Motorhead has been criss-crossing the U.S., booking small theaters to celebrate their 30-year anniversary. These godfathers of metal are co-headlining with Corrosion of Conformity, carrying only the necessities: minimum gear, longtime engineers and enough dB to announce that metal is back. Mix caught up with Hobbs, Motorhead's FOH engineer.
You've been the band's FOH engineer since '82. Has your technique changed?
My engineering has changed only insofar as I am using newer technology (or gadgets) to help counter the ever-increasing stage volume. I have tweaked the gear, but I'm not sure that “refined” suits the band!
What are you carrying?
We are carrying everything except racks and stacks. I requested a Heritage 3000, but you know how budgets can be! The XL200 is a good board and we have a Midas [monitor board] — my favorite. I have a rack of outboard gear.
Going into different venues just about every night — and hence, new P.A. setups — how do you work around that?
My only technique is equalizing the P.A. I get as near as possible to the same sound every night and can then mix with minimal changes to the board settings. I use pink noise and an analyzer to quickly identify peaks and troughs and then EQ by ear using a CD. I then tweak during sound-check and again at the beginning of the show to accommodate the changes caused by having an audience in the gig.
There is a Motorhead “mixing stick” joke (a 2×4 is put down at the edge of the FOH board and the engineer raises it — simultaneously raising all of the faders up) going around. Care to divulge?
The “mixing stick” was a Motorhead joke based on the “everything louder than everything else” philosophy. It never existed and, hopefully, never will!