It’s My Job

It’s no secret that Heil Sound has been on a roll lately. The whiteboard in my office that I use to keep track of demo requests, loaners, and the like is covered with a “who’s who” of bands, solo performers, sound mixers, and tour managers all wanting know about the Heil Sound mics. It’s crazy, really, when I look at it. There are serious players here. Honestly, not all of them will work out-some will try a mic and end up going back to their old stuff and others will slip through the cracks for various reasons, etc. For me, it is a kick just getting the call knowing that these guys have heard about Heil Sound and are interested.

Neil Young book coverHere’s an example. I received a call from Dave Lohr who, along with Tim Mulligan, mixes Neil Young’s live sound. Ironically, I had been reading the Neil Young biography, “Shakey” at the exact time that the phone call from Dave came. Needless to say, I was thrilled, but more than that, I came off as a Neil Young expert while on the phone. Anyhow, they wanted to try something different for Neil’s vocal so I sent them a PR35 and a PR22. Dave had told me that Neil buys his own mics, owns hundreds of mics, and when he buys mics it is by the dozen. This was sounding very good. Three weeks later I got a phone call from Dave saying that everyone loved the sound of the Heil mics but, because their tour was leaving soon, they were going to stick with what they had. Of course I was…not devastated, but certainly disappointed. But I had made a couple of new friends and The Friends Of Heil (FOH) gained new members and that’s good.

Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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Tommy Can You Hear Me?

Tommy Emmanuel Image“Guitar virtuoso Tommy Emmanuel has spent most of 2011 touring the world, performing concerts in Europe, Asia, and even Russia. Best known for his complex finger picking style, energetic performances, and the use of percussive effects on the guitar, he now brings his high-energy show to the US for a series of summer dates. Along for the entire voyage has been a full package of Heil Sound microphones…” So begins a press release that I just completed over the holiday weekend.

From my point of view, the ideal situation is to have every mic on a stage be a Heil microphone. Some production people have a problem using only one brand throughout a stage. I’ve never understood that, but I’m fortunate in that nine times out of ten a Heil mic will be a better fit than a competing brand. Sound mixers are a feisty and independent bunch though and there are times when they will insist on using something that perhaps could have been covered with a Heil mic. But in my perfect world…

Back to Tommy…

Steve Law, Tommy’s FOH mixer, formerly with Keith Urban among others, sent Bob an email earlier this year inquiring about providing some Heil mics for Tommy Emmanuel’s upcoming tour. It consisted of a lot of dates and the opportunity for some great promo. Bob asked me to intervene, which is my job, and figure this out. I’ve known Steve for a long time and flat out asked him if he could get every mic to be Heil. I wasn’t sure about this as Steve has done ads for another small boutique mic company and I didn’t want to put him in a bad spot. Steve said he personally had no problems with it but would check with the powers-that-be at Tommy’s management company and get back to me.

Here is how the conversation went as reported back by Steve.
Steve to management, “Think we could use Heil Sound mics for the whole stage?”
Management to Steve, “If Tommy is cool with it, sure.”
Tommy to Steve, “I’m cool with it.”

Heil shipped a box of mics to rehearsals and now every input that needs a mic gets a Heil. Tommy has commented several times to Steve at the great sound he is getting. Steve, Tommy, and the band have been a fantastic addition to the Friends of Heil. Tommy does interviews, Steve invites interested parties to sound check, and even the merchandise table has cards inviting people to join the Heil Sound Facebook page. I couldn’t ask for more and I thank the entire organization for being so cool.

Greg McVeigh
Guesthouse Projects, Inc
Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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Listen Up, Rock & Rollers

Leo LaportePut down your drumsticks, guitars, bagpipes (I’m talking to you, Dropkicks), and other high decibel devices for an hour of Bob Heil and tech guru, Leo Laporte. Bob will join Leo on a live broadcast Wednesday, March 23, 7:00 PM Eastern. Tom Merritt and Leo LaPorte host a show called “Triangulation,” where, according to the Web Site, they talk to the smartest people in the world about the most important topics in technology. They graciously invited Bob to the studio in Petaluma, CA to participate in this Wednesday’s show. And as far as Bob and I are concerned, microphones are very, very important topics of musical technology. Leo is a blast-I saw a live broadcast last week in Austin that he did. The show is brought to you by TWiT Netcast Network – streamed live Wednesday at 7:00 PM Eastern/4:00 PM Pacific at

Greg McVeigh
Guesthouse Projects, Inc
PR/Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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There’s Music in the Madness

There is music in the madness tonight in Austin. Thousands of people are in the streets partying and, mostly, behaving. This being St. Patrick’s Day has added its own layer of crazy into the mix. I swear I heard a reggae band playing “Danny Boy” at a very high SPL. The venues that are using Heil Sound mics have settled into a nice groove and all is going well there. FOH (Friend of Heil) Ryan John has been all over the place mixing the band Twin Atlantic. So much of this festival involves “run and gun” performing, which can mean multiple performances in different venues in a single day.Heil Sound Mic image

So, my question is, and has been for some time here, “why do the bands do this?” They drive hundreds of miles to get here, usually in a cramped van, to set up their own gear, and play just a few songs. Which brings me to my pet peeve and rant.

In my perfect world, every band would carry a mic package and there would be time for those mics to be properly set up for each show. Well, that ain’t gonna happen here, but singers need to carry their own vocal mics and insist that it gets used. Take a PR 22 or PR 35 and don’t perform unless the sound crew agrees to plug it in and use it. Sonically, it will make a huge difference. Also, the Heil mics’ rejection characteristics make them perfect for cramped stages. Last, and not least, is the hygiene factor. Without getting too graphic, germs are building mini-condominiums on microphone grill screens all over Austin this week. Come on, it’s cold and flu season and you are going to put your mouth on that grungy mic??? Do your band a favor and pack a vocal mic with your gear. I also recommend a product called “Microphome.” Our buddy, Tommy McCoy, invented this mic cleaning solvent and it works.

Anyhow, back to my question of why bands do this gig. They do it for the love of playing music. Period. And I salute them for that.

I’m off to pick out an urn to ship my ashes back home in. More later!

Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

PR/Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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The Calm Before the Heil Storm

JasperToday is sort of quiet downtown, at least for the venues that Heil is involved with. The PureVolume House on Trinity has Moby performing at a private event. Man, I hope this DJ thing never catches on with performers – not to many microphones on these shows. It does seem to me, and I say this with respect, that these high end DJs have figured out how to make a ton of money for not a lot of work. They don’t have road crews, they have assistants. No trucks either. But they do put in the hours – some of these things will go until morning.

On a personal note, today is my son Jasper’s 13th birthday. I’m away (again) on his big day but will make it up to him when I get home. Jasper went to his first show with me when he was four months old, in Montreux, Switzerland. He even had a miniaturized laminate that the promoter provided for the run of the festival. Through the years he has become my runnin’ pardner at countless shows. His great attitude, politeness, and smile have often made the difference backstage when things are getting tense. His greatest reward is free gatorade from the production office or dressing rooms. I love you, man.

This evening I am off to a birthday party for Ray Benson from Asleep At The Wheel. Should be fun.

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To Austin And Beyond With Leo Laporte

Heil contest cardsLanding at Austin’s Bergstrom Airport, one is immediately reminded that the FESTIVAL is in town. Young people, lots of young people, are all over the place. Most are fiddling with smart phones, iPads, laptops and the like. The baggage claim area is hilarious-sort of like one of those old Buster Keaton movies where things are falling, flying, and crashing. Road cases, and I use that term loosely, in various degrees of wear and tear, are moving down the conveyer belts. The occasional cymbal and cowbell that managed to escape go rolling to the floor. Guitar cases do their best to avoid being wedged and broken into bits. Amazingly, though, it all works.

My first stop is at Momo’s Club where Leo Laporte is doing a live Twit TV broadcast. Leo is probably best knows as “The Tech Guy” and through the years become his own cottage industry/empire. His followers are called, not surprisingly, “Geeks.” Bob Heil and Leo have a mutual admiration for each other’s work and Leo uses Heil mics a lot. Tonight was no exception as his guest panelists used PR 22s. Actually, one gentleman from The Onion, used a PR 40, which seemed to bring out a small amount of geek envy from the others.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Twit TV? I mean, I’m a rock guy – technology oriented talk radio is not my area of expertise. But I have to say, Leo is a rock star! He had the standing-room-only fans cheering and he even considered crowd surfing, which apparently he has done before. He’s a big guy and I quickly moved to the back of the room. Just in case. I also learned a lot, including some of the iPad 2’s dirty little secrets. It was fascinating stuff and I am really glad I attended.

The evening show ended and I met Lisa Kentzell, who is CEO of Twit. Which by the way stands for “This Week In Tech.” Lisa told me about the new facility that they are building near their current headquarters in Petaluma, CA. It’s going to be wired for all sorts of production uses. I heard Leo say that they will have up to forty cameras working. You can bet there will be a pile of Heil mics too.

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Old School+New School=Free Mic

This is a big year for South by Southwest. On March 11, the festival, which is now described as a music and media festival and trade show, celebrates its 25th anniversary. Roland Swenson founded it in 1987 and, in addition to launching the careers of promising young musicians and filmmakers, it also was the site for several business launches. Names you might know such as Twitter, which really caught fire during the 2007 South by Southwest festival. Also, Foursquare publicly launched at the 2009 festival kicking off the geolocation craze. That might explain the thousands of people walking down 6thStreet, bumping into each other as they stare down at their smart phones trying to tell their friends where they currently are.

I know this bit of history  because I read an article about digital and social media in a publication that was made of paper. You know, a magazine. Me, being the old school guy that I am, tore the page out of the magazine and put in my pocket to be used later in this blog.

Here’s something fun:

Heil Facebook Contest ImageEnter to win a Heil Sound PR 22 UT low noise dynamic microphone.  Simply click the “Like” button on the Heil Sound Facebook page and use the contest entry form.  The contest runs from March 14 through April 13, 2011.  A random winner will be selected on April 14, 2011 and will be announced on our Facebook page.  Good luck and don’t forget to click the “Like” button to be eligible. See the rules for questions on eligibility or entry procedures.

By Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

PR & Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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I’m Blogging!

Welcome to the first Heil Sound blog from SXSW. And the last time that I use those letters in that order. Today I was informed by the publicist from the festival that only licensed sponsors (read $$) can use the letters SXSW, so from now on we will refer to the “festival” or “South by Southwest.” So much for the laidback and groovy festival vibe-they have lawyers! No worries, I will prevail and bring the news of the festival, and Heil Sound’s involvement to this blog.

South by Southwest is a vast scene and within that are other scenes. Lots and lots of other scenes. Imagine Sundance, Mardi Gras, Lollapalooza, & the Food Network (Rachel Ray throws a big bash) running at the same time in a major college town. It’s big and while it began as a means for up and coming bands to showcase for record labels, it’s now, well, vast. Hundreds of bands perform in clubs, theaters, hotel ballrooms and convention center spaces. Austin becomes a sea of vans and trailers as the indies gather.

Several years ago I became convinced that the only way for a professional microphone manufacturer such as Heil to accomplish anything at this festival is to focus on a few events and venues. “Own” the stage and do the best job possible of supporting the production folks and the artists. To that end, Heil is involved with three pretty cool and interesting groups. The One 2 One Bar on 5th Street, the PureVolume House on Trinity, and the Daytrotter Sessions, which is in a little shack somewhere, near the freeway. More on that one later. We also have a slew of FOH (Friends of Heil) in town performing.

I’ll be updating this blog daily-it should be a blast!

By Greg McVeigh

Guesthouse Projects, Inc

PR & Artist Relations for Heil Sound

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