As the Big Band era in Jazz fades into ever more distant memory, the great drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich may now be almost as famous for the time he was taped being a massive, massive dick to his band as he was for his playing. But his drumming WAS mindblowing—powerful and explosive yet uncannily precise, and this from a player with no formal musical training. Few, if any, other drummers have been the subject of a release devoted entirely to 70 minutes of excerpted solos.
So it was a pretty funny incongruity to see this old commercial with Rich plugging Synsonics drums, an early ‘80s synth drum pad set made by Mattel and sold in toy stores. Their “snare” sound brought to mind a box of Fruity Pebbles landing on linoleum after falling from a high shelf, and the “cymbal” sounded like ball bearings rolling around in a hubcap. The tom and bass sounds verged on Kraftwerky, in a close-but-no-cigar kinda way. Their odd sounds did nothing to diminish their charms as toys, though, and of course they have their champions. They sell for $50-100 on eBay, which is probably worth it if you know how to circuit-bend.
Thanks to Sam Harmon for this find