Photo: Todd Sinclair
Currently out promoting their latest album, Meet the Smithereens — a nod to The Beatles' first album — The Smithereens are juicing up each show with fan favorites from past rock 'n' roll albums. Handling this wall of sound is front-of-house engineer John Kennedy.
How much gear are you carrying?
Most of our dates are weekend or short legs — at most 10 days. In addition to our backline rider, I advance each show and find most of the gear to be fine. A lot of the venues or local sound contractors are providing digital consoles and line arrays; I think the new stuff sounds great. I've been mixing FOH for more than 30 years and have seen a lot of changes, and I still love every minute of it.
Do you have a mixing technique for this band?
The Smithereens are a great true-to-form rock 'n' roll band and present this huge wall of guitar backed by solid drums and roaring bass. Once I lay a foundation with the drums and bass, the guitars come in. If you listen closely to the live mix, you'll hear three guitars even though there's only two guitar players. Pat Dinizio's Stratocaster has a Fishman pickup in the tailpiece that allows for an acoustic sound, along with his electric, which I blend accordingly for each song.
What's your biggest challenge on this tour?
The toughest thing from a mixing standpoint is probably the size of the venues and the band's volume, but the guys are really good at working with me, and as long as I'm not competing with an overzealous monitor guy, we're just fine.
Where can we find you when you're not on the road?
I'm back in New Jersey running my own company, Kennedy Event Services. We provide sound, lighting and stageline services for the New York/New Jersey area.