Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
CATCHING UP WITH STYX
Originally Posted: 08-10-2012 4:35 PM
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Nothing balances me out more than hanging with old friends. Last Sunday the seminal rock band STYX played a full 100 minute set at the Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts in Muskegon. Having worked with the band on their “Arch Allies” record and on Tommy Shaw's solo full length, “7 Deadly Zens”, I had to make the show.

As always happens, I go to catch up with these guys and I leave floored at how really great they are at what they do. There's no surprise that their fans still love and support this band as it celebrates its 40th year. Tight, effortless, skilled, high level musicianship is delivered every time. Combined with great sound & solid tech, the show is so consistently top notch it's scary.

Their catalogue is main-course classic rock radio, and rightly so. They have a solid set of songs most radio listeners know by heart, that features solid songwriting, definitive performances and great production. Even if they aren't your taste, STYX's music has penetrated the public psyche. This is the big dream of any band that ever took their career seriously, and they've done it. STYX is one of a handful of the truly “big picture” winners of the rock music era. Organically, their music has also been handed down through two and three generations at this point by family members who are fans. At Dave Carlock's Funkin' Rock School, a 16-year old bass student wanted to learn “Come Sail Away”, at his own suggestion. Even Cartman sang “Come Sail Away”!

Seeing Tommy again was a real treat. He sang in that amazingly high tenor all night and sounded fantastic. We met away from the meet and greet in the subterranean hallways of the theater to catch up a bit. We talked about mic pres and Pro Tools, and made sure we had the right numbers so we can connect in LA on my next visit. He's got a bigger tracking room now at his home, which should be really fun to check out.

Back at the meet & greet, guitarist James Young and I talked about the live STYX DVD they did with the Cleveland Youth Orchestra and my experience mixing the Funkin' Rock Orchestra's live recording at Studio 376.

“How about that bleed into the string mics--unreal isn't it?”, I asked.

“Horrific”, JY replied with his big signature smile—shoptalk officially in full effect.

Meanwhile, my road trip partner-in-crime and guitarist for the Funkin' Rock Orchestra, Suede Raptor, was being schooled by STYX drummer Todd Sucherman on a surefire method for picking up chicks. Now that Todd's married, I guess he's passing down his knowledge to the Millenials, which is great karma in my book.

Todd's also recently released a DVD set on drum technique called “Methods & Mechanics” which also supports his efforts to share his experiences. Regularly voted “best drummer” in drum magazines, the contents are undoubtedly just as informative and entertaining as the tips he was passing on to Suede.

My longtime friend Keith Marks has been STYX's production manager since the ‘90s and still body blocks Murphy's Law night after night before show time. When rain poured into the Front Of House consoles at an outdoor gig in Indiana the night before, he made sure there were replacements on hand just in case the consoles were toast the next day in Muskegon. This was no small feat--Best Buy doesn't carry digital mixing consoles. If the band's suffers last minute bus problems or staff issues, Keith finds a replacement while the tour rolls on.

I always felt touring was like being on a pirate vessel or a spaceship. Once you leave home, you're in your own world till you come back to the mainland. In that world, Keith is the problem solver. Thanks for everything Keith, the Frauenthal Center show was excellent. But the most excellent way to spend a Sunday night was among old friends.

FIND A WAY MY FRIENDS
Dave Carlock
DAVE CARLOCK -
A DAY IN THE LIFE
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