Topper Headon – The Clash

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Roland’s digital drums aren’t just arming the new generation. They’re also reinvigorating the old guard. As the heartbeat behind British punk originators The Clash, Topper Headon powered classic albums including 1979’s London Calling and wrote the music for biggest hit Rock The Casbah. Sadly, after the original lineup split in 1982, Topper retreated from the studio, and in recent times, the drums had played a less central role in his life.

But old punks can learn new tricks. Last year, when Topper tried the Roland TD-30KV V-Drums kit, he was so inspired that he threw himself back into playing. “It’s just incredible,” he says in this exclusive video interview. “I come down in the morning, I put the kettle on, and ten minutes later, I’ve got the headphones on and I’m playing away on the drums. It just encourages me to play. It’s reawakened a lot of playing in me, y’know?”

Topper had tried other digital kits back in the day, and hated them (“They just made disco noises. I remember, we played in Japan once and the band confiscated them from me because of the noises I was making in the set”). But even as a self-confessed technophobe, the drummer admits to falling hard for the Roland TD-30KV’s user-friendly preset tones, practical headphone feature and ultra-responsive performance. “It really feels like a drumkit,” he tells us. “When you set up the ‘Topper’ setting, it sounded like when I played with The Clash. It’s just incredible…”