Doug Shock and Dave Akers of Knoxville, Tenn.—bandmates in thegroup Sage, a self-proclaimed “late-’80s big-hairband”—have been providing audio entertainment for many U.S.troops overseas.
Shock had recently been the road manager for another bandwho’d played for the troops overseas and approached Akers,currently the president of M&L Sound in Knoxville, with the idea ofdoing a tour of U.S. military bases in the Middle East. After Akerstalked it over with his family and his employees, the two friendsenlisted bassist Todd Parks, drummer David Heyer and keyboardist SteveClements, and booked the Doug Shock Band on a month-long tour for ArmedForces Entertainment.
The band flew U.S. commercial airlines to London’s HeathrowAirport and then via British Airways to Baku, Azerbaijan. From there,it was on to Kyrgyzstan via a military jet. “They were greatabout making sure our travel plans were in order,” said Akers.“In fact, they were easier to deal with than the commercialairlines.”
The military was also very supportive in acquainting their guestswith local surroundings and customs. The band made a whirlwind tourthrough myriad cultures and customs, playing military bases situated inenvironments ranging from supportive to indifferent to outrighthostile. “In Pakistan, the hard-liners flew Al Qaeda flagsoutside the compound,” related Akers. The tour itinerary includedstops in Kyrgyzstan, Bagram and Kandahar (Afghanistan), Uzbekistan,Pakistan, Qatar, Bahrain and Djibouti.
To keep things portable, the band brought with them the bare minimumof gear. “Our drummer used pads and triggers, I ran my guitardirect through a Line6 POD and the keys and bass ran direct as well,all into a small Crest mixer.” The P.A. comprised a pair of EAWLA-215 mid-hi cabs and two more EAW SB-180 subs, powered by CrownCTS-3000 amps. “We were playing big rooms and airplane hangars tocrowds ranging from 500 to 1,000 people,” said Akers, “andone open-air show to over 2,000. The EAW rig really delivered.”Monitors were courtesy of Shure PSM-600 in-ear systems for the wholeband. Filling the rest of the rack were a White 4650 EQ, Lexicon PCM-42and Yamaha SPX-990. Shure Beta58s handled all vocals.
“The biggest thing to me,” Akers continued, “wasgetting to meet the men and women who are out there doin’ thedeal. Many of these folks went over there for six months, and are stillthere after eight or nine. When you’re over there, playing forthese people and talking to them about home, you realize, it’snot about politics or whether you’re for the war or against it.These are folks who went over there to do a job, and they’regiving so much of themselves for all of us. Playing for those folks wasreally an honor, as well as a pleasure.”
For more information on the Doug Shock Band, visit dougshock.com. For moreinformation on the EAW gear used, click on www.eaw.com. For more touring news, visit mixonline.com/live_sound_tour_profiles/index.htm.