LSI Online "Levi Tecofski", Sep'04

Questions by The Shend

Tecofski, Levi - (Born NZ 7/10/61). FOH sound engineer, production manager and tour manager 

Recent Activity: Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Belinda Carlisle, Roxy Music, Placebo, Melanie C. 

Worthy Past Glories: Hole, The Breeders, Echo & The Bunnymen, Dinosaur Jnr, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. 

Why are you what you are? 
As a teenager I was doing lights on a lighting desk I had made from household dimmers for a girlfriend’s brother’s band, as a favour. When I couldn’t hear the vocals at some gigs, I’d have to go up to the stage to turn them up on the onstage mixer. I made a multicore from TV coax to save the walk each time and to get the mixer out front, and suddenly realized sound was more important! 

Three best things about your job? 
The travel, the travel and the travel. 

Three worst things about your job? 
The travel, the travel and the travel. 

Detail the equipment you’d use in an ideal world? 
Adamson line array with EAW subs and Lab Gruppen amps, Midas XL4 desk, XTA signal processing, t.c. electronic and Lexicon effects, Drawmer gates, Avalon tube comps and dbx comps. 

Most crucial, job-improving invention since you started? 
Midas XL4 desk. 

What do you never leave home without when working? 
Clean socks and sunnies. 

Proudest moment? 
Being asked to mix a Bowie tour. 

Best gig while working? 
Two spring to mind: Roxy Music at The Werchter Festival after Faithless in 2002 and Smashing Pumpkins at the Town & Country Club, Kentish Town, around 1992. 

Best gig as a punter? 
U2 at The Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland NZ, 1982-ish, or Prince Naseem Hamed at Madison Square Garden when he fought Kevin Kelley in the summer of 2001. 

Biggest nightmare on the job? 
Having an XL4 power supply burn out a couple of hours before doors opened in Brussels on a Bryan Ferry gig and having to set and programme the new one that arrived just in time for the show. 

Most irritating request from promoter/artist/member of the public? 
Turn it down! 

Artist from the past you’d most like to have worked for? 
The Doors, because I was a huge fan as a teenager. 

Most reliable equipment? 
My Maglite. 

What phrase sends a chill down your spine while working? 
‘Heads up!’ 

What invention would make your job easier/better? 
A smoking ban in all venues. 

What other member of the crew would you least like to be? 
Rigger, because I’m not too keen on heights. 

Which other member of the crew do you take your hat off to? 
Monitor engineers, because they have to deal with the band at close proximity. 

Best catering? 
Any Robbie Grantham-Wise over-the-top dinner creation. 

Name three best sounds and three best videos on the crew bus? 
Morcheeba, Massive Attack and Tricky; Kingpin, The Sopranos series and Groundhog Day. 

Most irritating thing on the crew bus and why? 
Noisy lampies and people that like Kingpin. 

Best hotel you’ve stayed at while working, and why? 
Kempinski Criagan Palace, Istanbul. The pool. 

Like all music journalists, are you really just a frustrated musician? 
Bog off mate! No way! 

Members of the audience you loathe the most, and why? 
Ones that hang around the desk looking at you as if you’re in a goldfish bowl. It mainly happens in Germany. 

Name four artists you’d happily spend time with socially, and why? 
Bowie, Belinda Carlisle and Melanie C. Because they’re all decent human beings and socially adept. Placebo are very close friends and I still go to see their shows when I can. They’re a great live band and the most consistently exciting live group I have worked with. 

Best ‘passing through customs’ anecdote? 
I know a guitar tech’ who took over tech’ing for a well-known American band, and happened to inherit the former tech’s Peterson Stroboscopic guitar tuner. He travelled all round the world with this tuner, including America and Japan. About a year on, the tuner stopped working. When he opened it, he found a quantity of Class A drugs and a syringe that he would have had some difficulty explaining if he’d been searched at customs! 

Most bizarre sight you’ve ever seen at work? 
The Placebo support act in New York in around 1999 [Kid Rock] with strippers, a midget and a pony that pooed in the dressing room. The midget came onto the stage at some point in the show, on the pony with a jacket that lit up in some kind of weird homage to Midnight Cowboy. I think the pony pooed on the stage as well. 

Favourite artist to work for? 
Bowie and Melanie C are the nicest I have worked for, while Placebo were the most fun as they always knew how to have a good time and expected everyone to party with them after shows. 

Favourite/Most hated venue? 
Favourite: Brixton Academy, because I like the sound, and it goes off as a gig like the old Town and Country used to. Hated: Cuyahoga Falls Amphitheatre, Cleveland Ohio and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam - both have terrible acoustics, as they are not designed for amplified music. Bit like the Royal Albert Hall. 

Best festival, and why? 
Werchter, Belgium. Very civilized backstage area, with nice dressing rooms and a restaurant (that has, unfortunately, now gone downhill). 

Best item of clothing when working and why? 
Shorts and flip flops: as little as possible, because of my dodgy Foofoo valve [Kiwi for thermostat]. I overheat very easily. 

Closest you’ve come to death whilst touring? 
With Swiss band, The Young Gods in late 1980s, driving overnight to Austria in snow and ice. Came round a corner and lost control of vehicle, which slid into a field then back onto the road in one strange movement. The same spot at the next corner there was a ravine. Also had a serious accident in Bradford with a band called The Hair and Skin Trading Company, after supporting the Swans at the University, also in late 80s. I still have a scar on my lip from hitting the dashboard. 

Most outrageous thing you ever did on tour? 
Polishing off U2’s stock of expensive bourbon on their private jet while flying from Lisbon to Barcelona. (I was tour managing and doing sound for the support act, Placebo.) 

Most sensible thing you ever did on tour? 
Saving Brian Molko’s [Placebo] life in Milan after he drunkenly tried to run in front of a bus.

Source: lsionline