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.
For over fifty years Chris Adamson has led the kind of career most people would dream of. As one of the most sought after Production Manager’s in the business, he’s the guy who makes sure every piece of gear and all personnel gets from one part of the world to the other safely, on time, and that the show will certainly go on.
Fresh from graduating from the University of Hartford, Alan Venitosh promptly landed a job at Telefunken Elektroakustik in South Windsor, CT. A touring musician with a degree in music production and a keen interest in recording techniques, Alan joined owner Toni Fishman in their modest office space, never imagining where this turn of events would lead him.
Parnelli award-winning monitor engineer Greg Looper knows firsthand the role fate can play in a career. For the last several years he has been with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, first as a systems tech for FOH engineer Robert Scovill, but eventually stepping-in at monitors, where he has proven to be an invaluable asset.
Bobby Tis, guitar tech and monitor engineer for the Tedeschi Trucks Band, has fostered that trust for close 10 years. I spent an evening with Bobby at a recent gig in Simsbury, CT, and the level of camaraderie and closeness among the band and crew was certainly palpable.
It was at a Supertramp concert when he was 13 years old where Robert Scovill got his first glimpse of a FOH soundboard, and since that day, he’s followed his insatiable passion for live music all the way the top of his field.
This week I sit down with guitarist/producer Eric Ambel in Brooklyn to mine through the finer points of a career built on desire, attitude, and talent. After all, you don't get to play with the likes of Joan Jett or Steve Earl by pigeon-holing yourself into one style.
Paul Marcarelli has done it twice. For fourteen years he was the iconic face of Verizon who asked the question “can you hear me now?” and now, in a historic and unprecedented move, he’s back, representing mobile phone giant Sprint.