Roy Weard - A Musical History VI

SOUND ENGINEERING

By the time we came to the end of the Last Post I was already doing a lot of sound engineering, mostly for small bands using the 'Sleazyhire' PA. John Trelawney was running 'Sleazy's' - a suite of rehearsal rooms in Metropolitan Wharf in Wapping which had the tag line 'Damp, dirty, noisy and nasty'. John got me to go off on tour with a band he was managing called 'The Books' which featured Linda Kelsey - the Dogwatch keyboard player. They were the support act for Gary Glitter. I was dubious as to whether anyone would come to see Gary Glitter in 1982 an very surprised to see them errecting crash barriers. I was even more amazed to stand by the desk during the show and see a packed house chanting 'Leader, Leader, Leader' at him. In the course of that short tour I became very friendly with the sound crew and was offered a job working for Mike Allen Rental Services.

By this time I was working more and more as a sound engineer and, after a meeting with Manfred Mann, went off on tour with him. Manfred had heard about the mad acts of the previous bands I had been in and John Trelawney had suggested that he talked to me about stage act ideas., I came up with the exploding guitar cabinet that we used during Demolition Man on the Somewhere in Europe tour in 1983. In the course of demonstrating this at the Workhouse I nearly deafened Manfred with a stage maroon. I also played the robot on that tour and can be seen in the film that was made of the gigs in Hungary, 'Budapest', - a documentary about the three nights we played there during the 'Somewhere in Europe' tour)

I was working for Mike Allen Rental services at their base in Chelsea for a while doing various one off shows and preparing to go out with the next Glitter tour. We did a few one off shows, including a May Ball at Cambridge organised by Prince Edward which caused a major stir when they asked me to turn the volume down. The bands's manager, Alan Gee, came up to the desk and said'sounds good to me - leave it like that'. While I was discussing the level with the hooray who was supposed to be managing the gig a little scenario was taking place to my right. The truck driver was running the follow spot, standing on a circular table. One by one the ballroom gowned and dinner jacketed punters began to leave plates and glasses on the table until, in the end there was nowhere for the follow spot operator to stand. He started off polite. 'Excuse me...please don't....er can you not....' but he was a rock and roll truck driver, after all, so he stopped being polite, scooped up a whole swathe of half full glasses and half eaten food with his foot and propelled it over the toffs and toffettes shouting 'Look f**k off you ignorant bunch of c**ts'. At which point Edward's chin appeared as a small bump on the nape of his nexk and he and his bodyguards vacated my mixing desk platform. Odd that he did not seem at all fazed by the large spliff that the lighting guy lit up at the start of the show as I popped a cork on the complimentary bubbly.

Mike Allen Rental Services lost the contract for that tour but Glitter's management kept me on and gave the tour to RSD in Luton. I wound up working for them next. During the following spring I was at their warehouse prepping a system when in walked a tall thin guy who looked like a stand in for Fagin as portrayed by Ron Moody. He turned out to be the production manager for Roger Chapman (he of warbling Family fame). He was looking for a couple of backline techs to do some festivals in the summer. I offered to do the guitar tech role, with the caveat that I was not a guitar tech as such - but I could tune them and set the gear up. If they were stuck I would do it. So I wound up going out to Germany for a series of festivals. Geoff Whithorn, master guitarist and all round good guy, and I got on so well that I was re-hired for the tour and worked with them for six years. After a lot of persuading ( and three monitor engineers) I was talked into doing monitors for them and then front of house. Great band and a great singer - one of the best. I actually went to see Roger play the Jazz Cafe the other night (30/11/2010) and, at 68, he can still roar it out with the best of them. Geoff was back on gutar, with Stevie Simpson on guitars, violin, mandolin and John Lingwood on drums. Took me right back to slogging round East Germany in 1985. Magic.

After that I worked solidly with many different bands as an engineer or production manager. There are many stories from that human zoo. One day I will write the book.

Here is a list of the major acts

Gary Glitter F.O.H. / Monitors 1983,1984,1985,1986 Christmas tours. 1984 shows in Bahrain
Roger Chapman Guitar Tech / Monitors F.O.H 1984,1985,1986,1987,1988,1989,1990

Originally Guitar Tech for Geoff Whitehorn but later took over Sound duties.

Manfred Mann's Earthband Backline / Actor / Monitors 1983 (Backline / Acting )

1991,1992 (monitors)

John Cale Monitors 1984
Wishbone Ash Monitors 1985
Mezzoforte Monitors 1985
Rita Coolidge Monitors 1986
Eric Burdon Monitors 1987
Stump Monitors / F.O.H. 1988/1989
Fergal Sharkey Monitors 1988
Tam White / Boz Burrell's Jazz Band F.O.H. 1989
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel F.O.H. & Production Manager 1989, 1990,1991,1992
Donovan F.O.H. & Tour Manager 1991,1992,1993
Kevin Ayers Band F.O.H. & Tour Manager 1992
Sniff 'n' The Tears F.O.H. & Tour Manager 1992
Julian Dawson F.O.H. & Tour Manager 1992/1999
Tom Robinson & TV Smith F.O.H. & Tour Manager 1993
Accept Monitors / Live Recording Engineer 1994/1996
Secrets of Industrialised Noise F.O.H. 1995
Kingdom Come Monitors 1996
Vicious Rumours F.O.H. & Production Manager 1996
Axxis Monitors 1995, 1996
The Golden Gospel Singers F.O.H. 1995,1996,1997
Nick Pynn & Jane Bom Bane F.O.H. Various shows 2003 onwards
Drift F.O.H. Komedia 2005
Brighton Beach Boys. F.O.H. (with string quintet & Brass Section) Brighton Festival shows 2006/2009
Ungagged F.O.H. 2006 - 10
In Cahoots F.O.H. 2007 - Ongoing
Nick Pynn & Kate Daisy Grant F.O.H. 2010 - Ongoing
The Fire Llamas F.O.H. 2006-2010
The Real Music Club F.O.H. / Recording Engineer 2009 - Ongoing
     

I also worked, during this time with the following companies:

Mike Allen Rental Services (UK) - 1982 -1983

RSD Studiomaster Hire Dept (UK) - 1983 -1985

Summerhaze (UK) -1985 - 1988

Encore (UK) - 1988 - 1992

L.T.T (Germany )1992 - 2000

The Sound and Light Guys 2007 - 2009

Sound on Q 2011 - onwards

Click on the picture above for slideshow.

While employed by these companies I have augmented the above touring activities with several one-off shows and events including Music Fairs, Product launches, Conferences, Open Air Events Showcases and T.V. Shows. I have also worked at The Kammerspiel Theatre in Hamburg on productions of the Dreigroschen Oper and compiled sound effects for several other theatre performances. I was part of the technical support team for the "Haltern Seefest" performance of Wagner's "The Flying Dutchman" featuring the late Karl Riddenbush. I continue to be involved with sound engineering and it remains something that gives me a great sense of satisfaction when it all goes right and sounds sweet. I have recorded live albums for 'Accept', Tylean, and Dr Spacetoad.