I love the shows. I especially love the time frame from the moment the house lights go dark and the deafening crowd roar pushes adrenaline through my veins. I love the first note, I love the overdrive of Flea's bass and thundering subs. I love turning up the guitar loud when it comes in on Can't Stop and I love it when AK's vocals comes through loud and clear on the very first word. And with each part I love, the crowd roars as if expressing what my mind is thinking. I love the rock shows. I also love to watch the rock shows and some days I can see better than others:
**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 2 ****
These roadies consider themselves a team of highly trained specialists that parade into the gig at the latest possible moment to perform their critical duties before heading to the bus earlier than any other department, aside from the band themselves. While this concept may have similarities to the truth, it would be more accurate to catalog them as a group of 5th Beatle's requiring a fairly high maintenance level and while performing relatively little work.
Today's "Meet a Roadie" roadie's will be what we call backline, monitor engineer, FOH engineer and LD (lighting designer). Being that they all travel on the same bus as I do and I am one of them, you most likely have already met us all by default, if you have been hanging around here for while. Never the less, that does not excuse any of them from this excellent opportunity to parallel the Meet a Roadie Campaign with the embarrassing roadie picture project. Two great tastes for the price of one and so .....
An excerpt from Day 89:
Backline Techs and Monitor Engineer - These techs have an even later of a call time and finish relatively early in the big picture. The workloads are fairly light comparatively but the responsibility huge. Each backline roadie deals directly with their band human, one each for bass, guitar and drums while the monitor engineer with all four in he band. Every nuance from which guitar tuned how and when, to making absolutely double extra sure that the guitar, bass, drum and monitor rigs operate as close to perfection as possible, every single show. There is no error unseen by either the band member or possibly the entire audience. They have both awesome gigs and mind bending stress as each of them is pretty much responsible for the band hearing themselves and each other so they can perform the show.
FOH World - Lighting designer and FOH Sound Engineer live in a bit of a different realm. On one hand they are far from the fray of stage where the action is, on the other hand, everything the audience sees and hears is at their finger tips. The mass of ears and eyes is a unique critique that responds to feeling and emotion. Meanwhile, there are enough people in the know at each show that errors do not go unnoticed. It's an ethereal slow, distance once removed, stress that can pop into immediate trauma if something important goes pear-shaped. A gig I love and would not trade for the world.
The shy and humble Chris Warren is truly a magnificent example of a roadie. Not only has he been The Peppers drum tech for over seven years, he is also a talented musician as well playing several part during the show and even stepping out to sing for the encore intro.
Next in our line up of tough guys is none other than the legendary Dave Lee. As a true veteran that joined the organization back in the One Hot Minute days, he actually has transitioned from Navaro to Fruciante. He is the one who keeps the incredibly complex and precarious creation called "John's Guitar Rig" functioning at least most of the time.
Rounding out the backline three is none other than the powerhouse we call Tracy. As the maintenance machine responsible for ensuring you hear the flurry and intensity of bass sounds created by Flea, a bassist in a band of his own and more recently Bus 2 Guitar Hero king, his task is not one to take lightly.
Bus # 2 is sometimes referred to as the 'old school bus' due to the fact that six of the eight roadies onboard have over seven years with the band. So next I introduce a roadie that is not only new, but young as well and weighing in at a mere seven months and already on the geriatric bus, we have roadie Daniel. Carrying the multiple responsibility of supplying all four band members with the sound they want to hear and also the closest thing we have to an 'Anthony Tech.' This boy has lot of weight on his shoulders and is so new that he has yet to earn the honor of an embarrassing roadie pic. Here seen still eating candy, I present, our monitor engineer:
Familiar to all and most likely you have seen a bit more of him than you ever wanted to, lets give a warm round of applause for the pillar of visual presentation at the rock show, Lampi Scott:
Not only does Scott operate the visuals you see, he was also involved with the design of the show with another roadie that only joins us for the beginning of the tours but is never forgotten, roadie Grier:
On our bus remains three, Lyssa B, Rose and me. To do them justice, I will be savoring the presentation of the tour ladies of Bus 2 for a future blog. So now for the grand finally of 'Meet a Roadie Episode 2,' I will make a rare exception to my self created rule of never displaying photo's of our musical four while they are off stage and share with you one of my personal favorite embarrassing roadie photos featuring myself and three honorary roadie's that we hold in high regard:
and though honorary roadie Chad is not in the photo, we must not forget to honor him equally as well in this celebration deemed, 'Roadie Awareness Week.'
Thanks for all the fun to read info. It's gotta be hard to keep up with running your co, and staying on top of the tour side and blogging for us little guys that aspire. Thanks man!
But the big question is since your in Philly, Geno's or Pat's?
AHahHAhAHAh. Just great! Can't wait for more Roadie Awareness Week shots.
Your writing is enjoyable as well. Never get bored even on those "nerd speak".
Dave, if you come to Brazil next year, would you mind if I take a picture with you roadies wearing black shorts? I mean, I'll wear it. Just want to meet you guys. Feel free to e-mail me.
The every day reader,
Who's responsible for the 'while you wait' music that's played before, in between and after shows? You? Or maybe it's someone who will be featured in a later episode?
Who picks this music and is the music before and in between specific music to get the band humans jazzed?
I've always been curious about this.
Hmmm, Geno's or Pat's is tough and taking sides may be beyond the scope of roadie such as I. Take a friend, get one each, hit 'em both and split 50/50. Why the heck would I order cake if I did not want to eat it too!
Sama, In the muti faceted roadie world, there are so many new wonders every day that I don really see repeating a past short short adventure. But if we do come down that way, please do come say hello and be glad to meet you.
I supply the 'while you wait music' after between mars and Peppers and the song after the show, usually but not always.
Great reading! Keep up the cool blog!
Bit of a technical question. I was at the front of the Earls Court shows in July and I noticed that you guys tour with 3 lines of subwoofers, placed one behind the other. Whats the logic behind this? Is it literarily that you need that many boxes to get the level required for such a big venue, or did the stage legs get lost on tour and they needed to prop the stage up with an immence amount of sub!?
All the best,
Cheers for this! So by using three subs in that configuration, you actually get more directional coverage due to off axis phase cancelation.
You mentioned earlier in your blog that you made minor tweaks to the sound system throughout your 4 shows at Earls Court, if the RHCP's ever came back to that venue on their next tour, given your experience of the place, would you approach desiging the system differently? Acoustically it is, I imagine an absolute bitch of a venue to mix a rock show in!
I prefer not to think about going back there. I don't know. I think I would approach the sound design completely diferently and rely heavily on multiple delay clusters for that space to optimize. It is so reverberant and huge that the conventional arena system approach, I feel, is never going to free itself from the "for that room" qualifier that comes after the words "sounded pretty good."