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On Tour With Shure Winter 2012 PDF (2.8 mb)

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hen I was a kid, I learned about music from my father. Who was cool?
Who was the next big thing? What are oldies? Dad really kept his fingers
on the pulse of what was cool, and could tell a one-hit wonder from someone
with longevity. When an artist made an album of songs worth purchasing,
we’d make a trip to the local record store.… Anyone remember how common
those were? Hours were spent poring over the crates, getting familiar with
these artists I heard mentioned by dad or whose song I heard on the radio.
About this time I was also introduced to something called Columbia House,
a service that would deliver records to your door. You would thumb through
their latest catalog and select which records you wanted that month. Four to
six weeks later, the mailman would show up with a box full of records for you.
I remember being there for that delivery of records and anticipating what new
artists I would be exposed to that day.
This was how I got my music. This was how I kept up with what was cool.
Of course years later, I did develop my own tastes, and moved on to music my
father just could not relate to; mostly rap records. As far as I remember, my
father did continue to keep up with what was cool for quite a while. I explored
all sorts of different genres and even rediscovered some things I just wasn’t
ready for at a younger age. These days, I’m still all over the musical map with
my likes and dislikes. I still make it a point to keep up with what’s cool, even
if I don’t personally enjoy it myself.
Today, I find myself buying so many albums that I don’t even have the time
to get through them all. There’s no longer that nice four- to six-week buffer
that Columbia House presented. I know the stuff is all good and worthy of a
listen because I sampled it on iTunes or heard a glowing review on PRX’s
“Sound Opinions.” I will get to it at some point as I always do, but it got me
thinking: “Where does it end?”
These days, my father concentrates on what he really enjoys listening to,
not what the popular vote deems worthy. There are days when I feel he’s
missing out on so much. He’s the one who showed me the way to cool music.
Still, there are days when I stare at a stack of albums and think, “There has to
be a simpler way. Do I really need to listen to all of these? Maybe Dad is on to
something?” I’m not sure where and when he decided to be more selective in
his listening choices. Don’t get me wrong; my father is still hip when it comes
to most of his music selections. He just chooses to not spend time on keeping
up with EVERYTHING out there.
For now, I prefer it this way. This job and my extensive musical tastes keep
me in the know and most times, the music I discover makes it all worthwhile,
bringing me back to those childhood memories of enjoying the next big thing
or one-hit wonder with my father. Still, I can’t help but think: “Will I ever get
more selective with my listening? Will I be genuinely enjoying the same music
my daughter does when she’s 20 years old?” Man I hope so, because I don’t
want to miss a thing.
Rock Out!
On Tour with ShureВ®
Terri Hartman
Managing Editor
Cory Lorentz
Associate Editor
Davida Rochman
Copy Editor
Lou Carlozo
Artist Relations
Nelson ArreguГ­n, Cory Lorentz, Richard Sandrok, Ryan Smith
Art Director/Designer
Kate Moss
Nelson ArreguГ­n, Mark Brunner, Cory Lorentz,
Richard Sandrok, Ryan Smith
Contributing Photographers
Stephen Jensen, Paul Natkin
Triangle Printers, Inc.
On Tour with Shure is published once a year by
Shure Incorporated, 5800 W. Touhy Ave., Niles, IL 60714-4608.
Each separate contribution to Volume 12, Issue 1 and the issue
as a collective work, is copyright В©2011 by Shure Incorporated.
All rights reserved.
All trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All product specifications and appearances are subject to
change without notice. Use of an artist’s name in this publication
does not constitute an official endorsement of Shure products.
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Cory Lorentz
Managing Editor, On Tour with Shure
[email protected]
01/12 1K
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4 Mic Check
Your one-stop shop for contests, promotions, new endorsers
and all the stuff worthy of sharing with you in case you missed
it. If this is all brand new to you, I think it might be time to
follow on us on Facebook and Twitter…
table ofcontents
20 Black Star: Brooklyn’s Finest
When Mos Def and Talib Kweli join forces and become
Black Star, the hip-hop world takes notice and marvels at
how easy these two make it look. There’s a uniqueness to
their voices, their delivery and even the mics in their hands.
6 The Throwback Sounds of Fitz & The Tantrums
A new band with an old sound and lots of soul to boot!
The six killer musicians from L.A. have definitely hit their stride
with the release of Pickin’ Up The Pieces. The music is a bit
of a break from the norm and we hope it lasts!
8 The Civil Wars: A Chance Meeting Takes the
Music World by Storm
If you told Joy Williams and John Paul White that going to
a songwriting workshop would change their lives, chances
are they would smile politely, not believing a word of it.
But that really is how this whole thing started.
10 Slash: An Iconic Look. A Sound Like No Other.
The man in the top hat and leather has been inspiring
guitarists since the first licks of “Sweet Child o’ Mine” and
hasn’t stopped since. It’s just something he picked up as a
kid. It’s so easy!
22 Roger Daltrey: Live Life to the Full and
Go Out With a Bang!
Not one for sitting on his bum, getting old and not
utilizing his God-given talent, Roger Daltrey hit the road
to bring The Who fans his version of Tommy: no theatrics,
no ballet, no ice skating; just the music. Here’s how a last
minute, one-night-only idea turned into a world tour.
14 Alison Krauss & Union Station: Snappy Banter,
Faith in Shure and Bluegrass, Too!
It could be the best live show you’ve ever heard, no matter
what your musical tastes are. While equally respected as solo
artists, something magical happens when Alison Krauss &
Union Station play music together.
26 Hello Seahorse!: Rise Of The Beast
So, we’re certain that a lot of musicians met on MySpace
in its heyday. Some may have even formed bands or
jammed together, but few can claim the success of the
Mexican-based, dream-pop quartet that is Hello Seahorse!
16 Rob Halford: The Metal God Holds Court With Shure
These guys practically invented the stuff, and now heavy
metal’s finest is out spreading their farewells to the far points
of the globe. It sounds like an ending, but Rob Halford
has promised to keep screaming until his last metal breath.
28 Mastodon: This Time It All Started With Tacos
Seek out the guys from Mastodon and buy them lunch,
and they just might let you make their next album…
Well, you should probably have a vision and some skill for
them to take you seriously. Luckily, producer Mike Elizondo
had those things and an impressive rГ©sumГ© to boot.
28 Molotov: The Voice Of The People
No matter the language and no matter the country, the
guys from Molotov believe the music speaks for itself.
Sometimes controversial and difficult to interpret, these
guys draw inspiration from keeping you guessing.
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New endorsers Foster The People
Find The Shure Guy
New Endorsers
Delta Spirit
Neon Indian
Smokey Robinson
Colbie Caillat
Boyce Avenue
The Thermals
No Te Va Gustar
Los Amigos Invisibles
The Band Perry
High On Fire
My Chemical Romance
Christina Perri
Foster The People
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Surfer Blood
Far East Movement
Justin Townes Earle
Hello Seahorse!
Mumford & Sons
The Civil Wars
Talib Kweli
Black Dub
Of Montreal
Straight No Chaser
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Lenny Kravitz
Chino y Nacho
Look there … off in the distance … is that
the Shure mobile? Okay, so following us
on Twitter does have its advantages these
days … aside from the witty banter and
exclusive artist findings, we’re now going
the interactive route and asking our
followers to stay tuned on the day of a
local Chicago or Nashville show for a
chance to win Shure prizes. (Don’t worry
L.A. & N.Y.C., you’re on our radar, too!) All
you have to do is keep up with our Tweets
on the day of a show (we’ll let you know
which shows we’ll be at in advance), and
then be one of the first ten people to
come find us. We’ll be pretty easy to spot,
just look for the guy in the Shure shirt,
standing next to the car covered in Shure
logos outside of the venue. We hope
to see you all at the next big thing in
Chicago or Nashville! For more info, visit
New endorser Lenny Kravitz
New endorser Colbie Caillat
We Got Two,
Who Needs ’Em?
So, your favorite band is coming to town
and the show sold out in seconds?
Well, we may be able to hook you up, if
you’re lucky. Every month, Shure will
pick a different band, at a different venue
and in a different city and award a pair
of tickets to one lucky, random winner.
We kicked things off in December with a
sold-out show in Minneapolis, Minnesota
featuring Foster The People. January
led us to The Civil Wars in Nashville …
also SOLD OUT. We think February may
fall right in line with this whole, “ONE
NIGHT ONLY/SOLD OUT” vibe we’ve got
going. To find out if we’re coming to
your town with your favorite band, visit
Get The Gig Summer
Intern Competition
Hey, all you college students and recent
grads: Shure is now accepting entries
for the 2012 Get The Gig Summer
Internship Competition! One winner will
be selected to experience a unique “inside
look” at the music industry, and expand
their professional skill set and career
opportunities. Additionally, the lucky
intern will gain real-world exposure to the
engineering, design and marketing of
Shure’s latest products and will learn how
to outfit today’s talent with the right gear
to produce the best sound possible—
in the studio or on stage.
“Here at Shure, we’re passionate about
music—not only by providing gear to
established musicians, but also by helping
to cultivate tomorrow’s breakout artists,”
said Cory Lorentz, Shure’s Artist Relations
Manager. “As glamorous as an artist
relations internship might sound, we
want to find someone who isn’t afraid to
roll up their sleeves, work hard, and learn
something. There will be plenty of fun
to be had, but we’re hoping this is the
start of a promising career for someone.
It’s going to be a summer job, not a
summer vacation.”
The Shure Artist Relations Department
manages the relationships between
bands and the Company, including, but
not limited to, providing gear support,
technical advice, and assisting in artist
development. During the summer
session, intern responsibilities may
include providing support for social
media initiatives; helping manage
Shure artist endorsers; assisting in the
evaluation of potential endorsers;
working with the Company to negotiate
endorsement contracts; and coordinating
Shure-sponsored events, including
clinics and trade shows. For a chance
to be a part of the action, visit and apply today.
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The Invisible Star
of Country Music’s
Biggest Night
Shure shared the spotlight with several
of country music’s top artists and bands
at the 45th annual Country Music
Association (CMA) Awards show, which
aired live on ABC-TV on Wednesday,
November 9th. Monitor engineers Jason
Spence and Mike Parker relied almost
exclusively on the new Shure PSMВ®1000
Personal Monitor System for most of
the live performances in Nashville.
"The sensitivity and the noise floor on
the PSM 1000 are amazing,” said Spence.
“Sonically, the stereo spectrum is wide
and the system has unbelievable clarity.
What I can provide to artists with this
system both sonically and in RF stability
allows me to do my job better."
For the broadcast, Spence and Parker
used 14 channels of PSM 1000, with
28 receivers covering almost all of the
performances on the main stage and on
a satellite stage at the back of the
Bridgestone Arena. Due to the varying
distances of the two stages from the
monitor mix position, they adjusted the
output power on each of the transmitters
with some at 10mW, some at 50mW,
and others at 100mW to compensate for
the different distances to each stage.
"The diversity beltpack is a key benefit in
our industry,” added Parker. “Artists must
have and expect a solid RF signal first
and the PSM 1000 is unmatched."
On Tour with Shure
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Can you hear it everywhere? You turn on the radio, watch TV commercials and new TV shows and out of your
speakers comes a classic song or a new song that sounds like it’s 20-40 years old. There’s something about the
classics that just won’t go away… and we are very thankful for that! Younger generations are constantly being
influenced by older generations. You can see it in their clothes, their hair styles, and in their music. So when we
hear an old-style keyboard sound or a flute being featured in a pop music song, it can take some of us back to a
time when tambourines were shakin’, the clothes were stylin’, and there was nothing else on stage but amazing
musicians making us move to their grooves. We can thank new groups like Fitz & The Tantrums for introducing
a new group of fans to a sound that ruled the nation so many years ago. We caught up with Michael “Fitz”
Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs in Nashville to discuss the group’s sound and how Shure now plays a part in it.
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ON TOUR WITH SHURE: You tracked Pickin’ Up
The Pieces at your house. Can you describe
some of the techniques you used to capture
that Motown vibe but still make it sound
like today?
MICHAEL FITZPATRICK: We did record the whole
record in my living room and it was basically
what we had to do. We didn’t have a record
deal and nobody gave us a penny to do it.
We just had a will and a passion to get it
done. My living room is not a recording studio space. It’s got wood floors and plaster
walls. It’s not sonically correct, as most
people would consider it. So rather than fighting that by trying to put blankets and soundproofing up, we just said right away that
we’re going to let that character and that
signature of the room be another presence on
the record. I had this one crappy old little
microphone—and rather than trying to close
mic everything, what I did was far miking
for everything, and sometimes very far away
from any instrument where I would basically let the organ or the bass going through
an amp swirl through the room, and let the
room sort of enhance the sound. And what
happened when you put all the layers on
top, that density of that room sound just
got wider and deeper. That was one of the
things that gave this life and this warmth to
the record. The other thing I did was to not
use any EQ on a lot of stuff. I found the
instruments naturally spread across the frequency spectrum, I didn’t really touch them
that much. I think that those techniques
really helped us to be able to get that Motown
sound. When we were tracking the drums,
literally one mic like four feet from it or
slightly above, was like a classic Motown
technique for getting drums. You just compress it a little hard and you get that rawness
to it that makes those songs so memorable.
OTWS: There’s a strong undercurrent of artists
who are throwing back to music that their
parents may have introduced them to growing
up. Does your group fall into this category
and how do you feel about this resurgence
of artists that are �all about the music?’
NOELLE SCAGGS: For me, this resurgence of
good music—I should say music that is not
necessarily about what you can do in the
studio—it is refreshing. The first time I
heard bands like Poets of Rhythm coming
out of Germany and Sharon Jones & the
Dap Kings when I was actually IN Germany,
it was the first time I had ever heard her
band. It was like WOW—somebody like this
exists and they are not from the Motown
period and they are doing this music and
they can actually sing? Wow! I think that’s
what’s been happening for groups like ourselves, with this younger generation of people
who are looking for something more than
Britney Spears or more than Lady Gaga.
They can appreciate that, but they can also
appreciate this and our new take on this
sound, one that they have probably never
been introduced to before. I think it’s great
for artists like us because had this resurgence not occurred, if Sharon Jones & the
Dap Kings not hooked up with Mark
Ronson and created the sound for Amy
Winehouse, there probably would be no
US. We would not be accepted the way we
wanted to in the States. Probably overseas it
–Michael Fitzpatrick
would be different. It’s a beautiful thing to
be at home and be in your country and being respected as musicians who are worth
their salt. I love it and hope it continues. I
hope people are not afraid to take that leap
and do something that is really genuine and
be themselves creatively.
OTWS: Besides the music, there’s the promotion side of things. Do you feel that it’s easier
with all of the Internet methods to promote
your band than it was for bands of the past
or does it take up more of your time?
MF: In one regard, it’s easier, you have more
access but at the same time, you are fighting
against 100 times more information that’s
out there and everyone has an even shorter
attention span than they had 10 years ago.
So, it’s a blessing and a curse all at the same
time. What I believe in, from doing this and
having this experience now, is that you can
do that stuff but if there isn’t the interest or
something driving people … you know, a
tree can fall in the forest and no one will hear
it. So, there’s got to be a certain amount of
awareness and you also have to be patient
to literally build that from two fans to 100
to 1,000 to 20,000 and keep having those
connections. I would say that the Internet
is pretty incredible when you do have a certain amount of following. We did a semisuper secret show in Toronto. Basically,
through word of mouth and Tweeting it, we
got almost 1,000 people there over a 24-hour
period. That is the power of technology.
OTWS: Talk about your first experience using
Shure mics and why the Beta 58В®A works
for you.
NS: I love it. The Beta 58 for me has been
amazing. Just even having a wireless mic
that belongs to you when you don’t have to
worry about people’s germs on the heads of
them…. But generally what I’ve found was
that it really worked well for my voice—it
was the perfect mic. I’ve also tried the KSM[9]
and this one just really sits better for me. It’s
the mic everybody uses.
MF: The [Beta]58 is what I’ve always sung
through in almost every single venue I’ve
ever sung in. So to have my own and it be
wireless … because not everybody does the
kind of show we do where there’s that much
movement. For us, it became really important to move to the wireless system because
I found that I was spending at least 15% of
my show energy literally managing the cord
of my microphone: tripping over, getting it
tangled and really just taking away from my
ability to really engage the audience. So [it’s
great] to be un-tethered … walk anywhere
I want; I can even go into the audience with
it, which broadens the way we engage with
audiences. It’s life-changing for me, really.
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
UR2/Beta 58В®A*
PGXD2/Beta 58A*
Backing Vocals
Beta 52В®A
Beta 98AMP/C
UR14D/Beta 98H/C
PGXD14/Beta 98H/C
PSMВ® 900
PSM 200
*wireless system
On Tour with Shure
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oments in time: Sometimes we forget, sometimes we remember. I won’t forget the time when someone told
me about this great new group that had just performed at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville the night before
I was there. Everyone was raving about them, even Taylor Swift! “They’re called The Civil Wars … just a guy
and a girl, it was amazing!” said one engineer at the Belcourt. Grabbing my iPhone, I quickly started to investigate.
I was excited to learn that I already knew who one of the two persons in this group was — Joy Williams. I had seen Joy
sing several years ago on a Dove Awards show. I watched a video and was mesmerized at how well their voices blended.
I looked up pictures of them singing live and in most cases, they were on a pair of SM58®s. YES! So, what’s next?
Contact management, see if they are interested, get them to try out mics, and hopefully sign them on to be endorsers
of Shure. That’s exactly what happened! What happened after that was totally unforeseen but in a way, amazingly
justified. This wonderful duo, whose harmonies reminded me so much of Simon & Garfunkel, would go on to catch
the attention of and open up for one of today’s most popular artists — Adele. While on the road, videographer Allister
Ann captured this interview for us. (You can also see the video at
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: Let’s go back to that writing session when you
first met. What were your first impressions of each other and how
long did it take during that session before you both knew something special was developing?
JOY WILLIAMS: We met at a songwriting gathering in Nashville. I had
no idea who John Paul was, and he had no idea who I was. I really
didn’t know anybody in that writing room, but out of the 25 writers
that were gathered, we were being put in a room together to write—
the very first write of the day. Through the “Hi’s” and “Hello’s” and
getting to know each other a little bit, it was kind of strange once he
started playing the guitar and we started singing together. The blending of the voices was just something that I’ve never experienced
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before. It was a strange day. I just remember
being totally surprised by the whole experience… happily, though. It didn’t take too
long before we decided that it needed to
continue to be looked into.
OTWS: Who are some of your inspirations
musically and non-musically?
JOHN PAUL WHITE: I would say that for myself
that my inspirations are more non-musical
nowdays than they used to be.
JW: You mean like authors?
JPW: Yeah … like [Charles] Bukowski and
[Richard] Brautigan. We both read a lot, we
watch tons of movies and we draw from that.
Also, we draw from our families and from
people around us. We probably get more
lyrical fodder out of that sort of thing.
Musically, the things that I draw from are
typically things from another time — a
bygone era. I’m not sure exactly why that is,
but most of the things that inspire me are
things that are a little bit older, or they were
things I grew up with that continue to move
me, like a lot of old country music. Kris
Kristofferson, Roger Miller, Townes Van Zant,
Willie [Nelson], Johnny Cash and stuff like
that. But also more melodic stuff like The
Beatles, Zeppelin, Queen … all those sorts
of things. I pull from all different areas.
JW: I tended to be a little bit more in the jazz
and pop world growing up. I would also say
family too and everything you said would
be influences of mine too. I’m a huge Steinbeck fan … love Flannery O’Connor. Yeah,
we’re both very “bookish.” Musically, for me,
I think mine would be Billie Holiday, Ella
Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, The
Beach Boys, The Carpenters … the list goes
on and on. I feel like I keep getting inspired
by music that I’m hearing but those artists
are the ones I keep going back to, everything from Janis Joplin to current day
music. A lot of it is the stuff I can find on
vinyl at a record store a long time ago too.
That tends to be the world of our influence.
OTWS: What were your reactions when you
found out that Shure wanted to work with
JPW: When I heard that Shure wanted to
work with us, I had a pretty good idea that
they thought we were someone else…
JW: [Laughs.] We checked the email a
couple of times to make sure that they
didn’t accidentally send it to us.
JPW: …or that Shure had a major drinking
problem, and we really didn’t care if either
one of those things were the case because
we jumped on with both feet. I’ve been
using Shure stuff since as long as I can
remember, singing in SM57s and SM58В®s
all of my life.
JW: Me too.
JPW: So, it was always kind of the standard.
So, when they reached out to us about doing some collaboration, it was a complete…
JW & JPW: No-brainer.
JW: That was weird…
JPW: Not really.
OTWS: Talk about when you tried out the
KSM9 vocal mics for the first time. What
did you like about them and why do they
work so well for both of your vocals?
“The mics we sing
through are one
of the most important
parts of the chain of
everything we do.
We didn’t take that
decision very lightly,
but it was a pretty
easy decision.”
–John Paul White
JW: [Laughs.] When we tried out different
mics with Ryan at Shure, all of them had
their qualities about them that we really
loved but we kept going back to the KSM9.
I just felt like there was a richness to it that
it picked up in both of our voices. From my
feminine voice and your masculine voice, I
felt like it still captured all of the nuances in
both of ours in a really interesting way. It
was an immediate response that I had in
terms of picking that mic for our live performances and I haven’t looked back since.
JPW: We didn’t necessarily set out to both
use the same microphones. That was never
a criterion on how to choose them. But for
whatever reason, and it’s kind of exclusive
to these mics, there’s clarity, top to bottom,
in either one of our voices. They also really
shine through whatever PA we are playing.
Sometimes the monitor situation is better
than others but it is always crisp and clear.
As singers, we need that. We need to be
able to discern what is going on because we
are not a big rock band where we can hide
behind walls of sound. It’s [her] and I and
my guitar most of the time. If we are not on
pitch, if we are not on our game, then it’s
readily apparent. The mics we sing through
are one of the most important parts of the
chain of everything we do. We didn’t take
that decision very lightly, but it was a pretty
easy decision.
OTWS: John Paul, you used a Shure SM7B to
track your vocals on the Barton Hallow
album. Why does this mic work for you in
the studio?
JPW: The SM7 was the mic that I used on
pretty much every vocal on Barton Hallow
and probably the EP before that. That was
before we had started talking to Shure
about collaborating. That was another one
of those mic shoot outs. Charlie Peacock
[producer] had mentioned that it was his
secret weapon microphone. He has access
to lots of extremely high-end microphones,
vintage things and quirky things. It just
seemed to fit what we did better than anything else. It was a more accurate representation of how my voice works. It also worked really well with my Martin [acoustic
guitar] and with all the other things we
were adding to the tracks; it kind of sat
where it needed to be sitting. It’s not an
incredibly scientific process most of the
time. It’s kind of like picking out a guitar.
You can’t really explain exactly why a
certain guitar works for what you do. For
me, I’m not that great at explaining why a
certain microphone works better than
others. It’s just one of those gut things that
when you hear it, it’s like, “Alright, that’s the
one…there’s no point in changing it.” There
are some bands that tend to play with the
technology track to track and try different
vocal mics, different guitars and different
guitar sounds. That’s not really what we do,
or as yet, that’s not what we do. We have this
thing we do. We try to showcase the songs as
much as possible then dress them up. So far,
it’s been the perfect complement to my voice.
On A Budget
Guitar Cabinet
On Tour with Shure
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When you see the hat,
you know who it is.
There are many products and people in this world that have
an identifier. It is that “brand awareness” that products and
artists strive for: to know that when people see it, they
are immediately thinking of that product or artist. Slash
takes that one step further with his instantly recognizable
guitar sound. When his leads kick in, that guy under that
cool hat immediately pops into your head—Slash! Shure got
to spend a few minutes backstage with the man who remains an
influence to many and continues to be influenced by the
masters before him.
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: Growing up, when was
the first moment you knew you wanted to
become a guitar player?
SLASH: That’s a good question … the second
I picked up the guitar. A friend of mine had
one. That moment that I picked up the
guitar, I was off and running. I didn’t aspire
to play guitar prior to that, so it happened
within a couple of hours. I think he taught
me how to play “Smoke On The Water.” I
just dropped everything else in my life at that
point and I’ve been playing guitar ever since.
OTWS: How did that make you feel?
SLASH: There was a certain amount of excitement that went along with that. I was always surrounded by music growing up and
I always liked music. I didn’t know that I
wanted to play an instrument. So as soon as
I played guitar, there was a certain sound
about lead guitar that really had always
excited me. Any rock ’n’ roll song, if it had a
lead break in it, was the part that I looked
forward to the most. As soon as I realized I
could make that sound myself, with this
particular instrument … that was it. It was a
combination of a lot of feelings I suppose.
OTWS: Are there any younger guitar players
you have taken notice of and what is so interesting about them?
SLASH: The kind of rock ’n’ roll guitar that I
got turned on to growing up has become a
bit few and far between, especially on the
airwaves. When Jack White [The White
Stripes] came out, I thought that was really
cool. I think Jonny Greenwood [Radiohead]
is great. I’ve been touring with Ozzy and
Gus G., his new guitar player, is a phenomenal metal guitar player. I haven’t really been
listening to anybody other than the same
people I’ve always listened to, which are a lot
of guitar players that I grew up with and still
have a lot of influence on me. I still tend to
go back and listen to them. Keith Richards,
Mick Taylor, B.B. King … Rick Nielsen. We
just jammed with the guys from AC/DC.
Gary Moore, who just passed away, had a
huge influence on me. Joe Walsh is great. It’s
an endless list: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton,
Jeff Beck—all those guys.
OTWS: You’re on Twitter, Facebook and a few
other social media networks, gaining a
whole new generation of audiences. How
have these new media outlets helped you,
and is it difficult to keep up with them?
SLASH: Facebook and Twitter have been
great because it gives me a chance to sort of
talk to fans in real time, directly, which I
think is great. I never really liked relying on
press releases and magazines to sort of get
information out accurately. So, it’s beneficial
in that way and I can say whatever it is
about whatever subject I feel like talking
about. I can tell them what shows are coming and anything in particular I feel should
get out there. So that’s really cool. It is
hard to keep up with. At one point, I was
talking to fans directly on Twitter and it
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
UR2/Beta 58В®A*
PGXD2/Beta 58A*
Backing Vocals
Beta 91A
Beta 56В®A
Guitar Cabinet
KSM313 & SM27
PG27 & PG57
*wireless system
On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:18 PM Page 12
got to be just overwhelming. I was spending all my time typing away. If I didn’t have
a guitar in my hand, I’d have a BlackBerry
in my hand. I had to give that up. All things
considered, I think it’s definitely a development in communication that has been really
OTWS: On your new CD, you’ve got fellow
Shure endorsers Adam Levine and Ozzy
Osbourne as guest performers. That’s quite a
range of singing style. How did these two
artists come to join you in this project?
SLASH: My solo record that I just came out
with last year was basically a way for me to
get people to come in and sing on my record,
as opposed to me always playing on everybody else’s. That was the crux of the whole
thing. I wrote a lot of different material. I
just listened to whatever it was I was working on and thought who would sound right
on this particular piece of music. There were
a lot of variables and styles, as far as the
music was concerned, so it called for a lot of
different types of singers. Yeah, from Ozzy
to Adam Levine — definitely a big jump
there but it worked.
OTWS: You have two wonderful children,
London and Cash. What has fatherhood
done for your life and are they showing any
early musical abilities?
SLASH: Fatherhood has just given me
another sense of responsibility. I’m a pretty
self-absorbed musician and I have been for
a long time. So having kids has sort of
brought me out of my shell in that sense. It’s
given me a different dynamic about life in
general. They’re great kids and very, very
smart. It definitely adds a whole new dimension to my existence. As far as music is
concerned, they love music. One of them
has picked up the piano by ear and it’s pretty
interesting to watch that develop. The other
one has gone through a bunch of different
instruments and has settled on guitar at this
point but I’m sure that’s going to change. So
we’ll see how it goes. It’s one of those things
where I encourage it but I’m not going to
push them in to it.
OTWS: Can you think back to the first time
you used Shure?
SLASH: The first time I used Shure, I remember working in a rehearsal studio in
Hollywood when I was about 17 or 16 and
recognizing the name Shure on the microphones that we were using in rehearsal. I
was just familiar with Shure because it was
something that Robert Plant was using and
a myriad of other singers so I knew that it
was a quality piece of gear.
OTWS: You also have the new Shure Ribbon
mics on your amp cabinets. Your engineers
are really enjoying the sounds they are
getting. What difference have you noticed?
SLASH: The Shure Ribbon mics that I use on
my amps just give a certain amount of
clarity, especially in the high end that I
didn’t have before. I’ve used SM57s forever,
but they just add another dimension to the
sound that you can’t get with just an SM57.
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:18 PM Page 13
On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:18 PM Page 14
From the moment you hear their voices, their instruments, their talent, you are hooked and captivated.
Alison Krauss and Union Station can divert the attention of even the hardest of heavy metal fans and
make them stare in amazement. Each member of this group is well respected as a solo artist. Put them
together, GRAMMYs start gravitating their way like steel to a magnet. They have a new album out called
Paper Airplane, their first release since 2004. Shure has enjoyed an amazing relationship with this group
and we got the opportunity to sit down with them while on tour at the historic Ryman Auditorium
and talk about how Shure continues to be a part of their legendary performances.
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: There’s great diversity from each one of you, as
far as musical tastes are concerned. How about non-music related
hobbies? What are some things each of you like to do?
BARRY BALES: I like to hunt and fish and fish and hunt …“outdoorsy”
stuff like that.
JERRY DOUGLAS: Catch and release…
BB: I’m trying to perfect that.
DAN TYMINSKI: Mine’s easy: golf, golf and more golf. [Looking at Ron
Block] You don’t do anything non-music related.
RON BLOCK: That’s not true. I read a lot and I write also.
BB: College boy.
JD: I like to talk about fly fishing. [Laughs.] Someday I hope to go.
If a certain band would get off the road long enough where we could
go do something like that.
BB: No, we just need to play in the right places… when the water is
not… [Raises his hand up above his head.]
JD: You want water? Let’s go over to Norfolk.
BB: What about you Alison?
ALISON KRAUSS: Do some counter wiping…
JD: Whoa! Explain.
[Alison motions her hand like she’s wiping a counter—everyone
OTWS: Individually and combined, you’ve all accomplished so
much. Are there certain goals you are still looking to accomplish,
whether it’s playing with certain artists or playing certain places in
the world?
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 15
AK: I’d have to say if we ever felt like we’ve
reached our goal then we would be finished.
I love the fact that we keep growing as a
group and that doesn’t get old, to want to
make better records and to grow as a group.
OTWS: You’ve been touring for many years?
What is it about touring that keeps you
coming back out on the road?
RB: Catering.
JD: Car payments.
BB: Show dates.
JD: Tuitions. I love music. I just like to play.
I especially like to play with these guys and
in front of as many people as possible, in a
room big enough to do it in. It’s fun to just
go out and play music. That’s what we’re
supposed to do and as long as we can keep
doing that, that’s what we’ll do.
BB: You don’t have to over think it. You get
one shot at it. You find out immediately if
it’s good as opposed to in the studio, where
you have to go through it and put it out to
see if people like it. If you’re on stage and
they like it, you know right then, which is
always a plus for me.
AK: And if they don’t, you know it right
then as well.
OTWS: There’s an element of comedy that I
see at a lot of bluegrass shows that I do not
at, say, a rock show. Can you talk about
where this comes from and has it always
been a part of this genre?
JD: Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Monroe. Early
bluegrass acts always had a part of their
show that was a comedy act. Most of the
times, with Flatt & Scruggs, that was the
Dobro player and the bass player who would
dress up in polka-dot suits, black some teeth
out and wear some funny hats. We don’t do
that. We just black out some teeth.
BB: We’re not that funny.
DT: We might be the exception to that rule.
JD: We have some snappy stage banter.
[Jerry points his finger at Alison.]
BB: I think maybe a lot of that came from
the music and the audience they were
playing for. A lot of times, country people,
especially on the early morning radio
shows in the little section of time, are trying
to have as much variety as they can. They
do bluegrass, the fiddle tunes, a gospel
song, throw in a little comedy…
DT: …read the mail.
BB: …send songs out to the sick and shutins … just trying to be well rounded.
OTWS: Shure has enjoyed a wonderful
longstanding relationship with the group.
What has the support of Shure meant to the
group over the years?
Confidence. It’s nice to know that you
can trust the stuff that you are using when
you do this for a living. You have to do it
every day. You want to know and feel good
about what people get to hear. You want to
feel like you are playing with the best possible
equipment, the best possible instruments
and doing the best possible job you can for
the people you play to. Shure is a big part
of that for us.
BB: Especially with what we do, it’s all about
the music and the way it sounds. Everything
is acoustic and there’s so many dynamics
in a stage show. It’s critical that we’re able to
hear to the best of our ability and the nuances
of everybody’s particular instruments. There
are so many vintage instruments in this
group and to be able to get that out to the
audience is a huge part of what we do.
JD: It’s about the stuff working every night
and taking that out of the equation—
worrying if your gear is going to work or
not. You can pound nails with an SM57, put
it up there and play through it and it’s going
to work. Don’t do that at home though!
DT: Confidence!
OTWS: In ear personal monitors have come
a long way over the years? How are Shure’s
PSMВ® 900s working for you?
DT: The PSM 900 has made a difference as
far as the quality of what you get to hear
back. We play with a lot of instruments that
you don’t come across every day. There are
a lot of vintage instruments on stage and to
be able to hear them back in a way that they
sound natural to you is HUGE. To be able
to play to an audience of people, you want
it to sound good to you, to inspire you to
play well for others.
BB: Regarding the equipment being reliable,
I can’t remember the last time I had a drop
out from the wireless signal. You don’t even
think about it anymore. You get up there,
plug it in and it sounds great. Especially for
a bass player, it’s so good to have it sound so
clear the way they do. I have found over the
years that wireless systems can give bass
players fits as far as not being able to handle
the signal or just extraneous noise but it’s
just clear as a bell.
JD: You’re actually playing during the show?
BB: Well, when I remember to hit my mute
AK: It’s like a freshly wiped counter surface.
OTWS: Can you talk a bit about the importance of consistent, high-quality sound that
the group achieves live and how Shure mics
help you achieve this?
JD: One of the things we do at the end of
our show is we all get around one microphone—one KSM32. I don’t know how
many people come up to all of us, individually at the end of a show and go, “Man,
my favorite part is when you all got around
that one microphone. That was the best
sounding thing all night long.” Well I’m
sure that our front of house engineer hears
that kind of stuff and just pulls his hair out.
He’s working so hard all night long with all
the other microphones, especially the new
ribbon [KSM313], that Ron’s playing banjo
through, is just killer. Then we walk out in
front of one large diaphragm mic at the end
of the night and it’s just magic.
DT: It’s nice to hear that much positive feedback that is all directly related to a microphone.
BB: I think that’s an extra plus for how great
that one microphone sounds. We do hear
a lot of awesome comments —“The show
sounds great.” “Best live show I’ve ever
heard.” That’s a definite testament to the
Shure products.
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
Beta 58В®A
Backing Vocals
Beta 58A
Beta 91A & Beta 52В®A
Beta 98AMP/C
Guitar Cabinet
PSMВ® 900
PSM 200
On Tour with Shure
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82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 17
It does not get more metal than Judas Priest. Fire, devil horns, leather, motorcycles, thrashing guitars,
screaming vocals: Did we mention fire? Along with the likes of Motorhead and Black Sabbath, Judas
Priest put metal on the musical map, and they did it with a style all their own. As Rob Halford and
company venture out on a worldwide “farewell” tour, we sat down with the Metal God himself, who
has promised to keep wailing away until his last metal breath, in spite of any farewell tour.
I’m not complaining … that’s a long show!
ROB HALFORD: It is a long show. The strange
thing is that it doesn’t feel like two hours
and twenty minutes. I don’t know why that
is. A minute is a very long time. If you ever
saw The Beatles, Yellow Submarine and they
sing, “When I’m 64,” and the clock counts
down 64 seconds, 64 seconds is a very long
time. So you can imagine what two hours
and twenty minutes should feel like.
you get in front of the fans. Luckily for us,
that first show in Tillbourg, in Holland all
those months ago worked really well. I
don’t think we have to do much refining on
it; it went really smoothly, simply because
after all these years we know what [we] need
to do as far as a show. It’s a bit like a fireworks
display on July 4th, you know? Everything
is building up to that big, climactic “bombursting” at the end which we do, obviously
when the bike rolls out and all of the other
the connection with the fans you have
consistently for a very long time; it all gets
in to your blood. I think that’s why you get
bands like Priest and many others that are
still doing what they do with a passion:
because they just love to make music and to
be in front of the people who gave you the
life, really. So yeah, it’s a “farewell tour” in the
sense that we’re not going to do any more
big world tours because they take almost
two years to complete. I said in an interview
But doesn’t it really pass quickly because
the set list is such an extraordinary one; it’s
moving constantly. There are a lot of dynamics and there’s so much information
going on; it’s really entertaining. It’s one of
those things where you’re like, “Wow, was
that it? Was that two hours and twenty
minutes? Man, I want to see it again,” you
know? And some of these fans are coming
out and doing that — they’re coming out
and seeing us two or three times, which is a
good thing.
OTWS: How much refinement does your set
list go through? Do you experiment a lot
RH: You have to kind of kick the tires on it
before you go out on the road. Like most
bands, you go into full production. Because
this is a big show, we have about a week of
full production back in England. And then,
you know, you kind of feel it as you rehearse ... but you never really know until
things take place. It’s working really well
and the songs feel fantastic every night.
They just feel like they’re really clicking and
working and connecting.
OTWS: There’s a popular idea that this is the
last Judas Priest tour.
RH: Yeah ... That’s probably due to us using
the word “farewell.” I wish there was
another — we looked in the dictionary —
[thinking] “Is there another word for farewell?” But I think it’s good; it sends a
message that we’re pulling back a little bit.
I can’t see us ever retiring. I’m one of these
people where towards the end of the tour
I’m going crazy—I just want to go home
and I want to relax. And then two weeks
later I’m like, “Give me something to do,
give me something to do. Let me write a
song, go to the studio, and get back on the
road.” It definitely becomes part of your
existence, that whole experience of living
on the road, doing the shows, obviously,
the other day—we’re not “spring chickens”
any more, we’re a bit like “old buzzards”
you know. I think this is sensible because
what it does, it gives us more of a future,
and I think it keeps us mentally in the right
place. There’s nothing worse than begrudgingly going to work (if you can say that in
the sense of what it means, not in a disrespectful light). But you’ve really got to want
to get on that tour bus. You really have to
want to lock the doors to the house and say,
“Goodbye house, I’ll see you in a couple of
years.” You really have to want to do that. It
has to be real. It has to be honest. It has to
be genuine. You can’t go out there and fake
it. We’ve never done that in Priest and we
never will. So we think that by just pulling
back a little bit we can still keep all those
right elements and ambitions intact.
OTWS: Now, for you personally: You’re in
Priest, you do Halford records; I personally
am a fan of 2wo...
On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 18
Oh, wow! Yeah, cool.
is it time for a side project for
RH: When time permits, because Priest is this
all-consuming, metal beast that just takes up
your life—as it should—and the plan that
we have now is to … obviously keep touring
until the end of this year, take a holiday
break, and then we kick it off again sometime late January, early February over in … I
think we’re going to Korea first and then
Singapore. Japan again—it will be great to
see our friends in Japan. There’s talk of us
going back in to some of the parts of Europe
it’s just right. So that’s what we’re planning
to do. It will be ready when it’s ready, but
fingers crossed, we’re going to try and get it
out before the end of next year. All good
things are worth waiting for, so they say.
We’ll be letting everybody know. We’ll be giving everybody a heads-up at
when we know it’s about to be unleashed.
And then, of course, then—maybe—some
solo stuff. I mean, I’m like all of us: we’ve all
got various interests outside of Judas Priest.
It’s a case of when the “metal clock” is
giving us the opportunity to go in there and
do all these other things that we want to do.
again as well. We still haven’t done all the
places that we tried to do in Europe from
the first leg, so presumably we’ll go back to
Europe and more than likely we’ll come
back to the States and do some other parts
of America that we haven’t gotten to.
Then we have to finish the record, of
course! We’ve got this brand new Judas
Priest record that’s being worked on that’s
just looking to be a very, very solid, big
statement—like we always try to do. [It’s]
not like Nostradamus: this is very much a
classic British metal, heavy, classic Priest
album. We’ve got the bulk of the material
written. Now we have Richie Faulkner with
us—this extraordinary guitar player. We
want to get him in the studio and see what
he can lay down with us. It’s one of those
things where... “When’s it coming out?
When’s it coming out? We want it! We
want it!” It’s like if you take the pie out of
the oven a bit too early it’s not going to taste
as good. You’ve got to wait a little bit until
We received a very nice photo from
you about a year ago...
RH: Yeah.
OTWS: ...saying �Shure is the Metal God!’
Thank you very much—that now lives in
our archives at Shure.
RH: Oh, OK!
OTWS: You’ve been a Beta 58® user...
RH: Oh, man—it’s an extraordinary microphone! When you’re a musician and you’re
OTWS: When
going to go out to work you’ve got to feel
confident about the equipment you’re
going to use. And I’ve always felt confident.
When I pick up that mic I know it’s going
to do the job that it has to do. I’ve been
blessed — or cursed — with extraordinary
vocal chords that do very, very bizarre things
for a vocalist—and that microphone can
just handle ANYTHING. I just wail away in
to it for two hours and twenty minutes. Just
as a safety precaution, about half way through
we swap over on to another [Beta] 58 just
because I know I’m belting away in to it. I’d
never conceive of that microphone getting
tired of me, but just to be on the safe side
it’s a bit like changing the strings on a guitar
or the drum skins. I know the mic can take
it but it’s just another bit of foresight. Having said that, they never let me down! I’ve
never, ever had a Shure microphone that’s
let me down. And that’s a great feeling. You
go out feeling confident and you can just
wail away and get across everything that
you want to get across and everybody goes
home happy.
OTWS: Excellent. Well you’re one of very,
very few people I can actually say this to
face-to-face. As a fan of metal I wanted to
say, thank you FOR metal. And I’m really
excited to see my fourth Judas Priest show
tonight. And on behalf of Shure we want to
thank you for showing us how it’s done
with our microphones.
RH: Wow, that’s really cool and it’s nice that
we’re talking almost on the day of 11-1111. I was glued to the TV watching all of the
metal programs last night on various
networks. So this is all kind of synchronized with that and definitely a big spot for
Shure microphones in the heavy metal weekend we’re having. So thank you, Shure, and
the Metal God will keep wailing in to those
Shure microphones as long as I have a metal
breath! Thank you!
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
UR2/Beta 58В®A*
PGXD2/Beta 58A*
Backing Vocals
Beta 58A
Beta 91A
Snare Top/Bottom
Beta 57A
Beta 98AMP/C
Guitar Cabinet
KSM313, KSM32 & KSM27
PG27 & PG57
PSMВ® 900
PSM 200
*wireless system
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 19
• Engineer Spotlight •
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: You’re in a place where
you’re “recession-proof,” so to speak. At what
point do you feel you obtain that status?
question. I think I learned a long time ago
that if you worry about it you’re not going
to get it, and if you don’t worry about it,
you get it. I think that’s always got me
through. And for some reason, knock on
wood, I’ve been very, very fortunate in this
business not to have to make any phone
calls or send résumés. I’ve never even had a
business card! So I’m very fortunate to be
getting those calls when I need them. And
at this point, twenty-five years into it now,
I’ve got enough clients that want me back,
fortunately, and when one’s off, one’s on and
vice versa. It’s very nice. I like “recessionproof.” Very good! [Laughs.]
MARTIN WALKER: I guess it’s having longevity
with certain bands rather than having a
high turnover—working for loads of bands
for short periods at a time. You build up a
relationship with a band and their management and it’s kind of just word of mouth,
really. I always hunt for the next job three
months before the current one finishes. I
kind of guess I’ve just been lucky. I don’t
know if there’s a set rule that says I’m lucky.
OTWS: Now, when you were with Slash you
got introduced to the KSM313. Is it something that was a little unusual, to see a ribbon mic in a live situation?
KM: You [Shure] were nice enough to send
me some for Slash when they first came out
and you really wanted me to try it. We used
it on Slash’s guitar and absolutely loved it. I
mean it was absolutely fantastic. And then
Martin came in for Pooch [Kenneth
“Pooch” Van Druten -ed.] to finish up mixing Slash on his last tour, and Martin loved
them. So I think the first call when we
needed to check our inventory for mics was
to make sure we got those to use on Judas
Priest and we’re using them on Richie’s
guitar and on Glenn’s guitar.
MW: It was definitely a good choice. It’s a great
mic. You know, my doubts weren’t for the
sound. My doubts were for the robustness
of touring life. But we never had any problems with it, and same for the ones we’ve
got out with Priest. They seem to last
forever. Or they seem to suffer the consequences of being on tour.
OTWS: Are they handling whatever you’re
throwing at them in terms of sound
MW: Absolutely, yeah. No issues at all. I
mean, Priest are kind of loud on stage, but
it’s not ridiculously loud. It’s maybe not as
“11” as people think it might be on stage
for them. They handle it well, yeah. We
mix them with some other KSMs as well;
some 32s and 27s. So we have three large
diaphragm mics there … or, two and a
ribbon [rather]. But yeah, it works really
well. It gives me great, big, fat guitar sound
without having to work at it.
OTWS: Is it easier to introduce artists these
days to in-ears than in yesteryear?
KM: I think when they first started everyone was scared of feedback in their ears. I
remember that now, going back to when
they first came out. Nowadays they’re
much more willing to try it because I
think they see everyone else doing it, or
another band member in their band,
[seeing] them coming off the stage
having great nights; the same sound
everywhere they go. I think that’s getting
them to try it. With Ian Hill in Judas
Priest, as we all know, Ian kind of stands
in one spot on the stage and he’s never
moved all these years; he’s always kind of
been in that one spot. Well, talking to
Ian, he’s always stood in that spot because
that’s where he could hear his bass. That’s
how he originally got in that spot, because
Glenn’s guitar was so loud—he moved
over and stood in that spot. Well, he’s on
in-ears now and he loves it because it’s
blocking out the sound of Glenn’s cabinets,
which are next to him, and he’s getting a
much better mix than he’s ever had before.
OTWS: You’re using PSM® 900 on this tour…
KM: Yes.
OTWS: Do you find it a substantial leap in
KM: Oh, not even a leap in technology,
just being able to use the functions a lot
easier. The sync, the infrared sync—I just
love that. It’s one of my favorites. It seems
so easy and so simple. Maybe younger
guys now think maybe, “Well you should
do that,” but that didn’t happen before. You
were using little screwdrivers to tweak stuff,
like, “Hey, what was that letter and number?” Nowadays [a few button presses],
you’re done. It’s great; absolutely fantastic.
OTWS: What advice would you give to
young engineers as they embark upon a
MW: Show keenness. Show willingness to
your local PA company. Go and help them
out for nothing and go and offer to do every
bit of work you can. And be a good guy.
If you get a reputation as a good guy, you’ll
keep getting asked back ... hopefully.
KM: The best advice I can give is, “Protect
your ears.” You need ’em for a long time.
OTWS: Well, that’s a difficult thing for a lot
of people to grasp in this business.
KM: Yeah, it is. It is. Especially at the volume we run Judas Priest. It’s very loud,
we do four, five, six shows a week, and
we have a very long show—it’s two-anda-half hours—so ear fatigue comes in to
play. And I do try to give myself a break
throughout that set. And maybe these
younger guys can learn how to maybe do
that a little quieter and protect their ears
a little longer. That’d be my advice right
now because that’s what I’m trying to do.
On Tour with Shure
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Aside from their voice, an emcee only has one true instrument on stage and in the studio: a microphone.
There’s a deeper connection and a relationship between an emcee and his mic of choice, similar to that
of a guitar player and his Gibson or his Fender. The microphone as an instrument and a signature sound
is taken a few steps further with the likes of Mos Def and Talib Kweli, known collectively as Black Star.
Bringing a vintage mic with a cable certainly makes a statement on a hip-hop stage these days, but how
about a red one with black foam? Maybe one done in white with red foam? It’s all a part of the show
and the sound for these two influential emcees and this past fall, everything was in its right place for
Black Star to once again show ’em how it’s done.
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: You guys have had distinguished solo careers as
well as many, many collaborations. When it comes to collaborations
how do each of you go about deciding who you want to work with,
when you want to work with them?
TALIB KWELI: [Chuckling] We’re kind of different...
MOS DEF: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
TK: [Laughing]
MD: I mean, it’s a different process for each of us. We all have people
that we like and people that reach out to us. I think hip-hop is a
group effort. Most art is, but I think hip-hop is unique. It’s similar
to jazz where that spirit of collaboration is really encouraged, but it’s
different for everybody—sometimes it just happens, sometimes you
hear somebody and think, “Oh, it’d be cool if we could do something
OTWS: Regarding Black Star specifically then, what do you feel that
you bring to each other when you perform together?
TK: Well I think that Black Star is a real organic thing. We have a lot
of similar goals, a lot of similar ideas on the importance and values
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 21
of art, and art’s place in the community, and
a huge respect for each other’s talent, each
other’s talent level. We come from the same
place. It’s just the moon and the stars aligned
for us to do this project. We both had solo
projects and different ideas on our minds,
even when we came together to make this
project. But that’s kind of what made it even
better, made it more organic, because there
wasn’t this weight put on this thing. It was
something that was truly the sum of its parts.
MD: It’s a good situation—it’s enjoyable;
there’s not a lot of pressure. It’s a unique situation to be in in a group.
OTWS: You had mentioned an analogy to jazz
musicians before. Do you guys find that
you elevate each other when you perform
together, similar to how different jazz
MD: Yeah, sure. I mean, it’s certainly not
bringing each other down.
TK: [Laughs.] Yeah, somebody hit me up
on Twitter the other day and said, “I’m
about to see Byrd and ’Trane, a.k.a. Mos
Def and Kweli.”
MD: [Laughing]
TK: For people to make that reference...
MD: That’s pretty sweet.
TK: means that they really get what we
tryin’ to do.
MD: We feel good about it. It’s good to be
able to have a career, a long career, doing
what you enjoy doing and still feeling enthusiasm for it; finding new ways to do it.
The microphones are definitely a big part
of that too: I mean, for me, because I’m
not only performing with them, but I also
record with them.
TK: I gotta say that Mos is a proponent and
a champion of these microphones. And
when he come to the studio he bring
[them] to the studio. And he always encourage me [to do the same] for the sound
in the studio, for the sound on stage, for the
look on stage. It’s been a good arrangement
and he’s led me down that path.
MD: Chicago is actually the place where I
discovered the Shure [Super] 55. I had the
first metal one [55 Series II -ed.] and the resonance on that was like, whoa. It was unique.
It was jarring for the audience a little bit
because they were weren’t used to hearing
an emcee on a microphone like this. I like
the juxtaposition of something that was
viewed as a vintage technology in a new
context. And so I was like, “Well can we get
some of those in different colors, or what?”
I like the actual element that it lends to the
performance. I like that it’s actually connected to a ground wire as opposed to being
a wireless. And I also like the fidelity on it; I
think it’s really quality and also it’s great for
preserving the voice and the [pats himself]
abdominals—I don’t have to fight so much
with the sound.
OTWS: Well you guys definitely use them
well. I mean, it’s kind of a common problem
for us to have artists that grip the ball and
change the pattern.
TK: I’m still, every night, learning something
different—a new way to use my voice or to
rap in to the mic. That’s a fun part of the process for me.
[Grabbing Kweli’s white-bodied Super
55] It looks different. It’s so cool, this white
one. It’s nice!
OTWS: Yeah, you guys have some very
custom 55s...
MD: Yeah, yeah! It’s sleek.
OTWS: Does that become part of your stage
and your ability to...
MD: It’s been one of the most dynamic parts
Lead Vocals
of my career emceeing. Many artists have
their instrument—whether it be piano or
the drums or guitar—I think this is a way
for an emcee to have an instrument; it’s personal. You go to most clubs and it’s a mic that
someone else has used. This is just much
more personal.
OTWS: It’s refreshing to hear that. A lot of
people don’t think of it like that—guitar
players have Gibsons or Fenders or something like that. A lot of people don’t necessarily equate that to when you use your
voice as an instrument.
MD: Oh, it’s very personal. I read someplace—they were talking about the sacredness of the human voice—without
sounding too esoteric, there’s definitely
something to that. One of the highlights
that happened with this microphone was
when I did Letterman. I was a few
minutes late for sound check. So I came
in and they’re like, “OK, you got to get on
the mic,” and I was like, “But I have my
own mic,” and they were like, “No, no,
no you can’t. You don’t know the room.”
But then I whipped it out; I pulled it out
of my bag; and they saw it and they were
like, [eyes wide in a pregnant pause]
“Alright! We’ll see if we can get a cable.”
And then when it was all done—I did it
with Black Keys and Jim Jones—and
when the song was done, just unplugged
it and walked away with my mic…. It was
a really nice feeling.
OTWS: Those guys like their vintage microphones as well.
MD: Yeah. It’s been a lot of places with
me—Brazil, all over the coasts—it’s nice.
OTWS: So Black Star: Why 2011 now? Was
there something you guys needed to revisit?
MD: It’s because we can and the opportunity is here to do it. We’re at unique
places in our careers where our careers are
more independent than they’ve been before,
even when we started, so we’re very much in
control of what we do and how we do it at
this point. Like Kweli said, the points have
aligned to bring us to this space and time...
and here we are. Good to be here, too.
OTWS: Excellent. Any advice for aspiring,
young emcees?
MD: Get your own microphone. It’s sanitary.
On A Budget
Super 55-Custom
55SH Series II
On Tour with Shure
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We heard Roger Daltrey was in town, spending an off day in Chicago during his recent tour of Tommy.
At the first hint of this news, we grabbed every camera and audio recording device we could find, jotted
down some questions and made our way into the city where rock royalty was holding court. We’ve had the
opportunity to spend moments with Roger in the past, but for some strange reason, no one ever got those
moments captured on film or even on tape. Here’s a guy that put the SM58® on the map as a tool for any
rock n’ roll stage, and up until now, all we’ve ever had was someone’s verbal memory of a story they once
heard about Roger or The Who. Needless to say, we were more than prepared this time…
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: You’re half way through
the tour now? How’s everybody settling in?
ROGER DALTREY: It’s phenomenal; I’m having
the best time of my life on stage. I’m just
enjoying it so much, [for] several reasons.
For one, two years ago I had a serious throat
problem and I found a genius surgeon who
has managed to bring my voice back to
being almost like it was 40 years ago. And
number two, I’ve started working with the
in-ear monitor system, which takes a lot of
getting used to … but it’s a singer’s dream
once you do. First time ever I’ve been able to
hear myself, and not have to scream over the
rest of the band!
OTWS: How has using the personal in-ear
monitors affected your approach to the performance? Do you go into it differently now?
RD: No, I try and get the sound I have in my
head to be the same sound as I always had
on stage. It’s a particular sound, it’s neither
here nor there, it’s somewhere in the middle,
the right mix of both. Whatever it is! When
you can’t hear yourself, you over sing and it’s
a nightmare, because you always give it that
little bit too much. But when you can hear
yourself, it’s just like fine tuning all the
time—wonderful! And the work we’re doing as well: We’re doing Tommy as a classical
piece of music. We’re not trying to go on as
this rock and roll circus act. We are respecting the music that was actually made
on the record. Which I feel became overlooked due to the size and scale that Tommy
eventually became. A film. A Broadway show.
An ice show … I think? A ballet. And of
course, that original record was so much
more than what even The Who, in the early
days, put on stage. We made it into kind of
a visual circus and in some ways theatrically
incredibly powerful but musically weaker.
But now, doing it the way I do it, I suddenly
realized what the beauty was of Tommy. It
was that people came in with a very loose
demo of a song and then that organically
grew from the band, so Tommy really was
The Who at its best.
OTWS: Tommy was really a turning point for
The Who. I understand that with all of the
“When you can’t
hear yourself,
you over sing and
it’s a nightmare,
because you
always give it
that little bit too
much. But when
you can hear
yourself, it’s just
like fine tuning
all the time —
– R O G E R D A LT R E Y
productions that happened in the later years,
that it had been some time since you looked
back and listened to the original record and
John had not as well?
RD: Well that’s one of the things that happened. For me, once the record was complete, I never listened to it again. I wasn’t
interested. The art was making it. I suppose
it’s like a painter, sooner or later you have
to walk away from the canvass, and then you
never want to see it again; you’ve done it.
So for me, this has been a revelation. And,
I’ve never been so happy on stage. I’m just
lovin’ every minute of it. And again, mainly
to the fact that I didn’t think I’d ever be
doing it again! [Laughs.]
OTWS: The idea to bring Tommy back was a
command performance at The Royal Albert
Hall, right? You thought you were going to
do this once?
RD: Well, yeah. I’d run a week of charity
shows. I’m very heavily involved with a charity which works with teenagers with cancer;
teenagers with cancer get a very raw deal.
They get the most vigorous, the most rare,
and of course, teenagers haven’t got the
luxury of the Bambi effect, that children
have. And I just feel very strongly that the
music business we came out of was founded
on the backs of teenagers, so this for me is a
way of giving back. So I run these shows
every year in England and I run seven nights
of events at The Royal Albert Hall. This year
I had six nights booked and all the top guys
do it…. No one has ever let me down. But I
couldn’t find, anywhere in the business,
someone who was free on the Thursday
night. I thought, “What the hell do I do, have
a dark night on the Thursday?” [Laughs.] So
I just dug Tommy out. I thought, “Well, let’s
give it a try,” and I was shocked at how well
it was received. I’d never done a solo show,
so I didn’t even know whether I would put a
bum in a seat! There might have been a few
bums, but The Albert Hall is quite a tough
sell. It seats 6000 people and it’s a prestigious
place that is quite an expensive ticket, ’cause
it’s for charity and I thought, “Well … even
for a penny, even for a pound … go for it.”
And it sold out really quickly. It was incred-
On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:19 PM Page 24
ibly well received and I had a bloody good
time doing it. So it was all by accident. Once
I made the decision to do it, I don’t know, it
seemed to have all come together—there
seems to be a bigger hand on it.
OTWS: What about the “use it or lose it” philosophy?
RD: Well use it or lose it is basically, for me,
what every singer should wake up in the
morning and think about, because voices
aren’t like guitar strings. You can’t change
your vocal chords. If you use them all the
time, they will stay flexible and as long as you
and it’s not for certain that we will, but if we
do, we’ve got to get the volume on stage
down, otherwise we’ll have a deaf guitarist
on our hand, and he’s a composer... that
would be criminal! So, I don’t want to go
there, this can have a really big input into
our future, if there is one. But as far as the
past goes, rock and roll was about dealing
with what you have to deal with at the time.
And we did it, and in some ways, showed
people how to live to the full. And now
maybe we have to show them how to go out
with a bang, you know? [Laughs.]
microphone,” you know at those events,
they are just coming there for the booze.
[Laughs.] You know what it’s like! And I
thought the only way to really show them
how good that mic was, I literally picked it
up and threw it, smashed it into the floor.
Your guy who was there at the time, his jaw
hit the ground! [Laughs.] Then I just
picked it up and said [into the mic], “This
is one of the reasons why these are the best
bloody mics,” ’cause it worked perfectly. I
threw it as hard as I could into the ground,
and it came up with one side completely
“And I thought the only way to really show them
how good that mic was, I literally picked it up and threw
it, smashed it into the floor. Your guy who was there
at the time, his jaw hit the ground! [ Laughs. ] Then I just
picked it up and said [ into the mic ], �This is one of the
reasons why these are the best bloody mics,’ ’cause
it worked perfectly.”
– R O G E R D A LT R E Y
use them properly, they will stay flexible
and you will be able to keep singing. But
I’m becoming an old man now… and we’re
athletes! We don’t realize it, but vocally we
are athletes. And they need to be exercised.
We can’t take the luxury of years off. So
that’s what that tour was all about…. I can’t
sit on my ass for two years at this age I’d have
no voice at all. It would just deteriorate and
disappear. So there we go. That’s what that
tour was about.
OTWS: We talked about ear monitors and having to work through it and get comfortable
with them, at this point now, looking back
at your long career and so many gigs, so
many performances, so many loud performances: How would things have been
different if you had been able to use that
technology in your earlier years? Would it
have affected the vibe of The Who?
RD: Ah … that’s a silly question! [Laughs.]
No, we dealt with what we had to deal with,
that’s what you have to do. But now we’re
dealing with different issues, now we’re dealing with people wearing two hearing aids. So,
somehow if The Who ever do go back out,
It’s amazing! Speaking about things
that maybe haven’t changed in your world,
in terms of equipment over the years, it
seems like the Shure SM58В® has been sort of
your standard. That’s one thing that hasn’t
moved, maybe you can tell us a little bit about
your relationship with that mic?
RD: Oh, I think you gave me the first one at
The Marquee in London, when did it come
out? I can’t remember. I know you presented me with one of the first ones you
ever produced.
OTWS: Well, The Who’s first endorsement
contract I believe, that we have on record,
is 1968.
RD: That’s right. Well, I remember when you
gave me the first SM57 and after that was
the SM58, is that right? We had a ceremony at The Marquee Club in London and
I thought, “You know, they are not going to
believe anything I tell them about a bloody
flat, but worked perfectly. You couldn’t get
a better ad than that! But the only thing I
would say though, it’s only the last six or
seven years that I’ve really understood it.
So many people don’t know how to use the
bloody thing. Because for years I sang with
my hand right at the back of the cup and it
cuts the sound of your voice out. Nobody
ever said to me if you hold it like that,
you’re going to cut half the sound of your
voice out. Have you ever said it to any of
your singers? I don’t know … because it’s
about time you did [Laughs.] They need to
know that if you hold it at the back of the
cup, where the ball is, that it destroys the
sound of the voice. It cuts all the bass
resonance out. Halfway down the stem
guys /girls: You know! If rock singers can
learn how to hold it correctly, they will find
that the volume and resonance in their
voice is so much better. It’s all just habit!
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
PSMВ® 900
PSM 200
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On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:20 PM Page 26
Hello Seahorse! is the epitome of a Gen Y
band. Three young kids meet online and
form a band, record demos in their home
studio and get popular online. Seems
like your modern-day rock ’n’ roll story.
However, a lot of things happen during the
life of a band. Members come and go and
decisions are made that can break you, or
wake the beast. We sat down with Hello
Seahorse! at Shure last November while
they were in Chicago to discuss where
they got their name, their life before and
after their Latin GRAMMY nomination,
their love for technology and their advice
to the next generation of bands.
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: I read somewhere that you guys met through MySpace. Is that true?
How did that come about and how did you guys come up with the name “Hello Seahorse!”?
LO BLONDO: Yes, we met a few years back, almost six years ago. Burgos [Oro de Neta] and
I are from Mexico City and we met on the Internet. I think it’s the way people are relating
nowadays; a lot more than in the past at least. We met online and he [points to Oro de
Neta] had a series of demos and he asked me to put lyrics and melodies to the songs. A
friend of ours named Julio was playing with us so we were a trio back then. In reality there
isn’t really a romantic story about the name. One day we were talking amongst ourselves
and we decided that the name fit with what we were doing musically at the moment
which was doing songs in English and in Spanish and also more dream-pop electronica.
A lot of things happen in the life of a band.
OTWS: In 2009 you guys released your second studio album named Bestia, which
catapulted your career and brought you many awards and accolades, including a Latin
GRAMMY nomination for Best Alternative Song. We know what life is like after that
album, but what was life like for Hello Seahorse! before Bestia? What changed that
awakened that beast?
LO BLONDO: Well, previous to that album I think we were still trying to find the sound
that we wanted to project and what we really wanted to transmit as individuals, as a
band and as musicians. To make that album, for starters it’s an album made in Mexico
City. It was composed there. So it has all that weight that is Mexico City. It transmits
what it makes you feel to be a habitant of a city of that type. [It’s] like being from Chicago;
they’re very heavy cities where many crazy things happen and one has to decide if
you’re responding well or if you’re responding incorrectly depending on what’s around
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:20 PM Page 27
you. And as far as the lyrics, well it’s a personal search, an individual search, especially
since discovering that at the end of it all, we
have many personalities and that’s what we
wanted to project with this album.
OTWS: A year after Bestia you guys came out
with your latest album named Lejos. No Tan
Lejos. What inspired the new album so
soon after Bestia?
LO BLONDO: Well for starters, the addition of
Joe to the band. New insecurities…
JOE: Yes. Well it was rooted in that we were
playing out a lot and traveling. That brought
out many emotions and a need to transmit
and release. Something was growing inside
at the time and we decided to leave the city
to start composing in a different manner as
before which grew from jamming and playing together so much. So what we were looking to do was to do things differently and
more spontaneously over everything. It’s
what the music decided so that’s why it came
out so fast and so well for being such little
time. We wanted to maintain that original
spark in the music which we were feeling
and to leave it as is and let it grow on its own.
LO BLONDO: Yes, and at the end we discovered that in this moment as a band, Spanish,
the Spanish language is what we want to use
to express ourselves. I think that as a band
we have figured out how to come together
and have that empathy for each other and
that wisdom to know what the other needs
to be able to project what they have inside.
OTWS: Did you guys do anything different
in the studio to record this album compared to the previous ones?
LO BLONDO: Yes, we tried to open up and try
new dynamics. For example, we recorded a
song named “Velo De Novia” where we all
recorded it together at the same time. Instead of recording the tracks separately, we
wanted to do one take that would preserve
the freshness of the feelings we had at that
moment. That was one of the things we
weren’t used to doing, since we were used to
recording the tracks separately where Bonno
would start recording the drums first, after
him maybe Joe would go in to record the
bass, you know piece by piece. With that
song we wanted to let loose with our producers. For Lejos. No Tan Lejos we worked
with two producers. One is Money Mark and
the other is Yamil Rezc and both of them
have very different ways of working. Mark is
more adventurous, more improvised and
playful. Yamil is more, how should we say…
BONNZ: More deep.
More technical.
More of implementing layers of
sound, more production, more detailed in
the way of layering sound and finding specific sounds. Mark is more about whatever
comes out and however they come out.
LO BLONDO: It’s a lot of fun to play in such
different environments. To make an album
and to record a few songs in an environment
like Mark’s … basically we went to work in
his home studio and he has a big quantity
of incredible mics of all types and he is
open to playing with what you have at that
moment. I remember once we went to the
store and bought the cheapest mic we could
find, just an old mic, and he opened it up
and ripped its diaphragm. He would record
things with it in order to play around a little
and to escape from what we know is “right”
[holding up fingers in quotes]. And on the
other side, Yamil has all his techniques and
that’s what makes each of them the producers they are.
OTWS: You recently switched to Shure mics
and in-ear personal monitors. How has that
affected your performances?
BONNZ: Simply the fact that we have our
own in-ear monitors and our monitor rack
has made everything so much simpler for
us. Sound checks are so much faster, and
we feel very comfortable with what we have.
Before, it was like who knows what we are
going to get? Who knows what the venues
are going to provide? Who knows what inears we’re going to get? So to know that
everything will sound exactly how you left
it after your last show always gives you
much more piece of mind and obviously
more mobility which makes me very comfortable. Also, we have our mics, which
make it easy for our engineers and techs
when setting up our stage.
OTWS: Was it hard to switch from floor
wedges to in-ear monitors?
BONNZ: It was gradual. In my case for
example I always used big headphones for
the click track, and I sort of had to move
them partially off so I can hear what was
going on outside. So, in my case it was great
to switch to in-ears because I could hear
everything perfectly. I was telling them
recently after the last show that I was hearing the drums as if I was in the studio. You
can play how you want because you can
hear yourself and you know people can
hear you as well. When I don’t use in-ears I
hear the drums so loud and I can’t hear the
details outside. So in my case, I can hear
every detail and I feel I can do a lot more.
LO BLONDO: Yes it was a gradual process for
me as well because you don’t get used to
them overnight. I think that the advantage
for a singer is that you can hear the details
in your voice which, for me, is so important. That’s where perfection lives for me. So
when I am not using in-ears, I don’t have
those details and it costs me more work to
define my sound. I believe it is crucial to be
able to identify and recognize your sound. I
believe in-ears have helped me with that, to
understand and recognize my sound so I
can play with it and hear where it is going.
I believe it’s basically security.
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
UR2/Beta 58В®A*
PGXD2/Beta 58A*
Backing Vocals
Beta 91A
Snare Top/Bottom
Beta 56В®A
Guitar Cabinet
Keyboard Cabinet
PSMВ® 900
PSM 200
*wireless system
On Tour with Shure
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:20 PM Page 28
Lured by delicious Mexican cuisine, the southern gentlemen of Mastodon took producer Mike Elizondo’s request
to work with the band very seriously. Again, tacos were involved and may have been enough, but Elizondo really
is a true fan and wanted to take on a Mastodon record for some time. It turned out to be just the thing for the
band’s latest release, The Hunter. We’d like to think that the Shure mics used to capture every idea, jam session
and rough cut in the band’s rehearsal space played a bit part as well.
ON TOUR WITH SHURE: Forgive me if this has been a question beat to
death—I’m not sure if it has been or not … working with [producer]
Mike Elizondo: How did that happen to begin with?
TROY SANDERS: Tacos, man!
BILL KELLIHER: He bought us lunch!
BRANN DAILOR: Tacos, yeah.
BK: We were like, “Man ... this is the first guy to ever buy us lunch.
He wants to work with us.”
BD: He came down to meet us in Atlanta and he had been actively
searching us out. He wanted to do a Mastodon record since Blood
Mountain. So if anybody wants to buy a plane ticket and go through
all that trouble to come down and meet us then we’re going to meet
’em and see what the deal is. We were kind of puzzled as well. You
know, seeing the different people he had worked with—to take him
at face value was ... that’s the wrong thing to do. Being Dr. Dre’s
right-hand man—I mean, Dr. Dre’s no dummy, obviously. Mike’s a
very musical guy. He went to college to learn to play upright bass in
an orchestra and likes all kinds of music just like we like all kinds
of music and had a clear and concise understanding of what we
wanted to do and what we wanted to accomplish on this record. He
kind of let us do our thing, but in the same respects...
BK: …guided us a little.
BD: …guided us a little bit. We sort of need that. Once you’re working on something for six to eight months it’s nice to have someone
with some fresh perspective and ears and similar taste to come in and
say, “Hey, you’re heading in the right direction. Hey, this stuff is
really great.” He liked all the stuff that we felt strongly about so it
was really easy. He got everything sounding really awesome. We’re
big boys. We don’t need too much guidance. But it’s nice to have a
little bit. It’s nice to kind of keep us in check. At some point for us
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it’s imperative to take the paint and the
paint brushes away—otherwise we just keep
coloring and coloring and coloring until
everything turns brown.
TS: Yeah. We could doodle forever. He was
very receptive to all of our musical ideas.
We would present him with some of our
heavier stuff and he was like, “Wow, really
like this, that.” Then we’d present him some
of the slower, spacier stuff and he was like,
“Wow, this is really good.” Some of the more
psychedelic parts that we had going on, he
was like, “Wow, that’s really cool—this direction” and [so on]. So everything we were
doing in the practice space he really embraced to a certain degree, and was able to
help us keep going further down every little
road we had already started going down.
That was very refreshing. We didn’t want
somebody to say, “You know, that’s just too
heavy. We shouldn’t have that. That’s too
soft.” We already knew what we were creating and what we were building and he
really kind of took that, with all four of us,
and took it one step further.
BD: Yeah. If we had come across someone
that didn’t like what we were doing and
wanted to change everything we would just
move on and go with someone else. We
know what we want and we know what we
want things to sound like. If someone
comes in and says, “Oh no, this is all wrong.”
Well, you’re all wrong, so see you later.
OTWS: Well, [despite] his résumé, I’m certainly not going to argue with the results.
TS: But it started with the tacos. It really did.
BD: That’s the way most good things start.
OTWS: This album is less conceptual than
the others that you’ve done. Was it something where you just found yourselves with
material around, like “Deathbound” [a song
from the Crack The Skye-era]? My understanding was that was kind of a left-over
from that time…
BK: Yeah, pretty much.
BD: It’s something that didn’t really fit with
the whole sound of Crack The Skye. “Deathbound” was a song we really dug, but we
just didn’t know what to do with it. It was
out of place.
BK: The black sheep of Crack The Skye
OTWS: When we spoke last, you guys mentioned that you had gone from traveling to
make albums to staying in Atlanta. Was that
another important thing to do this time around?
[All three nod in agreement.]
BK: Yeah. We’re not home enough as it is,
touring around the world and all. All of us
are getting older and having kids and families and wives and things to do at home that
are important. Even when we went to Washington state to do a record in Seattle we still
weren’t that focused. It was just like, “Hey,
let’s start the party here,” you know what I
mean? For us, being home … I’m a lot more
focused at home, that’s for sure.
BD: Same here.
BK: I can sleep in my own bed and come
down to Earth with my family and reality.
BD: Yeah. We did the drum tracks out in LA.
We were gone for about a week. I wanted to
do my drums in a certain room in Sound
City out there in L.A. where a lot of really
iconic albums had been crafted. The drum
room is this sort of magical drum room
that, I guess, doesn’t exist anymore. We were
the last ones to do drum tracks there.
BK: Another aspect of the whole recording
process for us was we built a studio inside
of our rehearsal space. Any time we had any
riffs that popped in our heads, instead of
fumbling around to try and remember it or
trying to get something out to record it we
pretty much have all of our mics set up on
everything at the same time and can remotely
just hit record, “Hey, play that. Cool. Let’s
move on.” We just kept doing that and…
BD: …then go throw vocals on over it.
BK: Before we knew it we had more riffs and
songs than we knew what to do with. It was
like, “Wow, cool.”
OTWS: Did you find Shure products to be
useful in the home studio?
BD: Yes.
BK: Oh, absolutely.
TS: Oh, hell yeah.
BK: SM7s and SM57s, SM58®s, Beta 57s …
all that stuff is being used. What other kind
of mics were we using there, Brann, on
your kit?
BD: [Wide-eyed and grinning] Tom mics?
TS: Kick drum mics too. There was the kick
drum mic.[All three laughing]
TS: Like Bill said, it was super-helpful because for the first time ever we were able to
lay down ideas on the spot in our rehearsal
space, and then six, eight weeks, twelve
weeks: Whatever it was later, we had these…
It wasn’t just a bunch of crazy riffs recorded
on a tiny, little Dictaphone that we were
trying to remember and go back and play;
we had a proper [recording]. It took us eleven
years into our career to figure that out, but…
BK: With the help of Shure…
TS: Absolutely…
BK: Without you guys…
TS: You really did help Bill build our rehearsal up to where we could be so much
more productive and more efficient.
BK: Just by miking everything up. Instead
of … with technology these days, with ProTools, even a dummy like me can push
record and work it. Instead of moving all of
our stuff to someone else’s studio, let’s just
put the money into our own studio and be
comfortable. Anytime we want, anytime of
day we can go down there. Everything’s miked
up; the drum kit’s miked; bass; vocal—
everything is ready to go. Any small ideas
we have we just hit record. Or we’ll just jam
and record it and then later on pick little
pieces out and it made the whole process of
writing and pre-production so much easier.
On A Budget
KSM9, Beta 57A & Beta 56В®A
SM86, PG57 & PG56
Beta 91A & Beta 52В®A
Snare Top/Bottom
Beta 57A/SM57
Beta 98AMP/C
Guitar Cabinet
On Tour with Shure
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Sometimes things are better left unsaid. But sometimes you have to be direct to get your point across.
After 16 years, Molotov is no stranger to controversy. They are not afraid to be the voice of the people
even if they are not always understood. We sat down with Randy Ebright and Paca Ayala of Molotov
to discuss their latest tour across Europe, consistency, and how creative differences reunited them.
You recently came back from Europe where
you played 40 or so shows for your “Don’t You Know We’re Loco?”
tour. Does the name have anything to do with Cypress Hill or is it
because of the amount of dates on the tour?
RANDY EBRIGHT: It’s more because of Zoolander.
PACA AYALA: I don’t even know why…
OTWS: So how did it go?
RE: Very good! There were 46 shows in 20 cities across Europe;
very concentrated in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We also
opened new territories like Slovakia, Belgium and England. We
also did Spain. I don’t know, many places … Czech Republic. It
went well, we played anywhere from halls to festivals with many
people. There was a very good response from the public.
OTWS: And now you’re on tour in the U.S.?
RE: This is the last show of 27 dates in the U.S. So this is the last
show for now, then we continue with some things in Latin America.
And then we rest and take off again in March.
OTWS: You guys have a very creative way with words. Your lyrics
use a very popular slang from Mexico called “Albur” that uses a lot
of double meaning words and phrases and you sometimes even
sing in Spanglish. Were you worried that a lot would get lost in
translation while performing throughout Europe?
PA: Usually what happens is that the translation or the interpreON TOUR WITH SHURE:
tation of what we say doesn’t exactly stick because we rely on only
one way of translating. But the interesting thing about that is exactly
that, and the music speaks for itself in places where a different
language is spoken. They may know the significance of the song
or the ideological tendencies of the band but the music holds
more weight especially when they don’t understand the lyrics.
RE: Yes, something funny happens in Europe since it’s made up of
many small countries where you can drive 100 kilometers and
find a completely different culture where a different language is
spoken. I think because of their geography they are more used to
being bombarded with things outside of their culture. So it doesn’t
matter if you’re singing in French, English, Spanish or Portuguese in
Germany or Switzerland. Maybe they don’t understand our message
100% but they understand our energy perfectly when we sing.
OTWS: Speaking of lyrics, many of your lyrics are considered controversial. Do you feel that people who say that are missing the true
message behind your words?
RE: They don’t even understand what
controversial means.
OTWS: Is it something that is done
intentionally to bring more attention to issues people like to ignore or slide under the carpet?
82779_Shure_ OTWS13_V5.qxd 1/4/12 12:20 PM Page 31
Really we just like to talk about things
as they are. Sometimes you just have to say
things however they come out and reflect
on them the same way. You can’t talk about
a social problem by softening the issue with
words that don’t describe how complicated
things are and exactly what people are going through in their lives. So we say things
and in many cases people try to censor us,
but I feel our actions, and playing out as
much as we do, help break down that censorship scheme as well as any misunderstandings so we can continue to say what
we need to say live and without censorship.
OTWS: Molotov formed more than 16 years
ago, many things change in 16 years, how
has Molotov changed? And what hasn’t
changed for you guys?
PA: Well I believe that the band continues to
have that essence in which we have that
need to play, the need to compose and the
need to go up on stage and play live even if
there is no one there or the technical conditions aren’t right. Even after all these years,
things fail. Especially when you’re opening
new territories, and you have no idea what
kind of stage you’ll end up playing on. We
have never lost our energy. We do end up
translating and transforming how we did
things in the past. After 16 years even our
songs start sounding different. We have played them so many times and for some reason
they are interpreted in a different manner.
But I don’t believe that we have lost that
spark of having fun on stage. So, we will be
much older and tired, but our energy to
play live will always be the same.
OTWS: You guys share the stage with Shure
microphones. How long have you been using
them and why are they your mics of choice?
RE: I believe since always, right? [Asking
PA: Since we started doing demos; from the
first time that we could afford to go buy a
microphone in downtown Mexico City
where they sell instruments and all types of
audio equipment. We bought a Shure
SM58® and a 57. I believe in a way, it’s like
a natural tool for us. It’s like hearing a bass,
a guitar, or the drums which are a harder
instrument to obtain. You save until you can
get it, and once you have it you use it so
much that it becomes part of your sound.
RE: Yes, since our first shows in the most
funky holes in D.F. [Mexico City] or worse.
Even there, you can find a [SM]57 on the
snare, a [Beta] 52В® on the kick, and 58s all
over. That’s how it’s been since we started
and even when we went into our first pro
studio in Los Angeles, back when studios
were still around. Even there, where they
cared about every last sonic detail, you
could also find a 57. So when you would
see the confidence that people would put
on those mics, it inspired confidence in you
to use them. So it’s important to invest in
your sound and take your microphones with
you to each show.
OTWS: You also use the PSMВ® 900 in-ear
personal monitors. What do you like about
being in-ear versus floor monitors?
RE: It’s exactly what my partner said. We
are always opening new territories and you
don’t know what situation you will find
yourself in with production at festivals
where you don’t have your sound engineer.
So it’s crucial to be able to rely on your inear monitors so that you don’t have to deal
with floor wedges that you don’t know
where they came from or what kind of
shape they are in. So it’s crucial; something
that never changes.
PA: I think that in the case of using in-ears,
it’s completely different because it’s something that goes directly in the ear. You know
how it’s going to react and what performance to expect in places where you don’t
know what kind of gear will be provided. You
monitor up and you know that the engineer
will quickly fix any problems and what the
capacity is of the equipment. He knows
that we work well with this equipment, so
it’s playing in your own house where everything is at arm’s length and the instruments
sound perfect.
OTWS: You guys split up for a while after
you last studio album, Etemamiente, which
was released in 2007. Then you guys worked
on some solo EPs and asked your fans to
vote on whose solo work was the best. What
really happened? Is everything OK now?
RE: Yes…
PA: Really, we had just finished touring in
the U.S. and we thought about doing, let’s
say, an additional format, which was creating some EPs. Each of us on our own,
totally isolated from one another without
knowing what was happening, how the other
was doing, or how the recording was going.
Really the plan was that at the end we
were going to join the material to make
Etemamiente. So the word was out, but what
many people didn’t know was that breaking
up was a prank in order for us to work
creatively, each on their own and reuniting.
Many people thought that we had a fight
between us, but that never existed.
RE: And it wasn’t even true. They had to call
me to track drums for them.
OTWS: I understand that you are about to
release a new album…
RE: Yes, we are going to play this show, then
we are going to break up, and then we are
going to reunite for breakfast tomorrow morning, and jump on a plane. Then we are
going to do a tour through Latin America
since we still have a commitment to the
south. And then we are going to break up
again for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then
we plan to release a DVD that was filmed
in Russia at the end of January.
PA: That’s right.
RE: And we are working on new material for
a new, unedited album scheduled for the fall
of 2012 right before the end of the world.
On A Budget
Lead Vocals
Backing Vocals
Beta 52В®A
Beta 56В®A
Guitar Cabinet
PSMВ® 900 & PSM 600
PSM 200
On Tour with Shure
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