Thank you for joining me this week for our 99th episode, my guest is Jason Sprinzen, author of the forthcoming book about legendary sound and lighting company, SHOWCO.
A native New Yorker, vintage guitar expert, and vintage t-shirt collector, Jason has always been fascinated by the 1970's Rock 'n' Roll scene. He was still in grade school when he first laid eyes on the SHOWCO logo. Over the years, he would see it again and again in photos worn on the t-shirts of his favorite rock stars. Already an avid collector of vintage rock t-shirts, Jason soon discovered that some of the most coveted rock tees around are SHOWCO shirts from the 1970's.
Like so many of my guests, Rich Nesin started his career with a passion for music and a desire to learn everything he could about the industry. But as we know all too well, a successful career also comes down to right place, right time.
After starting out as a bass player in local New York bands, Rich quickly found himself working at S.I.R studios in midtown Manhattan, servicing clients like Todd Rundgren, The Dictators, Jim Carroll, and Blue Oyster Cult. His big break came at the start of Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue, where Nesin got his first real taste of life as a touring professional, making $250 a week as the tour's backline tech.
Our guest this week is Lighting Tech Pierce Scott. At the ripe young age of fourteen Pierce found his calling at his local church and starting volunteering in the A/V department. His first love was video, but he soon ended up learning all aspects of production including lighting.
Since 1981 Dave has mixed some of the top grossing acts of the last few decades starting with Asia’s Heat of the Moment tour. From there, he has gone on to mix for Tina Turner, Motley Crue, Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Ritchie, and of course, The Rolling Stones, for whom he has mixed since the A Bigger Bang world tour in 2004.
Bass player/singer/songwriter Byron Isaacs is a Texas native, proud former Hoosier, Brooklyn resident, and Woodstock frequenter, currently playing with The Lumineers as well as Lost Leaders. He’s also just completed a solo album, Disappearing Man, set for release on June 12, 2018.
Byron Isaacs is a founding member of the Americana band Ollabelle and has played with Levon Helm live at his Midnight Rambles and on both of his Grammy-winning studio albums. He played with Amy Helm and produced her album Didn’t It Rain. In the last fifteen years he’s also toured and/or recorded with Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams, The Weight Band, Joan Baez and many more.
After fifty years as a working and dedicated FOH engineer, Dansir McCullough still believes in the power of music, and the thrill it gives him night after night to stand at the center of it all, and push the faders up on over a hundred microphones.
Dansir’s big break came with Ted Nugent, who he would mix for from 1976-1984. Prior to that he had been with Bob Seger, the Rockets, and the Tea.
Fresh on the heels of graduating from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in San Francisco, Carly Scovill found herself under the guidance of longtime stylist Linda Burcher at the start of rehearsals for the 40th anniversary tour of one of the world’s most beloved artists, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Ken “Pooch” Van Druten has built a name for himself as one of the industry’s top FOH Engineers. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music, Ken headed to Los Angeles to begin what he initially thought would be a long and lucrative career as a recording engineer. However, this all changed after the invitation to mix one of his artists in a live venue. The band was Warrant, and the venue was none other than the Los Angeles Forum.
This week’s guest is Lisa Boland, Ticket Manager for the Dave Matthews Band. While she’s not necessarily on the front lines of the music, she’s certainly an integral part of making sure every single show in every city goes as smoothly as possible, for both artist and concert goer.
It’s almost impossible to be a fan of music and not know the name Peter Shapiro. Chances are you’ve heard of places like Wetlands Preserve, The Capitol Theater, and Brooklyn Bowl. You may even be familiar with Relix Magazine, originally launched in 1974, which focuses on live music, festivals, artist interviews, etc. If the aforementioned still doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure you know the names Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir. Peter Shapiro is at the center of all of those things and many more.
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.