Green Day Tour Profile

Oct 25, 2010 4:57 PM, By Sarah Benzuly



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Jason Vrobel (left) and Kevin Lemoine at the Midas XL4

Jason Vrobel (left) and Kevin Lemoine at the Midas XL4

Alexander is giving each bandmember a pretty straightforward mix, but creating a stereo image where each performer can hear everything. “They like to be in touch with what everybody’s doing,” Alexander says. “Now that we’re getting into more background vocals, it’s a lot of spreading out vocals so they can harmonize together. With each individual input we have, they work really hard on creating a certain sound that they like to use for their instruments. My job is to present them with the way things are actually sounding instead of doctoring it up. With Tre, he likes to hear what his drums are actually doing, not like Kevin out front who is EQ’ing to make it sound more like the record.”

Lemoine also keeps his mix pretty clean, invoking a few delays and reverbs, as well as an Eventide Harmonizer on background vocals. But where his mix gets a bit heavy is on the mic side. Cool’s kit is miked with a Beta 91, a Neumann 170 and a Lawson FET47 reproduction on kick; a Telefunken M80 and an AKG 414 on snare top, and a Neumann 184 for bottom; a Neumann 184 on hi-hat; and Beta 98s on rack toms. Floor toms are miked with Josephson e22S because “Tre is a very dynamic player,” Lemoine explains. “He’ll hit with the strength of an elephant and the next second it’ll sound like a fly just landed on the tom tom. We had to find a mic for the floor tom that would allow for that dynamic range. Cymbals are individually miked with 184s underneath. Overheads are Telefunken stereo single-source M215s—it’s their version of an AKG C24. They’re placed four feet above Tre’s head and bring in some ambience. ”

Monitor engineer Beau Alexander at the Studer Vista 5

Monitor engineer Beau Alexander at the Studer Vista 5

Other mics include a Neumann TLM 103 on bass cab (taken DI out of a Vintech 1073), an SM7, a Sennheiser 421 and two Neumann 103s for each of Armstrong’s two Marshall heads (going into two 4x12s). Freeze’s piano is taken DI, while his Leslie is miked with an old AKG D12 (bottom) and Shure Beta 91 (top); his sax takes a clip-on Audio-Technica mic. Guitarist Jeff Matika plays his axe through a Fender BassMan, which has an SM7. Extra guitarist White has a similar setup to Armstrong’s, with the exception that each cab as a TLM 103 on it. “He also has a [Placid Audio] Copperphone—an effects microphone—that sounds like a real telephone,” Lemoine adds. “I only use it on a couple of songs.”

Everybody sings into Telefunken M80s, which were given a bit of a facelift. “Telefunken put their M80 capsule onto a Shure handheld wireless for Billie’s vocal because he uses a wireless,” Lemoine says. “We’ve used Shure 58 capsules on top of the Shure radio mics forever, and we sent [Telefunken] a handheld unit and they retrofitted it with the M80 capsule on top. They sound amazing, so we got them to do 40 of them for us because it’s an aggressive show and Billie goes through one every other show. It sounds amazing.”

“It’s a rock band and they have a lot of inputs, but I tend to lean more toward high-end microphones and preamps just due to the nature of the show,” Lemoine adds. “It’s a very hi-fi, traditionally inspired show. The audience has to be able to hear every little thing. Mike doesn’t play your traditional bass line; he’s more melodic. Most of the time he carries the song, along with the vocal. The two guitar players [Armstrong and White] have to be distinguished from each other so the tones have to be pretty specific. And everybody’s vocal has to be there. It’s pretty challenging to do that over 20,000 screaming kids, but I love it, it’s a lot of fun!”

But what has Lemoine all excited is the prospect of his own FOH rig for the next tour. Right now, they’re trying out different pieces of gear, including a Neve 5088 16-channel console, a slew of Chandler Limited items—“the best of the best,” Lemoine enthuses. “I don’t like the way digital consoles sound. And I’m taking cues from the guys back in the ’40s and ’50s who were doing early recordings where things that they needed to do their job simply didn’t exist. That’s where I’m sitting right now. We’re going to make our own stuff up.”

Sarah Benzuly is Mix’s managing editor.

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