The Stone Gods ~ Temple of Rock


The Magical Mystical World Of Adi Vines

www.xselectronics.co.uk

".. we hear he is a whizz of a wiz if ever a wiz there woz.."

A page dedicated to, and soley for the express purpose of, marvelling at the skills and knowledge of Stone Gods backline technician Mr Adi Vines. A specialist in his field, he has worked with some of the greats in the industry and continues to keep touring and studio bound musicians alike, sounding pretty damn fine. Here you will find details and articles on Adi and his work, and a regular up date of his spanking new column in Guitar & Bass magazine. So for knowledge galore and the odd chuckle and belly laugh... read on!

Guitar & Bass Article Feb 08


 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Adi..........

We announced this section a while back and have got some interesting questions through, now we have answers from the man himself.. but apparently, he wants some more!  So.. have a read and then give the man some more question queries, and conundrums to mull over! Ask your questions either via email at sgtemple@googlemail.com or via the forum.

Adi's Answers... March 08 

I’m a bit surprised to see Dan using a Diezel amp. I thought he was true Marshall >man. Jim Marshall even gave him one of the rare Jaguar Bluesbreaker amps for his >dedication. What gives? If he wants a high gain amp why not use the new JVM? Just curious.
Brian

He still is a Marshall man, that’s what you are hearing on his parts on the album. The Diezel only appeared in rehearsals for the Thin Lizzy dates when we realized that we were going to need a versatile, multi channel head to compliment what we had going already (a Plexi and a JCM800). We needed at least three channels, all with separate tone sections, one of which had to be a serious high gain channel. That way, as well as been an integral part of the whole system, we could use just the one head and a back up FX board in case of catastrophic equipment failure…The Diezel and the JVM beat the competition sound wise (and we tried out a lot a high gain, multi channel heads) and were also attractive because their functions are controllable via midi, which was lucky as we had run out of control functions in the rack. In the end the Diezel won out for two reasons- the JVM high gain sounds had a slight suggestion of Valvestate about them to our ears and the midi switching didn’t seem to be reliable. Still a great head though, the clean and crunch sounds are very very nice.

What is the fastest you've managed to repair a piece of equipment or change a >string?
Matt

That depends on what the problem is. Blown fuses take seconds to change, cables can be re-soldered or made in minutes but serious component failure means some time on the workbench with a schematic, oscilloscope and lots of cups of tea. Repairs and problem solving usually take longer when you’ve got a musician involved too (i.e. during a gig). A single broken string can be changed, stretched and ready to play in under two minutes. My record for changing a whole set (from de-tuning and cutting the old ones to the new ones being on, stretched and ready to play) is just under seven minutes. Although my friend Lief, who works for Ash, claims he can do it in around six!

Firstly, are there any roadie positions avaliable?

Yes, lots. But you will need a lot of experience and know the right people to get one. Is there any positions available with Stone Gods? No.

Also does Dan still use his Ibanez tube screamer?

Yes he does. In fact we now use two, one set slightly cleaner than the other.

and what effects does Ritchie use if any? Jenson

An Ibanez Weeping Demon wah wah is the only tone shaping effect he uses. Unless of course you count the tone sucking effects of a wireless system…

One thing I would like to know is "what is the main cause of strings breaking" ie. >old age,heavy strumming or something else
Howie

Old age? No, youngsters break them too. (I’ll get my coat). Old age is a factor, in fact I will change any set that has been used for more than six songs, as all the dried sweat and microscopic bits of dead skin get inbetween the windings and make the string sound dull. This gunk is also very corrosive and although it won’t weaken the string overnight, if you are one of those types that leaves strings on for ages, it will definitely be a factor. Hard strumming and a heavy plectrum will also do the trick, so  will the condition of the string slots on the bridge. If they are badly worn then sharp edges or small burrs of metal can slice through a string. They are only extremely thin bits of wire after all.

I notice Dan has an amp head that isnt Marshall... what is it, and why?- Sam

See above for the why. As for what, it is a Diezel Herbert. These extremely high quality heads that are handmade in Germany. Other users include Adam Jones from Tool and someone called James Hetfield- I’ve never heard of him though.

Is he in a band, and if not, what kind of band would he like to play in himself? - >Babzz

I am not in a band no. I have been in a couple a long time ago (and a couple of soundcheck bands fairly recently) but have no wish to go through that again. It’s a bloody mugs game these days innit?


Being a guitar tech for so long as I'm sure he must be, sometimes during the gigs >doesn't he just want to jump on stage and start playing to?

Oh god, no. That desire left me round about the same time as my hair. Besides- I get to do it during changeovers anyway, so I can tell my grandchildren that I have played at Wembley Stadium and I will not be lying. Technically.


Has he ever thought of doing something else for living?

Yes. Everytime a tour is cancelled at short notice, a client fails to pay me for weeks on end, when managers try to fob you off with a ‘half day rate’ because you are either rehearsing or traveling rather than doing an actual gig, when insurers/mortgage companies/credit agencies etc look at you like you are a piece of shit because you are self employed and work in the music industry, when management agree to near-impossible tour schedules that are expensive to achieve and then start cutting costs from the bottom upwards, when I miss most of the airshow season because they all clash with festival time (T in the Park and RIAT on the same weekend this year. Bugger). When you suddenly realize that most people working around you should still be at school surely?!

What makes him love this job? – Helia

You get to mess around with guitars and amps for a living, who wouldn’t love that? I’ve been obsessed with guitars and amps and music since I was about 12 years old so to be able to make a living by being in daily contact with all three is something pretty special. I also love the travel, I could never afford to visit some of the places I’ve been to otherwise. Roadcrew are an unusual breed too, so you get to work with some remarkable characters, some of whom become good friends for life. Its also a great feeling when you get to a point with an artist where you have helped him/her to get the sound in their head and to able to reproduce it onstage everynight in an efficient and reliable way. Plus, when the gigs and tours are going well and everyone is on an up it’s a real buzz to be involved, to know that you are a valuable part of something that is creating a real energy. Not just among the people working and the artists but also among the people that are coming to the gigs and getting enthusiastic and inspired too.


Ive always wondered when you see them playing about the tuning of the guitar between songs and theres no noise coming from it, how do they know its tuned? Can you tell by the feel of the strings or summat? – Tipsypuma

No magic I’m afraid, all done with technology. Electronic tuners are little devices that you plug into (in the same way that you plug into an amplifier) and when you pluck a string it will tell you what the note is and whether it is flat or sharp of perfectly in tune. If a tuning schedule is particularly complicated it is possible to be so involved in this process that you can miss major disasters onstage.

Being a complete idiot as far as guitars are concerned, I would like to know how much difference the acoustics of the venue make to the set-up. Is it just a case of more amplification - or do they have to be completely retuned? – Gill

The acoustics of a venue make a huge difference and the size of the room will dictate how much it affects our end of things. In big theatres and arenas the sound will pretty much disappear up into the far reaches so we can just carry on as normal as any reflections won’t reach back to us. The PA chaps have a harder time in these kind of places, they need to make sure there is adequate sound coverage at all frequencies in all parts of the room. They will be aligning the speaker stacks and hanging clusters from different parts of the venue roof to make sure that no-one is missing out audio wise. Its quite a science. In smaller places, proximity of walls, stage construction, how low the ceiling is etc- all this things make a big difference to the sound onstage. Some places are really dead sounding and correspondingly things will sound quieter with not as much cut or treble so you have to compensate accordingly until it sounds right (or as close as you can get) to your ears. On the other hand, places with large stretches of brick walls, a big shiny dancefloor and huge metal shutters over the bar can make things sound thin, trebly and harsh with not a lot of that warm bass resonance that makes powerchords chug so satisfyingly, so again you have to compensate accordingly. In smaller places, the power of the PA system can play a big part too. Its quite common to get the guitar rig sounding right on its own but as soon as the PA starts blasting, the sound it makes causes its own reflections that come back at you and colour the sound that you are hearing onstage. The whole thing is a delicate balancing act. Of course the whole process is complicated by the presence of a large number of movable acoustic baffles (i.e. people) when the gig actually starts as they will have an acoustic effect in their own right by blocking the reflections from any live surfaces. And the bar will be open so the metal shutters will have gone. The second biggest cliché in the music industry (after ‘the money should be in your account by the end of the week’) is the sound technician classic ‘it’ll be fine when the punters come in…’ usually said to a worried musician during a crappy soundcheck. Most canny technician types will change the word ‘fine’ to the word ‘different’ because it usually is different- but not always in a good way!


What is the scariest/weirdest moment you've ever had when teching

I’ve been lucky in that I haven’t had a lot of scary moments. I did an outdoor gig in Brazil with Whitesnake once and a tropical storm started brewing halfway through and it was touch and go whether it would kick off before the end of the gig. When the locals are running around panicking you know it is something to be worried about. I could see the electrical cloud getting closer and closer as the set went on, huge forks of lightning coming out of it. A high wind was whipping up, people were lashing down loose items and the backdrop was blowing into the drumkit. The first spots of rain were starting just as the band went off and less than five minutes later it was virtually chaos. Very worrying to find yourself standing on a huge lightning conductor i.e. a stage, at times like that. I also flew to the USA three days after 9/11 which was a bit weird. I’ve never been on a flight before, or since, where virtually everyone sat in silence for the whole journey.

and who was the worst to tech for?

I’m afraid that I can’t answer that. I’ll answer technical questions about the artists I’ve worked with and personal questions about myself, to a certain extent. But I won’t answer personal questions about my clients. Professional ethics and all that. Sorry. Keep the questions coming though. Next….?

MORE QUESTIONS PEOPLE............! 

 

 

Guitar & Bass Feb 08
Guitar and Bass March 2008
 
 
Guitar and Bass May 2008
 
 
 
 
Note from Adi re the above article, blogged on his site 28.4.08:

The new issue of Guitar and Bass magazine is out and it distresses me to report that this month’s column has been savagely edited. Its all my fault for exceeding the previously agreed word count by nearly a third and being naive enough to think that said word count was just a general guideline instead of an enforced limit. Anyway, the published version was robbed of most of its character as a result. But luckily I have this space here that needs to be filled on a fairly regular basis. So here for your delectation and delight, or just mild interest, is the unedited version. It reads much better I feel and stands as a lesson to myself that in future I must be much more ruthless with my own editing methods before even thinking of sending the damned thing in…
So, the first tour of the year is now over. I haven’t done a UK club tour for years and it disappoints me to report that of all the venues that I was already familiar with only Oxford Zodiac has improved since the last time I was there. I have also had to re-familiarise myself with something I haven’t seen at a gig for a long time (in the loading bay at least)- stairs. I know that there were plenty of burly local lads lending a hand but you don’t a good team spirit going by not joining in do you? Oh, my aching back etc etc…Anyway, all this sweat and effort put us older members of the entourage in a wistful mood and we realised, as we blew the froth off a couple of cold ‘uns late one night, that there are a whole bunch of things that you don’t see at gigs anymore. So, being blokes (and reasonably organised blokes), we made a list. As you do. Beercrates didn’t make it as I’ve found out that they are still thriving at club level. Here’s the top 10 as voted for by the blokes in black-
10 things you don’t see at gigs anymore
1- Fighting:  Thank god for that. Perhaps it was due the kind of bands I used to like but when I was going to gigs as a punter, during the 80’s, it was always kicking off somehow. And not always in the audience, a friend of mine got a right good shoeing at a Dead Kennedys gig once- and he was doing monitors. They still sell alcohol at gigs and some of the music is more violent than ever but only once in the past 18 years have I seen a band stop playing to try to calm a situation and that was due to the pit security starting it anyway. If you believe the tabloids then the nation is crippled by gangs of violent youths. Well, I spend a lot of time around large gatherings of youths and I haven’t seen it. Lets keep it that way, shall we?
2- JC120s:  Where have they all gone? Stages used to be knee deep in these and despite having the worst sounding ‘distortion’ control in the world, artists as diverse as Andy Summers and James Hetfield used to swear by them. Fads and fashions for gear come and go but eventually one usually trips across some maverick who swears by a laughable piece of kit that everyone else dumped years ago. But not the JC120. This transistor driven Roland combo seems to have disappeared into the ether, its shimmering cascade seemingly silenced forever. Perhaps all those African bands that you don’t hear of anymore, who were last enthusiastic users of this item, took them all home with them.
3- Gobbing: During November 2007 I was involved with the Sex Pistols UK tour. These dates were prompted by the 30th anniversary of the album Never Mind The Bollocks and I was initially worried that it also might be the 30th anniversary of the audience spitting at the band. I even bought a couple of pairs of surgical gloves as I thought they might come in useful for handling instruments that had become ‘slippery’ all of a sudden. No need though, the audience was neatly divided into the younger “Eww, gross..” generation and their parents, who are now estate agents and car salesmen and are above that kind of behaviour. So we can consign gobbing to the dustbin of history. Good thing too.
4- Dry Ice: Not to be confused with smoke. Smoke is a crucial element for making the beams of the lights stand out in a suitably dramatic fashion and therefore the smoke machine- and its stealthier sibling the ‘cracker’- is still standard issue. Dry ice is the heavier stuff that looks like smoke but never rises further than the knees. No self respecting 70’s rock band would be without a suitably atmospheric number where this stuff was allowed to tumble over the stage edge. You know, Stone‘enge and all that. Probably banned by the HSE these days (dry ice that is, not atmospheric epics).
5- Loads of Par Cans: Speaking of lights, Par Cans have become very much a bit player these days. Digital technology has meant that one programmable light can do the job of 20 by moving around and changing colour at the Lighting Designers whim. The days of huge banks of lights (known as Par Cans) each flashing their individual colour on and on ad nauseum can relived by staring at the cover of Queen’s Live Killers album or watching Iron Maiden’s promo clip for Run To The Hills (as if you needed an excuse!).
6- Fretless Basses:  The 80’s again. A gig wouldn’t be complete without one of these swooping and bubbling away, everyone from Pino Palladino to Mick Karn to New Model Army to the bloke from Stump had one. My mate Pete considered it so crucial to have one on hand that he pulled all the frets out of one of his spare basses with a kitchen knife. The workshop I was an assistant at the time charged him a fortune to re-fret it once sanity had prevailed. I haven’t seen a fretless since.
7- Singers climbing PA stacks:  They were all at it once some bloke called Bono had made this crowd pleasing manoeuvre popular, although I had seen Lux Interior from The Cramps do it first a few years before. Now PA cabinets are smaller, modular and more often than not hung from the roof, I suppose opportunities are radically diminished. Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters is fond of getting up on the sidefills, I bet he would relish the chance to scale a giant stack of black Lego to serenade some bird on the balcony. Actually, on second thoughts, perhaps he’d just enjoy the climb.
8- Curly Leads: If older readers had strayed a little too far onstage back in the day, the end of one of these would spring out of the amp and smack them in the arse mid solo. So you can understand why they are no longer popular. Even the fashion for all things vintage hasn’t extended to the curly lead, not even among the most retro of bands. Brian May bravely modelled one well into the 90’s but according to his website, even he hasn’t used one in over 10 years.
9- TU12 tuners: A neat bit of patricide by Roland/Boss. The TU2 is now the standard stage tuner and lets be honest, it is a much better product. Built like a tank, nice bright LEDs and it mutes so you can do away with the A/B box or volume pedal you needed to silent tune with a TU12. In fact does anyone, anywhere still use a tuner with a needle?
10- Silver gaffa tape: Once upon a time it was all you could get and everything was covered in it and looked a mess. These days black is the norm (of course) and a whole spectrum of colours is available, including glow in the dark versions. Military suppliers Silvermans will even sell you a camouflage roll. Careful where you put it down though, you might not be able to find it again…



Guitar and Bass June 2008
 
 
 

Stone Gods Guitar Tech,  Adi Vines Talks to :Performing Musician  & Live Sound World - Dec 2007