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© 2021 Jon Diener
Jon Diener presents
Beyond the Spotlight
The point of this podcast is simple. We want to pull back the curtain and bring you backstage, beyond the spotlight, to give you a glimpse into the world of folks like you and me who are working in the trenches of the music, theater, and entertainment industries. They may not be household names, but they are key players in bringing to life the shows we all enjoy. Over the last 41 years, your host Jon Diener has worked as a musician, producer, recording engineer, videographer, editor, motion graphics artist, and photographer. He's spent most of his life around people working hard behind the scenes and wants to learn more about their journeys and share their stories with you.
July 1, 2021
Ep. 045: Matthew Rifino - Sound Mixer, TODAY Show
When Matthew Rifino picked up an acoustic guitar at 5, a 30 year love affair with music began. 3 years later, he convinced his grandfather to buy him a four-track cassette recorder and Matthew would sit for hours recording and overdubbing. He started recording his first band at their first rehearsal and honed his basic recording chops by trial and error. Matthew and his friends threw themselves into the NJ Hardcore and Punk scene of the mid 90's. Forming an indie label and throwing shows, Matthew wanted to be immersed in the music community. Channel surfing after school, Matthew stumbled upon a show being filmed at a recording studio only one town over from his house! He showed up at their door and told them he wanted to learn how to record. Matthew lucked out and the owner Tee DiMura took him under his wing. It was an old school 16 track analog 70's studio with floor to ceiling shag carpet and the smell of cigarettes in the air. Matthew spent all four years of high school afternoons learning as much as he could about recording and mixing. It was Avatar Studios (The Power Station) that gave Matthew his first real taste of what it’s like working with big names in the music industry. At 19-years-old, he scored a 3 month unpaid internship that turned into 4 years on staff at this legendary facility. Everyday, Matthew was in awe while learning from Grammy winning engineers and producers. Al Schmidt, Jack Joseph Puig, Michael Brauer, Jason Corsaro, Neil Dorfsman, and Rich Costey were some the greats he got to watch perform their craft. The years he spent at Avatar still influenced the rest of his life.After 4 years, he wanted to make the move to freelance. Matthew had a couple of indie records lined up and then by a chance meeting he got a gig mixing monitors for the NBC Today Show. He had never mixed anything live before but got thrown right into the fire on his first show mixing Elvis Costello. At the same time with an inherent gravitational pull towards his recording studio roots he signed on as a staff engineer at Granite Alps Studios in NJ and later as Chief Engineer at Fenix Studios in Staten Island, NY. During that time, Matthew worked with Living Colour, James Blood Ulmer, Bernard Purdie (Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Hall and Oates), Wu Tang Clan, Wyclef Jean plus lots of independent rock and pop artists. While at Fenix, he also had the opportunity to mix jingles for television, radio, as well as tracks that would end up in major motion pictures.At just 27, Matthew took on the role of Broadcast Music Mixer for the NBC TODAY SHOW. Mixing the 5.1 Surround Sound on air-mixes that millions watch daily along with millions of streams on the net. During his time at NBC, Matthew has worked with a cornucopia of artists such as Adele, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Dave Matthews Band, Robert Plant, Fleetwood Mac, Lady Gaga, Sting, Aretha Franklin, Taylor Swift, John Mellencamp, among many others.After a few years away from the record business to focus on television, he could not resist the urge to get back into the studio. Having recently completed his personal mix room "Stone House Studios”, Matthew has started mixing records again. His goal is to be able to deliver high quality mixes to all his clients.Guest Links: (
June 21, 2021
Ep. 044: Michael Jeffers - Touring Bassist
Michael Jeffers is a life long music professional, performer and player. He started out in music performing with his father’s family band, then became a founding member of the critically acclaimed band Pinmonkey and got signed to RCA Records. Michael’s been traveling town to town on tour buses since 1999, loves to golf, and he is a lover of all things real.Experience Touring Bass playerJoe NicholsJan 2008 – PresentFounding member and bass playerPinmonkeyJan 1999 – Jan 2006Doc Jeffers BandEducation Middle Tennessee State UniversityBachelor of Applied Science (BASc)Field Of Study: Music BusinessGuest Links: (
June 11, 2021
Ep. 043: Mark Clark - Tour Manager / Production Manager / Tour Accountant
Mark Clark has worked in the touring industry for over 10 years. He got his start in his home state of Alabama, driving artists at music festivals, and is currently based in New Orleans. Mark has managed tours throughout North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. In his day-to-day work, he oversees a 360-degree advanced process, from show advance, to tour accounting, to settlements, visas, production, logistics, press, and all the ins-and-outs of the vital show day process. Some of Mark’s notable previous clients include American Authors, Kayzo, TOKiMONSTA, NGHTMRE, Snails, Savoy, and Boombox. Co Host, Tour Management 101Mar 2020 – Present Location New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Tour Management 101 is an educational resource for anyone learning the ropes in the live events industry. We host a weekly webinar on Zoom, and YouTube with industry pros and provide free material and templates on our website. Tour Management / Production Management / Tour AccountingMark Clark Touring LLC Self-employed Jan 2019 – Present Location New Orleans, LA Full 360 tour advance, management, and show execution. Domestic and Worldwide.Freelance Professional Tour Manager Sep 2013 – Present Guest Links: (
June 1, 2021
Ep. 042: Angelique Mark - Production Coordinator
Angelique Mark has amassed over two decades' experience traveling the globe, working with a variety of musical acts in rooms ranging from small clubs to stadiums. Her work focuses mainly in: logistics; immigration; accounting; and high-level time management, often under the most stressful of situations. Most recently, Angelique has been working as a mentor through Grammy U and the Well Dunn organization, helping young people learn about the world of live shows and touring. Production CoordinatorThe 1975 Jan 2020 – Present Production CoordinatorMumford & Sons - Delta Tour Feb 2019 – Mar 2020 Production CoordinatorIl Divo - Timeless Tour Aug 2018 – Dec 2018 Production CoordinatorMacklemore and Ryan Lewis Apr 2017 – Aug 2018 Artist Transportation ManagerOkeechobee Music Festival Feb 2016 – Feb 2017 Production CoordinatorIl Divo - Amor y Pasion Tour Sep 2016 – Nov 2016 Wardrobe MistressCulture Club - Tribes Tour Jul 2015 – Jul 2016 Location US/CA/MX/JP/PH/AU Staff Transportation CoordinatorMysterland Music Festival May 2015 Production CoordinatorArcade Fire - Reflektor Tour Oct 2013 – Aug 2014 Location US/UK/EU/S America/Australia/New Zealand/Japan Assistant Tour ManagerMy Morning Jacket - Bob Dylan Americanarama Tour Jul 2013 – Aug 2013 Location North America Production CoordinatorFlorence and the Machine - Ceremonials Tour Jun 2012 – Dec 2012 Location US/UK/Europe Production CoordinatorThe Black Keys - El Camino Tour Oct 2012 – Nov 2012 Location New Zealand/Australia Wardrobe MistressErasure - Total Pop! and Tomorrow's World Tours Mar 2011 – Oct 2011 Location US/UK/Europe/S. America Additional Artists Toured with 2000 – 2011 Location US/UK/Europe Cirque du Soleil - Kooza (Dresser 1)Boy George/Culture Club (Tour Assistant)Gavin Rossdale/Institute (Merchandise Manager)Paul Oakenfold (Merchandise Manager)Jewel (Merchandise Manager)Fuel (Merchandise Manager)Cheetah Girls/Miley Cyrus (Merchandise)Vanessa Hudgens (Merchandise Manager)Corbin Bleu (Merchandise Manager)Guest links: (
May 21, 2021
Ep. 041: Marty Hom - Tour Manager, Production Coordinator
TOUR EXPERIENCEPresentROLLING STONES – Tour Manager1997 - PresentFLEETWOOD MAC – Tour Manager1999 – PresentBARBRA STREISAND – Tour DirectorJanuary 24, 2020MUSICARES PERSON OF THE YEAR HONORING DOLLY PARTON - Co-Producer2010 – PresentSHAKIRA – Tour Director1997 - PresentSTEVIE NICKS - Tour ManagerDec ’15 – Nov ‘16BEYONCE – Tour Director/Producer Formation Tour2012 – PresentVAN HALEN TOUR 2012 & 2015 – Tour ManagerFeb '14 – Dec ‘15LIONEL RICHIE - Tour Director1997 - 2001Jan 2013 – Dec 2013ALICIA KEYS – Tour Director - World Tour 2010 & 2013Aug ’02 – Jan 2010BETTE MIDLER – General Manager “The Showgirl Must Go On” Las Vegas ResidencyAug ’05 – May ‘07CIRQUE DU SOLEIL DELIRIUM TOUR – Tour ManagerDec ’00 – Dec ‘01BACKSTREET BOYS – Tour ManagerOct ’00 – Nov ’00LENNY KRAVITZ – Tour Manager Aug ’99 – Dec ‘99RICKY MARTIN - Tour ManagerJuly '99 - Sept '99BONNIE RAITT, JACKSON BROWNE, SHAWN COLVIN, BRUCE HORNSBY - Tour ManagerMay '99 - Sept '99BONNIE RAITT - Tour Manager/AccountantSept '98 – Aug ‘99LIONEL RICHIE - Tour Manager/AccountantApril ‘95 - 2015BOSTON - Tour ManagerOctober 1996CHRIS ISAAK - Tour Manager/AccountantAugust 1996CELINE DION - Production ManagerApril ‘96 - May ‘96SHANIA TWAIN - Tour ManagerApr ‘95 - May ‘95JIMMY BUFFETT - Tour AccountantJan '93 - Sept '94JANET JACKSON - Tour ManagerJune ‘89 - Sept '92PAULA ABDUL - Tour Manager1985BILL WITHERS- Tour Manager / AccountantGUEST LINKS:ROLLING STONE (
May 11, 2021
Ep. 040: Aoife Ahern - Tour Manager, Production Coordinator
Aoife Ahern has a huge amount of Project Management experience, having been a Global Producer, Tour Manager, Production Coordinator, Advance Manager|Artist Relations and a Talent Booker. She has advanced many large scale festivals (80,000+ capacity) such as Oxegen Festival to Kaaboo Festival. She has also been a promoter's rep and a production manager for a huge number of shows, as well as promoting weekly shows of 2000+ capacity. Aoife has toured with artists such as Prince, Beyonce, Jay-Z, One Direction, Arcade Fire, Chris Brown, Gavin Friday, The Waterboys, Billy Ocean, Sting, Madonna plus many more. During this time, she has performed roles such as Tour Manager, Production Co-ordinator, and VIP Facilities Manager. Aoife manages and co-ordinates large volumes of information - from budgets, crew, travel, logistics, riders, content, schedules, visas, dressing rooms, ground transport, merchandise & VIP management. She has also worked with a vast array of international talent, promoters, founders, entrepreneurs, agents, TMs, suppliers, venues & crew over the years. Tour ManagementTame Impala Jul 2019 – Present Facilities Manager | One Direction | Chris Brown | Beyonce | Jay-Z | Sting | MadonnaLive Nation | VIP Nation 2015 – Present Duties Include:Facilities Manager for all VIPs daily.Coordinating all Early Entry Tickets daily.Coordinating all Hot Tickets Entries daily.Liaising and managing security and queuing systems.Managing all signage for Early Entries & Hot Tickets.Managing of all ticket booths, ticketing, wristbands and staff.Daily brief with security, venue and Live NationManaging of all VIP Merchandise.Daily reports for Live/VIP Nation.Setting & Running of office.Troubleshooting, managing all issues that arose.Tour ManagerGavin Friday Jul 2011 – Present Managing budgets based on fee for each show.Booking and managing logistics, such as travel, accommodation, ground transport. Coordinating with press department and accompanying artist to all press calls. Drawing up of all riders based on requirement of traveling party and foreseeing their implementation at each show. Managing of all crew and touring party.Arranging work permits for non EU band members in relevant country. Coordinating all aspects of production.Dealing with cash and payment. Liaising between management, agent, promoter and band to make sure that everyone has information required to make each show a successful event.Liaising with Event Control to ensure that all health and safety matters are adhered to for safety of band and audience.Production CoordinatorPrince May 2014 – Present Location European / Canadian & American Tour Booking of hotels, flights & ground transport for all Crew.Arranging Visa for all Crew.Managing and organising of artist catering.Designing daily menu for artist.Managing of Dressing Rooms & Riders on a daily basis.Signage for Backstage Area.Assisting TM/PM with production requirements.Running & assisting in production office.Dealing with crew, suppliers, management, venues and artists needs on a daily basis. Senior VIP Nation Event Manager | International ToursVIP Nation Europe | Live Nation Oct 2018 – Sep 2019 London, United Kingdom Michelle Obama, Mumford & Sons, Blackpink, BTS, Phil Collins, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel. Guest links: (
May 1, 2021
Ep. 039: Rayna Zemel - Playback Engineer, Producer, Composer
Passionate and extroverted, Rayna’s varied background gives her a unique perspective as well as an ability to engage people from all walks of life. Before graduating with a degree in Political Science from the University of Vermont, Rayna grew up at the intersection of multiple cultures. As a child, Rayna was raised between three worlds - She could be found at a Baptist church in Camden, New Jersey with her grandmother, at synagogue in Philadelphia with her mother’s family of Jewish academics, or at St. Columba’s episcopal church in Washington D.C. Rayna decided to pursue a career in the music industry and moved to Los Angeles, where she eventually ended up working in the touring industry as a playback engineer with artists such as Logic, Pentatonix, Due Lipa, Iggy Azalea, Hailee Steinfeld, The Lonely Island, Lana Del Rey, DJ Khaled, and more. Additionally, she is a music composer who's work has been featured in over 75 television shows, movies, and commercials. The events of 2020 led her to pursue her passion for documentary photography. Rayna has documented over 50 protests in the Los Angeles area, her work and efforts are featured in the short film “We Can’t Breathe”. Producer / Music DirectorWinters Rock Entertainment Sep 2018 – PresentBusiness development, talent scouting, on-site photographer, and post-production audio mixing. Producer: “We Can’t Breathe” (2020)Composer: “We Can’t Breath” (2020) Producer: “Storm” (2020) Composer: “Beyond the Edge”(2020) Composer: “Letters to Liam” (2019) Music Supervisor: “Letters to Liam” (2019)Playback EngineerPentatonix Inc Jan 2020 – Present Playback EngineerDUA LIPA LIVE LLPNov 2019 – Jan 2020 Playback Engineer / ProgrammerHailee Steinfeld Aug 2019 – Nov 2019 Playback Engineer & MIDI Tech Lana Del ReyMar 2019 – Nov 2019 Pro Tools Playback EngineerThe Lonely Island May 2019 – Jun 2019 Ableton Programmer / Playback EngineerDua Lipa Apr 2019 Ableton Programmer / Playback EngineerGunnar Gehl Oct 2018 – Dec 2018 Ableton Programmer / Playback EngineerPRETTYMUCH Jul 2018 – Sep 2018 Ableton Programmer / PlaybackJun 2017 – Aug 2018Ableton Playback / ProgrammingTroye SivanMar 2018 – Apr 2018 Ableton Playback OperatorLil’ Wayne Sep 2017 Playback Designer & ProgrammerSaint Motel Dec 2016 Director of Vibes | Producer | MixerMath Club Music Jun 2016 – Oct 2016 Electronic Creatives Feb 2016 – Mar 2016 Ableton playback for Iggy Azalea.Electronic Creatives Title Tour Manager / Production ManagerNiykee Heaton "The Bedroom Tour" 2015Oct 2015 – Dec 2015Tour Manager Production ManagerAbleton Playback Operator: Kiesza Jan 2015 – Oct 2015Product Ambassador / TesterLivid Instruments Nov 2014 – Jan 2015 Guitar Wing MIDI Controller Product Ambassador for the Greater Los Angeles Area.Recording Arts InstructorThe Los Angeles Film School Jul 2011 – Sep 2014 Instructor - Beginning and Advanced Music production in Pro Tools, Ableton, and Logic. Producer/EngineerKops & Robbers Jan 2010 – Jan 2012 Guest Links: (
April 21, 2021
Ep. 038: Sai Hanif - CEO, Drum Tech, Tour Manager
Sai Hanif has been working in the music industry for over sixteen years. In addition to live event production, he founded and continues to run a successful musical instrument brand. Sai has taken his business acumen and applied it to the artists he works with throughout his career. He specializes in scaling artists by implementing processes to create efficient workflows with respect to the creative process. Specialties: Tour Direction, Production Management, Design, Budgeting, Travel, Logistics, Business Strategy, and Artist Development.Founder and CEOMasters of Maple Drums Established in 2002 Masters of maple is one of the leading boutique drum manufacturers in the world. The brand produces high quality instruments with a limited distribution model, and is one of the few manufacturers to make their ply drum shells in house.Tour Director, Production Manager Gabriel " Fluffy" Iglesias May 2019 – Present Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias is an acclaimed stand up comedian with multiple Netflix specials, and storied career in entertainment.Production Manager, Technical Director X ambassadors Contract Oct 2019 – Present Production management for the “Orion” world tour album campaign. X ambassadors are a Grammy award winning alternative band from Ithaca, New York. I oversaw design and fabrication of the new stage production, which incorporated video elements utilizing the new disguise D3 media server. Production Consultant, Drum Technician [Joshua Homme]Eagles of Death Metal Dates Employed Apr 2015 – Present Eagles of Death Metal are a rock band from Palm Desert, California. I served as drum technician for Mr. Homme when he would play drums live with the band. Tour Manager, Production Manager, Creative Director Jakob Dylan Jul 2014 – Present Jakob Dylan is a Grammy award winning and lead singer of The Wallflowers. I have been responsible for all special projects in many capacities. Mr. Dylan is involved in many charities at the forefront of health and world issues.Founder and CEO Ghost Tech Touring Full-time Mar 2012 – Present Ghost Tech Touring is a full service production company. We specialize in all aspects of touring operations such as but not limited to: bus rental, insurance, crew management, budget control, audio visual services, backline, logistics, expendable management. Typically clients save between 4-19% on gross revenue touring expenses.Production Manager Walk The Moon May 2016 – Present Production management for the “What if Nothing” album campaign. Walk the Moon are a rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio.Tour Manager, Production Manager, Management The Wallflowers Jan 2011 – Present Tour Manager | Production Manager [2013- Present]Stage Manager | Backline Crew Chief | Drum Technician | Keyboard Technician [2011-2013] The Wallflowers are a two-time Grammy award winning rock band from Los Angeles, California. Tour Director, Technical Director, Band Liaison, Production Accountant Echo in the Canyon Dates Employed 2018 – 2019 Echo In The Canyon is a 2018 film paying homage to the music of the sixties and the cultural revolution surrounding Laurel Canyon. It was released in theaters May 24, 2019. (
April 11, 2021
Ep. 037: Cherise P - Chief Marketing Officer, Special Brand + FanGage Nation
Innovator, digital marketer, brand positioning expert, data geek, and even musician, are just some of the ways that Cherise P has been described. These words have been applied whether from the halls of Coca-Cola where she served as Senior Marketing Manager of Shopper Marketing Innovation and Senior Customer Marketing Manager (partnership marketing) to the Washington D.C. offices of the U.S. President appointed Election Assistance Commission.
April 1, 2021
Ep. 036: Alex Prince - Tour Manager, Production Coordinator
Alex Prince has been involved in the live music industry for years, working primarily as a Production Coordinator, but also as Tour Manager and Production Manager. He is a California native who recently relocated to Minnesota.
March 21, 2021
Ep. 035: Paul Dalen - Tour Manager, Production Manager, FOH Mixer
After 20+ years of traveling as a Tour Manager and FOH Sound Engineer, Paul Dalen retired from touring in the ‘90s and worked for Bill Graham Presents in San Francisco as production manager at The Fillmore, The Warfield and a number of other bay area venues. In 2001, he moved to New York and spent the next 5 years at David Whitehead’s highly respected firm Maine Road Management. At the time of his departure, the music roster included David Bowie, David Byrne, Luna, Joe Henry, Beth Orton, Helmet, Dean and Britta, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Air, Jim White, Laura Cantrell and Joe Ely; and the producer roster featured Kevin Killen, Ryan Freeland, Tucker Martine and others. Paul returned to full time touring and festival production in 2012 and he remains enthusiastic about traveling the world utilizing his skills in Artist Management to great effect in his current roles as Tour Manager / Production Manager / FOH mixer.
March 11, 2021
Ep. 034: Pam Matthews - Exec. Director, IEBA
Pam Matthews is a proven industry leader with four decades of experience in the entertainment business. She began her career at age fifteen as a runner for Mid South Concerts in Memphis. Today, she serves the live entertainment industry as Executive Director of one of its most influential trade organizations.
March 1, 2021
Ep. 033: Victor Reed, Sr. - Production Manager
Victor Reed Sr. has been on the road since the late 70s. From his early days with Bobby Brown and Rick James, to Stevie Wonder’s performance at President Obama’s 2nd inaugural, to recent tours with Kendrick Lamar and Mary J Blige, Victor has built an impressive resume of achievements and eventually became CEO of his own company, Global Events Production Network, LLC.
February 21, 2021
Ep. 032: Marcia Ramirez - Singer/Songwriter & Background Vocalist
Marcia Ramirez is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, background vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist who keeps a busy schedule as a session singer and with live performances. We talk about what it's REALLY like being a background singer.
February 11, 2021
Ep. 031: Lady A - Performer/Manager/Producer
Lady A's love of music, her gospel background, her Louisiana roots, and musical family have always led her back to the blues and gospel music, mixed with flavors of soul and funk like a perfect jambalaya. And with her work behind the scenes, she has earned the title "The Hardest Workin Woman in Blues, Soul, Funk & Gospel".
February 1, 2021
Ep. 030: Gabi Parra - Tour & Production Coordinator
In the last 15 years, Gabi Parra has done everything from runner to lead production coordinator for Earth, Wind & Fire. She’s also worked high profile events for the DNC, The Superbowl and Glastonbury Festival.
January 21, 2021
Ep. 029: Sarina Larson - Co-Founder, Merch Roadie
There are vending machines for all kinds of stuff… drinks, snacks, electronics… but why not concert merch? Well, Sarina Larson saw an opportunity and co-founded a company to design, build and deploy them.
January 11, 2021
Ep. 028: Jim Digby - Event Safety Alliance & Show Makers
Today, we’re chatting with Jim Digby, President and Co-Founder of the Event Safety Alliance about why the organization was formed and what they’re working on to protect all of us at every live show.
January 1, 2021
Ep. 027: Ashley Lomax - Hospitality & VIP Coordinator
Happy New Year, everyone! You want a firecracker? We’ve got one right here in the form of Ashley Lomax, Hospitality & VIP Coordinator for artists like Kanye West, Slipknot, Janet Jackson, and Cher.
December 21, 2020
Ep. 026: Janine Diaz - Health Coach & Personal Trainer
With the holidays upon us and a new year right around the corner, what better time to chat with Health Coach & Personal Trainer, Janine Diaz. She helps people, especially in the music industry, maximize their mental, physical and emotional health.