With its two main stages and several smaller ones, the Vans Warped Tour 2006 makes for non-stop music. Among the many artists on the tour (Anti-Flag, Living End, NOFX, Thursday, Rise Against, Less Than Jake), Mix caught up with Joan Jett & The Blackhearts and her front-of-house engineer, Billy Crater, at San Francisco's Pier 30/32.
FOH engineer Billy Crater
“Since the bands just get line checks, it's weird at first, but you get used to hearing with cans and knowing where the level meters are,” Crater says. “It's the same for every show. With Joan, she's been doing this [for] so long that she's okay with just getting up there and jamming. Joan's very straight-ahead and consistent. It's always better to mix experienced players, but all the bands are great. Certain methods work with any band — double guitar channels, et cetera. We bring one mic and a stand for Joan, and an in-ear monitor rig for Joan and drummer Thommy [Price], including transmitters and receivers.” The JBL VerTec P.A. system for this tour is provided by Rat Sound; Crater is mixing on a Midas H3000 with effects including a Lexicon PCM 80, Yamaha SPX-990 and a TC Electronic D-Two.
“To mix it up, every band plays at different times throughout the day; we might play one day at 12:30 and the next day at 5:30,” Crater says. “It's a little crazy, but Joan loves the tour and the hang with the other groups. The crew works great together and help each other when they can.”