SIMMONS SDS 8 ELECTRONIC DRUM KIT

Behind the kit 1987 - 1995

Where it all began!

1987, age 13 with £100 in my back pocket, Zildjian cymbal under my arm and inspired by Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight  I part-exchanged the Zildjian cymbal handed over £100 and bought this second hand Simmons SDS8 electronic kit. Bought from a music shop in Romford, Essex, UK called Monkey Business! My first part-ex and certainly not my last! After a few months and a lot of paper rounds I was able to afford the Simmons SDS 1000 and entered the wonderful world of midi using both the SDS8 and the SDS 1000. The SDS 1000 giving me more kit sounds and a heap of percussion sounds (that I never used!) and the famous clap sound. (Which I'm sure I over used!). 

In 1992 Roland brought out their flag ship TD7 electronic kit. The kit consisted of small round 'real' feel rubber pads and the TD7 brain.  I remember getting hold of a demo CD of the sounds on board the TD7. "I've got to get me one of these" I thought to myself. "In your dreams Stu, in your dreams." After all I was a teenager, the TD7 kit came with a hefty price tag. I started to hatch a plan... 

It was obvious I couldn't afford the complete kit. This is when my plan started, a long term plan to build up a drum kit gradually. I knew of friends that had just gone to the bank of Mum and Dad and asked for a kit. A kit that they had seen in Rhythm magazine or seen their favourite drummer use. Within a few months they got bored with the kits didn't like the sound and gave up playing drums altogether. This wasn't the way I was going to do it. Partly the plan was forced due to having little income but more importantly the plan was build your kit up slowly, get what works, get the best possible gear you can with what you have.

I call it The Part- Ex Plan

I sat behind my Simmons kit and thought right what needs upgrading, what works and what doesn't, what can I afford? It was obvious the sound of the kit needed an upgrade. Keep the Simmons pads and the hardware upgrade the brain. The TD7 was not only boasting great sounds it was the first brain to be smaller and lighter than a breeze block! After lugging round the SDS8 brain and the prospect of over 500 drum sounds and being no bigger than a VHS video case, the TD7 brain was the way forward.

My friend and bass player Simon Edward worked in London and spent many a happy lunch break in Denmark Street, London. Known as the British Tin Pan Alley. Every shop a music shop... Paradise! I arranged to meet Simon in Denmark street on his lunch break to try out the TD7 brain. Just in case I liked the TD7 brain I arrived in Denmark street with £100 in my back pocket, SDS8 and SDS 1000 under my arm! I liked the sounds coming out of the TD7 and more importantly so did my bass player friend Simon Edward.

A deal was done. Part-ex SDS8, SDS 1000 and £100 cash for the TD7 brain.

You will see the TD7 brain across my gear history pages behind various kits and setups. It may not have all the bells and whistles compared to Roland's brains that followed, however the sounds on board were a blueprint for what followed, in other words same sounds different packaging! For this reason the TD7 brain still plays an important part to my sound and setup today.

Two things happened that day with the help of Simon Edward I discovered Tin Pan Alley and my plan had begun.

If it wasn't for this first kit and part-ex deal then I wouldn't be behind the kit I use today.

Simmons was a pioneering British manufacturer of electronic drums. Founded in 1978 by Dave Simmons, it supplied electronic kits from 1980 to 1994. The drums' distinctive, electronic sound can be found on countless albums from the 1980s.