It’s the late 1970’s, you’ve stopped drumming in your local band because you realized you could be more effective behind the scenes, you cut your teeth in every major bar or club for the last few years after starting out in Cleveland, and as the 80’s fast approach you wonder where life on the road with rock bands will lead you.
Then the phone rings. It’s a band that’s on the verge of dominating the world several times over, but no one knows that yet. They need a Bass tech. You say yes, having never done the job.
For over forty years Norman Harris has been the go-to guy for vintage guitar enthusiasts the world over. His store in Tarzana, CA consistently has the greatest collection of player-friendly stringed instruments, while his dedicated and loyal staff cater to a wide range of guitar enthusiasts and players day after day.
Mary Broadbent’s path into the music industry started much like it does for most of us: on stage, in a band. After moving around for much of her childhood Mary finally ended up attending Emerson University in Boston, and followed a few classmates to the West Coast where her real education as a live touring professional would ultimately begin.
As a young man growing up in Cleveland, Derrick Green knew at an early age that following the status quo and fitting nicely into society’s neat little boxes was probably not going to work for him.
Quietly slipping from long-haired football player to choir boy, Punk Rock and Hardcore lover, Vegan and soul searcher, Derrick has always followed the path that led to personal growth and artistic freedom.
While I was in Los Angeles for the NAMM show, I had the privilege of sitting down with FOH Engineer Lucie Barinkova to chat with her about her career and hear about her incredible childhood, growing up in Czechoslovakia, and her families’ eventual escape to an Austrian refugee camp in 1989.
Lucie’s baptism into the world of live sound came at age 17, when her boyfriend left alone her to mix the Punk band Hoi Polloi. Three painful feedback-filled hours later she was hooked, and vowed to redeem herself, which she has successfully done, touring with artists such as RZA from Wutang, Odesza, Spoon, Banks & Steelz, Tom Tom Club, The B52’s, and Thundercat.
There are many types of successful people out there; those who fell into their position, those for whom luck comes easy and often, and even those that lie, cheat, and steal their way into opportunities until they find themselves in a position of power, leaving a trail of heartbreak and deceit along the way.
Yet there’s another group, who climb the ladder of success in a most understated way. Day in and day out, they quietly do their jobs, learning, getting better, being forthright with their peers and employers, their innocence and naïveté coupled with a pure love and passion for their career, eventually leading them to the highest ranks within their chosen field.
Guitar Tech Steven “Charley” Cohen is a member of this aforementioned group. His approach is simple, his love of his job is pure and palpable, and his sense of self and his ability is straightforward and clear.
No one would have predicted the terrorist assaults on concert venues of the past two years. Tragic, frightening and something we don't really want to think about ... but we have to. What can be done to make the concert environment safer? Our panel of concert and safety professionals will define the vulnerabilities and discuss the methodology to prepare for, and defend against, the worst-case scenarios in music.
It’s always a pleasure to have the opportunity to interview someone on the show that I consider a mentor, and our current guest, Lij Shaw, definitely fits the bill.
As the host of the highly successful podcast Recording Studio Rockstars, Lij provides his guests with a peek behind the curtain and into the minds of some of the most successful record producers and engineers working today.
As I looked through Joel Lonky's resume, one thing became very clear; there's a lot of black ink on the page. That only means one thing: the dude has worked his ass off for a long time, and the list of artists and experiences he's had have made him one of the most in-demand House Engineers in the business.
Today's guest is Systems Tech Hank Fury, no stranger to the road and the perils that exist out there. This episode has all the elements of a great story; love, passion, sacrifice, and of course, redemption.
A New York native and current Brooklyn resident, Hank's baptism into the world of Rock 'n Roll started at one of the most famous clubs in Manhattan's lower east side; the famed CBGB's. It was here that Hank first learned how to make do with the equipment he had, functioning or not. The road soon beckoned, and Hank went willingly, criss-crossing his way around the country, honing his skills and soaking up knowledge night after night.
To help kick this year off our first guest is Cleveland native Lauren Crowley, Monitor Engineer for such artists as Ryan Adams, Eminem, Tyler the Creator, A$AP Rocky, Kurt Vile, and Jenny Lewis.
Crowley cut her teeth in the Punk Rock clubs of Cleveland before eventually moving on to Full Sail University, and ultimately honing her skills at Eighth Day Sound. From there, it’s been a rapid climb up the ranks where she shares the stage nightly not only with a respectable roster of artists, but also with some of the best crews in the business.
I am so excited about today’s episode, you know I’m a sucker for a good story and this one certainly does not disappoint.
For the last two years, Richard Bennett has bet on himself and made it his life’s mission as Editor-In Chief of Load-In International magazine to bring the touring community together in an honest and visually dynamic way, month after month.
But as any entrepreneur will tell you, myself included, sometimes dreams and ambition just aren’t enough.
After thirty days on the road in Mississippi I’m happy to say I’m home and back in the studio!
To help celebrate our 75th episode I sat down with Andrew Ratcliffe of Tweed Recording in Oxford, MS.
Andrew has been producing and engineering bands for over twenty years and has carved out an incredible career in an area rich in musical history and heritage. His list of clients includes The Black Crowes, The Damnwells, Pokey LaFarge, Jimbo Mathus, Will Sexton, and the North Mississippi All-Stars.
In the late ‘70’s and into the ‘80’s Hollywood and the Sunset Strip played host to the hair bands and spandex superstars that rocked clubs like the Whiskey and the Roxy night after night. But several miles down the coast, a new sound was emerging; raw, impatient, and not satisfied with the Status Quo.
It was in this world that Dave Rat of Rat Sound Systems carved his place as a trusted engineer, with a company that provided the kind of equipment that could match the DIY attitude of the artists and crowds that were showing up to hear bands like Black Flag, Jane’s Addiction, and Rage Against the Machine.
I can’t tell you how incredible it was to sit with Phil Dudderidge at my first AES show, and listen to him reflect on his career.
Today, Phil is the Chairman of Focusrite Audio Engineering, a highly successful company known for its audio interfaces, preamps, and consoles, but at seventeen, he was just a kid in North London with a van, and a willingness to seize every opportunity that came his way.
For close to thirty years, Jay Blakesberg has photographed and befriended the most incredible roster of artists, musicians, tech giants, hippies, rockers, punkers, and concert-goers. He’s published close to 15 books, runs his own publishing company, gives back to his community, and generally leads a pretty cool life.
This week’s guest is guitar/bass tech Aron Michalski, a New England native who has toured the world a few times over with the likes of Paul Simon, Metallica, the Indigo Girls, Norah Jones, Babyface, Bruce Springsteen, Weezer, and Little Feat, just to name a few.
I caught up with Aron via Skype, while he was on a short break a few weeks ago in-between runs with the Indigo girls. Given the depth of his resume, you can only imagine how deep his story runs, and I’m very excited to share it with you.
One could argue that if it were not for an unfortunate mishap at Joni Mitchell's home studio, Toni Fishman may never have had the opportunity to re-launch the Telefunken brand. By reverse-engineering the guts of a badly burned microphone from Mitchell's home studio, Toni was able to not only bring the mic back to life, but realized there was a market for people who owned the same microphones and needed them serviced. It all came down to one small plastic switch.
For over 30 years, multi-instrumentalist Michael Lardie has traveled the world and rocked stage after stage as the keyboardist and guitarist for the band Great White. He's ridden every high and low that comes with rock stardom, and through it all he's kept the same passion and love for music that prompted him to move to Southern California in the late '70's.
Singer-songwriter Jeff Slate is an internationally recognized recording artist and music journalist. He co-founded the band the Mindless Thinkers, founded The Badge and has performed and worked with countless other rock luminaries, including Pete Townshend of The Who, Sheryl Crow and others. His band with David Bowie sideman Earl Slick, and his current band Jeff Slate & Friends, are both mainstays of the Northeast music scene.
Robert Compton is no stranger to life-changing events. As you'll hear in our interview, he's had quite a few. In fact, Compton's knack for surviving a few of those events is what's led him to focus his passion and channel his creativity into building guitars out of his home in New Jersey.
With twenty-five years of touring experience under his belt, Production manager/Tour Manager Chris Wrightsman certainly know his way around a venue or two. The Cleveland native is also not afraid to mix FOH, monitors, or even lend his hand as a lighting Designer. At the end of the day, it’s about putting on a great show, keeping a level head, and getting to the next gig.
Welcome to our 65th episode! In this special installment I thought I would honor famed booking agent Ian Copeland, who not only changed my life, but changed the lives of countless artists and musicians, and forever left his imprint on the music industry.
There are many mantras to help you survive life on the road. For Stage Manager Bobby Carroll, there is only one that counts, and that is the Golden of the Road: "Do Unto Roadies, As You Would Have Them Do Unto You." For him, being nice isn't a tactic simply to get the job done, but rather, a way of life impressed upon him by those that taught him the ropes.
Greg Howard’s first tour on the road started a little later than most, but it certainly hasn’t stopped him from making up time along the way. A Florida native, Greg has called Raleigh, N.C. his home for most of his adult life, and it’s where he started working in a music store, fresh out of college, never imagining he’d have the career he does now.
I've used the word passion many times to describe several of my previous guests. Some are passionate about their careers, others about their instruments, and still others care deeply about doing the best that they can at any given moment to achieve the absolute best outcome. Production Manager & Front of House Engineer Brian Speiser fits most comfortably in this last category.
Music journalist Katherine Turman has certainly earned her stripes in the industry, documenting and sharing the stories and profiles of countless artists, in a long list of magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, such as Rockline, and Nights with Alice Cooper.
Michael Musburger knows what it’s like to be at the epicenter of something incredible. As a Seattle native, he not only witnessed the rise of the Grunge scene, but as a member of the Posies, and subsequent Production and Stage Manager for the Presidents of the United States of America, he was one of the scene’s first ambassadors.