Perennial rockers Aerosmith have just finished up a tour of South America and Europe with front-of-house engineer Jim Ebdon. Crew and band have visited a number of festivals as well as playing their own dates, with gear provided by PRG. Co-monitor engineer Brad Johnson mixes in-ears for Steven Tyler, while Jon Lammi mixes in-ears and wedges for the rest of the band; both Johnson and Lammi are on DiGiCo D5s. Ebdon talked about the tour.
How much gear are you carrying?
We typically hang between 15 V-DOSC and three dV-DOSC per side with six SB12s alongside. There are eight SB12s per side on the ground. We use between eight and 10 V-DOSCs for the side hangs. In a festival situation, we carry all our consoles and racks, but use the local sound systems.
Do you have a specific mixing style?
I try to keep it simple and as natural as possible. I like to get my mic placement right before I start to EQ. I use a little compression on the bass and keyboards. Once I have a good balance between the instruments, I will add reverb to the kit for some depth. Steven likes subtle and weird effects on his voice, and he leaves it up to me to find them. There is usually a lot going on in most songs, so it's hard to try to find space to hear them. He has a strong voice, which helps tremendously and can always be heard above the band.
Are you doing any recording?
Aerosmith likes to record every night for archive purposes, so I put together a Pro Tools HD system, which includes four HD192s, a Sync I/O, a Euphonix FC726 MADI converter, two Glyph 250GB hard drives and a Mac G5.
Where can we find you when you're not on the road?
At home. My time there is invaluable, and I like to hang out as much as I can with my wife and son, Joe, who is a very active 4-year-old.