I am a "computer enthusiast" who completed the CompTIA A+ certification after studying at the university level. A CompTIA A+ certification implies you have a broad base of knowledge and competency in core computer hardware and operating system technologies including installation, configuration, diagnosing, preventive maintenance and basic computer networking.
My current interest is mixing and producing recorded music. I use a combination of analog equipment and a rack-mounted computer (PC) I assembled and customized specifically to mix and produce music using Avid's Pro Tools. The computer I'm using with Avid Pro Tools installed is often referred to as a digital audio workstation or DAW.
I became interested in mixing recorded music shortly after I began working as a FOH (front of house) live sound technician. I no longer work in live sound production. The last live show I worked was sometime in 2002. After working large-scale music events, I concluded I prefer to work in smaller, more intimate venues. I like directly interacting with the musicians I work with. I enjoy the connections and friendships I've developed over the years. These preferences guide my work today.
In 1985 I began mixing live sound for a Madison, Wisconsin, psychedelic rock band that performed a mix of original music and covers. The band was heavily influenced by The Grateful Dead. One of the band's guitarists, Phil Garfinkle, taught me the basics of mixing live sound. In the later 1980s I was fortunate to mix live sound for some of the bands coming out of Butch Vig's, Madison, Wisconsin, based Smart Studios. Butch Vig was the drummer and co-producer of the alternative rock band Garbage and the producer of the diamond-selling album Nevermind by Nirvana. Some of my favorite Madison bands from that time were The Other Kids, Killdozer, the Tar Babies, Garbage and the psychedelic rock band The Middle Pillar. Great people and music!NOTE: Click any small image to see a larger version.
From 1985 to 1995 I worked as a live sound technician mainly in bars, clubs, outdoor events, a few music festivals and small theaters with a capacity of less than 1,000 people. A majority of the bands I mixed live sound for at that time were from Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Chicago, Illinois. I worked with a few bands from New York and Los Angeles when they toured the Madison, Wisconsin, area.
Rock Music | Cheap Trick & OthersIn the later 1980s I also worked a short time for Lewis Audio in Madison, Wisconsin. David Lewis worked with the rock band Cheap Trick as the Front of House Mixer when they played Budokan in Tokyo, Japan, in 1978. I've been a Cheap Trick fan since the release of the album In Color in 1977. Through David's connections with Cheap Trick, I worked as a sound tech in a small Madison, Wisconsin, club called Headliners as the band practiced for their upcoming world tour in support of their new album Lap of Luxury.
Lap of Luxury produced three top 40 hit singles including the ballad "The Flame" at number one on the American Billboard Hot 100. Congratulations to Cheap Trick for their 2016 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!
Like the Cheap Trick job, many of the bands I set up for at that time were one day/night events (load in, out). I also worked to set up a variety of other rock and blues bands to include: Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, U2, Elton John, Rod Stewart, KISS, Cheryl Crow, 38 Special, Dave Mathews, BoDeans, Fear Factory, Rob Zombie, Richard Marx, Yanni, Marilyn Manson, Counting Crows, Creed, Sevendust, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Korn, Staind, Limp Bizkit, System of a Down, Garbage, Tori Amos, The Moody Blues, Primus, Phish, blues music legend BB King, and others.
Country MusicBefore the early 1990s I had not listened to nor was I interested in Country Music. It was in 1993 that I worked my first Country Jam USA concert series in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I worked two seasons of the Country Jam series in Wisconsin. The experience and connections I gained brought more work and subsequent shows where I assisted the set up of the stage and sound system, placed microphones, monitors and more.
Some of the country greats I set up for include: Alabama, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, The Oak Ridge Boys, Travis Tritt, Sawyer Brown, Mark Chesnutt, Diamond Rio, Billy Dean, Eddie Rabbitt, Marty Stuart, Confederate Railroad, Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd, Sammy Kershaw, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna Judd, Vince Gill, John Michael Montgomery, Randy Travis, Lee Roy Parnell, Lorrie Morgan, Michelle Wright, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Ricky Lynn Gregg, Ricky Van Shelton, Little Texas, Martina McBride (McBride & The Ride), Charlie Daniels, Tanya Tucker, the talented, tech friendly Suzy Bogguss, Lee Greenwood, Highway 101, John Michael Montgomery, Kathy Mattea, Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flats, Emmylou Harris, Toby Keith, and more.
My favorite memory of that time period was sitting backstage one night with the talented Faith Hill while we watched Toby Keith during his Country Jam performance at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, in the early 1990s. I learned an incredible amount from the technicians I worked with in country music. The great talent of the performers and technicians changed my mind about country music. I now include myself as a country music fan. In my opinion, no one tells a story better than a country musician playing a country song.
Pink Floyd, U2, The Rolling StonesI worked two different Pink Floyd tours (A Momentary Lapse of Reason, May 20, 1988, and The Division Bell, July 3, 1994), U2's Zoo TV tour (September 13, 1992) and the The Rolling Stones' Steel Wheels (August 26, 1994) and Voodoo Lounge (October 6, 1997) tours when they played Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Camp Randall hosts the University of Wisconsin Badgers football team. I worked these and other large shows through the IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Local 251 Madison Stagehands Union.
These shows were great learning opportunities. I worked as a "climber" helping to build the main stage, hung the motors used to fly (hang) the sound system and similar tasks. I also worked as part of the sound crew to assemble and fly the sound system and much more. It was an added bonus that I was able work the night of the shows and see the performances for FREE. How much money does a large rock tour make? View this list of the highest earning concert tours in history.
Jazz & FunkOne of my favorite memories from the late 1980s was mixing live sound at a Madison, Wisconsin, club hosting a charitable event to raise money for the internationally recognized and oh so funky drummer Clyde Stubblefield. Clyde is probably best known as a drummer for the world-renowned, grand master of funk music James Brown. Clyde is also one of the most often sampled drummers in the world.
That night rekindled my interest in Jazz. Headlining performances included Chicago native Richard Davis. Richard Davis is one of the most often recorded bass players in music. He's performed with a diversity of talented and well-known musicians, including one of my favorite jazz icons Sun Ra. Chicago-based jazz saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell also played that night. Roscoe Mitchell was playing with the internationally famous Art Ensemble of Chicago at the time. He was already at the forefront of avant-garde jazz. It's been many years since that night and I still get a rush thinking about the music and performances I experienced.
In Search of Jim Morrison - Paris, FranceI've been a longtime fan of Jim Morrison, lead vocalist for the rock band The Doors. During our most recent visit to Paris, my wife and I went in search of the grave of Jim Morrison in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.
We were not alone as we wandered through the long paths, cobblestone roads and rows of decrepit tombs that seemed long forgotten. My wife and I encountered fans and musicians from all over the world who like us were searching for James Douglas Morrison. We met punk rockers from England, metalheads from Germany, rockers from France, Deadheads from the USA, and others that day.
View photos my wife and I took of Jim Morrison's grave and the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France. Once you arrive at the page with pictures, click on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand side and choose slideshow.