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looping electronic percussion

I've asked this before, but since the listmember subscribershipness is in
constant flux, maybe someone has an idea...

I'm playing with a percussionist who's developed a severe case of
loop-envy. We generally play as a duo and he has to sit there on his
hydraulic-pneumatic drum throne stuck in one layer of real time while I get
to have all the looping fun.

What he'd like to do is to put triggers on his acoustic kit to control a
drum module (probably an Alesis D4) which he'd then run to an as-yet
unspecified looper. Since money IS an object, he's looking at either a
Headrush or a DL4, which leads to the crux of the biscuit:

Do any of you have any ideas for a way to modify the switches on either of
these units so they could be stick-controlled? As a kit drummer, his feet
are too busy to deal with a stompbox. I suppose he could mount the looper
between his floor toms and hit the switches with the heel of his right
hand, but it would be particularly cool to have a couple of pads in the kit
that would serve as switches to start and stop the loop when hit with a

We've got an old Yamaha DD-5 sitting there; the sounds are horrible, but
it's got 4 pads and a MIDI out. Since neither the Headrush nor the DL4 are
MIDI, can anyone suggest an affordable hardware interface solution that
would allow the DD-5 pads to replace the switches? Or would it make more
sense to rig up some sort of mechanical stick-activated switches?