Randy Jackson – Live on Stage with RCF
Randy Jackson, lead singer and guitarist of the legendary band “Zebra” has been touring with RCF speakers systems for years. Since the mid-70’s Randy Jackson has been a major player on the American music scene. Today, he can be found performing with major symphony orchestras and as a solo acoustic artist while still maintaining a high profile with Zebra.
Randy Jackson takes us down memory lane and also updates us on what is currently going on with his musical career.
Zebra started out of New Orleans in the mid-70s, a rock trio with Randy Jackson as the lead singer and guitarist, Guy Gelso on drums and vocals and bassist/keyboardist/vocalist Felix Hanemann. The band became “local heroes” with a huge fan-base built by extensive touring in the region. In 1982 Atlantic Records signed Zebra. Their first album, "Zebra" was produced by Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, John Lennon) and released in 1983.
With their huge fan base built from 8 years of touring in Louisiana and New York the album sold 75,000 copies the first 2 weeks and overnight Zebra became one of Atlantic Records most valuable bands, and had the fastest selling debut album in Atlantic Records history.
Strong melodic songs such as: “Who's Behind The Door" and "Tell Me What You Want", written by Jackson, received serious notice in the press, and helped to form legions of new Zebra fans.
RJ: “When I look back at my career with Zebra it has been quite a journey. I feel that we are really fortunate to have had a career spanning over 35 years. It is a great feeling to know that people still want to see us live and are still so interested in hearing new music from the band”.
The debut album went gold and certified Zebra’s great success.
RJ: “It was an amazing trip, going from performing on smaller local stages to suddenly sharing stages with groups like Aerosmith, Kiss, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater and playing large arenas and stadiums”.
In 1984 Atlantic Records released the second album, “No Tellin´ Lies”. The album was well received in the press but never got the same attention at radio as the previously one. The third album, “3.V”, was released in 1986.
RJ: “We did three albums in less than 3 years and at the same time we were constantly touring, doing videos, promotional appearances, TV shows etc. I put a massive amount of time and efforts into recording the 3rd album "3.V". It was our most ambitious production ever, and we were confident that the album would do well. We used the album to experiment with new instruments such as the Synclavier and the Fairlight. We also did a lot of midi "keyboard" sequencing with the Linn 9000”.
Unfortunately the “3.V” album didn’t get the reception the band had hoped for and Atlantic Records soon dropped Zebra.
RJ: “3.V” contains some of our best songs. As an "album", it might be our best. It just seemed that we were always falling short on airplay. Bon Jovi had just released "Slippery When Wet" and I think our album just got lost at radio.”
Zebra scaled down and the individual band members started to focus on outside music projects.
RJ: “It was a big let down for the band, but our music and our fans kept us positive. I developed a huge interest for computers and started building my own recording studio at home. I was called to do several session recordings on guitar and met a lot of great people along the way. In 1989 I got a call to tour as keyboardist, guitarist and backing vocalist with the original Jefferson Airplane for their last tour together. It was an awesome experience!!”
In 1989 Randy Jackson was signed to Atlantic Records again to do a solo record, which was eventually called "China Rain”. This time his direction was aimed more at harder metal. During the production of the album Nirvana released their album, "Never Mind", and Atlantic decided that "China Rain" had become unmarketable. In 1990 Zebra released a live album on Atlantic and the band received great reviews on the record. Soon afterward he started working on a live solo show incorporating a Macintosh computer to run the sound and lights. A year of programming resulted in a show that people still talk about today, which featured the best of Zebra along with many other classic rock favorites.
RJ: “Those were some very busy years and I started to developed some skills in computer programming while working with all kinds of music software. My interest and passion actually led to an offer to develop instruments and software for Lonestar Technologies in 1992”.
Lonestar Technologies was based in Hicksville, New York. The company was developing a new instrument called “The Key”, a guitar-like synthesizer that was ground breaking in its diversity.
RJ: “What an amazing project. It was a big change for me, going from being a full time musician to doing development for such an innovative company. “The Key" had a very futuristic design and by itself is a guitar-like synthesizer, where the "frets" are like keys on a keyboard and the "strings" are made up of synthetic "veins" attached to the body. “The Key” could be used as a stand-alone MIDI controller and had it's own internal sound engine. Chords are formed by pressing different combinations of keys while strumming the "veins". "The Key" could also be used as a video "reader" that would allow the user to play along with music videos on encoded video tapes. We also developed cartridges called "Song Pacs" that could be plugged into a slot in the instrument and used to accompany the player. The "Song Pac" cartridges included midi versions of licensed songs and allowed the user to play an album’s worth of songs on each cartridge. I liked to describe "The Key" as an electronic Autoharp. We got Jon Anderson from Yes to try out the instrument and he ended up writing a bunch of songs using "The Key". "The Key" was pretty expensive when it was released and only a few could afford it. "The Key" was a very ambitious project and may have been a little ahead of its time”.
In 1996 Randy got an offer to sing the music of Led Zeppelin at a show with the Virginia Symphony.
RJ: “I did that first show with Brent Havens (Windborne Symphony) conducting and we have been doing them ever since. It is a full rock band performing the music of Led Zeppelin with a full symphony orchestra. It is a really big production and we have played all over the U.S. with a few shows in Canada as well. We have added some different shows over the years (music of The Doors, Pink Floyd and The Eagles) which helps keep me busy year round. It is such a great thrill to perform the music of my youth with such high caliber musicians in a symphonic environment”.
To round out his schedule Randy started to work on a solo acoustic show.
RJ: “I met a musical instrument distributor who highly recommended RCF and said he would help me check out what speaker systems that would be good for me to use for my solo acoustic shows. My main specification was that the system be portable but very powerful the system by myself. I wanted to be able to get it all into my Ford Expedition. I knew I had to be my own tour manager, stage crew and sound engineer for most of my shows. I invested in two systems, one for New York shows and one system to use in Louisiana for my gigs there. My audio system is based on the 4Pro Series using a combination of 6001 model speakers and a mix of 8001 and 8002 subwoofers”.
So with two new speaker systems Randy Jackson started to promote his “Solo Acoustic” shows.
RJ: “It was amazing to see how huge an interest there was for booking my new acoustic shows. One of my first gigs with my new RCF system was actually at the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix. At first I thought it would be a real challenge to perform at this type of event since the room was large with a lot of people but I was blown away by the performance I got out of my RCF system. The sound coming from the speakers is truly amazing, whether it is acoustic music or hard rock, you immediately hear the incredible quality, the sound is clear, each instrument is perfectly defined and the vocal clarity is second to none”.
In 2003, Zebra made a deal with the Italian label, Frontiers Records, to release their new album, “Zebra IV”. RJ: “We worked on the new CD until we felt it was really ready for release. The album did really well for us and helped us cultivate a new generation of fans. We will be working on a new studio album for next year. With more and more Zebra gigs in the works I am simply doubling my RCF system to give us the headroom to do larger venues. I just added 4 NX series wedges to my system and I'm looking into the TT+ touring products for the larger shows I do with Zebra or the Windborne Symphony. The support I have gotten from RCF U.S. is just awesome. I couldn't ask for more from a company or their product”
And the reaction to RCF from his fans?
RJ: "The compliments I get on my live sound just keep on coming. I get inquiries about my RCF system at just about every gig I do and a lot of people have said it is the best they have ever heard!”
1983 Zebra 1984 No Tellin´ Lies 1986 3 V 1990 Live 1998 The Best of Zebra in Black and White 1999 King Bisquit Live 2001 No Tellin´Lies/3 V 2003 Zebra IV 2004 Slow Down
2007 Zebra - The DVD
More information about Randy Jackson and Zebra at:!/Randy_Zebra
Welcome to the xSolutions
The xSolutions show is taking place at the Excel, London. The trade show is from October 19th to 20th 2011.
xSolutions is for professionals who sell, install, purchase or have responsibility for the day-to-day running of audio and video communication technologies within commercial facilities.
It will provide the opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the latest AV technology and solutions based offerings - as a specific product, part of an individual system or as part of a complete building systems solution.
xSolutions will provide an unprecedented focus on business communication technology within UK and Ireland.
Meet and greet with RCF Team at the show and get a chance to hear and see more about the new products, about our innovative technologies and to learn more about the large selection of product ranges and solutions from RCF.
See more about the show at:
Come and visit us on booth D14
The Ayra Series is a family of three models of active studio monitors to match the required performance level. With the addition of the dedicated Ayra subwoofer you can seamlessly add more punch and weight to your monitoring setup a mix.
The near field active monitor in the Series is Ayra 5, Ayra 6 and Ayra 8 – they all come with a high quality soft dome tweeter and a 5”, 6” or 8” composite fibreglass woofer. The Ayra Sub 10 is the perfect match to the individual models in the Ayra Series and extends the frequency response of your system, still maintaining the perfect balance in your mix.
Read more here.
At the RCF Marketing´s Channel at YouTube you can see the latest videos with product news, technical videos, references, interviews, trade show videos and much more.
Check it out here:
Interview with Fausto Incerti - RCF General Manager at the Event Elevator media site.
See the interview here.
The Low Cost Festival 2011.
During the 3 days in July the Low Cost Festival in Benidorm, Spain was visited by a lot of people and more than 50 bands playing. Highlights of this years event were acts like: Ok Go, Crystal Castles, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, FM Belfast, Sexy Sadie, Sidonie, Dorian, and also featuring MIKA, the only performance this summer in Spain.
The Low Cost Festival is composed by three main stages and this year the Stage number 2 was powered by RCF TT+ sound system with the following configuration:
18 x TTL55-A
9 x TTS56-A
8 x TTS28-A
6 x TTS26-A
RCF product specialist Oscar Mora was at The Low Cost Festival to provide with assistance to the Rental Company and FOH engineers.
“With an average SPL at 115dB´s and audience around 15.000 people per night the RCF TT+ system performed with excellent result the Stage 2 delivered awesome sound at this years festival. The other two stages were running with different sound systems and therefore it is great to see that the TT+ is doing absolute fantastic in this league, and well noticed by FOH´s, and especially from the artists”, says Oscar Mora.
More information about The Low Cost Festival at:
RCF TT+ at the TV Show “Narodna Zirka” with Ukrainian stars
The Ukrainian PA division of Eurhythmics supplied the sound system to the fourth season of the All-Ukrainian vocal TV show “Narodna Zirka” (based on the “American Idol” concept) broadcasted on the leading TV channel “Ukrajina”.
For the last three years, millions of Ukrainians has been watching the live broadcast of this incredibly fascinating contest where the pairs, consisting of “the most popular star + common people artist” competed for winning the People’s Star title.
The fourth season was again a successfully show and one of the most watched TV shows in Ukraine.
Eurhythmics PA division have been cooperating with the “Ukrajina” broadcast channel for all the seasons of the contest and during all this period they provided sound with RCF sound equipment:
At this season several RCF TT+ Line Array sound reinforcement and compact monitors was used at the shows:
Active wideband speakers: RCF TTL33A
Active subwoofers: RCF TTS28A
Compact monitor systems: RCF Monitor44
RCF TT+ at the Ukrainian Dance Show “Maidan’s”
Registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
The 21st of May 2011 was the ending of the first season of the All-Ukrainian dance show “Maidan’s” produced by TV-channel “Inter” and for this occasion a huge Gala concert has been organized.
This project was officially rated as the most large-scaled, mass TV-show and now registered in the Guinness Book of Records.
Never in the history was the main square of Ukrainian capital so crowded by numerous spectators and contestants. In general, about 3000 people were dancing on the stage at this Gala concert event.
For the ten weeks the show was running more than six thousand of professional and amateur dancers from all regions of Ukraine competed for the main prize (1 million hryvnas= more than $ 124 000).
TV-channels from different countries broadcasted this great event and French TV-channel even took the decision to make a documentary film about the event.
Eurhythmics PA division provided the sound for ten live broadcasts and for the Gala concert.
The RCF TT+ equipment used at the TV Show “Maidan’s”
Sound Systems (Maidan Square and Khreshchatyk Street):
Dance Zone – RCF TTL55A (line array module) and RCF TTS56A (subwoofers)
Delay Line #1, #2, #3 - RCF TTL33A (line array module) and RCF TTS28A (subwoofers)
RCF at the Fukushima project
The Japanese city Fukushima became worldwide known due to the disaster brought by the earthquake and tsunami, and most of all the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
In order to boost the moral of the population of this area has been established a music and art festival called “Project Fukushima” that will continue on a long-term basis. musicians and poets who were born and raised in Fukushima gathered together for this very special occasion.
The Fukushima event and festival featured the musical artistry of Japanese greats like Otomo Yoshihide, Michiro Endo, and the award-winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.
One highlight of the event was the performance by a 300 member free-jazz "orchestra", made up of professional and amateur musicians, all playing their hearts out to show their support for the people of Fukushima.
RCF, supported by local distributor Ballad Co. Ltd. provided all sound reinforcement for the main and secondary stages. Everyone was impressed by the clarity and fidelity of the TTL55-A, which allowed the nuanced performances to be enjoyed by the crowd of nearly 3,000 people.
The equipment used for the main stage was:
8pcs. TTL55-A
4pcs. TTL36-AS
2pcs. TT22-A
2pcs. ART905-AS
2pcs. ART410-A
4pcs. NX10-SMA
4pcs. NX12-SMA
For the other stage it has been used:
8pcs. NXL23-A
8pcs. NXS21-A
2pcs. ART525-A
2pcs. ART310-A
Read more about Project Fukushima here.
RCF TT+ delivered the sound at the Fatboy Slim concert at Zrće beach.
Norman Quentin Cook better known by his former stage name Fatboy Slim, is a British DJ, big beat rapper and record producer.
He is a pioneer of the electronic dance genre that achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s. Cook has achieved considerable success in the UK charts, performing as Fatboy Slim and with The Housemartins, Beats International and Freak Power.
The sound system for the Fatboy Slim concert was the large RCF TT+ High Definition Touring and Theatre and was supplied by the rental company Promologistika from Croatia.
A total of 48 pcs RCF TTL55A (active line array) were used: together with 16 pcs per side (LR) + delay of 2 stacks with 6 pcs each.
Furthermore the system was also equipped with 16 pcs RCF TTS56A (subwoofers).
So the Zrće beach was packed with people listening to the Fatboy Slim concert and everyone experienced an amazing performance with loud and clear sound.
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