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The Totally Authorized
(And not at all exaggerated – honestly!)
Bio of Mr Ian Peacock

Peacock Productions is the Los Angeles-based company name for Lighting Designer, Ian Peacock. Ian’s usual area of Lighting Design has been in the music business – lighting rock concerts as Lighting Designer and Director for many of the world’s top performers.

Ian has been in the lighting industry for over 25 years. Ian started his lighting career working for Pink Floyd and Yes, two of rock’s most innovative and progressive bands – in their lighting production and their music. During these early years in the industry, Ian gained invaluable experience in the burgeoning art of lighting design. He has designed and directed lighting from small clubs to enormous arenas, creating displays that are magnificent live and equally brilliant on film or television.

Ian has worked and toured all over the world with many of the top artists in the music business: Queen, 10cc, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Sir Paul McCartney and Wings, Sir Elton John, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Simon, Cher, George Michael, Chicago, Gloria Estefan, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Page, Whitesnake and many more. Recently, Ian has been moving into other areas of lighting, as the rock concert style of lighting has opened up many opportunities in a variety of new markets. Areas such as Trade Shows, Corporate Theatre & Meetings. He also has created and is developing several commercial projects of his own involving Lighting and Video and the convergence of both.

Ian’s lighting designs and style of lighting are as unique and diverse as his own life has been. His lighting career started in this very same manner.

Ian arrived in Los Angeles by way of Scotland, England and Australia. The first step in this journey occurred when 20-year-old Ian had only been in the music business for 6 months! It was 1973 and Ian was a new roadie for a small band when he suddenly found himself working for Pink Floyd at Earls Court Arena in London!

“That was thanks to a friend of mine, who was working for The Floyd at the time. This was for one of the first – if not THE first – full presentations of Dark Side of the Moon, since it’s release earlier that year,” Ian recalls. “At some point during the first day I found myself standing at the bottom of the stairs, up stage right. I wasn’t doing anything at the time as 1) I didn’t know what to do and 2) I thought I had finished the last thankless task I’d been given!

“Just beyond the top of the stairs where I was standing, stood two men in a heated discussion – let’s not say shouting match! If you have worked with these guys yourself at some point, you would know what I mean. The two brilliant and loudly enthusiastic men in question were Arthur Max (then Lighting Designer for Pink Floyd) and Grahame Fleming. Grahame was in charge of getting all the weird and wonderful lighting and special effects working for all Pink Floyd concerts, or at least finding people who could make it all happen. Quite a task in those days!

“I can’t quite remember the exact subject matter of the ‘argument’ – sorry – ‘discussion’ that was taking place at the time.” He was soon to find out, however, as all of a sudden Ian found himself the center of attention.

“Arthur had seen me standing at the bottom of the stairs, probably scratching my backside at the time. Next thing I know, Arthur is pointing his finger at me and with a frightening glare in his eyes and a very loud voice says, ‘Use HIM! He’s just #@*&^$ standing around doing nothing!’”

And so was born a long and very interesting lighting career. Next thing Ian knew, he was painting wooden lighting cases black for Pink Floyd.

Arthur Max by the way was Production Designer for “The Gladiator” I think he was nominated for an Oscar for that one. Those Earl Court Show’s were a real spectacle especially considering the technology at the time. No awards were given for those.

“I ended up running two of the special effects during the shows we did at Earls Court Arena. I think it was 2 or 3 shows. The first cue I had was a big dry ice waterfall above the stage. I forget what song it was for. I had about 6 or 8 dry ice machines that I had to operate. I was so nervous but so excited and into what was going on.

“I was hooked by the second cue, which had me setting off some strobes that were sitting behind Nick Mason’s drums,” says Ian. “I remember crouching just behind his drum stool doing that ‘Hide the Roadie’ thing. I was so intimidated that I have no idea where I found my nerve. And I actually blew the strobe cue the first show! That was merely due to lack of confidence, to be honest.

“The interesting thing was that I knew exactly where the strobes should be used, but I was not clear on the ‘GO’ I got over the headphones, so I never set them off even when my gut told me I should have! I never blew that cue again and from that moment on I knew I had a feel for what was going on. Incidentally, I am pretty sure the strobe and dry ice cue was during ”Echoes”. Pretty good stuff to break your teeth on wouldn’t you say?”

“But in those early days, you made it up as you went along. You could not call a lighting company to rent something that nobody had built yet let alone used. Apart from light bulbs and a few bits and pieces, The Floyd built it, as they needed it. The brilliant Michael Tate then lighting designer for Yes invented and built whatever was needed himself, or he would show me or someone else how to build it.”

Ian’s hands-on “crash course” in lighting with The Floyd followed by 3 years under the guidance of “The most brilliant man I have ever worked for.” No he is not a Pop Star. Michael Tate then Lighting Designer, Tour Manager, Production Manager, Leader, Mentor and Caretaker of the Yes Crew.

Michael now owner of Tate Towers a company that builds many of the stage sets you see on today’s top tours. Back then when we were working for Yes Michael had me building Dimmer Racks and a Lighting Desk complete with Twin Cigarette Lighters in one of his bedrooms at his house in Willesden London. I think I built one of the first if not THE first multi channel dimmer rack to go on the road. 24 Dimmers in the same rack. He had me build 2 of them. He was a great teacher and had a very unique flair and style that has stayed with me all these years. The Lighting Desk had his individual style stamped all over it. He was way ahead of his time. We built our own lighting fixtures for those Yes Shows. We had to as we had to build things into Roger Deans outrageous Set Designs. I remember all that Itchy Fiberglass so well.

Ian is in the enviable position of having been taught by the best and most brilliant mind in the business at the time. This was a great education and apprenticeship that has allowed Ian to be entrusted with the creation and execution of intricate, lighting shows for many of the world’s greatest performers.

As a very inexperienced young man in the industry, Ian found his time with Pink Floyd, Michael Tate and Yes, to be an almost unbelievable ride.

“My experience with Pink Floyd and Yes is something I have treasured to this day and is a huge influence over a lot of things in my life and work. Over the next couple of years from those first Earls Court shows, I worked on and off with The Floyd. Nothing long-term. The odd gig here and there and a tour of Europe and that was it. But because of my experience with The Floyd, coupled with 3 years full-time with the band Yes and working with Michael Tate, I had one of the best introductions to lighting and that wonderful world of Rock ‘n’ Roll – first-hand experience that other people can only dream about.

“As the years have gone by, I cannot express what a privilege it was for me to have been able to live and work in that world.”

It is said that first impressions make the greatest impact in our lives, and you don’t get a second chance at them. And they often yield the most unexpected outcomes. For Ian, his time learning the ropes from Pink Floyd’s and Yes’s masterful lighting designers and some wonderful crew members had enormous impact on him and has influenced his career for all these years.

But this account of the beginnings of Ian’s career is not intended to date him, but to show that there is a depth of experience and knowledge that very few Lighting Designers can match. Ian considers this work to be a privilege – a gift that he is grateful to have and to have found. He considers himself to be a total professional in his work, but he always finds the time to see the lighter side of things. After all, Rock ‘n’ Roll is just a fantastic gig that he is grateful to be part of. Can’t take ones self too seriously now! Can one?

“I started in this industry during a time when technicians were called roadies. (When did roadies become band techs? I’d like to know!) Smoke fluid was called ‘smoke fluid’ or ‘smoke juice’ – not ‘Lighting Enhancement Fluid’ or ‘Visual Interference’! I remember that ” Lighting Enhancement Fluid “ was a few pints in the pub not after, but during work. ‘Visual Interference’ was a poke in the eye with a sharp stick or could also be caused by too much ‘Lighting Enhancement Fluid’! Where and when did we get so clever and come up with all these fancy terms and expressions?”