Many of you have sent questions for Jonathan regarding his instrumental set up. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll try to get them answered.
Brent has been with Jonathan since 2002. He started playing the piano at 8 years old. While starting his senior year at Cal State Fullerton College a stroke of luck landed him a gig with the band Stryper. He left school to join them on the road as their offstage keyboardist. He then toured with the band as an official member from 1986 to 1989. He was also able to join them on their 2003 reunion tour before heading back to Journey.
After Stryper, Brent moved behind the scenes into the production end of the business. He’s toured with Debbie Gibson, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Sheena Easton, Natalie Merchant, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and George Benson to name a few. How’s that for diversity?
He was also a student at the Randy Potter School of Piano Technology studying piano tuning.
Fazioli Stage Set Up
Whale Stage Set Up
Another question for you. I was wondering what Jon uses to record and duplicate the sound live? In particular the software/hardware interfaces. I was looking at the Steinberg Nuendo product. It is suppose to be the best of the best with full dolby 6.1 surround support. For AD/DA conversion I was looking at the DigiDesign Digi2. And the Tascam 24 channel 8 bus automated USB surface control unit. But, I don't know how well they actually perform and how easy the software is to use. If you can give me (a beginner at digital) any suggestions, I'd appreciate it. And if Jon is getting rid of any of his stuff, I'd definately be interested in that as well!
Answer: What Jon uses for his Live sound to duplicate whats on the albums is combination of things, 1, He uses a Yamaha C7 grand piano that has 3 mics enclosed, in conjuction with a midi interface that triggers a Kurzweil micro piano module, and a Yamaha motif rack module. For his synth sounds he uses a variety of keyboards and modules all midied together including his Ensoniq TS-10, Korg Triton, Roland D-550,a couple of rackmount EMU samplers, and a Hammond XK-2 connected to a Leslie(for his B-3 stuff), there is no computer software used for the live show, Although for his solo stuff, he is composing alot of his music on a Mac Powerbook using the latest Logic sequencing software. He seems to swear by it! There ya go!
I'm a big fan of "authentic" sound. I've seen on the site that sometimes Jonathan uses a smaller piano on tour. Does this make a difference in the sound? Or does it still sound like the original stuff? I've only seen him play the big one on stage. Do the people who see him play the smaller one get cheated out of "authenticity?"
Answer: To answer your question "Do the people who see him play the smaller one get cheated out of "authenticity"The answer is No. The only difference is when Jon is playing the smaller piano is, He misses out playing the original Yamaha grand he has been playing since the Escape tour. The sound is the same, Same piano modules being triggered etc.. Whats different is the "feel" of the action of the actual keyboard itself". So if you see Jon play the "Whale" or the Baby grand "Shamu", Rest assured the Engineer ( Kevin Elson)who Engineered the Escape and every other Journey Album, is also the engineer who is running the sound Live. He will make it sound just like the album. So You know if Jon is playing the Whale or the smaller "Shamu" it will sound as good or better than the album.
I just read on the website about how the whale is set up for Jonathan to play and what a big deal it is to set up. Does it take the same amount of time to take it all down?
Answer: When dealing with an acoustical intsrument such as the "Whale" a Yamaha 7ft piano, it takes as much care and precision to set up as does it does taking it down, especially when it is stored on it's side in a giant roadcase. So to answer your question, yes is does take me as long to tear it down as it does to set it up, which is about 20 min to set it up, 1 hour to tune, and 20 minutes to tear down.
What is your main keyboard these days? Also what keyboard do you use for 'separate ways'?
Answer: Jonathans' main axe these days is his Yamaha 7ft grand piano nicked name "the Whale" For his synth sounds, he plays an Ensoniq TS10 and Roland JD800, which are also midied to a bunch of modules. Occasionally, you will see him jamming on his Hammond XK2. That memorable lick that you hear on Separate Ways is played on his Ensoniq TS10. If you watch the latest live DVD, there is a pretty good shot of Jonathan playing that unforgettable intro.
I noticed you have an Ensoniq TS10 atop the Whale and a Laptop computer. I know a little about how you MIDI different sounds with the Whale from your sound modules, what do you use the TS10 for and why the laptop?
Answer:The sounds in the Ensoniq TS10 is a big part of the synth sound as well as being used as a controller midied to a couple of other modules, The laptop runs a sequencer that sends count off and click info to the band, basically to help keep things perfectly tight. Although, we are working on eliminating the laptop, so good chance you won't see it again.
Is your lap-top used for programs or for sequencing?
Answer: Both, it is used for sequencing and for sending patch change information to a rack of assorted keyboard modules. Although, we are working on eliminating the laptop, so good chance you won't see it again.