Production Sound & Video

Summer 2023

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There are a couple of reasons that these rambles are not technical in nature. The obvious one is that I'm not smart in that way. When it comes to understanding how things really work, I often don't. Recently, I was patching a show and met with an unfamiliar issue. We ran a Tac-12 fiber cable from the Denali silver remote truck to the stage where we connected it with a Calrec Hydra, the stage box that connects with the Calrec console in the truck. Normally, when connected, there are blinking indicator lights on the Hydra that we call heartbeats. I was under the impression that when the heartbeats were blinking, the Hydra was connected. It turns out that in this case, it was true that we had heartbeats and fiber connectivity, but data was not passing. Fortunately, Matt Herchko, one of the terrific Denali engineers, showed us some persistent troubleshooting and before long, we had heartbeats and data. It took an engineer, not an A2, to figure this out which supports Joe's Third Axiom: Once you know where the electrons go, you can't work on the floor no more. A couple of days ago, as Patricia and I were driving to the Valley (of no return) to meet friends for lunch, my wife asked if I had ever worked with Eric Clapton. Short answer, yes. Now, sitting at my Ashley Discount Furniture Hecho en China desk, I recall the first time. The mixer, Don Worsham, called to inquire about my availability on April 15. In 1987. He told me he couldn't find any A2's. Was I busy that day? Back then I was often available. He indicated that it would be a relatively easy show (we had done the Grammys about six weeks prior). I would set one band and hand out a few RF mics. I arrived early at the venue, The Ebony Showcase Theatre on Washington Boulevard. Like so many, that building is gone. I ran cables from the Greene Crowe truck. BT-1, I suppose. Who remembers? Then set up the band mics, including all guest instruments, a handful of RF's for vocals, and some audience mics. Soon, we were ready for soundcheck and rehearsal. The day flew by. That show, B.B. King: A Blues Session, was produced and directed by Ken Ehrlich who has been involved with many of the memorable music shows in my career. The tight, eight-piece B.B. King band accompanied an all-star roster of guests. Phil Collins on drums, Dr. John on keyboards and vocals, Paul Butterfield played harp (the harmonica, not the instrument featured in Marx Bros. films), vocals were provided by B.B. King, Gladys Knight, Etta James, Chaka Khan, and Billy Ocean. And the ensemble was rounded out by a trio of guest gui- tarists, Albert King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Eric Clapton. That was a full day. A heck-of-a-day. I'm not big on band swag and never ask to take a photo (although I did sneak one at the Grammys a while back) If you know, you know. but in early February 2015, the opportunity to ask for something presented itself, and I took full advantage. The aforementioned Ken Ehrlich booked AC/DC, one of Patricia's favorite bands, to begin The Grammys that year, perform- ing "Rock or Bust" and "Highway to Hell." It was the best opening in my thirty times on that show. After the band rehearsed, I asked a guitar tech if I could take a pick for my wife. A bit later, he presented me with three, from Cliff Williams, Malcolm Young, and Angus Young. She says it is one of her favorite Valentine's Day gifts. My ramble in the spring issue extolled the virtues of Oboz Low Sawtooth hiking shoes, my footwear for busy shows. I regret to admit that I failed to acknowledge the friend who suggested these might be a good choice. I would like to publicly thank Patty Scripter's husband for leading me down the path of comfort. A few weeks back, I stopped by the Local 695 office where our president presented my 40-year pin. Thank you, Jillian, James, and Joe (I believe your dad was at my initiation). Forty is kind of a big deal for me. Real math. Craig will think that's funny. Contemplating retirement, forty will be my last milestone. I started working shows in the fall of '81 but waited to be initiated by a fellow Nebraskan, Roy Brewer, who was a friend of my dad's. For those who missed my spring ramble, there is a terrific photo of my dad with a popcorn machine at one of his theaters. Given the chance, I'm sure some of my early coworkers at KTLA would have bet the farm against me mak- ing it this far. Forty years is a long time. A long, very enjoyable adventure. It would take an entire issue to list the mentors, coworkers, teachers, and especially the friends who have made the forty so gratifying, a word that is an etymological cousin to grateful. I am. Truly. Pin presentation with Jillian Arnold and Joe Aredas, Jr. AC/DC picks. Photo: Patricia Pittington Teller

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