Doug Shock Band Brings Good Tunes to Troops

Mar 18, 2004 12:00 PM, Editors

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Doug Shock and Dave Akers of Knoxville, Tenn.—bandmates in the group Sage, a self-proclaimed “late-’80s big-hair band”—have been providing audio entertainment for many U.S. troops overseas.

Shock had recently been the road manager for another band who’d played for the troops overseas and approached Akers, currently the president of M&L Sound in Knoxville, with the idea of doing a tour of U.S. military bases in the Middle East. After Akers talked it over with his family and his employees, the two friends enlisted bassist Todd Parks, drummer David Heyer and keyboardist Steve Clements, and booked the Doug Shock Band on a month-long tour for Armed Forces Entertainment.

The band flew U.S. commercial airlines to London’s Heathrow Airport and then via British Airways to Baku, Azerbaijan. From there, it was on to Kyrgyzstan via a military jet. “They were great about making sure our travel plans were in order,” said Akers. “In fact, they were easier to deal with than the commercial airlines.”

The military was also very supportive in acquainting their guests with local surroundings and customs. The band made a whirlwind tour through myriad cultures and customs, playing military bases situated in environments ranging from supportive to indifferent to outright hostile. “In Pakistan, the hard-liners flew Al Qaeda flags outside the compound,” related Akers. The tour itinerary included stops in Kyrgyzstan, Bagram and Kandahar (Afghanistan), Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Bahrain and Djibouti.

To keep things portable, the band brought with them the bare minimum of gear. “Our drummer used pads and triggers, I ran my guitar direct through a Line6 POD and the keys and bass ran direct as well, all into a small Crest mixer.” The P.A. comprised a pair of EAW LA-215 mid-hi cabs and two more EAW SB-180 subs, powered by Crown CTS-3000 amps. “We were playing big rooms and airplane hangars to crowds ranging from 500 to 1,000 people,” said Akers, “and one open-air show to over 2,000. The EAW rig really delivered.” Monitors were courtesy of Shure PSM-600 in-ear systems for the whole band. Filling the rest of the rack were a White 4650 EQ, Lexicon PCM-42 and Yamaha SPX-990. Shure Beta58s handled all vocals.

“The biggest thing to me,” Akers continued, “was getting to meet the men and women who are out there doin’ the deal. Many of these folks went over there for six months, and are still there after eight or nine. When you’re over there, playing for these people and talking to them about home, you realize, it’s not about politics or whether you’re for the war or against it. These are folks who went over there to do a job, and they’re giving so much of themselves for all of us. Playing for those folks was really an honor, as well as a pleasure.”

For more information on the Doug Shock Band, visit dougshock.com. For more information on the EAW gear used, click on www.eaw.com. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/live_sound_tour_profiles/index.htm.






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