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Thread started 06/13/22 7:42pm

GaryMF

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Drums on Purple Rain Tour: How did Bobby Z do it?

On episode 2 of the Purple Rain Live podcast, Bobby talks a bit about this, but he never really explains it fully.

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He mentions they created some type of trigger or interface, but that the Linn Lm1 had individual OUTs for each drum (which is true according to a pic I found)..... but if he was using a trigger (which I assume he did when he was actually "playing" beats on certain songs maybe like Darling Nikki vs. just cymbals), wouldn't it need individual INPUTS (e.g for the Snare and Toms etc.?)

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And then for the songs where he was just playing the cymbals, I assume they had the beats programmed in for each song, and he mentions Prince turning the tempo knob, but would he just keep the TUNINGS all the same? A main feature of the Linn Lm 1 is the Snare and how different it sounds when tuned high (almost like an 808) vs. tuned low to give that fat, almost bass drum combined sound. So did they keep the tunings the same on all the patterns? (I had an LM 2 (LINNDRUM) and the tunings don't change when you switch programs/patterns.).

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And for all the stops and starts ("Everybody stop on the 1") I wonder did he have a footswitch or what, cuz he had to come right in on the pocket when Prince would shout "Good God" or whatever.

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Yes these things keep me up smile

[Edited 6/13/22 19:43pm]

rainbow
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Reply #1 posted 06/13/22 10:47pm

lavendardrumma
chine

I don't think even Bobby can answer all of the logistical questions, since Prince used techs and had customized gear that was modified more han once, but maybe reaching out to Don Batts would get some of those questions answered?

Bobby had foot switches, and the Simmons pads, a Simmons SDSV, and Pearl Syncussions modules (but I don't think he toured with that last piece of gear). You've already seen where he said the Linn outputs went to accoustic guitar pickups, and mics inside the snare, but that begs more questions.

I've always assumed for most songs he was triggering the patterns, or a stripped down version of the pattern, and he was "looping" it by triggering it by hand using the Simmons. Dr. Fink also did some percussion like accents, hand claps and that kind of thing according to Lisa. .

This video of someone duplicating the beats pretty close might be interetsing for showing some adjustments on the EQ, and how switching between songs can work directly on a Linn. https://www.youtube.com/w...0sWBa8wKKk

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Reply #2 posted 06/14/22 5:54am

lurker316

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Here's an interview with Bobby Z where he discusses his use of the Lin in live settings. He's not super detailed and doesnt' say much more than has already been discussed in this thread, but I thought you might find it interesting. This link is queued up to the relevant part.


https://youtu.be/JmkUJt7oWDk?t=858




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Reply #3 posted 06/14/22 1:21pm

TrivialPursuit

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lavendardrummachine said:

I don't think even Bobby can answer all of the logistical questions....


Yeah, the guy that literally played drums and triggered the machines probably had no idea what was going on. And even on the "1999" video you can see him turning around to stop the Linn but that's probably just him checking for his wallet or something.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #4 posted 06/14/22 2:44pm

skywalker

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TrivialPursuit said:

lavendardrummachine said:

I don't think even Bobby can answer all of the logistical questions....


Yeah, the guy that literally played drums and triggered the machines probably had no idea what was going on. And even on the "1999" video you can see him turning around to stop the Linn but that's probably just him checking for his wallet or something.

I've never seen this! What is the timestamp on the video where one can see this?

"New Power slide...."
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Reply #5 posted 06/14/22 4:13pm

GaryMF

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lavendardrummachine said:


Bobby had foot switches, and the Simmons pads, a Simmons SDSV, and Pearl Syncussions modules (but I don't think he toured with that last piece of gear). You've already seen where he said the Linn outputs went to accoustic guitar pickups, and mics inside the snare, but that begs more questions.


This video of someone duplicating the beats pretty close might be interetsing for showing some adjustments on the EQ, and how switching between songs can work directly on a Linn. https://www.youtube.com/w...0sWBa8wKKk

That's what I don't get. Would running a mic from the acoustic drum INTO the Snare OUT on the Linn trigger the Linn?? That doesn't seem to make sense. Isn't an out mean the opposite?

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That video is cool but it also made me realize my other point about tunings. I had a LinnDrum LM2 and the tuning knowbs were on the front. But apparently the LM1 the tunings were in the back so they. just've kept the same Sanre/Clap tunings the same throughout the show.

rainbow
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Reply #6 posted 06/14/22 4:58pm

TrivialPursuit

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skywalker said:

TrivialPursuit said:


Yeah, the guy that literally played drums and triggered the machines probably had no idea what was going on. And even on the "1999" video you can see him turning around to stop the Linn but that's probably just him checking for his wallet or something.

I've never seen this! What is the timestamp on the video where one can see this?


It'd be when the song ends.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #7 posted 06/14/22 10:49pm

lavendardrumma
chine

TrivialPursuit said:

. And even on the "1999" video you can see him turning around to stop the Linn but that's probably just him checking for his wallet or something.



You must think Jill played lead synth then too.

Do you not realize there was difference between a dummer and a drum tech, or midi tech, or synth tech? If you're going to chase me around, you need to do better.

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Reply #8 posted 06/14/22 11:16pm

lavendardrumma
chine

GaryMF said:

lavendardrummachine said:


Bobby had foot switches, and the Simmons pads, a Simmons SDSV, and Pearl Syncussions modules (but I don't think he toured with that last piece of gear). You've already seen where he said the Linn outputs went to accoustic guitar pickups, and mics inside the snare, but that begs more questions.


This video of someone duplicating the beats pretty close might be interetsing for showing some adjustments on the EQ, and how switching between songs can work directly on a Linn. https://www.youtube.com/w...0sWBa8wKKk

That's what I don't get. Would running a mic from the acoustic drum INTO the Snare OUT on the Linn trigger the Linn?? That doesn't seem to make sense. Isn't an out mean the opposite?

.

.

That video is cool but it also made me realize my other point about tunings. I had a LinnDrum LM2 and the tuning knowbs were on the front. But apparently the LM1 the tunings were in the back so they. just've kept the same Sanre/Clap tunings the same throughout the show.


I do suspect they kept the tunings the same (unless they used more than one machine).


I agree, it sounds backwards. This interview describes it the way you would expect instead:

"BZ: Yes. We did. There were components but it was like they were just lying around. Simmons was just coming on the scene. We even had that prototype pad. LINN of course had come out. It was extremely smart in building all those outputs. By having all those outs in the back we gave our brilliant tech at the time Don Bats the ability to create an interface that ultimately allowed us to hook up early triggers to the back of the LINN drum machine. That created the ability to strike an object, activate the trigger and then the drum machine would fire." https://maubrecht.wordpre...w-bobby-z/


It would seem the Simmons pad was the claps, and sounds that didn't have an accustic equivalent, but that doesn't appear to be the case.


Same interview:

"BZ: The hybrid part of it was there. The first part was the acoustic drum set with a couple pads. Then it became all pads. And then it became a combination of both. It was a little unplayable when it was all pads, especially with the snare being a pad with triggers. It had kind of a double trigger and an awkward feel. When we put the real snare in its place with a trigger that was it. We got the sound and playability that we were searching for. When we did “Purple Rain” live on the American Music Awards (Watch Here) I used a black Pearl kit with a Ludwig Black Beauty and the proper electronics. That was the set that was comfortable and effective. You could do fills on top of the LINN pads. I could get “Purple Rain” to really move every night because it was playable. At that point everything had come together quickly."


He also talks about the Syncussions tied to the Toms for the sound effects, washes, etc. https://maubrecht.wordpre...w-bobby-z/

[Edited 6/14/22 23:17pm]

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Reply #9 posted 06/14/22 11:47pm

TrivialPursuit

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lavendardrummachine said:

You must think Jill played lead synth then too.

Do you not realize there was difference between a dummer and a drum tech, or midi tech, or synth tech? If you're going to chase me around, you need to do better.


You're honestly not that interesting. I'm taking Bobby's word on his job. kthxbai

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #10 posted 06/15/22 9:23am

lavendardrumma
chine

TrivialPursuit said:

You're honestly not that interesting. I'm taking Bobby's word on his job. kthxbai



We're trying to decipher his word, keep up. His job was never a drum tech even though he was involved.

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Reply #11 posted 06/15/22 9:25am

lavendardrumma
chine

skywalker said:

I've never seen this! What is the timestamp on the video where one can see this?


The video bleaches white on Prince at the end of the song. He's just shitposting.

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Reply #12 posted 06/15/22 10:48am

GaryMF

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Thanks this is the best interview I"ve seen regarding this topic!

I think it must mean that they were able to use the individual "outs" as "ins" somehow:

Z: Yes. We did. There were components but it was like they were just lying around. Simmons was just coming on the scene. We even had that prototype pad. LINN of course had come out. It was extremely smart in building all those outputs. By having all those outs in the back we gave our brilliant tech at the time Don Bats the ability to create an interface that ultimately allowed us to hook up early triggers to the back of the LINN drum machine. That created the ability to strike an object, activate the trigger and then the drum machine would fire. That kind of technology did not exist at that time. It was one of those unbelievable “Radio Shack” projects that was wired up.

I agree, it sounds backwards. This interview describes it the way you would expect instead:

"BZ: Yes. We did. There were components but it was like they were just lying around. Simmons was just coming on the scene. We even had that prototype pad. LINN of course had come out. It was extremely smart in building all those outputs. By having all those outs in the back we gave our brilliant tech at the time Don Bats the ability to create an interface that ultimately allowed us to hook up early triggers to the back of the LINN drum machine. That created the ability to strike an object, activate the trigger and then the drum machine would fire." https://maubrecht.wordpre...w-bobby-z/


It would seem the Simmons pad was the claps, and sounds that didn't have an accustic equivalent, but that doesn't appear to be the case.


Same interview:

"BZ: The hybrid part of it was there. The first part was the acoustic drum set with a couple pads. Then it became all pads. And then it became a combination of both. It was a little unplayable when it was all pads, especially with the snare being a pad with triggers. It had kind of a double trigger and an awkward feel. When we put the real snare in its place with a trigger that was it. We got the sound and playability that we were searching for. When we did “Purple Rain” live on the American Music Awards (Watch Here) I used a black Pearl kit with a Ludwig Black Beauty and the proper electronics. That was the set that was comfortable and effective. You could do fills on top of the LINN pads. I could get “Purple Rain” to really move every night because it was playable. At that point everything had come together quickly."


He also talks about the Syncussions tied to the Toms for the sound effects, washes, etc. https://maubrecht.wordpre...w-bobby-z/

[Edited 6/14/22 23:17pm]

rainbow
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Reply #13 posted 06/15/22 12:39pm

lavendardrumma
chine

GaryMF said:

Thanks this is the best interview I"ve seen regarding this topic!

I think it must mean that they were able to use the individual "outs" as "ins" somehow:


Righ. You hit a Simmons pad, or modified drum, and it triggers a sample. I still think he relied on the loops too. The question is how they did it. Linn apparently made an upgrade modification and the Linn Drum wiki lists DIN sync (pre-MIDI), third-party MIDI Retrofit Kit, trigger inputs x5, but I think all that was the LM2, not like Prince's LM1. I don't know how they modified it without disabling the studio funcionality but Bobby says their engineer designed a box.

I also don't get how he dealt with latency. I guess there wasn't any? He could play ahead, but Prince is directing a live show that prohibits that.

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Reply #14 posted 06/15/22 2:00pm

TrivialPursuit

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skywalker said:

TrivialPursuit said:


Yeah, the guy that literally played drums and triggered the machines probably had no idea what was going on. And even on the "1999" video you can see him turning around to stop the Linn but that's probably just him checking for his wallet or something.

I've never seen this! What is the timestamp on the video where one can see this?


It's when the song ends, not the tag ending and all that extra stuff. Just before the final "mommy...."

Dude is dancing with the band, then sits his ass down, looks to his left - which is where the Linn sat in his kit - and the song ends. About 4:15 or so. Watch him dancing, and you can see him sit down (it's a shot from far off stage right), then the close up. Song ends... including the drum machine.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #15 posted 06/15/22 2:05pm

TrivialPursuit

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PS Brownmark's voice sounds weird on the first verse of "1999." Not bad, but ...mechanical? I always wondered if that was a mic effect, or him kinda self-manipulating to give that Dez sound. His singing voice isn't anywhere near that.

The second version has more of his tone, but it also sounds like Prince is sorta singing along with him, too.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #16 posted 06/15/22 7:00pm

GaryMF

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TrivialPursuit said:

PS Brownmark's voice sounds weird on the first verse of "1999." Not bad, but ...mechanical? I always wondered if that was a mic effect, or him kinda self-manipulating to give that Dez sound. His singing voice isn't anywhere near that.

The second version has more of his tone, but it also sounds like Prince is sorta singing along with him, too.

I noticed that too

rainbow
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Reply #17 posted 06/23/22 10:09am

rockford

lavendardrummachine said:

GaryMF said:

Thanks this is the best interview I"ve seen regarding this topic!

I think it must mean that they were able to use the individual "outs" as "ins" somehow:


Righ. You hit a Simmons pad, or modified drum, and it triggers a sample. I still think he relied on the loops too. The question is how they did it. Linn apparently made an upgrade modification and the Linn Drum wiki lists DIN sync (pre-MIDI), third-party MIDI Retrofit Kit, trigger inputs x5, but I think all that was the LM2, not like Prince's LM1. I don't know how they modified it without disabling the studio funcionality but Bobby says their engineer designed a box.

I also don't get how he dealt with latency. I guess there wasn't any? He could play ahead, but Prince is directing a live show that prohibits that.

The LinnDrum had trigger inputs and if I'm not mistaken they used LinnDrums (as opposed to the much more rare and expensive LM-1s), on the Purple Rain tour. I've owned 2 LinnDrums and the trigger inputs work great.

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Reply #18 posted 06/23/22 2:37pm

GaryMF

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rockford said:

lavendardrummachine said:


Righ. You hit a Simmons pad, or modified drum, and it triggers a sample. I still think he relied on the loops too. The question is how they did it. Linn apparently made an upgrade modification and the Linn Drum wiki lists DIN sync (pre-MIDI), third-party MIDI Retrofit Kit, trigger inputs x5, but I think all that was the LM2, not like Prince's LM1. I don't know how they modified it without disabling the studio funcionality but Bobby says their engineer designed a box.

I also don't get how he dealt with latency. I guess there wasn't any? He could play ahead, but Prince is directing a live show that prohibits that.

The LinnDrum had trigger inputs and if I'm not mistaken they used LinnDrums (as opposed to the much more rare and expensive LM-1s), on the Purple Rain tour. I've owned 2 LinnDrums and the trigger inputs work great.

I don't think so. The sounds on the PR tour are clearly LM1. You can get LM1 chips for Linndrum (I did that) but it still won't sound exactly the same.

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Also you ahve to get Bruce Forat to modify the sidestick to be able to detune it (I did that), but i dont' know if you can detune the claps on LinnDrum either and Prince definitely did that on PR Tour (unless they used the Syndrums or Matt played those claps).

rainbow
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Reply #19 posted 06/24/22 8:14am

rockford

GaryMF said:

rockford said:

The LinnDrum had trigger inputs and if I'm not mistaken they used LinnDrums (as opposed to the much more rare and expensive LM-1s), on the Purple Rain tour. I've owned 2 LinnDrums and the trigger inputs work great.

I don't think so. The sounds on the PR tour are clearly LM1. You can get LM1 chips for Linndrum (I did that) but it still won't sound exactly the same.

.

.

Also you ahve to get Bruce Forat to modify the sidestick to be able to detune it (I did that), but i dont' know if you can detune the claps on LinnDrum either and Prince definitely did that on PR Tour (unless they used the Syndrums or Matt played those claps).

I know for certain from Dr. Fink that a LinnDrum was used to sych the bassline on I Would Die 4 U. It seems unlikely that they would only use a LinnDrum for that one song. Only 500 LM-1s were made as opposed to 5,000 LinnDrums. They were ridiculously expensive and it's doubtful that Prince would have taken such a valuable and RARE tool on the road. I'm not saying your definitively wrong, but I remain skeptical.

From Fink: "At first he wanted me to play the bassline on "I Would Die 4 U" manually. So we tried it during rehearsal first, which I could pull it off, but it was not easy. And sometimes I would get off rhythm a little bit because you had to be so spot on, and you had to play it with two hands! So Prince says, "Well, Matt, why can't you play it with one hand and play the chords with the other hand?" And I said, "You try it." But neither one of us could do it. So I told Prince, "I got an idea. Let's try to sequence this one." Unfortunately, nothing in our arsenal could sequence it properly, so we created a way to put that bassline part in the sequencer and then have it lock up to the LinnDrum machine with MIDI. But the LinnDrum didn't have MIDI so Prince's tech guy created a MIDI interface for it. So I would have the sequencer ready to go during the live show and then all Bobby Z would have to do is hit the play button. We did some groundbreaking technological things that day."

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Reply #20 posted 06/24/22 4:14pm

GaryMF

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rockford said:

GaryMF said:

I don't think so. The sounds on the PR tour are clearly LM1. You can get LM1 chips for Linndrum (I did that) but it still won't sound exactly the same.

.

.

Also you ahve to get Bruce Forat to modify the sidestick to be able to detune it (I did that), but i dont' know if you can detune the claps on LinnDrum either and Prince definitely did that on PR Tour (unless they used the Syndrums or Matt played those claps).

I know for certain from Dr. Fink that a LinnDrum was used to sych the bassline on I Would Die 4 U. It seems unlikely that they would only use a LinnDrum for that one song. Only 500 LM-1s were made as opposed to 5,000 LinnDrums. They were ridiculously expensive and it's doubtful that Prince would have taken such a valuable and RARE tool on the road. I'm not saying your definitively wrong, but I remain skeptical.

From Fink: "At first he wanted me to play the bassline on "I Would Die 4 U" manually. So we tried it during rehearsal first, which I could pull it off, but it was not easy. And sometimes I would get off rhythm a little bit because you had to be so spot on, and you had to play it with two hands! So Prince says, "Well, Matt, why can't you play it with one hand and play the chords with the other hand?" And I said, "You try it." But neither one of us could do it. So I told Prince, "I got an idea. Let's try to sequence this one." Unfortunately, nothing in our arsenal could sequence it properly, so we created a way to put that bassline part in the sequencer and then have it lock up to the LinnDrum machine with MIDI. But the LinnDrum didn't have MIDI so Prince's tech guy created a MIDI interface for it. So I would have the sequencer ready to go during the live show and then all Bobby Z would have to do is hit the play button. We did some groundbreaking technological things that day."

People often (mistakenly) refer to the Linn LM1 Drum Computer as the LinnDrum (which was the LM2 model)

rainbow
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