Tour Profile: Smashing Pumpkins

Dec 1, 2012 9:00 AM, Photos and Text By Candace Horgan



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photo of Billy Corgan

Billy Corgan at Denver's 1st Bank Center

For P.A., Lemon turned to Eighth Day Sound, choosing a d&b system. Eighth Day’s Jordan Kolenc has been out on the road with them. “We use J8 cabinets on the main hang, but Jon doesn’t like the J12s for the downfills, so we don’t have them,” explained Kolenc. “Today there are 12 J8s up on each side. On the side, it’s the V8, which is a brand new cabinet from d&b that is kind of a cross between the J-series and the old Q-series line array; we do a maximum of 10. We actually use four Q10s for front fills. The subs are B2s, with six a side in a stacked configuration, but we have set them up on end in a row from the corner of the stage on some occasions. It seems to work best for what we do, but for the last few shows we have done it in a stacked configuration. The power amps are all D12s.”

The sends to the P.A. are at 24/96k with a backup analog run so they can switch over if the first line goes down. Lemon also records each show at 96 kHz in a Pro Tools rig out front. He has a total of 56 inputs, with four of those being audience mics.

photo of John Shearman, Michael Veres

Monitor engineer John Shearman (left) and Eighth Day Sound’s Michael Veres

Handling monitors is another longtime Pumpkins engineer, John Shearman, who got his start back with U2 on the Boy tour in 1980. Shearman has been working tours for the Pumpkins since Lollapalooza in 1995. Like Lemon, Shearman prefers the DiGiCo desks and mixes on an SD10.

Byrne and Fiorentino switched to in-ear monitors on this tour, while Corgan and Schroeder still prefer wedges. The in-ears are JH11 Pros run through a Shure PSM900. He describes the monitor mixes as standard, though Corgan only gets his vocal, hearing guitar from his amp.

“It’s not even pointing at him on this tour,” laughs Shearman about Corgan’s amp. “I also don’t think it’s as loud as it has been on previous tours, which is great, because it helps with being able to hear his vocal better. Mike [Byrne] has a full mix of everything with the drums on top, and he has Billy’s vocal quite high up. It’s a stereo in-ear mix, so he has everything spread out from left to right. Nicole has her bass on top, drums underneath, and a little guitar and her vocal and Billy’s vocal. Jeff is a wedge mix with kick, snare and hi-hat, his vocal, and occasionally on cues Billy’s guitar or Nicole’s keyboard—just for certain songs. Billy, all he has in his wedges is his vocal. He also has his Mellotron. [In the] sidefills, there’s quite a lot of kick drum, and that’s about it really, so if you stand center stage, where Billy is, you can feel the air movement from the kick drum.”

Assisting Shearman onstage is Eighth Day’s Michael Veres, who helps with the microphone setup and the Palmer simulators. Veres is on his second tour with the Pumpkins.

“The vocal mics are Sennheiser e935s,” Veres said. “They are great-sounding reliable mics that can take a hit from a guitar headstock and keep on working with hardly a scratch or dent. The two guitar amps have Telefunken M80s in front of the guitar cabinets and Palmer PDI-03 Speaker Simulator coming directly off the guitar amps. FOH uses the Palmers almost exclusively, with the M80s as backup.”

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