All Access: Chickenfoot

Nov 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Steve Jennings
Photos: Steve Jennings


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Chickenfoot performing

Chickenfoot performing

Rock supergroup Chickenfoot (former Van Halen member Sammy Hagar, vocals/guitar; Joe Satriani, guitar; former Van Halen member Michael Anthony, bass/vocals; and Red Hot Chili Peppers' Chad Smith, drums) is the result of booze-tinged jam sessions held at Hagar's Cabo Wabo Cantina club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Finding that they all “grooved” together, the foursome headed into Skywalker Studios with producer Andy Johns, resulting in a debut, self-titled album. Fast-forward a few months and the band is touring mid-sized venues to a very raucous audience. Mix caught up with the Clair Global-supplied tour at Berkeley, Calif.'s Greek Theatre.

Front-of-house engineer Russ Giroux is mixing on a Yamaha PM5DRH, clocking with an Apogee Big Ben and using an Apogee Rosetta for A/D conversion. “I am using some of the Version 2 plug-ins as inserts on the vocal channels (276 and 260 comps) and the Waves Renaissance compressor on bass,” he adds. “I also use the Waves L1 Ultramaximizer on our LD's in-ear mix.

“Mixing the band is a dream come true. Even though the material was new, it felt familiar and classic from the start. I think the most important aspect of mixing the band is trying to convey the energy these guys are putting out from the stage. Of course, the fact that we have an amazing band, crew and the Clair i3 rig ensures that we are giving the best-sounding shows possible.”

From left: FOH engineer Russ Giroux, systems engineer Jim Ragus and monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen

From left: FOH engineer Russ Giroux, systems engineer Jim Ragus and monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen

Monitor engineer Jim Jorgensen is also mixing on a Yamaha board — a PM5DRH V. 2.7 — with an external Big Ben running at 96k. “There's no external processing; I'm using all onboard gates, comps and effects,” he says. The entire band uses Clair Bros SRM wedges (16) with CBA I/O processing, two R4s, and a ShowCo sub per side for side-fill and a Rat Trap 5 system for drums with a ButtKicker. “I'm also using three sets of Sennheiser in-ears for techs and the stage manager — 17 mixes in all for a four-piece rock band.”

According to drum tech Stephen Edgerly (below), “We tried several different mics over the course of the last year and ended up with the following: Audio-Technica AE2500 in the kick port on the front head and a Sennheiser e901 inside the drum on a pad; Telefunken Ela M 80 on snare top head and a Shure SM57 on the bottom; Audio-Technica ATM350 for rack tom, Sennheiser e904 for floor toms, Sennheiser e914s on hi-hat, ride and overheads; and Audio-Technica ATM350 on splash.

“Chad uses two Rat Trap 5s in stereo, a Rat Trap Sub and a ButtKicker with a Crown I-Tech amp. We also set up a stereo ear mix for him, but he preferred the ‘live' sound. Chad would frequently trash his drum set at the end of the last encore and the only casualty was one ATM350 that had its cord severed by a flying ride cymbal.”

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