What is a Kalamazoo Rhythm Ace drum machine?
July 26, 2007 7:55 AM   Subscribe

So I was looking through the Wikipedia entry for Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway (don't ask) and I came across a mention of something called a "Kalamazoo Rhythm Ace drum machine"...

Having grown up in Kalamazoo and being somewhat aware of it's musical heritage (Gibson Guitars and whatnot), this was a new one to me. Anybody know what the heck this is? Google only points back to the Wikipedia page or similar pages that hold the same text.
posted by 40 Watt to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Rythym Ace by Ace Tone. It's Japanese, though. Not sure of the Kalamazoo part.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 8:09 AM on July 26, 2007

http://www.hollowsun.com/vintage/rhythmace/index.html The Acetone (subsequently Roland) Rhythm Ace was one of the first successful commercial drum machines if that is any help.
posted by zemblamatic at 8:13 AM on July 26, 2007

"The band was named Wall of Voodoo by Ridgway before their first gig in reference to a comment made by Joe Berardi, a friend of Ridgway's, while recording and overdubbing a Kalamazoo Rhythm Ace drum machine, a gift to Ridgway by writer and iconic voice over artist Daws Butler, partner to Stan Freberg, voice of Yogi Bear and many other Hanna-Barbera characters."

That sentence took away my will to live.

If you take off the 'drum machine' and just google Kalamazoo Rhythm Ace, there are a couple more mentions, like this one, but nothing substantial. There's also a bunch of reverent talk about "The Ace" on a Wall of Voodoo forum that was designed in the 17th century. And if you image google it, there are a bunch of different boxes. Maybe you could look at each for the the word Kalamazoo. We know it's one of the wooden ones by the description on the forum page.
posted by iconomy at 8:22 AM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

That sentence took away my will to live.

Yeah, it's things like that that made me pretty much give up on using WP for anything beyond stuff like former New Wave musicians.

That said, I've done a lot of looking around on various synth/gear sites for this, and haven't seen any mention of it... I'm beginning to think this is something so obscure that it just hasn't made it to the Internetz yet in any meaningful way. Maybe I should try tracking Ridgway down and asking him instead...
posted by 40 Watt at 8:42 AM on July 26, 2007

I think that Maestro, maker of such fine rhythm generators as the Rhythm King, as well as some cool effects pedals and tube amps, was a sub-label of Gibson, originally based in Kalamazoo.... and if you google Maestro Rhythm Ace, you'll find a link on the Beastie Boys site that explains: "It seems like up to a certain date, the Rhythm Ace’s were made by Ace Tone, but then shifted over to being manufactured with the Roland name". And the Beastie Boys definitely use an old Maestro effects unit a lot. Which doesn't really mean much.

There is one more link, from a recording forum, that says Tiny Telephone Studios has a Maestro Rhythm Ace drum machine.

But the Rhythm Ace definitely sounds very similar to the Maestro Rhythm King, made in Kzoo.
posted by sluggo at 8:45 AM on July 26, 2007

Thanks, Sluggo- I never knew about the Maestro connection to Gibson. That might help a lot!
posted by 40 Watt at 8:49 AM on July 26, 2007

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