On Tour with Kenny Chesney - Mackie DL32R Rules Backstage
Country music superstar Kenny Chesney released his first album, In My Wildest Dreams, in 1994, and has hit the road pretty much every year since then. His core band, as well as much of the crew, has been with him almost as long, and not surprisingly, are like family, drawn by a love for the music. “Most people on the crew, whether they’re a truck driver, bus driver, rigger, most of us are musicians,” offers Jeff Kersey, Chesney’s guitar tech for over six years. “We’re all here because we love to play music, and this is a great family to play music with.”
Backstage jams are a regular part of life on tour. “We have a lot of fun out on the road,” reports drummer Sean Paddock, a 20-year veteran with Chesney. “Whenever we get a big enough dressing room, we set up our little studio space. The band and the crew love to come in and jam, so it’s all-in, like a pickup basketball game.”
Their backstage setup is heavy on Mackie gear, including several portable loudspeakers, subs, and studio monitors. At the heart of it all is their Mackie DL32R 32-Channel Rackmount Digital Mixer. “We use the DL32R for our mixdown in the band room,” explains Phillip “Sidephill” Robinson, Chesney’s monitor engineer for more than 16 years. “It’s so great to not have to drag out a snake, you can set the DL32R up, plug in your mics, fire up the iPads and away you go.”
Robinson points to the DL32R’s ease of use as another asset. “We have a lot of different levels of technical expertise among the crew, and it’s great to have a mixer that’s intuitive enough for anyone to get their head around quickly.” Kersey agrees: “I didn’t look at any manuals,” he muses.
Paddock points to the DL32R’s recording capability as a standout feature for capturing ideas as inspiration strikes. “Since it has the ability to record, we can record the jams, and then come back a week later and listen to it and remember, oh yeah, that’s what we did.”
For Robinson, the DL32R’s simplicity and dependability is the bottom line. “With everything that’s going on around me, there’s always something going on in my world, and I need to have things that just work. And the DL32R is that. I just plug it in, turn it on, and it works. Every time.”