Grateful Dead Legend Bill Kreutzmann Goes Rogue With Chauvet
Legendary drummer, Bill Kreutzmann knows a thing or two about helping friends.
A founding member of the Grateful Dead along with Jerry Garcia, Phil Lesh, Bob Weir and Ron "Pigpen" McKernan, Kreutzmann made rock history when he invited fellow percussionist Mickey Hart to join the band. This made the Dead one of the first and only rock groups to have two drummers. The amazing synchronicity between this pair of percussionists helped forge a new sound and earned them the nickname “the Rhythm Devils.”
Given his penchant for friendship, Kreutzmann (who played in all 2,300 Grateful Dead performances during the group’s lifespan) could undoubtedly appreciate the bond between lighting designer Manny Newman and his friend Ronny RedRocks. This is especially true since that friendship resulted in a collection of Rogue R1 Spot fixtures from Chauvet Professional adding an eye-popping visual element to his performance with his new band, Billy and the Kids.
Manny Newman was the lighting designer for Billy and the Kids’ performance at the iconic 9:30 Club in Washington DC. He called on the Rogue R1 Spots to add a critical element to his design after his friend RedRocks made arrangements for eight of the units to be shipped to the famous venue for the Billy and the Kids show.
“My friend Ronny RedRocks, who is the Lighting Designer for Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, got me these fixtures – and he was my lighting tech for Billy and The Kids at the 9:30 Club,” said Newman, an up-and-coming New York LD who’s designed for Electron and Conspirator.
Once Manny had the Rogues in his rig for Kreutzmann, he certainly knew how to utilise them to stunning effect. “The super-fast iris on the Rogues allowed me to do some cool FX and wipes,” he said. “What was also cool was that some of the R1 gobos helped me achieve some matching looks with the moving fixtures already on the venue’s rig.”
The LD mounted six of the Rogues on the bottom of the upstage crank truss. He then positioned the two remaining Rogues on top of the truss, along with four Intimidator Spot LED 350 moving fixtures from Chauvet Professional’s sister company Chauvet DJ. The intense output of the Intimidator fixtures and crisp gobos worked with the Rogues to create unique audience-engaging looks.
Another Chauvet DJ product used was the Intimidator Spot LED 250 moving head. Manny, who controlled his rig using an MA Lighting grandMA2 on PC console, positioned six of these Intimidators on top of upstage cases to sidelight the performers and cover a large area of the audience. Also colorising the stage were 14 SlimPAR 56 RGB units from Chauvet DJ. The LD used eight of these par-style fixtures mounted on stands as side washes, and positioned six more on crank truss to serve as back washes. For audience blinders, he used the Chauvet DJ Mega Strobe FX12 LED strobe lights.
“We were all extremely happy with how this show turned out,” said Newman. “I have always used Chauvet – the fixtures are very reliable. They’re very affordable, but at the same time their brightness and quality stands up to big house light rigs. The experience of working with the Rogue R1 Spots was something special; it really gave me a lot of great options as a designer. I owe my friend Ronny RedRocks one for getting me in touch with these lights.”
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