I'd like to introduce myself, though
some of you already know me. Like many I started out playing in a band.
We occasionally lost a guitar player and
had to break a new one in. During one of these “personnel transitions,” a
previous guitarist called to rent my equipment and hire me to haul it and run
it. In the 1970s, PA wasn’t much bigger or more complicated than my drum kit.
And I didn’t have a gig that weekend.
I had two epiphanies (light-bulb
moments) that night. First, at the front-of-house mix position, with control of
all the microphones, it sounds way better than it ever will behind the drums.
The second bulb lit up when the band paid me, dividing the money that was left
over. Thus began the end of my days as a drummer.
I went to college at UMass and, in
those days, with a part-time job, a young person could work their way through
college. I started renting my sound system to club bands and frat parties. Most
of the business happened before midterms, which was plenty of time to make
enough money to buy books and finally start studying.
This went on for six years. I ended
up with an economics degree and a great little system that fit into a slant six
Dodge van: DC300-powered Forsythe bins and 2440 drivers on metal radial horns,
with a Tangent 1602. Pretty cool, but I wanted more PA. The inverse square law
is a bitch. So I went to work for the biggest outfit in the valley, Sun Sound
Audio, who did the spring concerts not just for UMass, but also for many New
My first week in Sun Sound’s shop
was spent loading JBL components into BH800 and MH102 cabinets and the
following week it was Carver amps into Calzone racks. The call from Larry
Schwartz for Crystal Gayle’s Northeast dates came just in time for owner Herb
Mayer to send his new EAW speakers along with the kid who had wired them, so I
was on my first tour.
Sun Sound later co-developed the
KF850 with EAW, and when we couldn’t buy any more, I organized the KF850 Users
Group so we could cross-rent, urging Ken Berger to take my list and make it
available on this new thing called the Internet. Endless one-offs are the bread
and butter of regional production, but the KF850 opened the door to touring
with acts like Suzanne Vega, Clash of the Titans (Slayer and Megadeth), 10,000
Maniacs and Joe Cocker.
My first tour as an independent came
as system engineer for Glenn Hatch and Audio West for the Gipsy Kings in 1992.
I next mixed FOH for Tony Bennett during his MTV Unplugged comeback, and went
on to mix monitors for Canadian chanteuse k.d. lang for a decade, including her
Drag, Invincible Summer and Wonderful World (Tony Bennett
co-bill) tours. On k.d.’s Hymns of the 49th Parallel symphony pops
tour, I also served as production manager.
Between k.d. lang tours, I mixed
monitors for Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now symphony swan
song with lang’s FOH engineer Grant McAree, and also worked for KIAN Sound on
their Pavarotti and Three Tenors shows with SIM guru “Thorny” and tonmeister
John Pellowe, eventually introducing the maestro to IEMs, helping extend his
career by a decade. I also did a stint with Meredith Brooks, where I learned a
lot of non-technical stuff about IEMs.
Along the way, there were various
special projects. Long before he was a JBL VP, I worked with David Scheirman on
the New York Phil and The Met’s In The Parks summer
outdoor series, as well as on Pope John Paul II’s Giants Stadium appearance and
on the Atlanta Olympics basketball competition at the Georgia Dome with the
Other memorable moments include the
lightning strike at DC’s JFK stadium while working for Ted Leamy on the ’98
Tibet Freedom Festival, and working on the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
lighting for Daryl Bornstein the first year it had LEDs. I enjoyed a decade
with ATK, doing 10 Super Bowls with Bob Sterne and Redford, plus a bunch of
Microsoft major events with Andrew Waterman.
In 2008, my last touring year, I
worked for Jesse McCartney and then Jessica Simpson mixing IEMs on a PM5D both
times, following a run with Irish traditional super-group Lúnasa, mixing wedges
and FOH from an LS9. I’ve settled down in Jacksonville, FL where I’m a member
of IATSE local #115, occasionally doing shows with the Jacksonville Symphony on
I would love to go on another
Symphony tour, and I enjoy corporate shows as well, having my own inventory of
wireless and 360 Systems Short Cut and Instant Replay, as well as
a rack of IEMs.
Along the way I was Mix magazine’s
Live Sound Editor for 10 years, and I worked for Live Sound magazine
during the last five. Now I’m with FRONT of HOUSE and we’ve got
our own Dream Team: Dan Daley, Baker Lee, “Woody” LaCerra, Jamie Rio, Blair
Jackson, Frank Hammel and Kevin Mitchell, to name just a few. We’ll continue
developing our roster, adding familiar names like David Morgan, John Murray and
Jeff MacKay. If you have something to contribute, we look forward to hearing