Sennheiser: Disney Propels the Evolution of The Jonas Brothers
WYKOFF, NEW JERSEY - The Jonas Brothers, who signed with the Hollywood Records earlier this year, are making the most of their teenage years. The brothers found themselves reaching a new audience early in 2006 when the Disney Channel put the band's "Year 3000" video into heavy rotation. Currently on the massive "Best of Both Worlds Tour" with Miley Cyrus, otherwise known as the star of the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana," the siblings and their band mates frequently jet around to play extra shows on their days off.
To ensure continuity between the arena shows and the fly dates, the band's monitor engineer, Woody Nuss, is carrying Sennheiser evolution wireless G2 series vocal microphones and personal monitor systems wherever they go.
"When we travel we make sure we have our own mics and ears," explains Nuss, who has been mixing monitors for brothers Nick, Kevin and Joe and their three-piece band since June. Local rental companies can't always be relied on to supply the Sennheiser gear we need, he says.
"It's at the point where we have to bring our own gear. We're using the SKM 935 G2 handhelds with EM 550 G2 receivers for vocals. We're quite happy with the gear and are using them virtually everywhere."
All six band members are also using evolution wireless G2 personal monitor systems, he continues. "I travel with six ear mixes in a three-space rack tucked into a Pelican case, with the two receivers and a NET 1 frequency finder in another Pelican case. We can fly with those as checked luggage. We're using the A 5000-CP circular antenna for the monitors with the AC 2 antenna combiner."
The proliferation of broadcast channels, particularly HDTV, has made the frequency agility and scanning capabilities of Sennheiser RF equipment critical for trouble-free wireless operation.
"That's where the NET 1 really comes in handy," says Nuss. "In Dallas, at the Texas State Fair, all the Spanish language television antennas were right behind the venue and only one clean frequency appeared to be available, but the NET 1 solved the problem."
He explains, "It does its own scan. I look. It's clean and we go. With the NET 1, you just point the mic at the receiver and it does everything for you through the infrared. It's sweet!"
The lineup includes brothers Joe, age 18, on lead vocals, Nick, age 15, who has performed in several Broadway shows since the age of seven, on guitar and Kevin, who recently turned 20, also on guitar. The band's musical director, John Taylor, is on keyboards, as well as guitar.
Additionally, Greg Garbowsky is on bass and Jack Lawless is on drums. Nuss continues, "We are using the ew 172 G2 guitar systems with the ASP 2 splitters and the A 2003 UHF 'shark fin' antennas on the guitars. The guitar tech is thrilled with the increased signal strength and tone he is now getting."
The Jonas Brothers are also using a variety of evolution wired microphones on the tour, which is in support of their self-titled second album, which recently reached #5 on The Billboard 200.
"The backing singers are on e 935s," reports Nuss.
"We're using e 602s on the kick and floor toms, an e 604 on the tom and the new e 905 on the snare, and the e 906 on the guitar amps."
Nuss has worked with a variety of bands in the past, including Goo Goo Dolls, Pete Yorn, Wolfmother, the Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., Marc Cohn, Urge Overkill, Camper Van Beethoven, and Cracker.
"This is the first time that I've done anything that's not really indie rock. When they called me about this job, they said, they're a pop group, but the boys actually play Marshalls and Ampegs, and if they had a musical influence it would be like if you blended the Ramones, the Clash and Justin Timberlake. They're not playing soft pop stuff, they're rocking out!"
The "Best of Both Worlds Tour" is scheduled to continue through early January. In February, the Jonas Brothers are set to begin their own headlining tour. Disney has tapped the Jonas Brothers as one of their signature breakout stars with a music-filled movie, "Camp Rock," premiering in September 2008.
The three brothers will also star in a Disney live-action spy comedy TV series entitled "J.O.N.A.S." (Junior Operatives Networking As Spies) starring the trio as a group of government hired spies in early 2008.
The film and the series, plus a concert special, "Jonas Brothers in Concert," filmed in New York in October, will air on the Disney Channel worldwide.