LD Chris Stuba Lights 2005 WHACK ATTACK Tour
VL3500 Spot Luminaires Keep ZZ-TOP Securely in the Light
Published Tuesday, August 23, 2005
by Bryan Matthews

On June 2nd, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Members, ZZ-TOP embarked on WHACK ATTACK, a 6-month North American tour. With a complete lighting package provided by Bandit Lites, lighting designer Chris Stuba is continuing an 11-year tradition as the extended tour continues to rock-n-roll through the United States and Canada.

"Working with Chris Stuba is fantastic and his show design and execution is beautiful," said Bandit Lites VP Mike Golden. "The ZZ-TOP staff are all true professionals and it’s a pleasure to work with them each year."

The VARI*LITE portion of the complete lighting package includes 4 - VL3500™ spot luminaires.

For the WHACK ATTACK tour, Stuba was looking for a sort of a retro garage feel, as there is diamond plating on the set which is partially made up of amplifier cases and led tubes. The amplifiers also have electro-luminescent rope for piping, which outlines the amps when electricity is applied.

With an active set and lighting design, it became necessary to dedicate 3 specific spot luminaires to highlight the band members, so they do not get drowned away by the light activity on stage.

To accomplish this specific task, Stuba had to choose lighting instruments that would have the ability to stay on the band members and off the rest of the set. They had to be reliable and repeatable, and so for this, Stuba chose the VL3500™ spot luminaire.

"I am using the VL3500™ spot luminaires as the main key lights," said lighting designer Chris Stuba. "Billy [lead guitar] and Dusty [bass] each have one for their top lights, and one for Frank [drums] as his main front light."  

Stuba went on to state, "I was looking for a light to replace some 10 degrees I had used in the past. The zoom track is what I was looking for. The field on the VL3500™ spot is so even and the shutters are proving to be invaluable in keeping the lights on Frank and off the drums."

"The color-mixing and the field is a perfect combination on the VL3500™ spot. The fixtures do exactly what they are programmed to do. The recall, even on the shutters, is phenomenal," emphasized Stuba. "With the framing shutters, the band really noticed the lights and what they are doing. Hats off again to Vari-Lite for making a truly amazing product."

The 2005 WHACK ATTACK North American Tour will highlight material from their most recent RCA album Mescalero, as well as the body of work that is chronicled in the 2-CD set Rancho Texicano and 4-CD box set Chrome, Smoke & BBQ from Warner Bros. The 2005 WHACK ATTACK North American Tour began on June 2nd in Jackson, CA, with the conclusion date still to be announced.

Comprised of Billy Gibbons, Dusty Hill, and Frank Beard, ZZ-TOP first began their illustrious 36-year career as the "little ‘ol band from Texas." Today, they are world-renowned Texas blues and rock legends. ZZ-TOP started rocking to the top of the Texas music scene in the early 1970’s. The Texas bad boys finally broke into the mainstream with their 1983 album, Eliminator. Their music label, Warner Music, helped elevate ZZ-TOP by producing an unprecedented four music videos taken from the four hits on the album. Constant MTV rotation brought the music of ZZ-TOP into people’s living rooms and into the history of pop consciousness. From that point on, few bands ruled the 1980’s music scene with a combination of critically acclaimed albums, successful touring, and quality music videos.

Touring personnel for the WHACK ATTACK Tour includes Pablo Gamboa - Tour Manager, Donny Stuart - Production Manager, Jeff Archibeque - Assistant Light Director, Bobby Dominguez - Lighting Technician, and Mark "Smokey" Kohorn Tour Rigger.

Chris Stuba lives with his wife Susan and two daughters in Houston, Texas. He grew up just south of Detroit and started in the lighting industry in 1980. He has received 2 regional and 1 international IESNA (Illuminating Engineer Society) awards for contributions to the International Ice Festival and the Arndale Centre Light Show. He moved to Houston in 1994 and continued to do lighting for a variety of shows and events. He has spent the last 11 years lighting and touring with ZZ-TOP.

Before joining ZZ-TOP, Stuba worked as the lighting designer for LD Systems, The State Theater, The Gem Theater, Fantasee Lighting, The Premier Center, and the Harpo’s Concert Theatre.

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