Dennis is a singer/guitarist and the owner of Event Audio and Entertainment. When he’s not working sound and lighting for other musicians, he rejoins the group Hitfaced – a band he formed with Tim Smude. He also has a yearly birthday party at the Wicked Moose called DenrodPalooza.
1. What sparked your interest in music?
My cousin bought me my first album, Kiss Alive II, and I was hooked after that. I listened to that record extensively for years.
2. How did you learn how to run sound and lights for shows?
Inevitably, the singer is always the one with the PA gear. When one of the early bands I was in would run into trouble on the road, I had to learn how to run sound. It just evolved over time.
3. If you could run sound for one artist no longer among the living, who would it be? Why?
Elvis Presley. When I was a kid, my parents had his albums, so we listened to him all the time. What an amazing voice. How could I not want to mix that voice?
4. One book you think everyone should read?
Aerosmith’s autobiography, “Walk This Way.” It gave me a really deep look into their years of making it as a band, their struggles, and their ability to work together to get where they wanted to be.
5. Strangest thing you’ve ever seen an audience member do?
We used to play the song, “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes. We thought it was this mellow song, but every time we played it, a bar fight would break out. This would happen repeatedly in different places and in different states. There was some sort of crazy, hidden subtext going on with that song. We could never figure it out.
6. Kindest words from an audience member?
As a musician, it would have been when people told me that they wished they could see us play more often. As a technician, it has to be when an artist takes the time to remember my name and tell me everything is perfect. Rosanne Cash is an example of this. I couldn’t believe that Johnny Cash’s daughter thanked me and told me I did a great job.
7. How is it different as a professional sound technician when seeing a show?
The production element is a blessing and a curse for me. If the production element is lacking, then it draws my attention away from the performance. The music has to be very, very good for me to forget the production element.
8. What is your musical philosophy?
I think music helps bring people together. People from completely different walks of life can be singing next to each other and tapping their toes to the same song.
9. What motivates you to remain in the music business?
As a musician, I love entertaining. Under the right circumstances, I would get back into performing or playing music full time with the right group of people playing the right music in the right places. As a technician, it’s different. The motivation is to perfect a craft. And I keep improving. I keep getting better and better at mixing sound.