Sunday, November 29, 2009

On The Road With KISS

Here's an article from the Australasian Lighting Industry Association trade publication about KISS's Lighting Director, Motley! Motley discusses working with the band, the current stage setup, and many other behind-the-scenes tech details.

If any of you are wondering why you haven't seen Australia's renown lighting crew chief Motley recently, it's because he's been living a childhood dream - working for KISS!

"I filled in for Bryan Hartley (KISS's longtime Lighting Director)on some KISS shows in the USA and Europe (07 & 08) after doing the Paul Stanley tour as Lighting Director in Australia," Motley explained. "Bryan was / is busy with Aerosmith and Trans Siberian Orchestra so Patrick Whitley sent an email, "Need KISS LD, what you up to for 18 months off and on?". My reply: "touring with KISS, I guess!"

Motley has been getting great feedback from all industry types.

"I had Lenny Kravitz in NYC at front of house, and I nearly got nervous, but once the first 30 seconds of the show are over, I am in the groove and don't realise what is going on around me until just before the encore."

The rig is 64' wide and made up of 7 trusses wit 2 x 8' side trusses to give it a wider look. The stage is 106' with scaff wings built in the seats at most arenas. The set and backline is set up at front of house on a rolling stage. Lights include 7k Syncro Lite x7, V*L3000 Spot x24, V*L3500 Wash x82, 4Lite DWE {Inline} x26 {Audience}, 4Lite DWE {square} x18 {Stage}, Atomic Strobe x34, CB12 LED Truss Toner x58, ETC Source4 Par NSP x4 {Gene Blood Gag}, Red Police Beacon x10- all controlled by a grandMA.

All air lights are in pre-rig truss except Syncrolites and inline Audience 8lites, so there are not many cases to store. Lighting is supplied by Epic, based in LA. Crew Chief is Sean Kohl, and Andy Figueroa is the KISS sign tech. There are 13 trucks and 6 tour buses all pretty full up.

"The show design started with the band saying they want a set full of video and a big video screen {60' by 20')," said Motley. "We went to do a bunch of Festival shows in Canada and two in the USA, so it was different lighting vendors and systems everywhere. The VL3500 with the beam blaster in was the only fixture that would cut over all the video. We took the big screen and the old set to see what would stick and ended up with the show.

"Then Patrick sent me a hand drawing and asked me to draw it up in 3D; after a few bounces back and forth he went to the set company All Access and got it turned in to a reality.

"The strait truss look fit with the big square set and video so I kept it simple. The joke is that you can tell it was designed by a crew chief! The only thing I was asked was the band want Syncrolites, the rest it up to me.

"There are a few cues in a KISS show that must be done - the rest is what I call a 80's Ozzie pub rock rig on steroids. There is not a lot of movement in the rig until the end of the show. Drum riser goes up to 16' and rotates, Paul flies from front of house and Gene flies up to the front truss.

"It's been a good buzz, as I went to KISS in 1980 in Sydney and came home and told Mum I am going to be a roadie and make big rock shows. Somehow I have now gone full circle. At first it was a bit weird talking to band members in full make up and 8" boots so they end up 7' tall - twenty-nine years later who would have thought, but after so many years of touring I have no problem with it at all."