Power Windows

Home Back Next

Updated: 03/24/2018

At a Glance:

  • Acoustic drums: Tama Artstar "prototype" in Candy Apple Red finish with "Vibra-Fibing." Last Tama drum kit used by Peart.

  • Used from 1982 - 1985

  • Electronic drums: Simmons. It was during this time that Peart began to sample sounds in songs like "Mystic Rhythms." This was also the first kit that featured Sidney, a custom-built electronic pad mounted between the front toms (also referred to as Sydney or SID).

  • Cymbals: Avedis Zildjian, Wuhan (China type)

  • Bass drum pedals: Camco

  • 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:

Power Windows drum layout


From the Power Windows tour book, by Neil Peart

Well the big news this time is in the area of electronics. My experiments last time in combining the Simmons electronic drums with my acoustic setup worked out very well, and having the two separate drum sets back-to-back has allowed me to expand the variety of sounds I can choose from without compromising the feel and voice of natural drums.

With the use of Simmons SDS-7 digital modules and the EPROM unit (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) I can now reproduce, for example, the African drums which I played on "Mystic Rhythms", stored on tiny little chips and triggered by the pads. This is a very exciting area of exploration, as you can imagine. Without losing the excitement and energy of real drums at the heart of my playing, I can have an infinite variety of other percussive sounds and effects to call on at the stroke of a pad or the kick of a switch. Larry and I have even invented a little trigger (called "Sidney") which mounts between my front toms to give me easier access to effects. Fun stuff.

You'd be right in thinking that these machines are complicated, experimental, and sometimes frustrating. In spite of my instinctive distrust and antipathy for things electronic, I find myself unable to resist the limitless variety of sounds I can create and reproduce. I didn't realize that when I first played with a little Mattel drum synthesizer ― I'd get hooked!

Everything else remains pretty constant, the Tama drums are the "Artstar" prototypes, except for the snares which are the old Slingerland "Artist" model. All the cymbals are by Avedis Zildjian, except for the Chinese ones which are from Wuhan in China. Timbale, crotales, wind chimes, glockenspiel, temple blocks, cowbells, "Clap Trap", and a gong bass drum round out the toy box.

And next Christmas I'd like a train set, a mountain bike, a sailboat, new Telemark skis, a rocket ship, a Ferrari GTO, a chemistry set, eternal life...

EPROM samples

"With that 'Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory' I was able to make true samples for the first time, burning chips with specific sounds I liked, and triggering them through the Simmons pads. Although it was very primitive technology, it did allow me to use ’found sounds’ (like the clinking 50-pence coins in the intro to 'The Big Money'), or even create my own sounds — by, for example, combining acoustic sounds with vocalized drum sounds, also used in 'The Big Money.'" (Drum! Magazine: "Mean Mean Stride: The drums of Neil Peart")

Photo gallery

  • On the set of "The Big Money"
  • Big Money video shoot
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Neil Peart at Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Percussion Center drum clinic
  • Larry Allen (drum tech) setting up drums
  • Mystic Rhythms video shoot
  • Mystic Rhythms video shoot
  • Peart in concert
  • Peart in concert

After Rush

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

Back to Top

Home Back Next