When a lot of people think about 80s drums they think about In The Air Tonight, by Phil Collins and the famous “Gated Reverb” drum sound. As much as I love Phil Collins, I think another drum sound is even more defining of the era, the sound of Simmons electronic drums.
Those weird looking hexagon shaped pads were played by nearly every synth pop band that had drummers in the 80s, and even by bands like Van Halen and King Crimson both playing the Simmons drums. Their epic tom sound is unmistakable and that giant wet snare sound pulses nostalgia into your brain with every hit!
I wanted to make a post with somebody playing some Simmons drums for a while, but many of the videos I were finding were pretty terrible. But today I found this incredible cover of Thomas Dolby’s song “One of our submarines” where WIRECOOLEY rerecorded his own instrumental version of the song then made a video of himself playing some Simmons to the song! It came out great and love that drum sound!
Simmons drums weren’t samples, they were actually drum synthesizers. The module that produced the sounds, or “brain” was actual an analog synth with a bunch of trigger inputs. Awesome…. Awesome to the max.