Carl Verheyen: Changing Sounds to Fit the Gig

I’m just wrapping up eight days straight of rehearsals in New York with Supertramp, a band I’ve played with since 1985. We haven’t toured since 2002, so it’s been awhile! But we’ve got a stadium/arena tour in the fall booked with no venues under 10,000 seats, and many bigger venues in the 18,000 to 20,000 range. So far it’s all in Europe.
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I’m just wrapping up eight days straight of rehearsals in New York with Supertramp, a band I’ve played with since 1985. We haven’t toured since 2002, so it’s been awhile! But we’ve got a stadium/arena tour in the fall booked with no venues under 10,000 seats, and many bigger venues in the 18,000 to 20,000 range. So far it’s all in Europe.

The group has been expanded from the core band to include an additional multi-instrumentalist/brass player/singer and two additional singers to handle the “greatest hits.” So now it’s a nine-piece band creating a dense palette of sound. There’s a lot going on musically on every song.

My biggest challenge — especially coming off a tour last month with my own three-piece band — is my sound, which I’ve narrowed down to be more of a beam that cuts through the barrage of keyboards, horns, and voices. I’ve temporarily given up my signature stereo clean tone and fat, open distortion tones. Instead I’ll be going for precise, tight tones that will translate to the big halls and not wash out with too much delay and reverb

It’s such a huge change of direction for me because on some songs Supertramp sounds so thick and punchy without me playing that I have to remember not to play when I’m not needed, or there’s no guitar part. On two songs I play about six notes on electric 12-string and stand there and sing the rest of the time. On one song I just sing harmony...no guitar. I gotta say, that’s a pretty foreign concept for me! As many of you who play in guitar trios know, it's an extremely busy job

But I enjoy the challenge, and I’ll be back to the CVB as soon as the ‘Tramp tour ends.

Carl Verheyen, June 28, 2010

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