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Updated: 12/05/2017

At a Glance:

  • Acoustic drums: Tama Artstar "prototype" in Candy Apple Red finish with "Vibra-Fibing"; one 13-inch metal timbale instead of two wooden timbales.

  • Used from 1982 - 1985

  • Electronic drums: Simmons. This was the first setup to feature an electronic satellite drum kit and a rotating riser.

  • Cymbals: Avedis Zildjian, Wuhan (China type)

  • Sticks: Pro-Mark 747 wood tip (played "backwards")

  • 5.5 x 14 "Old Faithful" Slingerland Artist Model snare with Candy Apple Red finish: 3-ply shell with 8 lugs

  • Drum tech: Larry Allen

Used to record and tour:

From the Grace Under Pressure tour book, by Neil Peart


Hi there folks! I'm the blurry blob in the middle of all those DRUMS! I don't know where they came from, but every time I turn around there are more of them! When they're packed away in those dark, warm cases you don't suppose they...? (Eerie music fades up)

"You are entering a world of imagination..."

You are entering a world of drums ―that's what! I've got drums literally coming and going this year. Everywhere I turn, more of 'em close in around me. More and More of them, getting bigger and bigger ― and they're red!! Red, like blood! "Izzen dat scaddy kids?" O-O-W-H-O-O-O-o-o-o.

O-kay!... Ahem. The main kit remains the same, the prototype for what they're calling the Tama Artstar these days. Two 24" bass drums, 6", 8", 10" and 12" concert toms, 12", 13", 15" and 18" closed toms, and a 22" gong bass drum is the basic outfit. The "Old Faithful" 5x14" Slingerland snare is still number one, and I am again using a metal timbale, a 13" Tama to be exact.

The cymbals are of course by Avedis Zildjian, 8" and 10" splash, 13" hi-hats, two 16" crashes, one each 18" and 20" crash, a 22" ride (ten years old now!), an 18" pang, and a 20" China type. There is also a China type which is really from China. (As opposed to America, Switzerland, Italy or Turkey.) On the rear kit there are more Zildjians ― another 22" ride, 16" and 18" crash, 13" hi-hats, and another of those Chinese jobs.

The rear set consists of a Tama 18" bass drum, another Slingerland snare, three Simmons tom modules and one snare module, and the Simmons "Clap Trap" with foot switched both fore and aft.

The incidental percussion department is also in a change of state as we speak, but may consist of orchestra bells, wind chimes, crotales, temple blocks, cowbells and/or a bell tree, I'm just not sure.

I'm still using the Remo clear-dot heads on the snare(s) and bass drums, Evans Heavy Duty Rock (top) and Evans Tom Tom (bottom) on the closed toms, Remo black-dots on the concert toms, and plain Remos on the timbale and gong bass drums. All of the hardware (but for a couple of small bits) is by Tama, as are the "Camco" chain-drive pedals, and I'm still chewing up Promark 747 sticks, which have the varnish filed off the shoulder area by Larry. (He's the blurry black blob in the back tearing his hair and gnashing his teeth over the drums, the monitors, the headphones, the electronics and all of the presets for the Simmons and the Clap Trap!)

AH-HA-HA-HA-ha-ha!! (O-o-o-o-o...scaddy!)

Creating the electronic hybrid kit

"Up to that time I had been following what people like Bill Bruford and Terry Bozzio were doing with electronics, and it also happened that the material we were writing at the time was influenced by the stylistic developments in electronic music.

"Wanting to make use of all that, but not willing to sacrifice any of my acoustic drums, I had the ’brainstorm’ of creating a satellite kit behind me and turning around to play it. I didn’t think electronic bass drums, snares, or cymbals were up to the job at that time, so I used the acoustic ones combined with an array of pads and triggers, some of which I was also able to reach from the front kit.

"Between rehearsing and recording Grace Under Pressure, we played a five-night stint at Radio City Music Hall. By that time I had already incorporated the electronics into that first 360-degree setup, but didn’t have the rotating riser yet, so I had to play those songs facing the back of the stage." (Drum! Magazine: "Mean Mean Stride: The drums of Neil Peart")

Photo gallery

  • Peart during the filming of Grace Under Pressure video
  • Modern Drummer portrait - front
  • Modern Drummer portrait - back
  • Grace Under Pressure photo from tour book
  • Grace Under Pressure photo from tour book
  • Rush during the filming of Grace Under pressure video
  • Rush portrait by Yousuf Karsh
  • Peart filming music video
  • Peart in concert
  • Peart in concert
  • Tour book photo of Grace Under Pressure
  • Stick toss

After Rush

Go to my page that details the owners of this kit from 1987 to present.

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