Drummer Chad Smith
Jessup, MD (March 11, 2011)–Rock and roll supergroup Chickenfoot recently finished recording on an API 1608 at Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Sound.
The band comprises Sammy Hagar (Van Halen), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and solo musician Joe Satriani. According to veteran recording and mixing engineer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Guns ‘N Roses, Metallica), the 1608 played a pivotal role in capturing Chickenfoot’s music.
“I absolutely love the sound of the 1608,” said Fraser. “It’s classic API. The 1608 shares the reliability of other API gear. In fact, it works so well and so transparently that I seldom had to think about the mechanics of what I was doing on the board. It was like an extension of my hands.”
John Cuniberti, who helped convert Red Rocker Sound–an annex to the lead singer’s house that was once a rehearsal space–into a “proper” recording facility, installed the 1608. “I wasn’t comfortable with the thought of installing a ‘control surface’ at Sammy’s studio,” he said. “The band, and more of the folks they work with, grew up with traditional analog consoles. By integrating the console into the studio, we have the power of digital editing with the sound of classic American rock. That’s the best of both worlds for Sammy and Chickenfoot.”
Fraser recorded the band in the time-tested way of cutting drum and bass tracks and then overdubbing guitars and vocals. For the initial take, he used all of the console inputs to permeate Smith’s drums with a classic American rock sound before sending them to the studio’s Pro Tools system. Fraser recorded the remaining instruments with external hardware that included a rack of API 550b four-band equalizers.
“Because we typically had more than 16 tracks, I submixed stems in Pro Tools to output to the 1608,” said Fraser. “The sound has a lot more punch, a lot more air and a lot more dimensionality.”