Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal

Effects Pedal

A distortion pedal used by Prince in the studio around the Sign O The Times era. Susan Rogers has mentioned Prince using a HM-2 in the studio with his Linn LM-1 drum machine. It is unknown whether he used this pedal with his guitar.

It was also used by Sonny T as a bass effect.

Prince used the Linn LM-1, not the Linn Drum, which was the better model that came out afterwards. [The LM-1] was crystal controlled—that’s what coordinated the beats and the timing of it, so it was heat sensitive, and you’d have to plug the thing in and have it warm up. You couldn’t let it get too hot or your step would start to drift. It was really old school, because it was expensive at the time. It was thousands of dollars to buy one. But Prince liked it because on the back of it there were individual outputs for every individual sound, and there was a tuning knob for each individual sound. You could individually tune every drum that you wanted. He liked to take a percussion mix that would come out of the output of those little faders and run it through his Roland and Boss effects pedals. So, let’s say for example, the hi-hat, cymbals, cabasa, and claps might all be running through a Boss pedal where we could add distortion. We had that heavy metal pedal, the brown one. He had the orange distortion pedal, and the delay, the blue one.
What we did is, the LM-1 was different from the LinnDrum, which is a better more improved model. The LM-1 had a crystal clock that wasn’t quite as accurate as the next one. So the timing of the LinnDrum, the old cheap LinnDrum that Prince used, the LM-1, it wasn’t as robotic, it wasn’t as rigid which made it slightly more human. When that thing would heat up, it would speed up a little bit, drift a little bit, so there was that. The other thing it had is that it had individual outputs for all of the sounds, kick, snare, hat, claps, clave, all the toms. There were individual outputs. In the later model, the LinnDrum, they only had individual outputs for some of them and then the rest had to be combined in this little mixer. Prince could take the LM-1 and he could take the claps and run it through the flanger. He always had his guitar pedal, his guitar pedals were the Roland BOSS pedals. We would take his BOSS pedal board from his guitar rig and just plug it into the output of the drum machine and we could send claps, or snare or toms usually, and hi-hat, whatever we liked through this mixture of the heavy metal pedal and the flanger and the chorus and the delay and the distortion. Dialing in on the pedal board, dialing in the sound for the percussion was one of the tricks that he invented and that others copied in his work.