Jul 29, 2006

The Tides at Sonalysts

Spent a few days with one of my favorite recording compadres, Kato, down at The Power Station New England in Waterford CT this week working with The Tides, a fun and talented bunch of young lads. Kato is ruling the record charts lately with something like four records in the top 50. He's most definitely a hi-fi rock guy, and his engineering and producing skills are top-notch, as are his musical instincts, which is one skill a lot of producers don't have. I'm really fortunate to work with the people I work with on a regular basis, especially the producers.
The Power Station NE is at a huge complex called Sonalysts and is an exact copy of the NYC Power Station (now called Avatar Studios) built by Tony Bongiovi back in the 70s and home to more hits than you can shake a stick at. What a great drum tracking room, totally old school with huge wood walls and traps and a great mic collection. There is a matched pair of Neumann U 47s that we use as overheads. The studio itself is one of the best kept secrets on the East Coast. It boasts an inexpensive day rate and is easy to get to from NYC, Boston, New Haven, Providence and Hartford.
Enuff about the studio and more about drums and mics! Here's a pic of the setup we used for the 6 songs The Tides tracked:
Gretsch drum kit: 22" BD, 12" tt, 14" floor, 6x14" Tama Bubinga SD "The Bubinganator".
Mics include: 2 U-47s as OH, SM57 on snare, SM7 HH, Senheiser 421's on toms, D112 inside kick, 47 FET outside kick, Royer 121 in front of kit, RCA 77 in front of kit,modified Aphex LD condensors for rooms, etc.... AND some really cool weird tube gear provided by Mad Tube scientist Charles Olsen. Needless to say, some badassssss drum sounds were put down on hard drives...

Jul 19, 2006

Curse Of The U2 Drum Riser

Back in the States again after a little stint in Europe... I was filling in as drum tech for Chad and the Chili Peppers in England. His longtime tech Chris had a horrible accident at the beginning of the tour and wasn't able to return for two months. It was certainly my first touring experience as a big time drum tech and I have a new appreciation for the road warriors who do this demanding work for a living. Leave it to the young-uns I say.
Everything the Pep's do is first class, and even though the schedule can be grueling, the band takes care of their crew. Saw some incredible shows - I spent every show onstage to the left of Chad. My job consisted of setting up the drums, changing heads, polishing cymbals, connecting the new drum light system (which being a prototype triggered by sound gates was a pain in the ass), playing a sound check to set levels in the mains and the in-ear monitors. There are so many great stories to tell and the crew themselves are some really fun and wonderful people, who were remarkably patient with me as I learned the ropes. The high point: playing soundcheck every day in an empty soccer stadium with the other instrument techs. We usually performed the Peppers' hit "Give it Away".
An old knee injury came back to haunt me and the offending joint popped loudly as I was coming off the drum riser after soundcheck one day. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and treated by a very friendly staff of British doctors and nurses.I hobbled back to the show to enjoy my my status as the second drum tech to fall in the line of duty on the Euro tour. Chad chalked it off to the drum riser, bought second hand from U2. Damn your Irish drumsticks Larry Mullen! You gotta laff.

I'll go into more detail about the in's and out's of the tour in a future posting, but here's a low res onstage movie in the meantime.