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Ed “Taz” Gardner with Apocalyptica

by Debi Moen • in
  • July 2018
  • On the Road
• Created: July 13, 2018

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2018 TOUR NOTES: Apocalyptica’s debut album, Plays Metallica by Four Cellos, was released in 1996 and gets re-released this month, supported by a tour by the band, with legs in the U.S. (Sept. 5-Oct. 1) and Latin America (Nov. 15-Dec. 8). Tour manager/lighting director Ed “Taz” Gardner is executing a lighting design by LD Mikki Kunttu.

Ed “Taz” Gardner

THE DESIGN: “This is another great light design from Mikki Kunttu. Scrims and backdrop enhance any light source or color for a great looking set. Front floor lighting in the first part of the show creates shadows of the band — the four cellists — on a scrim behind them. It is theatrical and sometimes looks like a ghost playing behind them. With LED strobe lights pointing straight up behind them and projecting off scrims, I’m creating reverse silhouettes with the guys. It’s a powerful look without blinding the audience. The second part is a full-blown rock show — with cellos!”

KRUDOS: “I’m fortunate to have an awesome light tech Zach Lewis, who can read my mind. We have a great crew of pros, so there is no hand-holding needed. These guys just make it happen!”

BACK STORY

HOME BASE: Clearwater Beach, FL.

YEARS IN THE INDUSTRY: “Close to 30.”

CAREER SPARK: “Honestly, I was underage in a big night club and the sound guy offered me $20 and free booze to run lights. The next day I became the house lighting guy.”

FIRST INDUSTRY GIG: “Other than working as a house lighting guy, I was a stagehand at venues all over the Pittsburgh area and also worked for a local sound and light company. That’s where I learned the business from the ground up.”

HEROES/MENTORS: “I always watched guys like Bryan Hartley, Mark Workman and Scott Warner. As for a reason why? Just watch their shows and you will understand immediately. These guys don’t screw around.”

OTHER ARTISTS/GIGS: “W.A.S.P., Cyndi Lauper, Kreator, Symphony X, Kamelot, Overkill.”

DESIGNERS YOU PAY ATTENTION TO? “Actually, everyone. There are some incredible designers out there that deserve way more credit than they are getting, Joshua Schultz being one of them.”

BEST ADVICE: “Keep an open mind and don’t get an ego! You are only as good as your last show.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? “The everyday freedom of creativity and challenges. You don’t get that from a 9-to-5 office job. Each night when lights hit the stage at the top of the show there is a great vibe. When it’s all clicking perfect and on point, there is that feeling and reaction from the artist and the audience that is indescribable.”

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