‘People are crying, excited’: Chatham music tech joins rock band Shinedown for US tour dates


Windsor, Ont. –

When the pandemic hit Canada 18 months ago, the music industry was absolutely decimated.

This is why it was so important for Jeramy Donais – known to his fellow musicians as “Hoogie” – to get back on the road.

“You’ll go to a concert. The lights go out. You get that feeling, ”Hoogie says. “Nothing can replace that, night after night, doing this with guys.”

This is something he and many other musicians have not felt during most of the pandemic.

Hoogie is a music technician for Shinedown, considered by Billboard to be one of the greatest hard rock groups of all time.

The Chatham resident has traveled the world to make musicians sound great for decades

“But when COVID happened, everything changed overnight,” recalls Hoogie, saying that aside from a few studio gigs, work almost dried up with tours postponed and eventually canceled throughout the pandemic. .

But they are finally back. Shinedown is now embarking on a 22 date tour, which began on Labor Day. Hoogie considers himself lucky to return to the belly of the beast.

“I just feel like we’re moving forward, taking things head on. We’re not going to live without COVID now, it’s going to be all the time, there’s no way around it, ”he says. “So we have to find ways to open up industries with this.”

He says the group is doing their best by following public health measures like getting vaccinated, hiding behind the scenes and limiting contact – because they know the alternative and it is untenable.

“We’re not going to survive if we keep closing,” Hoogie says. “We rely on the people who come to the events and give the fans this moment of peace, this escape from reality.”

Even with these precautions, drummer Barry Kerch contracted COVID in July, missing the first three shows of an eight-stop tour. It hit close to home, says Hoogie – and underscored the importance of having ready-to-fill replacements for every position – even performing artists.

“If you don’t want to stop the machine, we have to find a way to keep driving,” he says.

Hoogie admits shooting during a pandemic is fraught with risk, but it’s a risk he and the group are willing to take for their livelihood and their legions of fans.

“You don’t want to be that guy to stop the tour or come and make everyone sick with COVID, but at the same time, it’s exciting. People are crying, excited, ”he says. “Everyone missed it. We all missed the entertainment industry.

“I hope that everything will work out over the next two weeks and that I will return home safe and sound with the family.”

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