All Access: Chickenfoot

Jan 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Steve Jennings


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When you assemble Sammy Hagar (vocals, guitar), Joe Satriani (guitars), Michael Anthony (bass, vocals) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (filling in for Chad Smith), you get supergroup Chickenfoot, who bring classic rock ’n’ roll to each venue. Mix caught up with the group and crew at San Francisco’s Warfield Theater.


Chickenfoot 2011 Tour Gallery

Bassist Michael Anthony has four racks, three with two Peavey VB-3 tube amps in each one and the fourth with several Peavey 700s. His bass cabinets are three VB-3 models, two 8x10s and a 2x15. Adds bass tech Kevin Dugan, “We have a wireless rack that utilizes a Monster power conditioner with an antenna combiner and three double units, six receivers with seven transmitters.”

Kenny Aronoff is filling in for Chad Smith, who’s out with the Red Hot Chili Peppers for this run. According to drum tech Nathan Staley (below), his kit is miked with Shure 91 (inside kick), Beta 52 (outside kick), SM57 (snare top, snare bottom), SM81 (hi-hats, ride) and KSM 32 (overheads); Audix Micro Ds (rack toms); and Sennheiser e 604s (floor toms).

Front-of-house engineer Michael “Ace” Baker (left) is currently working on a Yamaha PM5D for this run of clubs and theaters, but when the tour hits larger venues this year, he’ll be turning to a Midas analog desk. “I’m not using any plug-ins, I’m barely gated,” Baker says of the Yamaha board. “I’ve kinda compressed a few things and use hardly any effects: drum ’verb, vocal ’verb and vocal delay. Sammy’s voice: a great singer plus an SM58 plus a nicely tuned speaker system equals we don’t need no stinking plug-ins.” Baker also uses a PreSonus StudioLive console for multitracking and a MacBook Pro recording with Logic, using the aux outs on the 5D into the StudioLive.

Front-of-house engineer Michael “Ace” Baker (left) and monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen

Front-of-house engineer Michael “Ace” Baker (left) and monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen

Monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen chose the Avid VENUE Profile for its ability to interface to Pro Tools and create a virtual soundcheck, as well as to easily transition from opener to headliner by recalling a scene. Onboard, he employs Drawmer TourBus comps and gates, as well as a couple of C6 compressors for more subtle compression on vocals and Serato parametrics on output mix buses. Creating an old-school garage-band rock vibe, there are no in-ears in use (except for a few by techs); instead, the band listens off of 20 wedges, a stereo side-fill and stereo drum mixes.

The two amps facing in on both sides of the drum kit are Hagar’s, positioned where he intends to play. These amps are miked with a Sennheiser 409 and a Shure SM32.

Guitar tech Glade Rasmussen is filling in for longtime tech Mike Manning, who was unavailable for this leg of the tour. Joe Satriani uses Marshall amps miked with a Sennheiser e 906 for bite and a Shure SM32 for warmth. “Jim Jorgensen takes a direct out of Joe’s amp to feed the drum monitor mix,” says Rasmussen. “There is no bleed from the mics and that direct signal has a 1.6k slice that can cut through anything—very smart.” Satriani’s pedalboard comprises a wet reverb, two Vox Time Machines and a Big Bad wah pedal, a Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe Jr., Marshall JVM foot controller, MXR Dyna compressor, Ibanez FL9 flanger, Voodoo Labs Proactavia and two Lab Pedal Power 2 Plus boxes, and Electro-Harmonix POG and Micro.

Sammy Hagar sings through a Shure UHF-R with a 58 capsule. Monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen changes the windscreen every night and the entire capsule every four to five shows, depending on how hard Hagar sang and the amount of tequila consumed onstage. “There are a lot of times where Sam and Michael sing together on Sam’s mic and the 58 just works,” Jorgensen says.

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