On The Set Of A Marco Minneman Video Shoot

Marco Minneman

Scott Acosta splits hairs to find the sweet spot in between Minneman’s overhead microphones.

He’s got a point there. A classic drum book, such as Stick Control, sells for decades. Will drummers continue to play and study popular drum videos of today ten, 20, even 30 years from now? Will they be as enduring as the classic books? Some, certainly not. But dog or hero, a drum video costs a bundle to make. So how does a company like Warner Bros. decide which projects to pursue?

“Sometimes we’ll do a book first, and if it proves popular we’ll do a video. Zoro’s book and videos are a good example of that,” Brych says, and then he waxes enthusiastically about Minnemann’s book for a while, and about Minnemann in general. “He writes all the time. He’s got six or seven solo albums. He’s got his own band the Illegal Aliens. He plays a little guitar, bass, keys. He just sits in his little German studio and blows himself up. I think he’s genetically altered.

“Marco will have a trio here tomorrow. Some of Marco’s new tunes have been done [at his home studio] on ProTools, then he sent them to the bass player, in another country, and to the keyboard player, in yet another country. And so when they get together here that will be the first time they’ve actually played some of this stuff together. Hopefully it will work.”

With musicians of this caliber it surely will work. But Murphy has been visiting the shoot again. A large order of famous brand microphones was due from the manufacturer on Sunday, the set-up day. The delivery, from Austria, never came, so the drums went up with other-brand professional mikes. Now, on Monday, while standing around during a lull, watching Tal powder Marco’s face, a crewmember aimed a casual finger at a pile of cardboard shipping boxes in the corner. It was the microphones, delivered sometime during the day, unnannounced and unnoticed.

Marco Minneman

Jib dude Scott Acosta checks the monitor to make sure that the massive microphone boom arm is safely hidden out the picture.

“When did those get here?” he said, but no one answered. And no one made a lunge for the pile of microphones, either. There is an unspoken pressure in the room. This is, after all, a do-or-die schedule. Yesterday, all day, was set-up. Today is Minnemann alone. Tomorrow is Minnemann plus other musicians. And that’s it – the players all go back to their respective counties and countries. The footage goes with the director/editor and sound engineer for hours and hours of post-production work. There isn’t room for much error during the shoot, and there are few volunteers around to jump on any grenades – or microphones. The shoot just keeps on a-rollin’.

There is no time gratuitously spent, either, not even for the star. Minnemann speaks up and says he wants to make another pass at the ending of his solo. He feels that, just at the very end, he could have been a little smoother – which is pretty funny – and he wants to record again, just the ending. He is met with some resistance by both producer and director, who are trying to keep things on schedule. Minnemann gets his five minutes, but no more than that.

The next section of work is Minnemann recording drums over his mini-disk recordings of his own songs. There are a couple of false starts. Adjustments are made to the headphone mix. “The headphone mix is coming to me in mono,” Marco says, “It should be stereo. It was recorded in stereo.” “Not any more,” comes the reply from a crewmember watching the clock.

The headphone mix gets tweaked and the first tune gets recorded. The easiest way to describe Minnemann’s playing is to paraphrase a common quote of the day, “That’s really sick.” Minnemann plays the song without a hitch. The second tune of the day, however, gets thorny. It is a very complex tune. Minnemann is reading the Zappa-esque drum parts off of a score. But the recording has no click track and the tune, as recorded, proves nearly impossible to play to. Minnemann appears frustrated and disappointed. They move on, perhaps to return to it later.

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