20 Questions with Craig Gordon
by Cat Strom.
Craig Gordon is an audio system engineer and FOH engineer for Peking Duk, The Presets, The Avalanches, Golden Features, and Bag Raiders.
What are the 3 best things about your job?
Travelling around the world. Meeting new people and working with some really talented artists and crew. Basically it’s the fact I get to do something that I really love and I get paid for it.
And the three worst things?
AIRPORTS!!! Also being away from friends and family, and missing important life events. Lack of sleep that often comes with this job.
What do you never leave home without when working?
At least six pairs of shoes. Maybe some headphones, anything I haven’t already lost….
What was the worst nightmare you encountered on the road?
The worst thing that can happen at a show, that does more than it should, is losing power. The whole crowd is staring at you and you just feel helpless.
What has been the strangest request from an artist?
Can we design the new stage set-up in a column like a totem pole and get a percussionist?
Who was hell to work with (probably best not to actually mention name)?
Look, as a system engineer there are a few difficult people you run into, but nothing that’s been too hard to handle.
What is the most stupid request you’ve had from a member of the public, artist, or promoter?
We were down in Busselton south of Perth for a festival and some drunk chick tried to give us fifty bucks so she could grab the talk-to-stage mic and sing happy birthday to her friend through the PA. She busted in, grabbed it, and started to sing.
In your opinion, what’s the best show you’ve worked on and why?
Over the years I’ve worked on quite a few Coldplay tours, they’ve been the stand out for me. There’s just no expense spared, and there’s a great vibe from artists right down to the last crew member. It’s always a mind blowing show that’s always been really fun to work on.
What is the most bizarre sight you have ever seen at a gig?
It never ceases to amaze me the stuff that goes on in a crowd. Especially with punters back in the days of Stereosonic, Future Music etc. I was at a Faith No More gig at Festival Hall, my friend Boz ran out on stage to fix a mic, and Mike Patton threw a haymaker (a punch) at him.
Who do you admire in the industry and why?
Growing up through the industry as a system tech and then into a FOH engineer, there are a few people that have guided me and taught me so much over the years. Jock Bain (who is no longer with us), Howard Freeman, and Bruce Johnston have been my biggest mentors and took me under their wing.
Which venue is your favourite and why?
My two favourite venues are Red Rocks in Colorado and the Gorge in Washington. Both are so breathtaking. Every time you look around, you’re taken away by how insane the view is.
Which recent piece of production gear do you view as a game-changer?
I wouldn’t say they are game changers, but at the moment, I’m really loving the Avid S6L console and the d&b GSL PA system.
What is the most outrageous thing you have ever done on tour?
We probably shouldn’t go into that! But it probably involved Howard and similar usual suspects.
What was the worst weather event you’ve encountered at an outdoors gig?
It was Future Music Festival in 2015 in Sydney. The weather was so bad, and there were gusts of wind so strong, that it blew the side fill speakers off the front of stage and started to tear the video screen apart. The whole site was evacuated.
What would your ideal rig contain?
An Avid S6L or Midas XL4, bunch of the usual outboard gear and a massive d&b GSL PA.
Which band would you most like to work for and why?
I love all the bands I work for! However I have always stated many times that working for the Foo Fighters would be my dream …. why? Who knows, I just like them!
Do you have a favourite mantra to get you through the day?
When working as a system tech I loved to motivate myself by coming up with different ways to make load in/out quicker and better: Sooner it’s in the truck, sooner we can have a beer!
What do you think of the Australian live music industry at the moment?
I think it’s a little softer than it used to be! Not saying that’s a bad thing, it’s definitely a more PC and professional job these days.
If you could invent anything to do with audio, what would it be?
I’ve probably come up with a million ideas whilst excessively drunk in hotel rooms with crew over the years but unfortunately none that I can remember.
What did you really want to be when you grew up?
Like most kids I wanted to play footy.