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Lonnie was gracious enough to grant me this interview right after he came off tour, so I personally want to thank him for that. I'm far from a journalist guys, but hopefully everybody will dig this one. :icon_thum Discuss Here


1. So how long have you been involved with guitars Lonnie?

My first experience learning to play was about 29 years ago. Approx. 4 yearslater I started to take it somewhat seriously. From day one I was taking themapart and trying to figure out how they worked. I eventually started to takeapart amps and pedals, then switchers and midi pedals etc. Hasn't ended andstill rip things apart!! I have found a way to keep it a hobby when at home forenjoyment and learning. Studied some electronics over the years as well. Alotof this development was long before all the info on the internet etc. It was a'figure it out on your own' situation and I loved every minute of it.

2. Of all the gear you've had over the years, what would be your most prizedpiece of equipment?

1967 Marshall plexi 50w head and a 1966 Marshall 4x12 with greenback 20's (not25's). Killer amp. Also a pair of Lexicon PCM 42 delay's.

3. Describe a typical day on tour: pre show, during the show, and post show.

This is going to be a long answer, hope no one minds.. There is no typical daybut I'll try to present it that way. Its also slightly different for each band. Generally I get up at 7:30am ish. If we have driven overnight to the next gigmy first mission is get off the bus and find a shower in the arena. Veryimportant start!Generally I don't have to start working until approx. 11am however. The extracouple hours I create for myself here gives me time to contact suppliers forparts etc. when needed, so thats the time where I catch up on e-mails and phonecalls. On the VH tour our stage manager knew I was in the building earlyeveryday and we used that to our advantage by directing the band gear from thetractor trailer to the necessary location. That allowed it to be in place forthe other backline guys when they arrived. Its all about teamwork. There are acouple other things I did at this point that were specific to Ed's setup becauseit was specific to the stage layout. This doesn't apply to every tour. Forexample: running his loom under the stage while the carps are building set stuffon top of the stage. Next up is guiding the band gear onto the stage and getting it into positionwith the local hands.This is where things move at a faster pace with wiring the rig etc. Your tryingto get it done efficiently/quickly yet properly to get to the maintenance aspectas soon as you can. Next you generally try to get the guitars restrung, batteries changed,necessary cleaning etc. as soon as you can. Now it starts to get interesting because its different everyday. Themaintenance can entail anything and generally you never really know what willcome up. It can be anything from intonating a guitar to changing a speaker tochanging damaged guitar parts to fixing a broken cable, or re-setting up thegain structure of a section of the rig, or re-programming some patches that theplayer mentioned were not quite right the night before, or replacing a brokenswitch or led on the pedalboard. Sometimes it can get more specific likereplacing a relay in a switcher, or a dc to dc converter in a patchbox etc. Thiskind of stuff depends on the techs level of knowledge or experience. Some sendit out to be repaired. Like I said, its different everyday. Next up is playing the rig for a bit and dialing the amps a little so itsounds right in the room and try to keep it in the ballpark of what the playeris looking for. At this point we do line check which is basically the audio guysmaking sure they are receiving everything at front-of-house. Sometimes ifsomething is not sounding right to them we work together to figure it out. Oncethis is out of the way you get back to your maintenance program. Hopefully youhave time to hit catering for a quick lunch about now. Sometimes, depending on the gig of course, I get into modding some of the gearand that can be alot of fun. It really depends on the player and your timeschedule. This is not a required part of being a guitar tech but I really enjoyworking with the player in this way. Its great when you can make something soundalot better and of course its all about getting the player in a zone that helikes. With Ed we didn't get into that too much because he pretty much wants hisgear the way it is as long as its consistent. I had some fun doing a few modsfor one of our opening acts (Jonas). Their guitar player (Cory)and I werechatting one day and that lead to modding his old Marshall and Tube Screamer forhim. He was really happy with the results and that was a fun way to get some ofthat creative side out. Generally its getting close to sound-check at this point so you spend the lastbit of time making sure the guitars are tuned and all the small details are inplace to make the player feel comfortable. Sound-check is different for every band. Some don't do it at all, some keep itshort and some are as long as a show. Alot of it is the band working with themonitor people to make sure everything sounds right on stage. This is also thetime when the player will point out if they want something adjusted a littledifferently and this can be anything from the guitar to a processor to an amp.Again, you never really know. Once sound-check is over you try to bang off asmuch of the changes that came up in sound-check as you can. Dinner!!!!!! Another important part of the day and a little bit of time to getaway from the job hopefully. Then I head back to my tech world and finish uplast minute things. Usually I have about an hour or a half hour here plus thetime during the opening act. Changeover is next and its very fast paced. This entails placing pedal-boardsand connecting them, putting down set-lists etc. and testing all gear again.Hopefully no problems come up here because if it does you have a VERY short timeto deal with it. This is where the pressure starts and you have to know how todeal with whatever comes up very quickly. Most times its cool but every once inawhile you get a curve ball. Its VERY important to get it solved quick so theplayer doesn't have to be involved in anyway. Its important to keep theirmindset as positive as possible. Showtime!!! In short we tune guitars and hand them to the player when neededand solve any problems that might come up. On some gigs its more involved. Forexample: I might do all the patch changes so the player can concentrate onplaying. Depends on the tour. Ed does his own switching.Its important to stay focused because you never know what will happen during theshow. It can be as simple as a broken string to an amp go down. The idea ofcourse is to work hard during the day so nothing will happen during the show butanything can come at anytime. How do you predict a fan landing on a pedalboardand messing things up? You can't and it doesn't happen often but I have dealtwith it!!! If you have a rig with alot going on (ie: several amps. hundreds of feet ofcabling, many pedals etc. and your signal goes out it can be anywhere. Youreally have to know what your doing to take that on and come up smiling.Showtime is when you (and the player) really find out what your about. Its a fixit right now kind of situation but its VERY important to keep calm while dealingwith it. If your freaking out its hard to give the player a sense of confidence. Ed throws some curveballs at you during some shows as well. For example: therewere several times when his amp was not quite reacting the way he wanted.Generally that comes down to tube gain structure. I changed alot of tubes DURINGthe show. The first time he asked this of me I was thinking "umm right now Ed"?So I swap them out and pull out my meter and start biasing the amp. Ed says"what are ya doin' ?". "Biasing your amp Ed". He responds with "Just crank itman!" This is pretty unusual but it keeps you on your toes and it kept itinteresting. I had alot of tubes on hand and was ready for it after that! Shows over!! This is the fastest pace of the day. The idea is to work withlocal hands and get all the gear you are responsible for packed as fast as youpossibly can but in a way that is safe to the people around you and not damagethe gear. Alot of this stuff is very heavy and people can get hurt. The reasonwhy we have to move so fast here really comes down to "time is money". Next up is getting the band gear to the trucks and making sure it goes in in theright order. Backline(band gear) are first in the trucks. If we take too long wehold every dept. up. The longer we take the longer everyone takes and thattranslates into local labour costs. The pace is crazy but it can be fun.Everyday on VH the drum tech and I had a fun challenge going on to see who couldpack up faster. It kept it fun and gave us something to rib each other about.At this point we are basically done. Next I find a quick shower and get on-lineto pick up e-mails. Maybe I'm receiving a package of parts tomorrow and I needto know what to expect. Its also a good time to e-mail my sister and tell her Imiss her.Now I head back to the bus and try to relax a bit. Sometimes hard to do with thequick pace of the show and loadout. Next is sleep!!!! Then its 7:30am and I wakeup in another city and do it all over again!!For those who like to count: By the time I get back to the bus at night itsusually 12:30am ish. Thats a long day!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Lonnie was gracious enough to grant me this interview right after he came off tour, so I personally want to thank him for that. I'm far from a journalist guys, but hopefully everybody will dig this one. :icon_thum


1. So how long have you been involved with guitars Lonnie?

My first experience learning to play was about 29 years ago. Approx. 4 years later I started to take it somewhat seriously. From day one I was taking themapart and trying to figure out how they worked. I eventually started to take apart amps and pedals, then switchers and midi pedals etc. Hasn't ended andstill rip things apart!! I have found a way to keep it a hobby when at home for enjoyment and learning. Studied some electronics over the years as well. A lot of this development was long before all the info on the internet etc. It was a'figure it out on your own' situation and I loved every minute of it.

2. Of all the gear you've had over the years, what would be your most prized piece of equipment?

1967 Marshall plexi 50w head and a 1966 Marshall 4x12 with greenback 20's (not25's). Killer amp. Also a pair of Lexicon PCM 42 delay's.


3. Describe a typical day on tour: pre show, during the show, and post show.

This is going to be a long answer, hope no one minds.. There is no typical day but I'll try to present it that way. Its also slightly different for each band. Generally I get up at 7:30am ish. If we have driven overnight to the next gig, my first mission is get off the bus and find a shower in the arena. Very important start! Generally I don't have to start working until approx. 11am however. The extra couple hours I create for myself here gives me time to contact suppliers forparts etc. when needed, so thats the time where I catch up on e-mails and phone calls. On the VH tour our stage manager knew I was in the building earlyeveryday and we used that to our advantage by directing the band gear from thetractor trailer to the necessary location. That allowed it to be in place forthe other backline guys when they arrived. Its all about teamwork. There are acouple other things I did at this point that were specific to Ed's setup becauseit was specific to the stage layout. This doesn't apply to every tour. For example: running his loom under the stage while the carps are building set stuffon top of the stage. Next up is guiding the band gear onto the stage and getting it into position with the local hands. This is where things move at a faster pace with wiring the rig etc. Your trying to get it done efficiently/quickly yet properly to get to the maintenance aspectas soon as you can. Next you generally try to get the guitars restrung, batteries changed,necessary cleaning etc. as soon as you can. Now it starts to get interesting because its different everyday. The maintenance can entail anything and generally you never really know what willcome up. It can be anything from intonating a guitar to changing a speaker tochanging damaged guitar parts to fixing a broken cable, or re-setting up the gain structure of a section of the rig, or re-programming some patches that the player mentioned were not quite right the night before, or replacing a brokenswitch or led on the pedal board. Sometimes it can get more specific like replacing a relay in a switcher, or a dc to dc converter in a patchbox etc. Thiskind of stuff depends on the techs level of knowledge or experience. Some send it out to be repaired. Like I said, its different everyday. Next up is playing the rig for a bit and dialing the amps a little so it sounds right in the room and try to keep it in the ballpark of what the playeris looking for. At this point we do line check which is basically the audio guysmaking sure they are receiving everything at front-of-house. Sometimes if something is not sounding right to them we work together to figure it out. Once this is out of the way you get back to your maintenance program. Hopefully youhave time to hit catering for a quick lunch about now. Sometimes, depending on the gig of course, I get into modding some of the gearand that can be alot of fun. It really depends on the player and your time schedule. This is not a required part of being a guitar tech but I really enjoy working with the player in this way. Its great when you can make something sound alot better, and of course its all about getting the player in a zone that he likes. With Ed we didn't get into that too much because he pretty much wants his gear the way it is as long as its consistent. I had some fun doing a few mods for one of our opening acts (Jonas). Their guitar player (Cory)and I were chatting one day and that lead to modding his old Marshall and Tube Screamer for him. He was really happy with the results and that was a fun way to get some of that creative side out. Generally its getting close to sound-check at this point so you spend the lastbit of time making sure the guitars are tuned and all the small details are inplace to make the player feel comfortable. Sound-check is different for every band. Some don't do it at all, some keep itshort and some are as long as a show. Alot of it is the band working with the monitor people to make sure everything sounds right on stage. This is also thetime when the player will point out if they want something adjusted a little differently and this can be anything from the guitar to a processor to an amp.Again, you never really know. Once sound-check is over you try to bang off as much of the changes that came up in sound-check as you can. Dinner!!!!!! Another important part of the day and a little bit of time to get away from the job hopefully. Then I head back to my tech world and finish uplast minute things. Usually I have about an hour or a half hour here plus thetime during the opening act. Change over is next and its very fast paced. This entails placing pedal-boards and connecting them, putting down set-lists etc. and testing all gear again.Hopefully no problems come up here because if it does you have a VERY short time to deal with it. This is where the pressure starts and you have to know how to deal with whatever comes up very quickly. Most times its cool but every once in awhile you get a curve ball. Its VERY important to get it solved quick so theplayer doesn't have to be involved in anyway. Its important to keep theirmindset as positive as possible. Showtime!!! In short we tune guitars and hand them to the player when neededand solve any problems that might come up. On some gigs its more involved. For example: I might do all the patch changes so the player can concentrate onplaying. Depends on the tour. Ed does his own switching.Its important to stay focused because you never know what will happen during theshow. It can be as simple as a broken string to an amp go down. The idea of course is to work hard during the day so nothing will happen during the show but anything can come at anytime. How do you predict a fan landing on a pedal board and messing things up? You can't and it doesn't happen often but I have dealt with it!!! If you have a rig with alot going on (ie: several amps. hundreds of feet of cabling, many pedals etc. and your signal goes out it can be anywhere. You really have to know what your doing to take that on and come up smiling.Showtime is when you (and the player) really find out what your about. Its a fix it right now kind of situation but its VERY important to keep calm while dealing with it. If your freaking out its hard to give the player a sense of confidence. Ed throws some curveballs at you during some shows as well. For example: there were several times when his amp was not quite reacting the way he wanted. Generally that comes down to tube gain structure. I changed alot of tubes DURINGthe show. The first time he asked this of me I was thinking "umm right now Ed"? So I swap them out and pull out my meter and start biasing the amp. Ed says" what are ya doin'?". "Biasing your amp Ed". He responds with "Just crank it man!" This is pretty unusual but it keeps you on your toes and it kept it interesting. I had alot of tubes on hand and was ready for it after that! Shows over!! This is the fastest pace of the day. The idea is to work with local hands and get all the gear you are responsible for packed as fast as you possibly can but in a way that is safe to the people around you and not damage the gear. Alot of this stuff is very heavy and people can get hurt. The reason why we have to move so fast here really comes down to "time is money". Next up is getting the band gear to the trucks and making sure it goes in in theright order. Backline (band gear) are first in the trucks. If we take too long we hold every dept. up. The longer we take the longer everyone takes and that translates into local labor costs. The pace is crazy but it can be fun. Everyday on VH the drum tech and I had a fun challenge going on to see who could pack up faster. It kept it fun and gave us something to rib each other about.At this point we are basically done. Next I find a quick shower and get on-line to pick up e-mails. Maybe I'm receiving a package of parts tomorrow and I need to know what to expect. Its also a good time to e-mail my sister and tell her I miss her. Now I head back to the bus and try to relax a bit. Sometimes hard to do with the quick pace of the show and loadout. Next is sleep!!!! Then its 7:30am and I wakeup in another city and do it all over again!! For those who like to count: By the time I get back to the bus at night its usually 12:30am ish. Thats a long day!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Lonnie was gracious enough to grant me this interview right after he came off tour, so I personally want to thank him for that. I'm far from a journalist guys, but hopefully everybody will dig this one. :icon_thum


1. So how long have you been involved with guitars Lonnie?

My first experience learning to play was about 29 years ago. Approx. 4 yearslater I started to take it somewhat seriously. From day one I was taking themapart and trying to figure out how they worked. I eventually started to takeapart amps and pedals, then switchers and midi pedals etc. Hasn't ended andstill rip things apart!! I have found a way to keep it a hobby when at home forenjoyment and learning. Studied some electronics over the years as well. Alotof this development was long before all the info on the internet etc. It was a'figure it out on your own' situation and I loved every minute of it.

2. Of all the gear you've had over the years, what would be your most prizedpiece of equipment?

1967 Marshall plexi 50w head and a 1966 Marshall 4x12 with greenback 20's (not25's). Killer amp. Also a pair of Lexicon PCM 42 delay's.

3. Describe a typical day on tour: pre show, during the show, and post show.

This is going to be a long answer, hope no one minds.. There is no typical daybut I'll try to present it that way. Its also slightly different for each band. Generally I get up at 7:30am ish. If we have driven overnight to the next gigmy first mission is get off the bus and find a shower in the arena. Veryimportant start!Generally I don't have to start working until approx. 11am however. The extracouple hours I create for myself here gives me time to contact suppliers forparts etc. when needed, so thats the time where I catch up on e-mails and phonecalls. On the VH tour our stage manager knew I was in the building earlyeveryday and we used that to our advantage by directing the band gear from thetractor trailer to the necessary location. That allowed it to be in place forthe other backline guys when they arrived. Its all about teamwork. There are acouple other things I did at this point that were specific to Ed's setup becauseit was specific to the stage layout. This doesn't apply to every tour. Forexample: running his loom under the stage while the carps are building set stuffon top of the stage. Next up is guiding the band gear onto the stage and getting it into positionwith the local hands.This is where things move at a faster pace with wiring the rig etc. Your tryingto get it done efficiently/quickly yet properly to get to the maintenance aspectas soon as you can. Next you generally try to get the guitars restrung, batteries changed,necessary cleaning etc. as soon as you can. Now it starts to get interesting because its different everyday. Themaintenance can entail anything and generally you never really know what willcome up. It can be anything from intonating a guitar to changing a speaker tochanging damaged guitar parts to fixing a broken cable, or re-setting up thegain structure of a section of the rig, or re-programming some patches that theplayer mentioned were not quite right the night before, or replacing a brokenswitch or led on the pedalboard. Sometimes it can get more specific likereplacing a relay in a switcher, or a dc to dc converter in a patchbox etc. Thiskind of stuff depends on the techs level of knowledge or experience. Some sendit out to be repaired. Like I said, its different everyday. Next up is playing the rig for a bit and dialing the amps a little so itsounds right in the room and try to keep it in the ballpark of what the playeris looking for. At this point we do line check which is basically the audio guysmaking sure they are receiving everything at front-of-house. Sometimes ifsomething is not sounding right to them we work together to figure it out. Oncethis is out of the way you get back to your maintenance program. Hopefully youhave time to hit catering for a quick lunch about now. Sometimes, depending on the gig of course, I get into modding some of the gearand that can be alot of fun. It really depends on the player and your timeschedule. This is not a required part of being a guitar tech but I really enjoyworking with the player in this way. Its great when you can make something soundalot better and of course its all about getting the player in a zone that helikes. With Ed we didn't get into that too much because he pretty much wants hisgear the way it is as long as its consistent. I had some fun doing a few modsfor one of our opening acts (Jonas). Their guitar player (Cory)and I werechatting one day and that lead to modding his old Marshall and Tube Screamer forhim. He was really happy with the results and that was a fun way to get some ofthat creative side out. Generally its getting close to sound-check at this point so you spend the lastbit of time making sure the guitars are tuned and all the small details are inplace to make the player feel comfortable. Sound-check is different for every band. Some don't do it at all, some keep itshort and some are as long as a show. Alot of it is the band working with themonitor people to make sure everything sounds right on stage. This is also thetime when the player will point out if they want something adjusted a littledifferently and this can be anything from the guitar to a processor to an amp.Again, you never really know. Once sound-check is over you try to bang off asmuch of the changes that came up in sound-check as you can. Dinner!!!!!! Another important part of the day and a little bit of time to getaway from the job hopefully. Then I head back to my tech world and finish uplast minute things. Usually I have about an hour or a half hour here plus thetime during the opening act. Changeover is next and its very fast paced. This entails placing pedal-boardsand connecting them, putting down set-lists etc. and testing all gear again.Hopefully no problems come up here because if it does you have a VERY short timeto deal with it. This is where the pressure starts and you have to know how todeal with whatever comes up very quickly. Most times its cool but every once inawhile you get a curve ball. Its VERY important to get it solved quick so theplayer doesn't have to be involved in anyway. Its important to keep theirmindset as positive as possible. Showtime!!! In short we tune guitars and hand them to the player when neededand solve any problems that might come up. On some gigs its more involved. Forexample: I might do all the patch changes so the player can concentrate onplaying. Depends on the tour. Ed does his own switching.Its important to stay focused because you never know what will happen during theshow. It can be as simple as a broken string to an amp go down. The idea ofcourse is to work hard during the day so nothing will happen during the show butanything can come at anytime. How do you predict a fan landing on a pedalboardand messing things up? You can't and it doesn't happen often but I have dealtwith it!!! If you have a rig with alot going on (ie: several amps. hundreds of feet ofcabling, many pedals etc. and your signal goes out it can be anywhere. Youreally have to know what your doing to take that on and come up smiling.Showtime is when you (and the player) really find out what your about. Its a fixit right now kind of situation but its VERY important to keep calm while dealingwith it. If your freaking out its hard to give the player a sense of confidence. Ed throws some curveballs at you during some shows as well. For example: therewere several times when his amp was not quite reacting the way he wanted.Generally that comes down to tube gain structure. I changed alot of tubes DURINGthe show. The first time he asked this of me I was thinking "umm right now Ed"?So I swap them out and pull out my meter and start biasing the amp. Ed says"what are ya doin' ?". "Biasing your amp Ed". He responds with "Just crank itman!" This is pretty unusual but it keeps you on your toes and it kept itinteresting. I had alot of tubes on hand and was ready for it after that! Shows over!! This is the fastest pace of the day. The idea is to work withlocal hands and get all the gear you are responsible for packed as fast as youpossibly can but in a way that is safe to the people around you and not damagethe gear. Alot of this stuff is very heavy and people can get hurt. The reasonwhy we have to move so fast here really comes down to "time is money". Next up is getting the band gear to the trucks and making sure it goes in in theright order. Backline(band gear) are first in the trucks. If we take too long wehold every dept. up. The longer we take the longer everyone takes and thattranslates into local labour costs. The pace is crazy but it can be fun.Everyday on VH the drum tech and I had a fun challenge going on to see who couldpack up faster. It kept it fun and gave us something to rib each other about.At this point we are basically done. Next I find a quick shower and get on-lineto pick up e-mails. Maybe I'm receiving a package of parts tomorrow and I needto know what to expect. Its also a good time to e-mail my sister and tell her Imiss her.Now I head back to the bus and try to relax a bit. Sometimes hard to do with thequick pace of the show and loadout. Next is sleep!!!! Then its 7:30am and I wakeup in another city and do it all over again!!For those who like to count: By the time I get back to the bus at night itsusually 12:30am ish. Thats a long day!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
4. With all the buzz surrounding the big Van Halen tour this year, how has lifeon the road with one of rock's most legendary acts been?

To be honest it has been a heck of alot of work. I don't view any artist for whothey are in terms of fame etc. There is no doubt that Ed is an icon but I don'tsee how anyone in my position could view a player/band in that way and be goodat at. I'm here to do a job and have to take it very seriously and responsibly.Ed and I got along very well and that is important. I had fun and met some greatpeople along the way but like I said, it was alot of work.

5. Regarding Ed's use of the chord instead of the wireless, is there really apurpose for this? And would you see him switching back to the wireless unitanytime soon? From a fan's perspective, most of us want him to ditch it so hecan stop trippin over the darn thing!

The bottom line is wireless units change your tone and dynamic range. Ed hasused them for years and I think he finally got tired of the loss of immediacyfrom using a wireless. People use wireless for freedom of movement and thats it.If your #1 concern is tone wireless is not the way to go. I have had alot of experience with everything from inexpensive units up to$13-14,000 units. Nothing beats a good cable. One of the keys to making a cablework sonically for Ed is the Axess-Electronics BS-2 buffer. We run about 75 feetof cable under the stage from his pedal-board to his head and that's alot ofsignal loss. Using a buffer to couple a high impedance source with a lowimpedance load is essential in a case like this but not all buffers are thesame. The Axess BS-2 is a fantastic sounding device. If it didn't sound great wenever would have gotten it passed Ed's ears. He's very particular about how hisrig feels and sounds. I don't see him returning to a wireless but ultimately that is not for me tosay. The way his rig feels (dynamic range, pick attack etc.) are priorities tohim. That essentially disappears or greatly decreases with wireless. I don'tthink he trips over it too much. It does get hung up from time to time but thetrade-off is worth it. Its important for him to enjoy his experience on stageand that translates to fan enjoyment IMO. Using a cable does contribute to thisfactor. He feels more "connected" to his rig with a cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
4. With all the buzz surrounding the big Van Halen tour this year, how has lifeon the road with one of rock's most legendary acts been?

To be honest it has been a heck of alot of work. I don't view any artist for whothey are in terms of fame etc. There is no doubt that Ed is an icon but I don't see how anyone in my position could view a player/band in that way and be good at it. I'm here to do a job and have to take it very seriously and responsibly. Ed and I got along very well and that is important. I had fun and met some great people along the way but like I said, it was alot of work.


5. Regarding Ed's use of the chord instead of the wireless, is there really apurpose for this? And would you see him switching back to the wireless unitanytime soon? From a fan's perspective, most of us want him to ditch it so hecan stop trippin over the darn thing!


The bottom line is wireless units change your tone and dynamic range. Ed has used them for years and I think he finally got tired of the loss of immediacy from using a wireless. People use wireless for freedom of movement and thats it. If your #1 concern is tone wireless is not the way to go. I have had alot of experience with everything from inexpensive units up to $13-14,000 units. Nothing beats a good cable. One of the keys to making a cable work sonically for Ed is the Axess-Electronics BS-2 buffer. We run about 75 feet of cable under the stage from his pedal-board to his head and that's alot of signal loss. Using a buffer to couple a high impedance source with a low impedance load is essential in a case like this but not all buffers are the same. The Axess BS-2 is a fantastic sounding device. If it didn't sound great whenever would have gotten it passed Ed's ears. He's very particular about how his rig feels and sounds. I don't see him returning to a wireless but ultimately that is not for me to say. The way his rig feels (dynamic range, pick attack etc.) are priorities to him. That essentially disappears or greatly decreases with wireless. I don't think he trips over it too much. It does get hung up from time to time but the trade-off is worth it. Its important for him to enjoy his experience on stagea nd that translates to fan enjoyment IMO. Using a cable does contribute to thisfactor. He feels more "connected" to his rig with a cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
4. With all the buzz surrounding the big Van Halen tour this year, how has lifeon the road with one of rock's most legendary acts been?

To be honest it has been a heck of alot of work. I don't view any artist for whothey are in terms of fame etc. There is no doubt that Ed is an icon but I don'tsee how anyone in my position could view a player/band in that way and be goodat at. I'm here to do a job and have to take it very seriously and responsibly.Ed and I got along very well and that is important. I had fun and met some greatpeople along the way but like I said, it was alot of work.

5. Regarding Ed's use of the chord instead of the wireless, is there really apurpose for this? And would you see him switching back to the wireless unitanytime soon? From a fan's perspective, most of us want him to ditch it so hecan stop trippin over the darn thing!

The bottom line is wireless units change your tone and dynamic range. Ed hasused them for years and I think he finally got tired of the loss of immediacyfrom using a wireless. People use wireless for freedom of movement and thats it.If your #1 concern is tone wireless is not the way to go. I have had alot of experience with everything from inexpensive units up to$13-14,000 units. Nothing beats a good cable. One of the keys to making a cablework sonically for Ed is the Axess-Electronics BS-2 buffer. We run about 75 feetof cable under the stage from his pedal-board to his head and that's alot ofsignal loss. Using a buffer to couple a high impedance source with a lowimpedance load is essential in a case like this but not all buffers are thesame. The Axess BS-2 is a fantastic sounding device. If it didn't sound great wenever would have gotten it passed Ed's ears. He's very particular about how hisrig feels and sounds. I don't see him returning to a wireless but ultimately that is not for me tosay. The way his rig feels (dynamic range, pick attack etc.) are priorities tohim. That essentially disappears or greatly decreases with wireless. I don'tthink he trips over it too much. It does get hung up from time to time but thetrade-off is worth it. Its important for him to enjoy his experience on stageand that translates to fan enjoyment IMO. Using a cable does contribute to thisfactor. He feels more "connected" to his rig with a cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
6. There are alot of rumors surrounding Ed and this band, so could you pleaseshine some light on how these guys are, not only as musicians, but just as people in general.

There are alot of rumors flying around and there is obviously some history but Ican only comment on how they interacted with me. At the end of the day they arepeople and all people have good and bad moments. There is no way you could spendthat much time around someone and not see most sides of the picture but I'm notgoing to go into their personal lives too much because that is no ones business.I enjoyed my interactions with each member. Ed is an interesting person. During the solo sections he would hang in my techworld alot and we had some great conversations. He's a smart guy and we havesome common interests that have nothing to do with music. Ed is a person with abig heart. Believe it or not out of any player I have worked with he is the mostthankful appreciative guy. He constantly thanks you for all your hard work andlets you know that your doing a great job. That means alot. He also lets youknow if things are not right but thats cool because its important to know that. Mike is one of the nicest guys is the business. Had the pleasure of hangingout with him a couple times away from the gig and he is just a great person.Always enjoying himself. I had the least interaction with Sammy because he didn't do sound-checks. Hewould stop by my tech world from time to time during the show for a brief chator we would pass in the hallways and he always had a big smile. He's a cool guyand seems to like to keep it fun. Alex is interesting as well. He is really into things. He's involved in allthe production aspects and wants everything to be right. He is focused and Irespect that alot. The Reverend is a cool guy and I enjoyed being around him aswell. He would joke with me from time to time saying "are you still here"? Itwas in fun of course, he knew my gig was alot of work.

7. Of all the guitars Ed uses during the course of a show (Wolfgang's, the 5150Frankenstrat, or the new EVH Charvel's) which does you prefer and why?

The guitars were fine, the problem was Floyd Rose tremolos. They are simply toosoft. I'm not speaking for Ed here, you have to ask him for his opinion. As atech I havea right to my own opinion when I'm responsible for it. When they first arrived on the market they were machined brass and they were aserious piece of machinery, but for a long time they have been made of some sortof softer molded metal. They are too soft for the abuse Ed puts them through.They also sounded alot better when made of brass.Ed is VERY rough on them, its a big part of his style. Ed requires all thebolts to be locked down as hard as possible because if its not it will move. Hereally gives them a workout, never seen anything like it. I was replacing somany Floyd parts youwouldn't believe it. Saddles, string blocks, you name it. Pretty much a nutevery 2 or 3 shows, sometimes daily. We would crush them or strip them out.The tolerances are not tight enough either. Many of the nuts were slightlydifferent heights. That can be a pain when forced to change them that often.The design of a Floyd is great, just wish they were a bit tougher. It works wellfor most players but Ed is not most players. If I had to pick one guitar however it would be the 5150 Frankenstrat. Itsounds great but its just really cool. Alot of history. Also has an original oldFloyd on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
6. There are alot of rumors surrounding Ed and this band, so could you pleaseshine some light on how these guys are, not only as musicians, but just as people in general.

There are alot of rumors flying around and there is obviously some history but Ican only comment on how they interacted with me. At the end of the day they arepeople and all people have good and bad moments. There is no way you could spendthat much time around someone and not see most sides of the picture but I'm notgoing to go into their personal lives too much because that is no ones business.I enjoyed my interactions with each member. Ed is an interesting person. During the solo sections he would hang in my techworld alot and we had some great conversations. He's a smart guy and we havesome common interests that have nothing to do with music. Ed is a person with abig heart. Believe it or not out of any player I have worked with he is the mostthankful appreciative guy. He constantly thanks you for all your hard work andlets you know that your doing a great job. That means alot. He also lets youknow if things are not right but thats cool because its important to know that. Mike is one of the nicest guys is the business. Had the pleasure of hangingout with him a couple times away from the gig and he is just a great person.Always enjoying himself. I had the least interaction with Sammy because he didn't do sound-checks. Hewould stop by my tech world from time to time during the show for a brief chator we would pass in the hallways and he always had a big smile. He's a cool guyand seems to like to keep it fun. Alex is interesting as well. He is really into things. He's involved in allthe production aspects and wants everything to be right. He is focused and Irespect that alot. The Reverend is a cool guy and I enjoyed being around him aswell. He would joke with me from time to time saying "are you still here"? Itwas in fun of course, he knew my gig was alot of work.

7. Of all the guitars Ed uses during the course of a show (Wolfgang's, the 5150Frankenstrat, or the new EVH Charvel's) which does you prefer and why?

The guitars were fine, the problem was Floyd Rose tremolos. They are simply toosoft. I'm not speaking for Ed here, you have to ask him for his opinion. As atech I havea right to my own opinion when I'm responsible for it. When they first arrived on the market they were machined brass and they were aserious piece of machinery, but for a long time they have been made of some sortof softer molded metal. They are too soft for the abuse Ed puts them through.They also sounded alot better when made of brass.Ed is VERY rough on them, its a big part of his style. Ed requires all thebolts to be locked down as hard as possible because if its not it will move. Hereally gives them a workout, never seen anything like it. I was replacing somany Floyd parts youwouldn't believe it. Saddles, string blocks, you name it. Pretty much a nutevery 2 or 3 shows, sometimes daily. We would crush them or strip them out.The tolerances are not tight enough either. Many of the nuts were slightlydifferent heights. That can be a pain when forced to change them that often.The design of a Floyd is great, just wish they were a bit tougher. It works wellfor most players but Ed is not most players. If I had to pick one guitar however it would be the 5150 Frankenstrat. Itsounds great but its just really cool. Alot of history. Also has an original oldFloyd on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
6. There are alot of rumors surrounding Ed and this band, so could you pleaseshine some light on how these guys are, not only as musicians, but just as people in general.

There are alot of rumors flying around and there is obviously some history but I can only comment on how they interacted with me. At the end of the day they are people, and all people have good and bad moments. There is no way you could spend that much time around someone and not see most sides of the picture but I'm not going to go into their personal lives too much because that is no ones business. I enjoyed my interactions with each member. Ed is an interesting person. During the solo sections he would hang in my tech world alot and we had some great conversations. He's a smart guy and we have some common interests that have nothing to do with music. Ed is a person with a big heart. Believe it or not out of any player I have worked with he is the most thankful appreciative guy. He constantly thanks you for all your hard work and lets you know that your doing a great job. That means alot. He also lets you know if things are not right but thats cool because its important to know that. Mike is one of the nicest guys is the business. Had the pleasure of hanging out with him a couple times away from the gig and he is just a great person.Always enjoying himself. I had the least interaction with Sammy because he didn't do sound-checks. He would stop by my tech world from time to time during the show for a brief chat or we would pass in the hallways and he always had a big smile. He's a cool guy and seems to like to keep it fun. Alex is interesting as well. He is really into things. He's involved in all the production aspects and wants everything to be right. He is focused and I respect that alot. The Reverend is a cool guy and I enjoyed being around him aswell. He would joke with me from time to time saying "are you still here"? Itwas in fun of course, he knew my gig was alot of work.


7. Of all the guitars Ed uses during the course of a show (Wolfgang's, the 5150Frankenstrat, or the new EVH Charvel's) which does you prefer and why?

The guitars were fine, the problem was Floyd Rose tremolos. They are simply too soft. I'm not speaking for Ed here, you have to ask him for his opinion. As a tech I have a right to my own opinion when I'm responsible for it. When they first arrived on the market they were machined brass and they were a serious piece of machinery, but for a long time they have been made of some sort of softer molded metal. They are too soft for the abuse Ed puts them through.They also sounded alot better when made of brass.Ed is VERY rough on them, its a big part of his style. Ed requires all the bolts to be locked down as hard as possible because if its not it will move. He really gives them a workout, never seen anything like it. I was replacing so many Floyd parts you wouldn't believe it. Saddles, string blocks, you name it. Pretty much a nut every 2 or 3 shows, sometimes daily. We would crush them or strip them out.The tolerances are not tight enough either. Many of the nuts were slightly different heights. That can be a pain when forced to change them that often.The design of a Floyd is great, just wish they were a bit tougher. It works well for most players, but Ed is not most players. If I had to pick one guitar however it would be the 5150 Frankenstrat. It sounds great but its just really cool. Alot of history. Also has an original old Floyd on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
8. Describe the first time you went on stage as Edward Van Halen's tech and howit felt holding Ed's guitar?

OMG it was crazy. It was in Atlantic City NJ. VH have a custom stage so its thesame layout in an arena. When we did amphitheaters we couldn't use that stagebut the riggers and carps etc. went to great lengths to keep it consistent forthe band and their techs. My first show was neither situation and the only timethis came up on the tour. Couldn't have made it tougher if it were planned! Itwas an outdoor gig in a parking lot with a rented stage. It threw everything waybehind. Generally we get the band gear to the stage at about 11:30ish am andsound-check was at 4:30ish. This day we didn't get the stage until 3:30pm!!! Ihad no idea what cases were what. Everyone knew I was the new guy and were verywelcoming but you could tell many of them knew I was screwed that day. Itstarted to get so late that several of them started to joke with me about it.In a situation like that you really are screwed but I work very well underpressure and don't feel nervous no matter what situation I'm placed in. I had solittle time to pull everything off that I had no time to think about it. You gointo this mode and just do it. To be honest I have alot of experience as atouring tech and that helps prepare you for something like this. Its also notthe first time I've been faced with this type of situation. I also have alot ofknowledge in guitar rig building, amp modding/repair etc. etc. and that givesyou alot to draw on. Another factor here is that I do my homework. Dave Friedman(of Rack Systems,builder of Ed's rig) is a good friend of mine. I went over every inch of Ed'srig on paper for signal flow and the best way to tackle gain structure, how itspowered and grounded etc.Its not so much self confidence as much as actualizing your abilities. Another very fortunate thing was Mike Keegan, Ed's former tech. He was very kindto drop by and help me out a bit pointing out what was in what case etc. and howhe sets things up. He really is a wonderful person and I'm not just saying thatbecause of this situation. He is just a really good guy. Thank you Mike.Everything ended up happening on schedule and went off flawlessly. I reallydidn't have time to think "hey, this is EVH's guitar"!!! Actually that neverreally hit me the whole tour. Maybe in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
8. Describe the first time you went on stage as Edward Van Halen's tech and howit felt holding Ed's guitar?

OMG it was crazy. It was in Atlantic City NJ. VH have a custom stage so its thesame layout in an arena. When we did amphitheaters we couldn't use that stagebut the riggers and carps etc. went to great lengths to keep it consistent forthe band and their techs. My first show was neither situation and the only timethis came up on the tour. Couldn't have made it tougher if it were planned! Itwas an outdoor gig in a parking lot with a rented stage. It threw everything waybehind. Generally we get the band gear to the stage at about 11:30ish am andsound-check was at 4:30ish. This day we didn't get the stage until 3:30pm!!! Ihad no idea what cases were what. Everyone knew I was the new guy and were verywelcoming but you could tell many of them knew I was screwed that day. Itstarted to get so late that several of them started to joke with me about it.In a situation like that you really are screwed but I work very well underpressure and don't feel nervous no matter what situation I'm placed in. I had solittle time to pull everything off that I had no time to think about it. You gointo this mode and just do it. To be honest I have alot of experience as atouring tech and that helps prepare you for something like this. Its also notthe first time I've been faced with this type of situation. I also have alot ofknowledge in guitar rig building, amp modding/repair etc. etc. and that givesyou alot to draw on. Another factor here is that I do my homework. Dave Friedman(of Rack Systems,builder of Ed's rig) is a good friend of mine. I went over every inch of Ed'srig on paper for signal flow and the best way to tackle gain structure, how itspowered and grounded etc.Its not so much self confidence as much as actualizing your abilities. Another very fortunate thing was Mike Keegan, Ed's former tech. He was very kindto drop by and help me out a bit pointing out what was in what case etc. and howhe sets things up. He really is a wonderful person and I'm not just saying thatbecause of this situation. He is just a really good guy. Thank you Mike.Everything ended up happening on schedule and went off flawlessly. I reallydidn't have time to think "hey, this is EVH's guitar"!!! Actually that neverreally hit me the whole tour. Maybe in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
8. Describe the first time you went on stage as Edward Van Halen's tech and how it felt holding Ed's guitar?

OMG it was crazy. It was in Atlantic City NJ. VH have a custom stage so its thesame layout in an arena. When we did amphitheaters we couldn't use that stage, but the riggers and carps etc. went to great lengths to keep it consistent for the band and their techs. My first show was neither situation and the only time this came up on the tour. Couldn't have made it tougher if it were planned! It was an outdoor gig in a parking lot with a rented stage. It threw everything way behind. Generally we get the band gear to the stage at about 11:30ish am andsound-check was at 4:30ish. This day we didn't get the stage until 3:30pm!!! Ihad no idea what cases were what. Everyone knew I was the new guy and were very welcoming, but you could tell many of them knew I was screwed that day. It started to get so late that several of them started to joke with me about it. In a situation like that you really are screwed, but I work very well under pressure and don't feel nervous no matter what situation I'm placed in. I had so little time to pull everything off that I had no time to think about it. You go into this mode and just do it. To be honest I have alot of experience as a touring tech and that helps prepare you for something like this. Its also not the first time I've been faced with this type of situation. I also have alot of knowledge in guitar rig building, amp modding/repair etc. etc. and that givesyou alot to draw on. Another factor here is that I do my homework. Dave Friedman(of Rack Systems,builder of Ed's rig) is a good friend of mine. I went over every inch of Ed's rig on paper for signal flow and the best way to tackle gain structure, how its powered and grounded etc. Its not so much self confidence as much as actualizing your abilities. Another very fortunate thing was Mike Keegan, Ed's former tech. He was very kind to drop by and help me out a bit pointing out what was in what case etc. and how he sets things up. He really is a wonderful person and I'm not just saying that because of this situation. He is just a really good guy. Thank you Mike Everything ended up happening on schedule and went off flawlessly. I really didn't have time to think "hey, this is EVH's guitar"!!! Actually that never really hit me the whole tour. Maybe in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
9. How has your playing changed (or improved) by working with Edward?

This is a very good and unexpected question. Ed has a very unusual right hadtechnique and that is part of what makes him unique. I'm well aware that themajority of a persons sound is in their hands. I think seeing that uniqueness inEd helped me reaffirm my own uniqueness. We all have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
9. How has your playing changed (or improved) by working with Edward?

This is a very good and unexpected question. Ed has a very unusual right hadtechnique and that is part of what makes him unique. I'm well aware that themajority of a persons sound is in their hands. I think seeing that uniqueness inEd helped me reaffirm my own uniqueness. We all have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
9. How has your playing changed (or improved) by working with Edward?

This is a very good and unexpected question. Ed has a very unusual right had technique and that is part of what makes him unique. I'm well aware that the majority of a persons sound is in their hands. I think seeing that uniqueness in Ed helped me reaffirm my own uniqueness. We all have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
10. How many guitars does Ed bring on tour.

We had 6 for some of it (5 wolfgangs) and the 5150 Frankenstrat. TheFrankenstrat needed some MAJOR repair and was giving us tuning problems so hesent it home at end of 3rd leg. I simply didn't have the time to tackle theproblems with this guitar and it has alot of history so I didn't want to messwith it. That guitar sounds great!!!We had a new Charvel sent to us for every show, sometimes 2 or 3. Basically Ed likes to play one guitar for the entire show. He appears to connectwith the vibe of one guitar and likes to stick with that. For the 3rd leg it wasthe Tobacco Wolfgang and the 4th leg was the Green Wolfgang.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
10. How many guitars does Ed bring on tour.

We had 6 for some of it (5 wolfgangs) and the 5150 Frankenstrat. TheFrankenstrat needed some MAJOR repair and was giving us tuning problems so hesent it home at end of 3rd leg. I simply didn't have the time to tackle theproblems with this guitar and it has alot of history so I didn't want to messwith it. That guitar sounds great!!!We had a new Charvel sent to us for every show, sometimes 2 or 3. Basically Ed likes to play one guitar for the entire show. He appears to connectwith the vibe of one guitar and likes to stick with that. For the 3rd leg it wasthe Tobacco Wolfgang and the 4th leg was the Green Wolfgang.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
10. How many guitars does Ed bring on tour.

We had 6 for some of it (5 wolfgangs) and the 5150 Frankenstrat. TheFrankenstrat needed some MAJOR repair and was giving us tuning problems so he sent it home at end of 3rd leg. I simply didn't have the time to tackle the problems with this guitar and it has alot of history so I didn't want to mess with it. That guitar sounds great!!! We had a new Charvel sent to us for every show, sometimes 2 or 3. Basically Ed likes to play one guitar for the entire show. He appears to connect with the vibe of one guitar and likes to stick with that. For the 3rd leg it was the Tobacco Wolfgang and the 4th leg was the Green Wolfgang.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
11. How did you land the gig in the first place?

I have been doing this for many years now having toured with artists like KidRock, The Offspring, Tori Amos, Shakira, A Perfect Circle, and many Canadianbands (I live in Toronto) such as Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Nelly Furtado, Finger 11, Big Wreck/ Ian Thornley etc. as well as some rehearsals/one-offs withMarylin Manson and Mary J Blige . Throughout these experiences you develop manyrelationships. One of them is Dave Friedman of Rack Systems in North Hollywood.Dave has become a very good friend and has helped me out alot. (I owe youanother sushi dinner Dave!!). He built Ed's current guitar rig and happens to befriends with Ed's friend/personal assistant Matt. It all came together fromthat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
11. How did you land the gig in the first place?

I have been doing this for many years now having toured with artists like KidRock, The Offspring, Tori Amos, Shakira, A Perfect Circle, and many Canadianbands (I live in Toronto) such as Our Lady Peace, I Mother Earth, Nelly Furtado, Finger 11, Big Wreck/ Ian Thornley etc. as well as some rehearsals/one-offs withMarylin Manson and Mary J Blige . Throughout these experiences you develop manyrelationships. One of them is Dave Friedman of Rack Systems in North Hollywood.Dave has become a very good friend and has helped me out alot. (I owe youanother sushi dinner Dave!!). He built Ed's current guitar rig and happens to befriends with Ed's friend/personal assistant Matt. It all came together fromthat.
 
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