An end of an era for me
Just before Covid, I invested an awful lot of money in a new touring flown PA - 12 boxes in total with amps and a new 32 channel Midas stage box, Midas FOH mixer and and extra X32 rack in the stage rack, and new track playout machine. A British Beach Boys tribute band - busy diary and lots of live recordings via all the kit - then Covid arrived before we even had a chance to use the new system. The playout was a necessity as we've been totally live for 20 years, but the band leader and founder has Rheumatoid Arthritis. Just before Covid started he had a bit of a blip and his hands distorted and twisted - so bad he couldn't play without making terrible wrong notes in every song. We decided that we would carry on playing live, but we would use his keyboard parts we'd recorded live at various gigs. We built a click from the recordings and the playout machine gave the FOH guy, and our in-ears his keys parts exactly the same as before. We did two gigs with tracks and I think he did well and a few more would have solved the problem. During covid though, his health suffered badly - collapsed lung, but luckily it collapsed in hospital, after some tests - luckily a doctor realised what had happened, and he grabbed a piece of tube and shoved it into the gap between his ribs under his arm, straight into the cavity, with no time for anaesthetic and saved his life. In the end they glued his lungs to the inside of the cavity using his own blood as glue. Lungs stayed up, but they're damaged and now their capacity has reduced so much he can't play or sing, and standing up for 2 x 60 minute sets is impossible. So we've decided to call it a day. I'm hoping I have an 8-10 week contract in the summer for the PA so at least that will be paid off hopefully. A real shame as we had some amazing gigs over the years, and I'll miss it. For all four of us it was a substantial part of our income too -- so it's a sad day, but we all agreed we didn't want to simply replace him. He wouldn't have minded but it wouldn't have been the same. We'd also introduced the X32 rack to the stage rack - this we did for the festival stages. We use(d) in-ears with Behringer personal mixers but the fast turnaround at festivals used to wreck our mix - so we 'invented' a system. Our in-ear mix has 4 voices, keys, drums, bass and guitar when we use our PA - so what we did was run 9 cables to the X32 with a Y split on each. Our normal monitor system just plugs into the stage rack mixer. At changeover time we have preset our little mixers in the wings and powered everything up so the mixers on their stands just need setting. We run our cables to the 4 vocal mics, and do a quick unplug and plug in the splitter, then the same with guitar and bass - the keys output to the festival rig is a DI we provide, and that is already hanging on the splitter, and we just split one of the drum overheads - that is all we need. No thud or bang, just the overhead sound. With the four of us, we can get our feeds to our mixer in less than two minutes. the festival sound people don't have to do anything - and apart from a few seconds of silence when we swap, their mics just do what they always do. They can ignore us, and we ignore them! All our EQ is the same - the only variable is the drum overhead really. If the vocal mics are not Beta 58s, we might swap the mics too, but most times 58s or beta 58s don't need EQ changes. It's vital (or was vital) that our mix was consistent and at festivals monitors are often on or off which wrecked things.
A shame that is that!
A sad story, Paul. I was really sorry to hear of your keyboardist's medical problems.
I hope you can get to somewhere near break-even on the new PA rig by the end of the summer season.
How do you transport the 12 boxes?
Subs are on castors with slip on covers, the others are two to a flight case - so 4 flight cases and 4 subs that are around the same size - they take up the end of the van.
sorry to hear end of an era indeed.
Sorry to hear this. I too have basically retired from live performance. This year I sold my PA, Van , and most of my stage equipment. Medical for me also. Good thing I can still record.
Oh man, i hope you are able to fill the void with something satisfying. Hoping for good health for everyone.
Sad Paul...... I feel sorry for the guy, for you and everyone involved........
Thanks guys. For me it’s disappointment and a money hit, I can recover from this, but Ian is really hit bad. A terrible disease, no cure, but his entire life has been music. He was in a 70s band that got popular in those medley hits that featured heavily on tv where there would be a continuous beat and then a medley of a band’s hits, so you have ABBA, Beatles, four seasons, beach boys, even wartime big band with a thump crack beat. Stars on 45 was a popular range here in the UK. His brother popped of to California and joined the Beach Boys and Ian started our band here. As most Beach Boys songs don’t have a full stop end but a fade out, it was odd for the ending we created for one of the tracks find its way to America and then via his brother into the real Beach Boys stage set.
his biggest talent was memory, he knew every harmony for every song for four people, and at the end of a gig he’d tell me I sung the wrong line in one verse of one song. I have no idea what the guitarist sings, I just know my lines. We can’t replace him because if we did, we’d be a mess after three shows. I think he can cope with being ill and in pain. Being a singer and a pianist and suddenly unable must be a huge downer.
not been a good year.