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Re: NZC: Ginger Baker: "Cream will never reunite"

In those days? How about still, in smaller venues and clubs - remember that the venues played in 1969 and 1970 were tiny affairs compared to the stadiums and arenas of the later years. Frank Reddon describes a goodly number of these places, such as the Tea Party in Boston - the Tea Party was an old church that had been first converted into a Jewish Community Center, and then a music venue, and the capacity was in the hundreds. There probably wasn't a house PA in there, or if there was it was very low-budget to fit with the recycled venue, and may have been installed for one of the previous uses, which certainly wouldn't have suited Perfectionist Jimmy's idea of how he wanted his band to sound. We also know from Frank Reddon that the equipment got better and better especially as the first tour progressed, from being very rough and ready during the Denver/Spokane/San Fran shows to being quite sophisticated by the time the first tour wrapped up in Miami at Thee Place, which was a converted bowling alley with a documented shitty PA that Jimmy definitely wanted bypassed - even the house band didn't play through it. I know that touring every little back-door, Midwest hole in the wall blues joint, my band always bypassed the PA - we even brought our own mixing board when we could. We played LOUD, maybe not Zeppelin loud, but certainly Fender Twin in a 200-person club loud. PAs were for drums and vocals. Guitars and basses went through stacks, and the mix was manual, achieved during short daytime jams with me, the singer, standing at the back of the club literally using hand signals to tell which player to turn what up or down. The drummer had his own miking kit which went through an amp/mixer to create a stereo input into the main PA. All three would jam, balance the set, and then all that was left was to adjust the gain on the vocals, add a smidge of reverb, and play our brains out. It's been done that way for many years. I can't imagine playing MSG that way. Those must have been some massive Marshall stacks Eric and Jack were playing through, and I can see Ginger's point that it had to have been because Eric and Jack liked it loud up there. There's no way you could achieve a decent mix in a barn like MSG with stage stacks alone, and to try, or just to stack Marshalls because you like it loud, would make it so that the drummer couldn't hear anything including himself through the monitors, essentially because in a barn like MSG, the only thing those stacks would be good for is a huge monitor system themselves, directly behind and beside the drummer, who doesn't need them. The reason that modern rock bands rig the entire band through a massive PA that's got it's back to the stage is so that the stage is the quietest place in the venue, protecting the hearing of the only people in the venue likely to be at every show in the tour, namely the performers. There are a number of rock musicians noted to be suffering from hearing loss or worse, tinnitus - Jeff Beck comes to mind immediately, and I think Pete Townshend has mentioned his tinnitus also. I wasn't aware that Ginger Baker was losing his hearing either. But I could see why he would be angry at Eric and Jack if they were up to their old tricks and ignoring his hearing loss as well.


Jeff Lester wrote:
"Richard Mackey" wrote:
I suppose PA systems at shows were a lot less powerful than
they are
now, so the group had to bludgeon people with their
amplifiers to get
the same volume.  I think there's a picture of Bath 69
that shows Zep
didn't use a PA - just plugged in the amps and let rip.

Well there was certainly a PA for the vocals and drums, as seen in the 
pictures. But it does appear that Jimmy's amps were mot miked. JPJ probably 
went direct out if necessary.