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In 2008 I had the pleasure of working close to DAVE WECKL helping with the backline with MIKE STERN BAND in Cartagena Jazz Festival 2008. Want details? Keep reading.

     Alll the PICS at the end of the page.



It all began when...   

last November 2008, I had the great pleasure of being part of the close work related to one of my idols: CHUCK NORRIS...excuse me !!! DAVE WECKL.

    A friend of mine and M-CLAN spanish band bass player,
Pascual Saura (RIP) owns an Instruments Rent company called BACKLINE RENT in Cartagena. His company works for all the great festivals around here, supplying instruments and equipment for all the great bands and festivals arround and beyond. Believe me, first class gear.

    I asked Pascual if I could be part of the staff (non lucrative) and work in this
MIKE STERN BAND gig, in a intimate theatre in my town Cartagena. He answered: "Yes, can come with us. But don´t hurt yourself and do not steal anything !!"


    I wanted not only to be there; I had to get evidences of it...what´s the point of having an affair with say... Scarlett Johansson, if you can´t prove it later?

    No, no...the actress doesn´t play in the band, or at least she didn´t turn up that thay. I did a little pictorial report of all that event: from the morning of that day until the moment of the very end of the gig: some pics from the Backline Rent store, where the instruments were prepared; many pics from the setting up, from the show time and more.


    And I had the chance to meet LUCAS IVES, whom I have known through HOUSE OF DRUMMING forum. He is Dave Weckl´s personal technician. HI AGAIN, LUCAS !!! And also I had the pleasure of seeing TAKE 6 too !! It was a double artist show.

    For DETAILS LOVERS, here you have a "BRIEF" SUMMARY OF THE FACTS, as I could remember afterwards, some months later. NON details-lovers, jump to the end to see the slideshow:

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Ruben & Fernando Rubio, packing everything




11:00 - I go to Backline Rent store, I salute my friends there: Fenando y Rubén. I take some pictures and I take a look at the Mike Stern Band rider: a paper from the Band, telling all they need and want for the concert (you have it in the pics). We well meet at 16:00 at the back entrance of the theatre.



16:00 - We arrive at the stage with the drums, amps and everything.
16:30 - Lucas Ives and their Spain tour manager come out. They bring a cymbals wheeled-bag and a blue drum Hard Case with a lot of things inside ( mics, wires, soundcard -I think-, cowbells, sticks, ducktape...). “DAVE WECKL” is written in that case: you know the owner now. You can see this drum case in some pics posted.
17:00 - I introduce myself to Lucas, have a liite chat and I offer him my help. He tells me that soon they will have a new kit for the tour. Meantime the drumset must be rented: YAMAHA OAK custom was used, as usual.

The drum riser is mounted by the theatre crew. Some instructions given by Lucas to the workers: it must be flat and with good stability. Height of the riser seems not to worry, and it´s mounted at his minimum height, my favourite riser level.


17:15 – First thing Lucas wants to check is the Yamaha O1 mixer. The provided machine is OK. Lucas sets up the drumset, mounts all new heads, and change a piece located in the back of the Yamaha mixer. I help a little with translation and changing the bassdrum head MYSELF.
17:30 - TAKE 6 do their soundcheck while Lucas keeps setting up, worried a little about the timing. Nothing wrong; it´s just that he arrived too soon, compared with the written schedule I could see before.
17:40 - Lucas sets all the drumheads, tunes them and sends a text message to Dave, informing him about the time the soundcheck will begin.



18:30 – All the drumset is mounted, AND….while I am checking something in my bag (behind the mounted drumset), I turn my head and DAVE WECKL itself appears half a meter near me, drinking from a big coke paper glass. Coffee inside. He said nothing. Maybe because I said nothing, either. Not rude here: I just got a little nervous, truly.

Dave carries a black bag on his shoulder: his laptop computer (MAC). The first thing he does is sitting in the drumchair, put the computer on his leg, open his laptop and connect it to the Yamaha O1. With this operation, Dave loads all the settings for every band or event he performs: Mike Stern, Chick Corea, , Metro, studio recording, Clinic...


18:45 - Dave adjusts the bass drum pedals and tunes the drums again, from where Lucas left them. He makes some adjustements of cymbals and toms.
- I ask Dave if he would mind if I took some pictures during the set up. He answer:
I´d prefer no”. I say “Ok, thanks.
- In some moments of the soundcheck, I hide a little in the stage sides and in the ceiling levels. Hence many pictures taken from the top and behind the stage mixer. Cool points of view.
19:00 – Then one man voice screaming-laughing-singing is heard behind the curtains. It was clear, it was Mike Stern. Guitar on the shoulder. More quietly come in Chris Minh Doky and Randy Brecker.
- What a nice people Chris and Mike. About Randy: he barely spoke anything during all the soundcheck. He seemed to be really tired and serious. No unkind, just quiet.
19:15 – Dave has finished setting up. The first musical sound he does is a light-fast-jazzy samba with the ride, after a couple of bars, he makes some pedals adjustments in the pedals (also rented).
- When the hardware and woods are fine, it´s time for electronics. He adjusts his Yamaha mixer channels with the left hand, while he plays a really simple HH-SD-BD beat with his right hand. You imagine the beat: yes, that.

Lucas setting new heads


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19:30 – Everybody in the band is playing separately, just making his instrument sounds right.
As I remember, they didn´t play a specific tune. They just jam a little... It´s obvious that they know, and their audience soundman knows, how to sound perfectly, fast and easy.



    And know begins one of the highlights of the soundcheck (and of all night). Randy Brecker is checking his trumpet from his stage space. Some strange noise sounds through Randy monitors. Dave comes to him and assumes all the control of the trumpet section, soundwise. He asks Randy to play, and during about 20 minutes, Weckl talks very friendly with their audience soundman and stage soundman (local technician), about every single detail about the trumpet stage sound: reverb, effects levels, delay time, natural and effected sound mix… you name it.


    Dave also goes to the stage mixer and tells the soundman some eq parameters to change, reverb time, effects... Everything very friendly, I assure you…

I had the honor to do some translation help with the mixer man, my friend Manolo Peña from TELEMAG.  The little problem seems to be solved and Randy goes to the dressing room.




    Then Dave gets the electric bass, sits in the drum riser and begins to play some funky riffs. Mike is playing with him, jamming. Then our Lucas sits in the drumchair and begins to play with them. This was about 15 minutes long.
After that, Dave stands up and says to Lucas: “Not bad”. Well these were the only words I could understand from my place. That was cool. I said to myself "I envy you, Lucas".

    All the band goes to the dressing room. Just before that, I took some pictures with Mike Stern and Randy Brecker on the stage.

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DAVE jamming on bass with Mike & Lucas

    They accepted it very friendly. I didn´t want to “picture-attack”  Weckl. It was the perfect moment to go to the theatre restaurant to have something to eat with my friends.

    The gig is going to begin in about an hour later. Time to check my cameras (picture and video): memory and batteries replaced (I have to say that the machines behaved perfectly). I went to the backstage after that.

    The dressing rooms are in the second floor and some practice-pad sticks hits sounded above. Ten minutes before the show, Mike Stern sits near the stage, at the side entrance to it. He doesn´t stop playing the guitar and joking while speaks nicely to Take 6 tour manager.




     Pictures and video were captured all around the place (without disturbing the band, of course). Unfortunately it was no possible to take pictures of the other members of the band. From my points of view, Weckl was the only one possible to catch. Not bad.

    I enjoyed a lot the adventure of being behind the curtains, at the sides of the stage, climbing stairs… while I was listening and watching the band closely.

It was incredible to see these musicians playing live...and so close.

     Lucas always at the side of the stage, elegantly hidden, taking care of everything, specially observing his boss: Chuck. No, no... Dave. You can see in one pic below what Lucas does while his boss is working.

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23:00 – Mike Stern Band finishes. We quickly take out all the things out the stage. Lucas does his work: fast, smooth and efficiently.

             Now it was TAKE 6 time.

23:30 – Time to go. Stern´s band go down the stairs from the dressing rooms. Weckl is the last one. He signs some autographs and says to all the   staff working in the backstage: “Hi guys, thank you all, good work.” And shakes his hand to everybody (me included). No bones broken.

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With superkind MIKE STERN, after the sound check.

    I accompany Dave to the street. He carries a bottle of wine in his hand, from the catering service in their room.  A young friend of mine is waiting outside for a picture. I take his camera and make a photo of him with Dave.
    Dave walks slowly to the Hotel, a few meters from the stage. My friend tells him aloud “Dave, you are the best !!”. Dave turns his head and says "Oh thanks, good bye..."



    It was dinner time for the band in the restaurant of the hotel. There will be wine, sure. Next day, another show, another city: Gijon, 1000 kms away. Next gigs in Spain are closer, fortunately.

    The BackLine Rent van is full again with the instruments and gear. My partners Ruben, Javi and I are hungry. There were a lot of good fruit (first class fruit) and snacks abandoned in Stern Band room. We went there, ate some and chat a lot.  I shook hands with my friends: everything was perfect: a good work was done.




    I came back home at 2:00. I opened my Laptop (no MAC) and transfered all the pics. I quickly checked them and a great smile appeared on my face: there are some good pics. I can prove now that I was there with Scarlett Joh...err Dave Weckl and friends.  Also I kept my word I gave to Pascual: I didn´t steal anything and I managed to go to bed unharmed.

  I assure you that if this happens to me ten years ago, I´d have been in almost heart attack during 2 weeks before the concert. No one had a heart attack, but it was an unforgettable day. Hey Lucas, it was a pleasure. True. Keep on the good work.

    I didn´t write a musical review about the concert, because you all already know all those things.
    And yes, I know. A very long post. I love details (specially those attached with pics) and I needed to practice my written English, too.

    Bye...and congratulations for all non-drummers who have read to the end.


 Mike Stern Band  l Festival Jazz Cartagena 2008

  Mike Stern l guitar

  Dave Weckl l drums

  Randy Brecker l trumpet

  Chris Minh Doky l bass

My gratitude to l


Pascual Saura, Ruben, Javi, Fernando, Manolo Peña, the theatre crew...and my little OLYMPUS C740UZ camera, that after thousands of pics it is strong and fine as the first day.

Susana del Alamo, for helping me with my English.

And thanks to my wife, who let me go everywhere !!