Take the classic rock
voices of Mickey Thomas, Joe Lynn Turner, Bobby Kimball, Jimi Jamison,
Glenn Hughes, Mike Reno, John Cafferty, Spencer Davis and Alex Ligertwood;
mix them together with the blistering guitar work of Leslie West, Pat
Travers and Dan Toler and what do you come up with? The Voices of Classic
Rock. What else!
Together they are
singers whose vocals have defined nearly four decades of classic rock.
Collectively they enjoy 25 Gold Albums, 26 Platinum and Multi-Platinum
Albums, 57 Top Forty singles, 25 Top Ten singles, and 10 Number One Hits
(from both the Pop and Rock Charts). They are the original Singers ...
of the original songs.
Originally an idea
of Starship's lead singer Mickey Thomas and NHL.com Executive Producer
and General Manager Charlie Schmitt, Rockforever.com, LLC / Voices of
Classic Rock was founded in 1999 and is a comprehensive artist-owned digital
record label, Internet music channel and live performance group.
When this collective
of classic rockers decided to hit the road and take their performance
to the stage, they enlisted the guidance and experience of veteran FOH
and Systems Engineer John Muldowney. Muldowney and colleague Chris Lannon
put together an incredibly simple yet powerful live recording system to
capture the Voices classic sound on tape
or hard disk
I should say.
Muldowney is an independent
engineer who has worked closely with the Rockforever.com team for the
past year and a half, developing the FOH mix and recording the various
factions of classic rockers for delivery at live concerts, CD recordings
and streaming audio content. Muldowney also puts in his time with the
Colorado based national sound company Audio Analysts. His FOH and System
Engineering credits include, Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Prince,
John Mellencamp, Styxx, Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black and countless others.
I first met Muldowney
in Lahaina on the island of Maui this January where he was engaged in
mixing the Voices of Classic Rock at a taping for an upcoming VH1 Classic
television feature, which should air sometime later this year. I was interested
in the live recording set up hes devised as a platform to get the
Voices music to the masses via CD and streaming audio from the Rockforever.com
Muldowney had this
to say when I spoke with him on a warm, star-filled evening under the
enchanting Maui sky at the Royal Lahaina Tennis Stadium during the taping
of the Voices of Classic Rock show.
producer Charles Schmitt worked out a deal with the Kaanapali Beach Association
to revive the Maui Music Festival. Theyve put together a three-year
contract. Well tape the Voices show this year for VH1
Classic and well be back in the winter for the next two years to
fulfill the other commitments.
Most of the shows
we do are run offs, meaning we end up flying to the show and
need a package recording system that can fly as luggage. Therefore the
system has to conform to the airline industries size requirements concerning
linear inches and weight. Yet the system has to give us the quality this
project requires for the various forms of audio delivery we use.
The first project
we did was on ADAT. After that, if we decided if were going to continue
to do this type of work we would need to decide what format we want to
work with. Chris immediately said when the MDRs are available we need
to go with the Mackie hard disk format. And thats what weve
The Mackie MDR
hard disk system is certainly the best package weve found. We get
24 tracks with each unit and fly them as luggage with no extra charges.
We cant afford to ship six ADATS around to get 48 tracks. We easily
and inexpensively ship two, 3-rackspace MDRs and get 48 tracks. By throwing
an external drive into the external bay of the MDRs we get three hours
of 24-bit recording. Its really simple to change between drives.
I just did this last night right between songs. I simply call up another
project and bang; were off and running again. Its flawless.
The price of the drives is reasonable as well. To get 90 minutes on an
IDE drive like that certainly beats buying tape. Its easy to get
IDE drives. Just go to your friendly Staples store or something similar
and youre there for around $180. They definitely serve our purpose
of 24-bit, 24-track in three rack spaces
and are less than thirty
pounds with three hours of recording time available!
Weve used this
system three or four times so far and the audio quality is really quite
good. For the show I just lock the machines together and start them at
the downbeat. Ninety minutes into it I change drives and record the whole
show without having to stop machines. Locking two machines is surprisingly
simple. Just a quarter-inch cable, set one machine for master and the
other to slave, set the slave to follow time code and youre off
and running. Im pleased. Its nice to have such a simple tool
to do such important work.
Weve flown this
system all over the country and its held up great. The machines
get bounced around quite a bit during transport and still they work every
time. Turn them on and there they are, ready to go. Which as you know
is a very important factor. They have to work every time we boot them
We mix on a Mackie
D8B owned by Chris Lannon in Boston.
We use the Digital I/O Cards and just dump the entire stuff light pipe
right into Digital Performer. We have two sets of cards. We use the Analog
I/O cards for recording and the Digital I/O cards for the dumps. Its
really simple. The cards arent too expensive and theyre convenient
and simple to use.
When Mackie came out
with the MDR, it was as if they had asked us what we needed. This set
up is actually perfect for our situation.
Check out the rockforever.com
web site and check out the streaming audio or MP3 files available
for listening. All the stuff that we do is untouched. There are absolutely
no overdubs. And you know, a few mistakes exist here and there, but we
arent particularly concerned with that. Were not interested
in presenting a polished performance. We want to convey the energy of
the live performance as it was done. Check out Glen Hughes Mistreated
or Alex Ligertwoods Winning. Those are all cuts weve
done this past summer with the Mackie HDR. Raw and live
the way it
was performed. The Voices of Classic Rock. They are the original singers
... of the original songs. Thats what were all about.