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InVettagating: Mark McCrite - October 2004 page 3

Hi, I did an interview with Mark McCrite, a professional Singer / Songwiter and working for Line 6 as the Product Line Manager for POD & Guitarport. I'll be touching the highlights of his professional career. What does he do for a living, how 's a day at work and who's he working with. During the InVettagation I also had a chance to meet some other great people like Erik Norlander, Lana Lane and Peter Verschuren. They also contributed to getting the whole picture. This is quite a read, but an interesting one and covering multiple pages. First of all I'd like to thank Mark McCrite for the time taken and his friends for filling in some background. Thank you Mark & Family, Lana, Erik, and Peter for giving me full access. You'll find appropriate links that'll add to the content when you want to know more about something particular.


Erik, how did you get Mark hooked up with Line 6

Erik Norlander: I knew Marcus Ryle and Michel Diodic - the founders of Line 6 and also knew that Marcus Ryle was looking for some new and talented people. Mark was working for another company called Alesis and thought Line 6 would be a better match for his interests. I got in contact with Marcus and said I know a very talented guitar player that I think would be a tremendous asset to Line 6. It turned out to be a really good fit. That's how it all started I guess.

You we're also involved in the Guitarport content, correct?

Erik Norlander: Yes Vinny you're correct - you certainly did you homework! Mark and Marcus knew I was recording stuff with Rocket Scientists, Lana Lane, my solo albums and with other artists. They asked me to be the executive producer for GuitarPort Online musical content. I brought in some great musicians like Tony Franklin, Kelly Keeling, who's touring with us now and did various vocals on GuitarPort tracks, Scott Kail, Neil Citron, and of course Lana Lane. I guess we did some 200 recordings, groove tracks, drumloops etc.

Of course we got Mark in to play the Pink Floyd guitar solos and to sing "Sunshine of your Love", "Have a cigar", "Hello Mary Lou," etc.

* for complete tracks, tab and info you need a subscription to Guitarport.

What's the connection between you and Mark

Erik Norlander: Well, that's a good question. We've been really good friends all the time and have the same interests in many different areas. In music of course, we both like progressive rock - like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes. We also have a good appreciation for good melody and strong songwriting. Like the Beatles, Moody Blues, Dan Fogelberg, Crosby, Stills and Nash.

We both see something special in bands that make great songs, wether they're progressive or not. So when we are working together musically, that is always our focus. You have to be able to play it on an acoustic guitar or piano alone. If it doesn't hold up than it's not a good song. You can play a million notes in an hour or record 12 tracks of synths, but if it's not a great song, than it's nothing. We've always really believed in that.

Lana Lane: The connection is deep and it lasts a long time. Mark and Tracy (Mark's wife) were at our wedding and we were at theirs. Erik and I are the godparents of their children. I met Mark and Tracy (back then his girlfriend) through Erik during the Rocket Scientists recordings. Tracy and I share a love for Holland. She speaks Dutch and I'm half Dutch so we try to keep that going when we have a chance.

Erik Norlander: When we got older, everybody takes his own path in life. Lana and myself have been touring and kinda have the rock and roll lifestyle. Mark has been with his family and working for a great company like Line 6. So maybe his path is more conservative than ours and we can't spend the same amount of time together as we used to a few years ago, but that doesn't diminish the friendship in any way.

Lana Lane: Even when we grow older, I think the bond of friendship becomes stronger, even if you don't see each other regularly. And we're really close "family" so to speak. Mark is a very warm peson, has a great sense of humour, is very, very funny and is very creative in a lot of ways. He also understands the importance of tutoring his chidren in music, which is very cool.

Erik Norlander: I know we'll still be friends when we're very old men.

Erik Norlander & Lana Lane during Vinny's Invettagation

Thanks Erik & Lana! Let's go back to the USA. Mark, what's the vibe like at Line 6?

Mark: Line 6 has grown really fast in a short period of time. I've been on the team since 2000 and I really enjoy working there. It's a great blend of musicians that work on musicians' products. The whole vibe over at Line 6 is great. It's basically a bunch of interesting people with respect for each other doing lots of work at a high pace. You're always going to get a lot more done in the same time period if you're in a great environment.

Getting back to your profession at Line 6, how does a days work look like?

Mark: Every day is different. Generally speaking, I spend about half of my day dealing with development issues for current project(s) - creating and clarifying product specifications on an ongoing basis, offering guidance as development questions arise to both Engineering and Marketing, approving things as they get done, working with the product test/QA group, and having discussions about communication strategy with Sales and Marketing. About a quarter of my time is on the really fun stuff - talking about our overall strategy and new product ideas. The rest of the time is doing routine reports, meetings, etc.

Mark @ his Line 6 Office, on the left development of PODxt Live

So where will you be in life in, say, 5 years?

Mark: Professionally, I want to feel like I've made a significant contribution to helping musicians focus on creativity and not spend energy dealing with gear. I want to be able to look in my studio at products I've worked on and feel gear lust for those products. Given how affordable a POD or GuitarPort is and how easy they are to use, there's just no excuse anymore to have a bad guitar sound on a demo and I think that's a service to everyone! I'm proud of that... I feel like we've made strides in this already, but I think there's still a lot to do.

Personally, I just want to keep making good music, whether as a writer or artist. I would like for people to hear my music as well, but that's of secondary importance. I think my most important goal is to support my children in their musical endeavors. I'm immensely proud of my 6 year old daughter's early progress with the piano - she's already got a great ear! My son is only 2 but he is definitely rhythmically inclined.

Mark you've been very kind and I almost hesitate to ask but an InVettagation isn't complete without a scoop. Can you give me some exclusive details about anything that's coming out soon?

Mark: We have two new updates that are almost ready to roll which we haven't said much about yet:

  • GuitarPort version 2.5
GuitarPort v2.5 is currently scheduled to be out by the end of this month (October 2004) - unless we find a last-minute showstopper bug.
GuitarPort 2.5 fully supports PODxt Live, PODxt/Pro v2, and Model Packs.
With GuitarPort 2.5, you will be able to purchase Model Packs with GuitarPort hardware and there will be an additional "Power Pack" that gives you all the models from PODxt that aren't in the base set of GuitarPort, thus allowing you to "step up to XT Power."
GuitarPort 2.5 has a really cool metronome. It looks a little bit like an 808 old school drum machine.
  • PODxt / PODxt Pro version 2.1
  • A new update for PODxt/Pro - version 2.1 - is currently being tested and currently scheduled for release in November 2004.
  • Much like we made all new studio cabs for v2.0, we made all new live cabs for PODxt Live. We also replaced the not-so-popular preset driven "VIBE" EQ parameter with new user-controllable "Tonestack Correction" parameters. In FAQ Trak, we have posted recommended correction settings for many popular amps. PODxt/Pro v2.1 has all of the new live cabs, the "bypass amp" feature, and the Tonestack Correction that was created for PODxt Live.
  • If you use an FBV Shortboard with a PODxt Pro, you can now assign the FX Loop switch to control Comp instead of the FX Loop (like the Bean always does). The bean users have thought this was cool because that way you can set up your Comp switch as a "boost" by using the compressor gain.
  • We have said in the past that for PODxt Pro, the processing power used to create a different signal at the XLR outs from the 1/4" outs was used on the bean to do VIBE mode. This is why PODxt Pro doesn't have VIBE modes. For this update, we decided to give users the choice - the Tonestack Correction parameters ARE on the Pro, but when you use them, you get the same signal at the XLR and 1/4" outs. A little kludgey I know, but at least now there isn't anything on the Bean that you can't do with the Pro and that's the right thing to do...

 

Whell Mark, thanks for your kindness, time and effort on bringing this first InVettagation to be an excellent one. Surely hope your personal and professional goals will be achieved.

Vinny

 

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