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In this episode of Sound Design Live I talk with FOH mixer for artists such as Spin Doctors, Indigo Girls, Styx, Melissa Etheridge, Gwen Stefani, Kesha, Jewel, Mr. Big, Goo Goo Dolls, Christina Aguilera, and Adam Lambert, Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato, about how she went from mixing local bands to international tours. I ask:
- In the book Get On Tour you write, “For several years before I started touring I worked at a local sound company, in the A/V department at an entertainment complex, as a stagehand, at a nightclub, mixing local bands, and occasionally as an assistant at a recording studio.” How did that happen?
- The milestone in this story is that a friend of yours called to offer you the tour with The Spin Doctors and you credit that to simple word of mouth marketing. You say, “I made sure everyone knew that I wanted to be on tour. I talked constantly with friends and colleagues about touring, and when I worked with visiting bands and engineers I would pick their brain about how they got started. When the opportunity came, I seized it.” Could you talk in a bit more detail about what that looked like in practice? How did you make sure that everyone knew that you wanted to be on tour?
- Can you explain the hiring process to me? From the initial idea where a production company or artist says, “I want to go on tour,” what are the chain of events and people that then lead to you or someone else getting hired for a tour?
- Let’s talk about the Mr. Big tour. Could you give me an overview of the inputs you are mixing?
- What’s in your work bag?
- What is one book that has been helpful to you?
It’s always someone who knows someone.Michelle Sabolchick Pettinato
- All music in this podcast by Niklas Harju.
- Books: Get On Tour, Illusions by Richard Bock
- Hardware: Beyer M88, RE20, EV ND76, Telefunken M80, kettlebell
- Michelle’s workbag: headphones Sony MD7506, flashlight, sharpies, tuning CD, karaoke mic, iPod to XLR cable, cool towel, batteries, adapters, ear plugs Sensaphonics, Gerber multi tool, e-tape, Purell
- That came from a classmate who I was friends with and remembered always saying that this is what I want to do and he gave me a shot.
- Meet the crew, production managers, tour managers, stage managers, and other crew members and build connections with them because they are the people who are going to refer you for a job.
- It’s always someone who knows someone.
- I love the kettlebell because it’s the only workout where I feel like, Wow, I just did something.