was my first 'serious' electronic kit. I kept the Roland TD7 brain once hooked up to the Simmons kit and the Roland PD7 pad kit. I remember at the time thinking, wouldn't it be great if an electronic kit looked and felt like the acoustic kits I had started to play. Simmons had produced the Hexahead pad, I was using the snare drum version in my Simmons kit set up. Simmons was ahead of the times with this innovation but for me it just didn't give the feel I was looking for. At the time there was a lot of buzz about ddrum products. Electronic pads with coated batter drum heads. It was the early 90's so anything was possible! It wasn't long before ddrum hit the UK. Time to try these drums out and see if they lived up to the hype.
Time for a trip to Tin Pan Alley and try out the ddrum 4. These kits had just hit the UK so the drum shop had ddrum kits by the plenty all set up and ready for a demo. I sat behind one in the shop and gave it a go. Almost straight away these drums felt so good to play considering I had been use to hitting Simmons pads made from ply wood with a thin layer of rubber. The ddrum 4 sounded great too with real sampled acoustic kits on board. The shop had keyboards and synthesisers for demo along side the ddrum display. There was a guy giving the keyboards a great demo, this guy could really play. He turned to me and said "let's have a jam". So we did, we jammed most the afternoon away. I recognised him, it was the actor and comedian Hugh Laurie. After we had well and truly tried out the gear Hugh Laurie placed an order for the keyboard he was jamming on, I left the shop with my next goal... To have a ddrum 4 Kit. Sitting on the tube on the way home I couldn't believe I had jammed for over an hour with someone famous, I didn't know Hugh Laurie could play like that, I thought he was a comedian not a musician! It was no surprise to me when I saw Hugh Laurie and his band The Copper Bottom Band on Later... with Jools Holland in 2011. I turned to my wife and said "I've met him, we jammed together in Tin Pan Alley".
As with all electronic kits the ddrum 4 came with a hefty price tag. Well out of my reach?... Time to have a think, time for the part-ex plan. The main cost of the ddrum4 was the brain. I had a brain already, the Roland TD7. The Roland PD7 pads on my Roland TD7 kit were great, however I always had issue with how small the pads were. What if I could do a part-ex deal on the PD7 pads and keep the TD7 brain. After a quick call to the drum shop it became clear I would need more gear to part-ex to be able to afford the ddrum 4 drum pads.
The next day I went back to Tin Pan Alley with the following: Roland PD7 pad kit with rack, Simmons pad kit with rack and a selection of cymbals. A part-ex deal was done and I walked out the shop with a brand new ddrum 4 pad kit and rack. The best part of the deal was I didn't need to part-ex all the gear. I kept back three Roland PD7 pads, although I had issue with the pads for a main kit set up their size were perfect for add on pads to trigger percussion and effects. I still use the same PD7 pads today.