Rabbit Diary - 6/30/04 - The Brian Kehew Interview



Bjorn Ciggaar ciggaar at warande.net
Thu Jul 15 01:19:32 CDT 2004


I met this guy in Cardiff and hung out with him. He's a really cool guy! 
And a big WHO fan as well! We where hanging out and just sharing WHO stories.

At 19:31 14-7-2004, you wrote:

>I have posted an interview I did with Brian Kehew, Rabbit's keyboard and 
>stage tech. Superb bloke. Read the interview here.
>Rabbit
>
>The Brian Kehew Interview
>By Dave van Staveren
>Copyright JRB 2004©
>
>1).Q - What is your official title with The Who.
>Keyboard/stage technician.
>2).Q - How long have you been working for The Who.
>Since the 2002 tour began, before that I did keyboards for Pete at his La 
>Jolla shows, so they knew me from that. Originally I got called in the day 
>after John passed away, and they had to re-group and rehearse with Pino. 
>They did that in L.A., where I live, so they asked me to help. It went so 
>well, they asked if I would pack.
>
>4).Q- How does your role interact with setting up and mixing of the sound 
>and monitors
>The backline (instruments) set up onstage first, we have a prepared plan. 
>Then the monitors go in around the instruments and amps. That allows the 
>musicians to hear each other (and the synthesizer backing tracks on 4 
>famous songs) and the vocals. They also put out lines and mics to pick up 
>the keyboard section. Not too complicated really, compared to some groups, 
>but it does take the better part of a day to get it all out and set properly.
>5).Q - Does this role mean close interaction with Bobby Pridden on the 
>monitor side and how does it interact with the overall house sound and 
>other techs.
>Yes, Bobby is a good friend of everyone on the Who crew! However, he 
>really let's us "do our thing" and then checks it afterward. We are good 
>enough that there's rarely an issue.
>6).Q - Is there a specific set of guidelines for each venue or does the 
>sound set up depend on each venue The Who play's at.
>Mainly the only change would be the size of the stage, because our setup 
>is very defined, for visual and sound reasons. And most of that space is 
>pre-checked before the tour, so the venue stagesÀare adequate for what 
>we're doing. We have - on occasion - played very small stages (Hard Rock 
>Hotel in Vegas, House of Blues, Carnegie Hall) that are much smaller than 
>we're used to. At the Hard Rock, I basically sat AT the keyboard rig the 
>whole night because there was no other place. At the House of Blues, I was 
>stuck behind Pete's amps the whole show, so it was hard to hear how the 
>keyboards were doing... but fun to hear the guitar!
>
>7).Q- Does Rabbit's mix differ from let's say other keyboardists.
>Not really - he uses very basic sounds, mainly Hammond and piano. It's a 
>very traditional role, sonically. What he hears is mostly the real onstage 
>sound, plus some drums in his monitors for clarity of rhythm. Everyone 
>onstage hears the keyboard tracks in their monitors - those are Won't Get 
>Fooled Again, Baba O'Reilly, Eminence Front, and You Better You Bet. Those 
>are the tracks Pete recorded years ago that are part of the catalogue, and 
>would be nearly impossible to duplicate live.
>8).Q- What do you like best about working with Rabbit
>He is a FANTASTIC guy. We have so much fun talking together, and his 
>stories are the best. I keep hoping he'll get a book done. Really, he is 
>very appreciative when we do something, and always keeps an eye out for 
>how to make the show better. This means we're constantly changing the 
>setup and sounds each night. The Who show is very dynamic, no two are the 
>same in tempo, feel, arrangement. So we have to pay attention and see how 
>we can make the show better from our perspective. We're always changing 
>something...
>
>9).Q - Any memorable occasions that stick out in your mind working with 
>Rabbit
>There are lots: I loved it when we played in Texas - where Rabbit grew up. 
>We found a girl who had giant steer horns on her truck and hired them for 
>the night; we had these huge bull horns on his Leslie speaker AND a big 
>Texas flag on his rig. That was a good one for him. Little things like 
>that get him/us excited, and it makes the show more fun too...
>Once I remember him, on a huge stage, turning around and looking for me 
>(like he does when we have a problem). So I ran onstage and up to him and 
>he just says "Sounds good - doesn't it?!"
>He has played in SO many bands over the years, he has seen the good and 
>bad of it all. I mention that only because, like a lot of touring 
>musicians, he gets worried about leaving things backstage - because they 
>can get stolen. Not likely on a Who show, though. And sometimes, if he's 
>been out shopping for the day, he brings ALL his stuff onstage with him - 
>shopping bags, jackets, etc. so it will be safe with him onstage. Then, 
>after the last encore, it goes away with him, safe and sound... You'll 
>never see Madonna doin' that!
>10).Q- Do you play the keyboards
>Yes, I play guitar and keyboards. Not nearly as well as Rabbit - he has a 
>great classic style. I know Pete LOVES what he does, which is a strong 
>style similar to how Pete plays guitar; great dynamics and clear, powerful 
>parts...
>11).Q - What do you do when your not working for The Who
>I have my own studio and am also a musician. Mostly mixing projects for 
>Warner Bros: I mix the "outtakes and rarities" of classic old records when 
>they do reissues. If a CD gets redone, with bonus tracks, I mix the 
>extras. We did all the Elvis Costello records, the Ramones, Yes, Alice 
>Cooper, Talking Heads, lots more. A fun job too!
>12).Q - Do you watch the gigs you work at
>Of course, I still think the Who are probably the best live band out 
>there. We HAVE to watch the show, in case something goes wrong - and you 
>never know where or how. Sometimes we even have to fix Roger or Pete's 
>stuff - whoever is handy and catches the problem fixes it as fast as 
>possible. I do enjoy their shows night after night, and I don't think I 
>would for another band. They change it EVERY time, so everyone has to 
>watch where the songs are going. Even though the setlist is not that 
>different, each song changes from night to night, different tempos, 
>dynamic ups and downs, moods of the musicians.
>Brian Kehew - 06/30/04
>
>
>
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