It’s been a rough year for the NFL with several scandals. Unfortunately, America’s most popular pro sports league only added to its recent negative publicity run when it named Katy Perry its halftime act for Super Bowl XLIX, which takes place on Sunday Feb. 1 at 6:30 EST.
The league however, did regain some musical credibility with the meat-and-potatoes football crowd that would probably prefer artists such as Van Halen, AC/DC, Metallica or Ozzy Osbourne, by announcing that Lenny Kravitz would join Perry on stage at halftime.
Aiding Kravitz’s bid to bring some true rock-and-roll to the big game is the latest wireless system from Shure.
Chosen through a judicious process of comparing several wireless systems, Kravitz’s guitar tech of 23 years Alex Alvarez, says the rock star is the typical guitar player, tone chaser type that is very particular about his guitar sound. This process ultimately led to the choice of Shure’s new Axient Wireless Management Network.
“It started as a conversation with Lenny,” notes Alvarez. “The subject of a wireless guitar came up and I told him there was a system I wanted him to check out. We’ve been down this road road before [Kravitz replied], ‘I would like to, but you know if it doesn’t sound right, I’m not going to do it.’ So I called Lance [Wascom, CEO of Tour Supply] to set up a demo.”
The product audition was held during Kravitz’s band rehearsal in Miami before Kravitz and his guitar player Craig Ross hit the road in support of his new “Strut” album. “Everything had to come together quickly and accurately, so I flew to Miami to set up the demo,” explains Wascom. “Being that Lenny and Alex are such great clients, we really wanted to offer every level of support possible.”
Upon the completion of the initial product demonstrations, Alvarez immediately identified the potential of the Axient product, and thought it would be the right solution for Kravitz and Ross.
“The fact that it can detect interference and change frequencies on its own made it really attractive to me, but I knew that if the sound wasn’t perfect to Lenny’s ears, he would just stick with his cable. But since we already use Shure PSM 1000 in-ears, I figured it was worth a try,” he recalls.
After the next phases of product demonstrations, which included tests conducted by Ross, they approached Kravitz with the system Alvarez adds. “Craig [Ross] really liked the sound and said, ‘man, Lenny’s got to approve this.’ So we set up to more units for Lenny to check out the next day. So we set up two more units for Lenny to check out the next day, and he was very impressed with both the sound and the technology,” Alvarez remembers. “It turned out to be an easy decision.”
Meeting Kravitz’s approval, the Axient system finally allowed the rocker to cut the cord and perform wirelessly for his legions of fans. “After 25 years of resisting wireless systems, I am finally free from my beloved cables, without sacrificing the organic tone of my guitar and amplifiers,” states Kravitz.
Various reports estimate that Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz may perform the Kravitz cover of “American Woman” during the half-time show: