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IN THIS ISSUE:

- EARS meets for the 25th ANNIVERSARY BBQ PARTY at EXPERIMENTAL SOUND STUDIOS
- MR. SPOCK: The most Baddass Mixer in Start Fleet... or is he?
- REWIND: An evening with Mastering Mega Guru BOB LUDWIG at JOHNNY K'S GROOVEMASTER
- EARS BOOK CLUB reviews "Howling at The Moon (The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in the Age of Excess)"
- "Adventures In Acoustics"
- THE BEAT: IN & AROUND CHICAGO’S AUDIO SCENE
- THE LIVE CORNER "Against All Odds"
- And more EARS in the news...
EARS logo

Editors:
Fran
(The LJETPRO) Allen-Leake
and
Danny (The URBAN G) Leake

Principal Photography:
John
(The Eye) Christy


Volume 26, Number 8 • August, 2011

President – Blaise Barton
Vice President – Reid Hyams
Secretary – Bob Vodick
Treasurer – Eric Roth


AUGUST EARS MEETING

EARS logo

EARS BBQ party 2011 TUESDAY, AUGUST 30TH
6:30PM @

EXPERIMENTAL SOUND STUDIOS
5925 N. RAVENSWOOD, CHICAGO IL 60660
773-769-1069


BBQ mics
SPONSORED BY
Shure logo Vintage King logo Gepco logo

Win free raffle prizes!
BBQ from 2010 BBQ 2010


Are you finally ready to rock the EARS 25th ANNUAL BBQ PARTY OR WHAT?? US TOO!!

It's that time of year...! and EARS is excited to roll out our 25th annual BBQ party, an all-out fun and cool event for YOU! The fine folks at Experimental Sound Studios are opening up their lovely backyard garden and facility to us and so naturally we encourage you to come raise a glass (or plastic SOLO cup) with your fellow EARS comrades in celebration of 25 years of EARS. All food and beverage is provided courtesy of EARS with help from our fine sponsors Shure, Vintage King, and Gepco International (See the invitation below from GEPCO). Of course, if you would like to bring your own creation to throw on the grill, by all means!
Please note the BBQ is a MEMBERS ONLY event. If you are not already a member, EARS is making it even easier to join by rolling back the membership dues for the month of August only. There's never been a better time to join EARS than now. You can join when you arrive at the BBQ itself, or click here to join online.
EARS 25th ANNUAL BBQ QUICK FACTS:


- Experimental Sound Studio is located at 5925 N. Ravenswood in Chicago, 773-769-1069

- Start time = 6:30pm

- This is an EARS MEMBERS ONLY event and your dues must be up to date to attend. You can join or renew at the BBQ itself or by clicking the "JOIN/RENEW" button below. If you are unsure of your membership status contact membership@ears-chicago.org (ALL EARS memberships renew on the last Tuesday of October).

- For those who would like to attend but don't want to join at this time, EARS is offering a $15 guest pass which can be purchased when you arrive at the BBQ in person.

- Members may bring one guest to the event. Additional guests must purchase a $15 guest pass.

- Vegetarian faire will be offered as well as the standard BBQ cuisine. Of course, if you would like to bring your own selection to throw on the grill, you are most welcome.

- As always, adult beverages will be offered.... please celebrate responsibly.
EARS Join/renew button



A Word From the Prez...



Mr. Spock, the most Baddass mixer in Star Fleet... or is he?


Aside from his day job as the most brilliant science officer in the history of intergalactic space travel and possessing enough strength to bend you and your assistant into balloon animals, did you know that Spock's mixes make Andy Wallace sound like a Full Sail dropout? It's true! His sense of balance, tone, and profoundly deep comprehension of warp drive, interstellar time travel, and audio physics make him a deadly weapon behind any mixing console. Spock will mix circles around you.....then while you're standing there crying like a little baby, he'll rap your head in with a mic stand.... Mr. Spock don't care, Mr. Spock doesn't give a shit, cause he's a baddass mixer from Vulcan!

Mr. Spock

He's often known to whip out his tricorder and use it as a spectral analyzer or measure the RT in your studio, then hand you an FFT printout recommending you get a job at a car wash.

Recently at a studio in L.A, Spock was observed delivering the Vulcan Death Grip to a drummer from a well known hair metal band for repeatedly and insistently telling him to "turn up the toms, and the kick, then the hi-hat, crash cymbal, ride cymbal, and snare drum". When Mr. Spock refused then attempted to compare the relationship between mixing and the gravitational balance of Ceti-Alpha Five and it's tri-solar system to the intoxicated band mate who barely passed 8th grade let alone the Kobayashi Maru, the drummer screamed "Fuck you, Spock! We're so fucking sick of hearing our ideas are "highly illogical".... you're such a dick! You're fuckin' fired...this time for real!"

Vulcan death grip


This last bit proved too much for Spock's primitive Vulcan instincts and half-human bastard green blood... he snapped, and in his rage killed the drummer instantly with a fierce Vulcan Death Grip. The rest of the band fled the building for fear of of their lives. In spite of not completing the record, Mr. Spock was forced to pay all lockout fees to the studio out of pocket.

On second thought, maybe Mr. Spock is not such a great mixer after all.


REWIND: EARS MEETING WITH MASTERING MEGA-GURU

BOB LUDWIG @ JOHNNY K’S GROOVEMASTER STUDIOS


Bob Ludwig EARS at Groovemaster recording
(1) The eminent Mastering Guru himself-Bob Ludwig-via Skype (2) EARS devotees listen to Ludwig’s presentation


Wednesday, July 27, 2011 –

Standing in the south loop like the headquarters in Fight Club, is a five story converted brewery that houses the studio’s of Johnny K’s Groovemaster and Hinge. Johnny K owns the building and on Wednesday July 27, he and his fantastic staff hosted a Skype meeting with legendary mastering engineer, Bob Ludwig.

I was greeted at the front door and given instructions to the third floor meeting room. Another analogy is in order because it was like the opening of the TV show, GET SMART, except instead of doors, it was several staircases I had to navigate to get to the inner sanctum. On arrival, I noticed the staff had set up the room with plenty of seating and a sound system.

Fifty-plus people were treated to a very special evening which included not one but two “waves” of pizza deliveries. After the customary technical glitches, the computers connected and Bob Ludwig was present via Skype to a very eager EARS audience. Our president Blaise Barton moderated the evening and started the conversation with a series of questions.

Bob has been mastering music longer then some of our members have been alive. He’s currently working on the re-mastering of a definitive QUEEN anthology and was extremely enthusiastic about the just completed WILCO album. Enthusiastic is a word I can use over and over again to describe Bob Ludwig’s demeanor during our hour-plus conversation. From the importance of his custom handmade speaker cabling to his description of working with AXL ROSE on Chinese Democracy, Bob made it clear that he loves what he does.

A quick peek of his studio was provided so we could see where he works his magic and there was plenty of tech talk. Mr. Ludwig also shared his view on some of today’s pressing engineering issues.

The Loudness Wars: Seeing this evolve first hand, he feels the loudness/compress issue has reached its peak on Metallica's Death Magnetic release. Since then, more and more producers, labels, and artists have been scaling back and dynamics are making a comeback!

Analog Out-Board Gear vs. Plugins: Bob uses both but relies on his analog gear. However, he readily admits that he believes plugins are getting so good that they will rival their analog brethren in the near future.

Vinyl vs. Digital: Growing up in a time when engineers were taught how to setup and run vinyl mastering lathes, Bob has a deep appreciation for the sound of a great vinyl recording but also knows that to make great sounding disks, all the elements must be aligned. Good lathe with superior vinyl to a pressing plant that understands the details of proper cutting techniques. Bob is happy that vinyl has made a comeback but he finds the process to be such a pain in the neck that he’s glad he doesn’t have to make the pressings himself.

These are just a few of the many nuggets of wisdom that Bob Ludwig bestowed on the enraptured EARS audience—all of which were grateful for the experience.

Bob Ludwig's Studio Cyrstal Olsen gives EARS a studio tour Cadillac listening station
(1) Bob Ludwig’s SPL transfer console and ATR 100 at Gateway
(2) Groovemaster Studio manager Crystal leads EARS attendees of a tour of the facility
(3) One of Groovemaster’s studios includes a vintage (circa 1940s) Cadillac that is wired for sound!


To top off this already stellar evening, the building and studio manager Crystal, led us on a full tour of the facility which included a preview of a couple of tracks by engineer / producer Johnny K of the upcoming Megadeth CD. We also visited the fourth floor studio which includes a new SSL 4080 G+ mixing console with a spectacular view of the city skyline. I can’t imagine who wouldn’t want to record in this space when it’s completed.

You missed a great event if you weren’t there. But again, if you don’t attend, you always miss the good stuff so make a point to come to the next meeting and share the excitement.

EARS PResident Blaise Barton Danny Leake and Danny Christy Danny Leake
(1-3) EARS president Blaise Barton kicks off the evening’s Q&A; “A Tale of 2 Danny’s”—Danny Leake & Danny Christy were among the attendees; Leake pitches a question to his friend & colleague, Bob Ludwig.


Bob Vodick
EARS Secretary



Adventures in Acoustics


Hi Folks,

My mastering room is an ongoing experiment…..kind of like a laboratory Petri dish of Audio. I remember my first set of speakers, Yamaha NS10s, which were replaced by Genelec 1031s, which were replaced by KEF 100s, which were in turn replaced by ATC SCM50 self powered monitors. I remember carefully following the ATC setup instructions: Face speakers together, wire them out of phase and run pink noise at 100 DB through them for 72 hours. I did all that, threw a blanket over them and left town for three days. Coming back expecting to hear pristine sound after burning in the electronics and speaker components I found that all of my favorite CDs sounded like trash … except for one that sounded so good I thought I could reach out and touch things in the mix. That’s when I figured it out: this is what was ACTUALLY on the disks. These monitors didn’t help anything out….they showed you EXACTLY what was in the mixes, good or bad. Exactly what you want in mastering monitors.

They also told me that ALL of my processing gear and converters were substandard. All I could hear were the flaws. So I packed everything in a box, took it to Dan Scalpone at Guitar Center and replaced it with gear that worked for the ATCs. I am now happy.

My latest experiment came about while I was installing an SPL Mixdream unit to bring my Hi Tech Hardware units to bear on my “In the Box” mixes. While ordering cables I looked up some acoustic treatments on Ebay. There were the usual pricy units. I checked out the Aurelex 12”x 12” T Fusers ($64 a pop), big wood diffusers, and my final Audio “impulse buy” … a box of 36 Auralex DST-R Studio Reflector Diffusers for $119. I bought two on “GP”. (General Purpose for those not in the Military) When I got them I found out they were made of white Styrofoam…..”Oh great, I get to put coffee cups on my walls. I thought they were plastic.”)

I had no real plans for them and since my cables were late I tried sticking them in exposed areas temporarily with gaffers’ tape to see what they added or subtracted. After I installed them I played a track I am intimately familiar with, James Taylor’s “Only a Dream in Rio” recorded and mixed by Frank Fillipetti at the old Right Track Studios in New York City. I’ve been listening to this track for 25 years. I use it to check studios, tune PA systems (Clive Young of ProSound News noted that I used this track when the rest of the Western World was using anything by Steely Dan), and I listened to it just for pleasure. There is NOTHING about this track I don’t know. However, when I played it I heard something I had never heard before… a reverbed woodblock tucked in to the left of center of JT. And it had definition. It was the kind of definition that seemed like I could reach out and grab it. Also, the bottom end tightened up. JT never sounded as good to me as he sounded that day. I listened to other tracks with similar results. It was as if I had bought a new set of monitors. Mounting bass absorbers on the walls instead of the back (My entrance and machine room is in the back.) And, the placement of these cheap Styrofoam diffusers in the bare reflective spaces in my room worked wonders. The diffusers broke up bad reflections that were clouding up my listening environment …….bad reflections I didn’t even know were there. I’m in the process of water-painting the diffusers to match the colors in my room.

What’s the point of this story? Why bother to spend thousands of dollars on new monitors if your listening environment is going to deteriorate what you hear. And you don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars on major construction to clean up your acoustics. Placing lightweight treatments in strategic places can work wonders for your listening space. And as we all know, a more accurate listening environment means your mixes will always translate everywhere.


Danny Leake
EARDRUM Co-Editor


The Live Corner logo

"Against All Odds - How to Do a Class A Live Production on 12 Hotdogs, a Pound of Coleslaw, And a Dwindling Bottom-Line”


This month’s LIVE Corner will explore some of the real life drama in producing (my best Ed Sullivan impersonation here) a REALLY BIG SHEW(show), following 9 months of intense planning, yet fraught with challenges, a plethora of obstacles, and ultimately, Beauty at the end of end of an extremely long day . The show in question is the recent Illinois Warrior Summit Welcome Home Celebration Concert, held on Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at Soldier Field.

Like all productions, it began with a concept: a “Warrior Summit” for U.S. Veterans (all branches of service) and their families, with an emphasis on recently returning Vets from Iraq and Afghanistan. It was to be a Resource Fair (disseminating information on educational and medical benefits); and to include health screenings; free massages; activities for kids; parachute jumps by the Ranger Group; a real Howitzer (that’s a cannon folks); food for 2,000; you name it!Fran and Lynn One of the day’s highlights was 8 ½ hours of continuous Live Music – on an outdoor stage at Soldier Field’s Stadium Green – and rendered by such stellar artists as country music’s Rockie Lynne; Chicago’s own Liz Mandeville; The Color Three (current members of the band Boston); KMA recording artist Joey Glenn; Wayne Baker Brooks Blues All-Star Band with special presentations by Peaches Staten and the Grammy-winning harp player Sugar Blue. The concert was produced by Fran Allen-Leake and Lynn Orman, mixed by Stevie Wonder’s FOH man, Danny Leake, with audio provided by Ernie Greene’s Sound of Authority. It also began with a budget. And while I am not at liberty to specify actual dollar amounts, let’s just say that with after 9 months of intense fundraising and the aid of several key “angels,” our Production looked doable. Can’t miss, right? Well, let’s just say that it’s not as easy as it looks.

7 a.m., Monday, August 22, 2011, Load-In Day -- The physicality of a Production begins with its Load-In. In this instance, a team of union workers begin laying about of ½ mile of plywood “highway” on Stadium Green’s lawn for the trucks carrying several tons of staging, lighting, and audio gear to travel across (Soldier Field’s landmark status allows for little damage to its lawn – remember Grant Park after last month’s Lollapalooza?)

Anyone who has ever done an outdoor show knows that it is a risky proposition at best. You are faced with facilities challenges, lighting headaches, sound issues, client and artist demands. You can control many elements save one: The Weather! Mother Nature reminded us who was really in control at 11 a.m. on Load-In Day when she presented us with a Show Day Forecast of 60-80% chance of Thunderstorms and Rain. With several tons of audio, staging and lighting gear waiting in the wings, we had 30 minutes to make the decision of moving the Concert (and many of the event’s other activities) indoors. This meant, of course, that the 40’ x 24’ outdoor stage and lighting went back to its owners—along with our Exec Producer’s “payment on delivery” check; and the audio equipment – complete with a full outdoor touring rig of L' Acoustics Kudos Line Array System (10 boxes a side, 8 flown, 2 stacked, 8 Soundpoint Subs a side)that we had intended to “fly” off the stage rigging – had to be swapped out for 5 stacked boxes a side and 4 subs per side, making it more conducive to an indoor venue with a 14ft ceiling.

With this “weighty” decision made, the question now was where to hold the concert? My partner Lynn is at WGN-TV doing an interview, so I, along with representatives of event Executive Producers – SAVE (Supporting All Veterans Equally) – are presented with several options. The United Club at Soldier Field gives us the best “bang for our buck” – mercifully dry, large enough to accommodate an indoor stage, with well-situated electrical outlets, toilet facilities, and an enclosed area (though one wall was being re-plastered) that could be converted into a “Green Room” for artists. Working through lunch, snacks and bathroom breaks, we set up both FOH and Monitor Consoles: Midas Heritage 2000 48 channel Analog and Midas Heritage 3000 48 channel Analog, respectively and by 6:30 p.m. had the Concert “Pavilion” up & ready to go. (Because of show’s “festival nature,” we decided to go with an Analog board because the setup is faster in case of unforeseen problems.) But, Lynn and I still have a 3-4 hour “Sponsors” dinner to attend, final re-adjustments to the Show-Day flow, and half-a-dozen logistical fires to extinguish before the night is over.

Midas Heritage 2000 console
The Midas Heritage 2000 Console


6:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 23, 2011, Show Day -- My day begins (after 3 hours of sleep) with a quickElite Ranger shower, coffee laced with Chicory, and a phone call, “what time will the car get here to take me to the venue for sound-check?” For the next 45 minutes, I wade through a maze of similar phone calls – seems the ground transportation service for the Artists is AWOL – while struggling to dress and head out to Soldier Field.

8:45 a.m.—At the Concert Pavilion in the United Club, we are just completing line-checks. My backline is in order; sound-checks are set to begin. It is at this point that I realize I am without a radio (walkie-talkie) or any means of communication (my cell phone is rendered useless inside SF’s dome) with other staffers attending the Opening Ceremonies situated on Soldier Field’s ground floor. It is a 1,100 yard walk from my location: I would make this trek on foot at least 3 times per hour for the next 6 hours!

12:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies (replete with all of the Military Pomp & Circumstance such an event deserves) should have concluded – NOT!! The delay is caused by 2 factors: an earlier than predicted torrential rain caused an 11th hour move to the indoor Soldier Field and once there, and one rather long-winded speaker. I am prohibited from beginning the Concert until the Ceremonies are completed, and have only a 10-minute turnaround between 11 acts. Add to that: my curfew at venue is 9 p.m.! The time-line is quickly revised (shaving off 5 minutes from each performance to get back on track) and at 1:05 p.m. it’s SHOWTIME! Voice of Veterans, a group comprised of Viet Nam vets with gorgeous vocal harmonies sublime musicianship, get the ball rolling followed by Jake & Elwood (The Blues Brothers Tribute Band) with special guest, Liz Mandeville (who rocked!). Jake & Elwood’s “ringmaster” Lambert Matias would graciously serve as our concert emcee for the next 4 hours.

2 p.m. – Things are progressing, except for 2 more “fires” to douse: (1) more ground transportation problems for Artists still stuck at the Hyatt Hotel, (2) a very low audience turnout in the Concert Pavilion. I scramble to sort out the travel issue by sending someone on a run to pick up a few folks, and shuttling the rest in taxis (guitars, cymbals and all). To resolve the audience issue – seems no one remembered to place the directional signs to the Concert; attendees were unaware of its location – I had one of the food venues moved close-by to our location. Where there’s a food line, you automatically have an audience. The numbers, still thinner than I’d like, are more respectable than before.

2:30 p.m. – The Ranger Group – a company of elite parachute jumpers – are scheduled to drop from the skies en masse in a demonstration exercise. Yes, even in the Rain! Problem: the original outdoor locale called for their leader on the ground to “call” the jump from the Concert Stage on Stadium Green (I won’t even get into our original plan of physically moving several hundred bodies from the field for this spectacle!) Since the Concert Stage is now located indoors about 2 miles from the field, this is impossible. Lynn’s assistant, Brandon, makes a call and obtains a small “PA on a Stick” system for use on the field. We will use this system throughout the remainder of the afternoon to “Call” the attendees to the Concert Stage for each act.

4:30 p.m. – With the transportation issue in check, I now have a gaggle of folks in the Green Room – along with their entourages – who are hungry. The food that was supposed to be delivered is nowhere to be found. Fortunately, I run into the chef who is overseeing the “feeding of the multitudes” – he, along with an able assist from his wife and teen daughters, finally supply the Green Room with hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, coleslaw, and assorted beverages. After nourishing my crew and a few of the Artists (this takes only 10 minutes) I realize that we now only have 12 hot dogs and less than ½ pound of coleslaw in reserve with 3 more acts and their entourages scheduled to arrive within the next half hour. We finally get on an “every half-hour” schedule for victuals replenishment for the next several hours! Meanwhile, on the stage, veteran pop/jazz vocalist Joan Collaso has just completed her “Standing O” set (ooh, whee!)

Blues Brothers band Joan Collaso Band Rockie Lynn Band
(1-3) Jake & Elwood (The Blues Brothers) with special guest Liz Mandeville rocking the house; Chicago’s own Joan Collaso and her trio received a Standing O for their rendition of Marvin Gaye’s classic, “What’s Goin’ On?;” 2-time Grammy nominee Rockie Lynne gives a performance that brings tears to the eyes of many.

7 p.m. – Still off schedule a bit – by about 20 minutes – but we’re getting to the final performances – Color Three, Rockie Lynne, and Wayne Baker Brooks with Peaches Staten and Sugar Blue. Both Color Three and Rockie agree to shorten their sets to accommodate the 9 p.m. curfew. Big LLou Johnson, the “Golden Voice” of BB King’s Bluesville on Sirius Radio is now our emcee, and Gabriel’s Last Breath – a punk/metal group comprised of 2 recently returned Marine veterans – has just finished. (They will return to the stage later when Rockie Lynne presents them with 2 guitars – signed by all of the Artists on the Show – which they in turn donate to Hines Hospital’s Music Program!) Following Color Three’s performance, 2-time Grammy nominee Rockie Lynne takes the stage. This former 82nd Airborne guitarist and vocalist performs songs from his latest CD – Songs for Soldiers – and by the time he hits with “Heroes Come From Small Towns” there’s not a dry eye in the house. Dozens of veterans and current military, and even a Gold Star mother rise from their seats to hug each other, cry together and acknowledge each other’s sacrifice to our country. The moment is magic!


Sgt. Ski
Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Ski signs one of the guitars donated by Gabriel's Last Breath to Hines Hospital’s Guitars for Vets.

8:50 p.m. – Wayne Baker Brooks is now onstage, having been preceded by a wonderful (albeit brief) set by blues diva Peaches Staten. My concern now is three-fold: (1) a 9 p.m. curfew looms and Sugar Blue has yet to perform, (2) Load-Out and all that entails, (3) the cost if I run over by even a minute or 2. I make a hasty call to my Soldier Field contact requesting a “grace period” of 15 minutes; proceed to get my stagehands in wrap mode; then get Sugar Blue onstage (wow, wow, wow!). I am simultaneously coordinating clean-up of the Green Room, taking care of payroll duties, keeping food warm and wrapped for my crew as their day won’t end until 1 a.m.


Sugar Blue and Wayne Baker Brooks Big Llou Johnson
(1) Wayne Baker Brooks and Grammy-winner Sugar Blue bring Chicago-styled Blues to the United Club in a show-stopping Finale. (2) “Big” Llou Johnson (the Golden Voice of BB King’s Bluesville on Sirius Radio) wraps up the evening.

1 a.m. – August 24, 2011 – the stage, lighting and sound have been struck, and Load-Out (on the Soldier Field dock – is complete as I wave goodbye to the trucks, the talent, the challenges, and the memories of a day that while certainly not perfect, was a Triumph! In reflecting on this day, I would later write (in a Thank You to the Artists):

“ … a lyric from an old Peter, Paul & Mary tune (written by Noel Paul Stookey) comes to mind:
“wherever two or more of you are gathered in His name, there is Love.”

There was Love in the United Club on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. It was on the faces of the dozens of Veterans – from all service branches–who braved the elements to come out and celebrate. It was in the rallying cries of these modern day Heroes as they gathered together in the spirit of camaraderie. It was on the lips of servicemen and servicewomen and their families as they recounted their stories to one another and to the many volunteers and attendees who heard them. And Love was in the gift of music that you so superbly and graciously rendered. Your Love was an illuminating Beacon of Light on an otherwise overcast day.

This Production was like none other I’ve ever done in my 30+ years of producing Live Showcases. And, as the daughter of a Marine and the wife of a Viet Nam Veteran, M&M (Military & Music) have been longtime constants in my life. But, the challenges of the day reminded me of a few “lessons learned” for live music festival production that I’d like to pass along to you:

Insist on a Plan B, Plan C (and even a Plan D) that is ready to implement at a moment’s notice (i.e., a Rain Date, alternate venue options, changing your artist line-up etc.)

Know every aspect of your concert’s tech set-up and be prepared for changes!

Check, Check, and Triple-Check all of the minute details of your Show (not just the obvious ones like sound, lighting and staging and even the ones for which you are not directly responsible!) Study your Riders carefully: Ground transportation, food, hotel logistics and rehearsal space are often the key to Artists’ happiness--dropping the ball on any of these requirements can make for an extremely uncomfortable event.

Prepare and have on your Person At All Times All Payments – Performing Artists, Crew, Rental gear, and the like. Nobody wants to wait around for hours for their pay, and by the end of the show, your sponsor (or Exec Producer) is either busy taking photographs, doing interviews, or generally so giddy that money issues are the last of his/her concern.

Remember that you’re THE PRODUCER, and the Proverbial buck begins and ends with you! You’ll be asked a million questions on that day. Have the answers at “the ready.”

Have Back-up Personnel for every position in your production “posse” – including your own!

Be Flexible. Change is not always desired, but it is Inevitable.

Take care of your crew and your supporting personnel (they’ll take care of you.)

Take a moment to Breathe!


Ready?? OK, IT’S SHOWTIME!!!

Fran Allen-Leake
EARDRUM Co-Editor


Illinois Warrior Summit Concert photos:
®2011 Steven I. Wolf


EARS book club logo

Howling at The Moon (The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in the Age of Excess)" What do you say about a book that starts out with the author in an intimate exchange in bed with Jackie Kennedy Onassis? Even though this turned out to be the ultimate “Wet Dream” it is an appropriate take on one of the WILDEST people in the record industry, Walter Yetnikoff, former president of CBS Records which, by the way, was the “Tiffany Standard” in record labels back in the day. Walter is the subject of a hilarious autobiography, “Howling at The Moon (The Odyssey of a Monstrous Music Mogul in the Age of Excess)” by Walter Yenikoff and David Ritz. Broadway Books 2004. (David Ritz was also the author of a brilliant biography on Marvin Gaye, “Divided Soul”.) Walter ran CBS records from 1975, taking over from Clive Davis to the late 80s when he engineered the sale of the company to Sony. Just a partial list of the artists he nurtured at CBS includes some of the greatest acts of the day; Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Barbara Streisand, James Taylor, Earth Wind & Fire, The Rolling Stones, Blood Sweat & Tears, and many others.

Walter was a wild man who made great decisions concerning the acquisition and promotion of his acts. This book covers his joining the company as a corporate lawyer and rising to take over the company. There are great corporate personalities like Clive Davis, Goddard Lieberson, and CBS founder Willam Paley. There are some great inside stories on dealing with artists like Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, and James Taylor (i.e., Michael tried to have Quincy Jones’ name removed from “Thriller”.) He talks about the inside intrigues involved in signing great acts, what he looked for, and the crazy lengths he went to sign them. It also goes into the corporate shenanigans of running a company that big; Fights with Barry Diller, David Geffen, Tommy Mottola, and many others.

This book is written with great detail and humor. If you ever wanted a spin on how recording companies think, this is your book. It amazes me how much things haven’t changed that terribly much considering the state of the Industry today.

Danny Leake
EARDRUM Co-Editor


THE BEAT: IN & AROUND CHICAGO’S AUDIO SCENE

EARS own Jeremy Lemos featured with IRON & WINE in MIX MAGAZINE


When Iron & Wine's Sean Beam put together a big band for their current tour he needed someone to mix the new arrangements. As front-of-house engineer Jeremy Lemos knew most everyone in the band, bringing him on board was a no-brainer. With 11 bandmembers on stage it was imperative to bring along their own monitor package as most of their stops - ranging from Chicago's Millennium Park for 15,000 people to a beat up rock club - couldn't accommodate that many monitor mixes; monitor engineer Tim Eisler is manning an avid SC48. The tour also has a full Shure mic package with Lemos saying it's the only way he can tame so many variables in different club P.A.s and mixers every night.

Iron & Wine Jemery Lemos

"I'm using really simple reverb and compression, just to keep everyone in check," Lemo says. "The keyboard player has a dozen different keyboard sounds and I don't always have my hand on his faders. I've fallen in love with DCAs after mixing Iron & Wine. Sam's singing can switch from chest to throat in the same line so a little hard limiting to catch the low end from popping out can really help. It also really helps in reverberant venues to keep all the explosive 'p's and 's's from saturating the room with energy and then having them decay over your mix."

"If Sam shows up with an acoustic guitar out of the trunk of a cab or his huge band with two buses, it's still an Iron & Wine show," he continues. "People come to the show to him hear him sing his songs, so I have to keep that in mind all the time. My mixes are relatively quiet to keep the vocals out front, [though] you can still hear what everyone is doing, with a real strong rhythm driving everything."

(re-printed from Mix Magazine)



Question MarkFood For Thought…….An Editor’s Opinion


As a Veteran, I was honored to donate my services as FOH for the Illinois Warrior Summit Welcome Home Celebration concert that was held at Soldier’s Field and produced by our own Fran Allen-Leake. I ended up mixing every act except one of the main performers: Rockie Lynne.

One of the acts was a new country star and I tried to do make it the best I could and I heard Artist Management was very happy yet, I never heard from them either way. On the other hand, at the end of the concert Rockie Lynne showed up at the FOH, thanked me and the lighting guy profusely for helping out his show. I found out that he had done the same with every loader, patch king, stage hand, etc. on the concert stage. I hadn’t even mixed his show, I only helped out his FOH engineer (David Albro).

I can’t tell you how that Thank You made me feel. So often, techs and background personnel are forgotten after “The Hit”. It was refreshing to have your contributions recognized. I’ll always remember that and go an extra mile for him if he ever needs it.

Something young new artists need to remember.

Danny Leake
EARDUM Co-Editor


Magnifying Glass We Want to Know…


What have you been working on lately (and with whom?!) Do you have an idea for an article in an upcoming EARDRUM? Do you have a tech tip? How about an idea for an EARS event? Don’t be shy… contact us:

Fran Allen-Leake, LJet Productons – 312.405.4335 or e-mail eardrum.editor@ears-chicago.org

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