Inside Out

Get an uncensored look at our products and the people who make and use them.

Are You Experienced?

Only published comments... Aug 07 2012, 12:00 AM by Sean Quackenbush

Greetings from the 2012 Experience Hendrix tour. I’m Sean Quackenbush, the FOH and recording engineer, and this is my fifth EH tour. When not on the road with EH, I can usually be found with pedal steel guitar player Robert Randolph & the Family Band.


So Avid asked me to write a blog about the EH tour... Let me be honest up front: I wasn't the best student. I have been playing with audio from the time I was 11 years old. I spent more time in junior high and high school playing with makeshift PA systems that were older than I was! Needless to say, English and grammar are not my strongest features (as my wife often reminds me).


On one of the greatest albums ever made, Jimi Hendrix asked, "So, are you experienced?" As a soundman, I think, sure! I’ve been on the road and mixing for 15+ years, in some of the best halls all over the world, and have worked with some of the greats! But Jimi Hendrix is a name that everyone knows, with music that everyone knows, and a guitar tone that everyone knows... Your parents know it, we know it, and generations going forward will know it! In an age where most musicians’ careers are over by the time they are in their early twenties, Jimi still lives. And to any musician or music fan, he is it—the guitar god... The man who changed EVERYTHING!



For anyone who saw Hendrix (and can remember), I am jealous! That being said, patrons of the Experience Hendrix tour have the highest expectations of how the show needs to sound, which is a lot of pressure. We all know the records... Axis: Bold As Love, Are You Experienced, Band of Gypsys, and, of course, Electric Ladyland. These recordings still hold up to the test of time with new generations discovering Jimi's music everyday.


I first heard Jimi in my father's woodshop as kid helping my dad. It was on one of those old record players that you would stack the records up and, as one record finished, another would drop. Right in the middle of Bob Dylan and Harry Chapin, this record would come on and mess you up. “Purple Haze” to an 8-year-old was like nothing I had ever heard before, and hearing dad talk about seeing him at the Aerodrome when he was in high school was the just the coolest thing ever. It was like I had joined a special club that only a few cool people were in. But I digress...


Back to the sound thing...


The patrons of the Experience Hendrix tour are from across the board—people who saw Hendrix, kids, guitars fans, musicians—just the widest extreme of folks you have ever seen. All with one thing in mind: to get experienced! So I am equipped with my usual tools of the trade…


My Nerd Tech stuff:


1. My trusty Avid VENUE Profile System (my go-to axe choice)

2. A large box of microphones (many makes and models, but several by Sennheiser)

3. My Pro Tools|HD 3 system (running Pro Tools HD 8.1, because I’m still on an old Power Mac G5)

4. Smaart System (I am on PA of the day for this run)



New for the 2012 tour:

Waves plug-ins and a new friendship and mentor in Eddie Kramer. Yep, Eddie Kramer! For those of you know who Eddie is, cool! For those of you future engineers and mixers who aren't familiar with his work, I suggest taking a look at his Wiki page credits and prepare to cry. Eddie not only made all of those classic Jimi albums, but he was also one of Jimi's closest friends. Eddie is one of the reasons that I started doing sound, and is a true hero of mine.


As a sound man, Eddie is one of the greatest resources I could have. I may not have Jimi physically here with me to let me know how he feels about the sound, but I do have Eddie to give me tips on how these records were made to somewhat re-create the sound in a live situation. In my opinion, I’m not sure if you would want to, or even be able to, completely re-create perfection. But that's the best part of live audio—it's happening right now and there are no second chances!


The other big thing that I should point out is that this is a tribute tour. We may not have Jimi, Noel, Mitch, or Buddy, but this is where it gets cool. We have Billy Cox, who was not only in the Band of Gypsys and played that incredible Woodstock set, but he grew up with Jimi and served together in the Army.


As for the rest of the line-up, here is just a sample of who else is playing on the tour:

Chris Layton, Buddy Guy, Keb’ Mo’, Eric Johnson, Dweezil Zappa, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and Jonny Lang.


As you can see, we have a great group of musicians as part of this tribute. If the tour is coming to a city near you, I would definitely recommend coming to check it out! Tune in next time for a report of the first show of the tour.




Also see

 • Part 2: Are You Experienced?


blog comments powered by Disqus

Leave a Comment

login or create an account to post a comment.

About Sean Quackenbush

I am a 20 year veteran of live sound and am currently mixing front of house for the 2012 Experience Hendrix Tour. When not mixing the Hendrix tour, I am the Front of House engineer and Production Manager for pedal steel guitar player, Robert Randolph.

© Copyright 2011 Avid Technology, Inc.  Terms of Use |  Privacy Policy |  Site Map |  Find a Reseller