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.
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.
After thirty-plus years in the film business as a highly sought-after commercial director, John is now crossing over and back to his first love; music and songwriting. Along with singer Abby Layne, he’s chasing the muse, one song at a time.
It only takes a few seconds of watching Mike Bram play drums to know how much joy it brings him. The same can be said of talking to him about music and the incredible journey he’s been on since he climbed behind his first kit at just five years old.
What do all great songs have in common? Most likely they tell a great story. So it’s no wonder Chas Sandford is an award-winning, multi-platinum selling songwriter and producer, he also happens to be an amazing storyteller.
FOH engineer and 2 x Grammy Nominee producer Courtney Taylor is a hard man to track down. Every other week he flies from his home in Southern Florida to work overseas, and in between, he's either working for someone else, DJ'ing, or planning his next move.
It’s not uncommon for someone to start their career working at a place like SIR in New York City and end up on the road. That’s exactly what happened to Randy Brown. He met Roberta Flack while manning the stages at SIR, and the next thing he knew, he was travelling the country.
Joe Rudge was born to be a music supervisor. It's literally in his DNA. His father is famed Rolling Stones tour manager Pete Rudge, and his step-father was the iconic film director Elia Kazan. So you see, the apple most certainly has not fallen far from the tree.
I first met Joe Magistro and Katrine Ottosen in the Summer of 2014 while they were both on tour with Rich Robinson. The gig was in Patchogue, NY, and the trailer hauling all of their gear had broken down in New Jersey on the way to Long Island.
My guest this week is friend and filmmaker Bob Sarles of Ravin’ Films. Editor, producer, and rock music historian with some incredible credits to his name, Bob and his business partner Christina Keating, work on a variety of unique projects throughout the year
Tanya has carved an incredible international career for herself as an in-demand artist in the studio and on the road. These are just a few of the amazing artists she’s played with: Maynard James Keenan, Joshua Eustis, Orianthi, Ronnie Wood, and The Coors.
Becky Pell is one of the lucky people who is able to follow two of her passions and turn them into thriving careers. As a monitor mixer she has worked with an incredible range of artist’s including the Black Crowes, A-ha, Anastacia, Take That, Westlife, Kylie, Muse, and Natalie Imbruglia.
Passion. Heartbreak. Angels. Devils. Duende, And of course, Jazz. These are the things that keep guitarist Anthony Purrone driving and striving for the truth in his playing and just a few of the things that we mined through during our time together.
My guests today are songwriting and performing duo Lucinda Rowe and Michael Connelly. Based in the idyllic hills of Sherman, CT and forged out of the iconic rock sounds of the ‘70’s, these two have paid their dues and then some.
When I think of Jazz, the violin is not usually the first instrument that comes to mind, but today’s guest has set me straight. Zach Brock is a monster of his instrument and I’m so glad we found a break in his schedule to have him on the show.
To kick-off 2017 with style and grace my first guest in the studio is the smart and talented Fawn Segerson, otherwise known as Lullaby Girl. We talk about growing up in small town Connecticut, touring Paris, and her love of Elvis and Dolly Parton.
With 16 books to his name, Howard is a man of many talents; engineer, producer, songwriter, and musician. Howard's deep knowledge and love of the business is rivaled only by the incredible respect his peers have for him.
For this weeks episode I had the pleasure of sitting down via skype with Mike Bloomfield historian, David Dann. We recently spent time together up in Portland Maine for a screening of the film that I co-produced called Sweet Blues where Dann served as a moderator for the panel discussion.
How does one go from folding airbags for Honda and deboning chickens in South Carolina, to being Christian McBrides FOH audio engineer? To answer that question you are going to have to check out today’s interview featuring Fela Davis.
What’s up roadies? This week’s cure for your case of the Monday blues is brought to you by monitor engineer to the stars, Steve Walsh. A 20-year industry veteran, Walsh has worked with some of rocks biggest names including but not limited to; +44, Blink-182, The Foo Fighters, Tommy Lee, and Maroon 5...
This installment of Roadie Free Radio is coming to you straight from the sound studio of long time Rock 'n Roll veteran, Charlie Karp. A man who has been through it all, Charlie landed his first big gig at the tender age of 16, thanks to a chance encounter at the Filmore East. That fateful night would introduce Karp to Buddy Miles. Charlie would go on to tour, write, and record for Miles over a period of two years. Did we mention all of this happened before his 20th birthday?
Musician. Entrepreneur. Hustler. I think those are three good words to describe David Koltai. And just so we’re clear, I mean hustler in the best sense of the word. When I arrived at the Pigtronix/Supro office in Port Jefferson, NY, David was juggling several calls, pausing shortly in between to confer with any of his staff who poked their head in for a quick word.
Roger Sadowsky is very clear that he never wanted his business to feel like a factory. The world in which he builds his instruments should feel more like a workshop than anything else. Wandering through his shop, past the several workstations occupied by his master builders, it's clear that he has succeeded.
It's no secret that for years the "road" has been a male-dominated workplace. However, that's quickly changing, and women like Rachel Ryan are forging new and indelible paths, demonstrating their might and talent, making way for a new generation of roadies.
I've known Mike Fratantuno for a while now. We met as he was making the transition from founding member and bass player with the Black Eyed Peas, to scoring music for various high-profile film and television productions with his bandmates Brian Lapin and Terence Yoshiaki, also former members of the Peas.
Growing up in the '70's, Blood, Sweat, & Tears was definitely on heavy rotation in our house. "Spinning Wheel," "What Goes Up," "Sometimes in Winter"; these tunes are etched in my memory. I can't even tell you how many times my mom sang verse after verse of "God Bless the Child" to both my sister and I.
In all honesty, I didn’t know much about Harvey Citron before our interview. I had met him at a few random events in Woodstock, NY, but we never had an opportunity to get to know each other. And, I knew nothing about his guitars or basses. As I prepped to sit down with him, I quickly picked-up on the care, precision, and thought that he brings to each instrument and to each new design endeavor that he approaches.
"Record with John Lennon." That was Alex's response when I asked him what the future holds for him. Thing is, if he had the chance, he would probably be the kind of producer Lennon would want. I've seen Alex in action in his studio Starr Ridge, in Brewster, NY., and he never stopped moving during the entire session. It was inspiring to say the least.
I first met Cindy Cashdollar when I was shooting the documentary film BRASS, GLASS, & STEEL: THE MAKING OF ARLEN ROTH’S SLIDE GUITAR SUMMIT. She was in the middle of a small tour with Sonny Landreth, and they were stopping in to record a few tunes with Arlen at Starr Ridge Studios in Brewster, NY. She was gracious, professional, and incredibly focused.
When I told people Peter Moshay was a guest on the show, the immediate reaction was "WOW!" Right away it was evident that Peter has earned the respect of his peers and colleagues in the industry, and that he is held in high esteem by those that have crossed paths with him.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself at how lucky I am to spend time with my guests and Jim Weider is no exception to that rule. Jim’s roots in American music run deep, and his fifteen-year tenure with the Band helped to cement his status as a Master of the Telecaster guitar.
Mike "aNaLoGman" Piera is a true renaissance man. Not only is he a devoted husband and father, he's also a record-setting Porsche racing driver, a top-ranked tennis player, and most famously, the man behind one of the most sought after effects pedals today; the King of Tone.
Doug Redler is one of the most well respected guitar techs in his field. He has spent countless hours and thousands of miles with the likes of K.D. Lang, Paul Simon, Slash, Peter Gabriel, The Counting Crows, the Dixie Chicks....
Mitch Colby is a true veteran of the music industry. After spending an amazing thirty years with Korg USA, Mitch has not only gone on to launch his own successful line of handmade boutique amplifiers, he's resurrected the classic Park amplifier...
In our inaugural episode we sit down Brian Gerosa, the owner and proprietor of Gerosa Records. Located in Brookfield, Ct., the shop has been up and running since 1986. It is a rare breed of people like Brian that can have a customer walk through his doors with little to no direction as to what they are looking for, and end up leaving equipped with a new favorite record.