Cheap Trick Tour Profile

Dec 1, 2011 9:00 AM, By Tom Kenny



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Cheap Trick

Decidedly analog. No backing tracks. No vocal tuning. Twenty-eight inputs for the band, a few more for orchestra. Ten fingers on 10 faders. Not too loud. Just a great rock ’n’ roll mix for a great rock ’n’ roll band—Cheap Trick playing Dream Police at L.A.’s Greek Theater.

It’s been quite a year for the Rockford, Ill., rockers. Following a terrifying stage collapse in Ottawa this summer, they regrouped, and with the support of their community—and the good folks at Chandler Limited, Midas, Fishman, Shure and many others—they were back on the road in two days, culminating in this fall’s series of Dream Police shows, first in L.A., then weekends in October in Milwaukee.

“They’re just a really great straight-up rock band,” says Detroit native Bill Kozy, FOH engineer for the band. “The parts are all there. Great arrangements, a classic full sound. Loud, but not too loud. Clean and separate. The band is partial to an analog sound, so I just hit the front end of the Midas hard and everything sits in its place. I’m in a very fortunate situation.”

Well, it’s a bit more difficult than simply getting out of the way. Kozy and his orchestra FOH partner, Mark Gustafson, are active mixers and each stand at a Midas Heritage 3000, with Kozy feeding stems (vocal, band, effects) for Gustafson to blend with video cues, orchestra and choir before hitting the JBL VerTec (house-provided) array. They complement each other, with the goal of “embellishing” a rock show that has “great arrangements.” They each push the preamps hard, for the color and the attitude. They are also each big proponents of the crunch and color they get from Chandler Limited gear, particularly on the low end for adding definition and clearing out spaces where cellos can sometimes bump into bass.

“These players in L.A. were amazing,” Gustafson says, referring to the 18-piece string and horn section. “As much as the orchestra is playing dynamically, they are used to pianissimo being a little bit quieter. So I push them when the band is quiet and dial down when the band pushes. I have a Chandler Limited Zener compressor and an extended TG1 with sidechain features that add the right color without getting pump-y in the orchestra.”

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