Brulen and playing his Rickenbacker Bass

Touring Live Sound Engineer

Brulen took an early detour from his music career to take advantage of an opportunity the presented itself that would entail working with a professional sound company that toured with several San Francisco Bay Area bands.

While Brulen was in his own band called "Fly," he visited the stage set of a Hot Tuna concert at the State University of New York at New Paltz.  After gaining access to the backstage area during sound check, Brulen approached the lead guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, and had a brief discussion with where Jorma gave his blessing for him to work with the band as a sound engineer.

The sound company Starfine Sound, owned and operated by longtime Jerry Garcia & Merl Saunders sound engineer Paul Cavas, hired Brulen. He rose to chief engineer within a short time, touring and engineering for a number of legendary musicians and bands.  Brulen thought this experience would be an excellent opportunity to find out what makes bands sound so great in concert so he could eventually utilize the knowledge for his future musical ventures.

Eventually, the position moved Brulen from New York City to San Francisco  where he continued his touring work and became the sound system setup man and the monitor mixer (the mix that the band hears while they are performing).

As a result, Brulen traveled and did sound for several San Francisco based bands, as well as others, while working for Starfine and freelancing for Bill Graham's FM Productions on a non-stop hectic schedule.

From coast to coast, he set up sound systems from small clubs to theatres to concert halls to arenas to stadiums with capacities ranging from 1,000 to 75,000 fans.  In fact, he has driven a number of miles equal to a trip around the globe.

Brulen carried his bass guitar on tour with him, and at every opportunity, played it through the band's gear, though he often also played Jack Casady's bass, testing Jack's enormous bass rig while on tour with Hot Tuna.

Brulen also quickly overcame stage fright.  He would stand at the microphone in front of as many 50,000 fans just to repeat four words... "Testing, one, two, three," have an impromptu jam with other crew members, or warm up the crowd with his antics.

In the course of his sound engineering, Brulen mixed sound monitors for a very long list of notable music groups:

The knowledge Brulen gained from sound engineering subsequently had a huge impact on his approach in playing and recording, as in the back of his mind was always getting back into music again.

As travel and financial considerations became an issue, Brulen ended touring to pursue a new career in telecommunications.


Brulen's Rickenbacker
Brulen's Viola
Brulen's Keyboard
Brulen's Snare