The godfather of soul, James Brown, was out touring the majority of the summer, playing to mid-sized venues; his tour wrapped up in late September. Mix caught up with tour director/production manager/stage manager/monitor engineer Todd Harris as the ensemble was making its way to Las Vegas.
Are you finding it difficult to wear so many hats?
I rely on local production and sound personnel greatly because my only crew I can travel with is a FOH engineer. I started as the FOH engineer three years ago but dug myself deeper since then. The band often jokes to me about the number of hats I wear.
Without carrying much gear, how are things going with house-supplied or rented gear?
I ask for the typical top-shelf mixing desks, line arrays and assorted toys, but we have to be flexible. One night we may be playing in a 1,500-seat club and the next we may be headlining a big rock festival for 100,000. Gavin, our FOH engineer, and I are comfortable with analog and digital boards, so we don’t really care if it we get a [Midas] Heritage 3000 or a [Yamaha] PM5D. I would much rather work with the best crew than the best equipment, so I am flexible.
Is Brown on in-ears?
No. We have a very old-school setup and IEMs are not the best choice for him. On occasion, I use them on the horn section and percussion, and it is a real treat — I am a fan!
When you’re not on the road, where can we find you?
Back home in the Washington, D.C., area making records in my basement, advancing the next James Brown tour or playing bass with my ’80s tribute band, The Legwarmers.