Pictured (l-r) are Jeff Chimenti,
Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutz-
mann , Warren Haynes, Mickey
Hart. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.South Windsor, CT (July 17, 2009)–The Dead, comprised of founding members of the Grateful Dead, have been touring extensively this year with the new M 80 dynamic microphones from Telefunken Elektroakustik. President Barack Obama is credited with inspiring the band to officially reunite after meeting with them following a February, 2008 San Francisco concert called “Deadheads for Obama.”
In October of 2008, Grateful Dead founding members Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, joined by Warren Haynes and Jeff Chimenti, played a second show for the Obama campaign, called “Change Rocks,” at Penn State University. On January 1 this year, the Dead announced its touring schedule and after extensive rehearsals testing the Telefunken M 80 dynamic microphones, the audio engineers decided to use them exclusively during this year’s tour, which culminated in a performance at Michigan’s Rothbury Festival on July 2.
“Over the course of time, the Dead have tried just about every brand and make of vocal microphones,” explained Derek Featherstone, FOH engineer. “When it came time to do the Dead 2009 tour, I was trying out different simple dynamic mics with the intention of keeping the stage wash down and the tone of all vocal mics the same. My goal was to use the same microphone model on all of the six vocal positions, so when the band was not singing, the front line wash would at least sound consistent.
“The vocals in this band vary greatly in tonality and strength,” Featherstone continued. “Finding a microphone that could handle and reproduce all voices well was not a simple task. Bob Weir had previously used the Telefunken M 80 and suggested I check it out. The M 80 microphone has an incredible balance of fidelity and rejection. These microphones worked flawlessly in the Dead’s somewhat hazardous live sound environment.”