Tower Records Returns For One Night

By Steve Harvey. Gibson Brands and Colin Hanks set the clock back on Sunset Boulevard recently, restoring the exterior of the iconic Tower Records store to its former glory—just for one day. The trip down memory lane was devised by Colin Hanks, whose directorial debut, “All Things Must Pass,” charts the rise and fall of one of the world’s best known record retailers, which opened in 1960 in his hometown, Sacramento, CA.
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W. Hollywood, CA—Gibson Brands and Colin Hanks set the clock back on Sunset Boulevard recently, restoring the exterior of the iconic Tower Records store to its former glory—just for one day. The trip down memory lane was devised by Colin Hanks, whose directorial debut, “All Things Must Pass,” charts the rise and fall of one of the world’s best known record retailers, which opened in 1960 in his hometown, Sacramento, CA.

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“The event was the premiere launch party for the documentary at Tower Records,” explains Steve Marks, program manager for new product development for Gibson Brands. “Gibson has leased the building to use it as events and showroom. When the movie people approached Gibson to use the facility for their party we said, great idea—why don’t we provide the PA for you?”

The documentary premiered further east on Sunset Strip at the Harmony Gold Preview House. After the screening, Hanks and his guests headed to the private event at Tower Records, where Eagles of Death Metal (EoDM) performed in the parking lot while Weird Al Yankovic spun records inside.

EoDM set up on a 24-ft. stage in the walled back corner of the lot. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t get too noisy and have the cops shut us too early, but we also wanted to get enough throw to cover the whole distance,” says Marks. “We chose Cerwin Vega 21-inch folded horn subs, for their throw and the height. We groundstacked them and stacked three dual-15s on top, in a standing array.”

A pair of Cerwin Vega P1000X 10-inch self-powered boxes provided center fill, adds Marks. “And on stage, we had seven P1500X powered stage monitors, since the band doesn’t use ears. They run them loud—it was about 106 dB.”

Rat Sound supplied the control gear and a pair of Midas Pro2 consoles. Shawn London, who has mixed at major venues around town for two decades, is touring at FOH with the band, which set off on its tour of the U.S. and Europe the following day.

“They commented on how the monitors sounded so good and clean and powerful. They had to do very little EQ’ing to make them work,” Marks reports. “It all sounded really good.”

The only minor glitch was that Josh Homme, frontman with Queens of the Stone Age and co-founder, with Jesse Hughes, of EoDM, got sick after the soundcheck. “They had to call in a backup, so after soundcheck we had to change the kit, because the replacement [Julian Dorio, drummer for The Whigs] is a left-handed drummer. Then we had to re-mike it. So the first song was the soundcheck.”

Inside, where celebrities such as Tower Records founder Russ Solomon, Rita Wilson, Moby, Busy Phillips and Rodney Bingenheimer, “The Mayor of Sunset Strip,” mingled with after-party revelers, Marks set up a self-powered Cerwin-Vega rig for the DJ. “We used the P1500X powered 15-inch speakers on top of poles, which sat on top of the subwoofers, which in this case were some new AV36 18-inch Stroker-powered folded horns that we have coming. We ran two a side, both tops and subs.”

There were two reasons to try the new subs, he says: “One, they’re new, so we wanted to have fun with them and test them. And two, we felt that, in case they wanted to get loud and exciting in there, they would have plenty of bass if they wanted it.”

“Everybody complimented us on how good it sounded,” reports Marks. “Anyone who didn’t was busy partying and drinking, and not noticing how awesome it was.”

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