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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Monday, 4 August 2014

YES, KING CRIMSON: Regrets? I’ve Had a Few #1: Bill Bruford

I never met Bill Bruford in person. Our 1983 Modern Drummer interview was by phone. It was one of my rare MD interviews for which I wish I had been better prepared. Not that I was careless in setting out to interview Mr. Bruford. Once he and I were into the interview, I realized I was ill-prepared in a couple of areas. Most of all, I was woefully ignorant about Simmons drums.
I was aware of electronic drums. The first drummer to use electronic drums that I know of was Michael Shrieve. Maybe Syndrums? When I interviewed Bruford, I started out thinking of electronic drums as producing that early Star Wars laser gun effect – and nothing more. According to WikepediaSimmons introduced sound sampling in 1983.
I didn’t understand, really, sound sampling or the variety of sounds available with the latest Simmons drums. Bruford was, at the time, a member of King Crimson. The band’s latest albums were Discipline and Beat – which I studied prior to the interview. I confessed to Bruford in that MD interview, “Having no earlier audio reference, when I listened toDiscipline and Beat, I didn’t hear anything that jumped out as sounding like the Simmonskit.”
In other words, I didn’t know how Simmons drums should sound.
Missing from the printed version of our interview is the silence following my confession. It lasted about five seconds, but felt as if it lasted five hours. Bill was very gracious in his response, and throughout the interview. But it was clear to us both: he was an electronic drum pioneer, and I was… woefully ignorant!

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