Monday, November 13. 2006
Success is built with constant pressure in a chosen direction. When the mind set toward achieving the desired outcome is never given the option of doubt all that remains is embracing the time frame needed to accomplish the goal. In my life, that has been the recipe I use to create the things I consider successes. I write it here as much to share it with you as to bring myself some clarity in the tangled web of interwoven adventures, sometime in harmony and sometimes in conflict. Sometimes the task at hand can never be completed so working in a positive direction becomes the definition of success. Speaking of that, check this out:
If you are not familiar with Surf Rider Foundation and you have a moment, take a look https://www.surfrider.org/whatwedo2.aspx
The Surfrider's are fighting an endless battle a small gift to them is another step in the process of fulfilling our end of the eBay auction.
**** Sound Nerd Speak - Home Edition ****
In my constant quest for the holy grail of audio perfection, I leave no stone unturned. In the professional edition of Sound Nerd Speak which I have presented up till now, I have shared many of my theories and methods I follow or create to present audio at rock shows. Since I am at home, today we will take a step sideways and take a look at the other side of the coin.
There are many types of home listeners and we can drop them into a few useful categories:
The Utilitarian - Music is the goal and purpose, speakers are just a tool to listen, equally at home with a ghetto blaster or any set of speakers laying around, the utilitarian does not let the hardware interfere with the purpose, to listen and enjoy.
The Decorator - Similar to the Utilitarian, the Decorator adds in the visual aspect and speakers are chosen on aesthetics first. Heard and not seen is the motto and if seen, it better look good.
The Thrill Seeker - Size does matter and so does loud. The Thrill Seeker basks in the adrenaline rush achieved from incredibly loud heart pounding sound and usually has a favorite song that they play for every visitor to blast their socks off. The Thrill Seeker is not the favorite neighbor on the block.
The Show Off - Typically the Show Off does not really know much about sound reproduction itself as they are too busy remembering the useless details about how the tubes were made of hand blown glass and the liquid titanium poured speaker cones. More often than not, these details sound quite impressive when described and sound not so good when the music travels through them.
The Vintage - Like coin collectors and other humans that have chosen to live their lives in reverse by clinging to the past, the Vintage attempts grab a snapshot of some historical era and present it as superior rather than the relic that it is. Half the time they are right and the other half is just silly nostalgia.
The Professional - After scanning all available options, the Professional has come up with an interesting concept."If the record the CD using studio monitors, why don't I get studio monitors for my house?" Brilliant idea and definitely interesting yet one thing to consider though one perspective is that studio monitors are often designed to highlight the audio flaws and home Hi-Fi speakers are built to cover them up.
The Audiophile - Unlike the other categories, the Audiophile actually comes in two versions: Confused and not Confused.
The Confused Audiophile is basically for all practical purposes an idiot. Ouch, a bit harsh, please let me re-phrase. The Confused Audiophile is so passionate about finding sonic perfection that he/she (usually a he) has become totally and completely blind to common sense and logic. These are often seemingly normal humans that can be persuaded to believe just about anything when it comes to sound if you charge enough money for it and use un provable flowery sonic descriptions to describe the products.
For example this company sells something that you can buy the parts at Radio Shack for costing about 2 dollars and there is no measurement device known to man that could prove any of their claims-
of course if you are going to buy that you definitely need two of these:
because just like fancy lug nuts will make your car faster, wood knobs must sound better. And to plug in your gear, buying audiophile ac outlets for $ 75 of course make sense rather than the $ 3 version that comes with the house.
Hmmm, even if it was not a complete scam, I wonder if the entire rest of the wires leading to my house and the 30 miles of power cable is audiophile as well?
Not to mention people selling unidirectional wire as electricity travels both ways, true unidirectional would be terrible. Sadly and pathetically there are hundreds and hundreds web sites, store and thousands of products forming an entire industry that prey's upon the Confused Audiophile.
The Not Confused Audiophile - This is a rough place to be. Here you have a person that truly seeks great sound but has to navigate the minefield of deception and scammers that plague their path. Often products will be a mixture of false magic and technical quality leaving the Not confused Audiophile in a compromising position.
Next up "Which type of home listener is Dave Rat?" stay tuned...
**** Sound Nerd Speak - Home Edition ****
The angry at people that take advantage of the naive,
Saturday, November 11. 2006
For those of you just joining us, here is a link to our ebay auction:
And the comments and questions:
The eBay auction exceeded our expectations beyond comprehension. It was announced on the radio in Portland and Northern California, it was a top pick on goofyauctions.com:
easily squashing "the carrot that looks like Paris Hilton" selling for 15 times the price:
The bidding was fierce but a victor emerged and has staked his place in the history of mankind. The time line of : Weapons, Fire, The Wheel, Anti-Biotic's, The Telegraph, Advertising on a Roadie and Landing on the Moon will all surely forever be the markers by which mankind is judged.
The auction winner is George.
Not only is he the proud temporary owner of the Dave Rat and Scott backs for a yet undisclosed show, he also owns a sound company in Ontario, Canada called Crank Sound Distribution. Though I had no idea who the winner was till after the auction, here is an excerpt from an email I received from George in September:
"I have been involved in the audio & lighting business for almost 20yrs. Working with various outfits across the country. In 2003 I decided to start my own sound company & I could not be happier with that decision. I was partly inspired by you to do this & in particular by an interview you gave to Professional Sound magazine back in December of 2000. That magazine sits on my office desk to this day."
Other than the fact that helping to inspire people to follow their dreams and life passions is one of the most important things in the world to me, no big deal. I had a really hard time with accepting the payment from him but then the realization of how badly we need to redecorate as well as the importance of following through on agreements overruled and so ahead we sally forth into the future.
Sallying forth with a bit of a stumble that is. Unfortunately the bank did not recognize Scott the Lampi nor myself as Dave Rat neither Scott nor I had ID that matched Even after much pleading and showing of the blog, we were unable to cash the check causing a slight delay in the process. Since then we got it all straightened out and are ready to proceed with the adventure.
**** Begin Important Memo ****
Sent: Nov 11, 2006 9:58 AM
Attention All FOH Roadies:
First Please welcome roadie Lee to our FOH world as he will temporarily be replacing Nick the Fly for the upcoming Euro run.
As you all are aware, we will be changing out our FOH 'Autumn Motif' to a summer/tropical presentation for the upcoming leg. I realize this is a major undertaking and there are a few details that will need to be addressed.
1) At least for the early stages of the tour, tropical attire will be mandatory. If you are in need of bright flowery shirts, let me know and I can bring extras. Bermuda shorts and sandals are recommended.
2) As you are well aware we have a significant and extraordinary budget for the decorations nearly $300! Obtaining tiki items in london may pose a challenge, so please do your part by acquiring any relevant items and bring them with you. Keep your eyes out as this could be more difficult than you think.
Figure up to about $50 each should do it for solo buying and we will hopefully be hiring outside consultant Lyssa B for guidance with the remainder. Please forward any suggestions or ideas ASAP! In order to keep everyone in the loop and avoid cost over runs, it is imperative that you notify us of any billable purchases.
Do not forget to save your receipts and remember, the quality our FOH world is how we are judged, this is our FOH world, let's make something we enjoy and are proud of.
Oh, and as far as all that sound and lighting stuff, we can deal with that later.
The Front of House Management Authority
*** End Important Memo ****
Well there you have it. Looks like the hammer has come down and we have a plan. With the eBay auction reeling in a whooping $ 406 we were stunned and laughing. We of course provide full accounting, copies of all receipts, cancelled checks and such as this progresses but here is our preliminary budget:
Total income: $ 406
25% to Surf Rider Foundation: $ 101.50
eBay fees: $ 13.84
Miscellaneous surcharges and handling fees: $ 0.66
Leaving us $ 290.00 for our spending spree!
The ready to shop,
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling as we all agree is without a doubt the fun we have at the airport. Especially enjoyable are the lines we get to stand in and meet new people with the common goal of making it through security. Another fun part is checking bags. Notice below roadie Daniel's excitement at having the opportunity to delicately repack his belonging neatly in the traveling enclosure with the assistance of roadie Lyssa. It is my understanding that the airline employee had informed him that his other bag was over weight. The other roadies in line had much compassion that we expressed by laughing at his plight before several other roadies had to do the exact same thing.
As painful as it is to see the cycle of life in action and compassion for the fallen lives that were lost in the hunt brings tears to our eyes, we must face the realities of natural selection and survival of the fittest. Look, there, just as you have seen on the discovery channel when lions feast upon a fallen zebra, I have spotted three roadies that consuming three burgers that were not fit enough to escape their captors:
**** Roadies in the Midst 101 ****
If you were struggling with the mid term finals, do not fret, you can boost your grade by signing up for winter school and performing one or more of the following extra credit exercises:
1) Do considerable 'sound research' by listening to music. For the advanced listener should you choose to partake, there are many perspectives one can take while listening. Typically the most pleasure is derived from 'immersed,' where you become lost in the flow. Other perspectives are objective, analytical, technical, comparative and on and on. One way of taking an analytical view is to have a set of things that you will listen for, perhaps: kick, snare, cymbals, bass, guitar, vocals in that order, would be a good start. Then as the song progresses, you mentally cycle through them doing a level and tonality check. How loud is the kick in relation to the other instruments? Picture the tone. Is is complementary of conflicting with other tones? Keep in mind that for this exercise, no judgment or musical preference is made. Purely neutral and tonal and volume. How do the results from the cycle of listening differ from pop to reggae to heavy metal to punk? Which typically has the loudest kick drum? Which has the loudest bass? How do the vocal levels compare?
2) Practice your 'meet a roadie' skills on random humans by introducing yourself randomly to new people. Feel free to do this naked if you are so inclined.
3) Avoid stepping in poo.
Complete any or all of the above and you will receive an A+ for semester1 of 'Roadies in the Midst 101'
**** End First Semester of Roadies in the Midst 101 ****
The rarely bored,
Tuesday, November 7. 2006
I like to think of it as charitable gifting into the unknown, accidental altruism, the natural osmosis of items from a higher density (in my possession) to a lower density (worldly elsewhere's). Everyone else calls it 'losing things.' Like any skill, some people are naturally gifted in such a way to be better at it than others. I can proudly say that I happen to be quite talented in this particular art form and I am a master 'misplace-ist.' Losing passports, video cameras, back packs and my car every time I park it anywhere but my driveway are all merely mundane accomplishments that don't even phase me.Â
This time it is something new, I am excited to say and perhaps a few of you were wondering as I know a certain Jane Doe was, "What happened to Detroit?" Aha, I have lost an entire city not to mention the day off preceding. Where did it go? Was it stolen? Maybe in one of my bags? Nope, I have looked everywhere and can honestly say it is gone. Just like losing a laptop but still having the power supply all I have left are a few snapshots to offer. So here goes:
The hotel bar doubles as a roadie magnet like a watering hole in the sahara:
And since we are nearing the end of the second quarter this impromptu shot can also double as the midterm test. There are 6 touring roadies shown plus another identifiable human.
Name 3 = C
Name 4 = B
Name 5 =A-
Name 7=A+ and you get a free Rat Sticker if you come find me at a gig!
Remember to use a #2 pencil and this test will be timed and yes, calculators are allowed.
The 'if we can't laugh at ourselves it just leaves us grumpy,'
Sunday, November 5. 2006
The end of US tour leg # 3 has us saying goodbye's to The Mars Volta. Going to miss them as they are part of the extended Peppers family. The interaction between the bands and the people that are with them really helped set the euphoric tone of this tour. When everyone is on the same page, backstage tends to be open and free, if there is competition, friction or a band attracts crazy drunk guests, then backstage becomes more of a lock down. When I was touring with Rage Against the Machine and Wu Tang Clan was the opening band, it got way out of hand and backstage was full of fights and cops and other adventures that kept things on edge. With Mars Volta it is all good and can't wait to see them next time!
So lets meet a few more roadies to say bye bye to:Roadie Shaun who does monitors for Mars. I hold him personally responsible for drinking me to oblivion and for saving my life by making sure I got home safe in Minneapolis. On the right is Grandpa who is a long time Rat crew and is working for Mars as monitor assist. I will dig up some funny pics on them but that will have to wait.
I met the next Mars roadie on Black Flag tour in 1985 when he was a local stage hand at the 1st ave in Minneapolis. Then he comes through LA with The Replacements a few years later and works on the Rat PA at the Variety Arts center. Since then he is now known as the guy the mixes Brittany Spears. Here seen for the first time I ever have seen him in a white shirt, please meet The Mars Volta FOH sound engineer, Monte Lee Wilkes:
I was also fortunate to, for the first time meet his daughter and wife, very cool. I am pretty sure his wife said she worked for a local radio station.
And a few farewell shots of Mars:
The show ended with a grand finally jam with Marcel and and Omar on stage with the Peppers that made for an amazing, fun and a perfect ending to a wonderful segment adventure. The rest of the Mars crew is not forgotten but their recognitions will wait.
A blog while back I mentioned the well known fact that Roadies love Swag so I hauled out the booty we both acquired and also did not lose on the way. Roadies love booty and we do our best to hold onto it but it tends to stray. Here is the booty check at tour leg end:
Notice the little orange confetti gun that I now shoot over Scott during the song Snow in memory of the blizzard. The wine gums were a huge hit and a bag went to each bus. Creativity highlight goes to the bouquet of wires, roadies love wires! We had a radio control rat which provided much amusement before it ran away, but we still have the controller. There is a pink bag of cookies, we drank the wine, wore the sunglasses, stuffed the shirts somewhere, used the flashlight fish that is still swimming in the drawer somewhere, the hookah resides at my house in it's wonderful time reversal existence and any candy has been long since eaten. Oh, and the cooler of food, I am still working on. Finally, what you do not see is the magical pile of happiness that has been bulldozer dumped on all of us out here by our new friends that have been joining me and the road crew on this twisted and unraveling adventure.
Fret you all not about this ending, we are far from done and if all goes as planned we are not even at the half way point. I love the thought that I have no idea how this winding road will turn and I do know that there is a damn good chance that a big pile of roadies traveling Earth will surely find plenty of fun and trouble.
**** Ebay update ****
I have seen the shirts, seen the ad and I know without a doubt it will be something none will expect. Updates coming soon and we have some shopping to do!
**** End Ebay Update ****
With wet eyes and fond memories please say good bye one more time today to something quite dear as Scott the Lampi's cousin Eric has adopted our pet carpet named Fred.
It is so wonderful to see them bonding. Eric, I promise to come visit. Fred likes beer so be careful, he is a messy drunk.
The heart crushed over too many goodbye's,
Friday, November 3. 2006
How cool is it that Peppers put audience and their crew in the new video? The song is Snow and speaking of snow, take a look out the window. That is known as cold snow and it is strange stuff that somehow knows how old you are. If you are a kid, it loves to be fun and play games but if you are older, it prefers to annoy you and tries to crash your car and loves to clog your driveway.
Today is our second to last show of this three week leg and the momentum of going home fills the air with a mixture of extra work and sleeping in our own beds soon. It feels good. Oh look, there is some sort of memo, who is this meant for? What does it mean? Should I read it or use it for scratch paper. Oh well, most likely does not concern me, nothing to see here, move along.
Whoa, hey what is this thing near the sound board? Hmmm, wonder what it is and why it is here? That is odd, usually this spot does not have one of these here.
Maybe I should roll it over to the sound board and keep beers in it. Oh well, probably just a decoration but it does look a bit suspicious. Uh oh, hey Nick, do you notice anything funny going on?
Good thing we covered the console in time.
"...and for tonight's evening news we are getting reports of a freak storm dropping a record snowfall mainly in central regions, FOH is reporting over 6 inches coming down in 3 minutes...."
and so occurred the third and last Peppers snowfall at FOH. Though the idea was solid and the audience reaction wonderful, a minor oversight realized ends the FOH storms. Ask yourself this: "Is it really worth the effect to create that much wasted paper?" Go green, bye bye fake snow, lesson learned and smiles abound.
The very happy our band is environmentally conscience,
P. S. Rock shows use lots of batteries and another cool thing we just implemented is switching to rechargeable's in the "In Ear Monitor System." That alone save 30 AA cells a night! Very cool!
Wednesday, November 1. 2006
----- Rare and Heartfelt Special Bulletin ----
For the first time I will break the time smear and actually acknowledge that my blog posts are a bit late. If I could post real time I would but the conflict between enjoying the experiences to blog and blogging absorbing missed experiences is a challenge. Regardless, all of that has nothing to do with the thought I wish to share. Today is Nov 7. Today the humans that have some relation to the land mass and political entity called the USA get to vote. In my mind and in many ways in the big picture I know that my vote most likely wont matter. But that does not matter. What matters is how I feel about my own humanly self. What matters is whether I find myself making excuses of smiling because I did my part, irrelevant or not. Not for me, not for anyone else but you your own inside smiling self, I would like to highly recommend you vote. No excuse, just do it so you earn the validity to complain when things are not they way you feel is right. Do it so you can smile to know you were part of the wave of positive change.
Vote green or vote greed or whatever you wish, but think of how much nicer it will be to look back on today and know that you did.
----- End Rare and Heartfelt Special Bulletin ----
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
Digital vs. Analog Mixing Boards
One of the more common questions I get asked by other sound engineers is "Do you prefer digital or analog mixing boards?" Though the answer would seem obvious by my analog choice, what I am really being asked is "why?"
In the sound industry, like many industries, there is a major trend toward digital this and digital that. Many of these digital devices offer such clear advantages over old analog units that sometimes it is tempting to assume that digital is always better in all circumstances. Eventually that may be more universally true. New digital sound boards are smaller, cheaper, offer tremendous control and save money in shipping around the world over their analog counterparts. Many sound engineers are left no option than to switch for financial reasons and even more engineers embrace the new boards like a new toy, a shiny new laptop or a new car.
I have actually put a good amount of thought into justifying my preference. I can feel that I prefer the 'hands on' analog approach instinctively but is that just a familiarity or that I lack the will to find comfort in the digi world control surface? Though those are factors, learning new things thrills me and mastering control over the things I desire is a challenge I love to embrace. So I decided to weed my way through the various assets and detriments of both console types while stepping clearly around the 'sound quality opinion debate,' as that is unsolvable. What I came up with was an analogy, because it seemed fitting to 'analogize' analog and I love analogies like I love all the parallels in life that seem to lend credibility through repetition. Sooo...
I have realized that I want to mix the rock show like a I drive a motorcycle. I like to see what is going on and have access quickly to all the things I desire. I would feel very uncomfortable having to call up a separate menu's to access the throttle and another screen click to steer and yet another to use the brakes. Let alone clicking on a separate window to see out of each rear view mirror, speedometer, fuel etc...
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
And speaking of driving and analog control, check out the control surface that operates this Semi-Truck. The red and black thing is a shock mounted seat where the human sits and gets to hold the wheel that turns. Digital screens have yet to replace the older analog windshield method and the driver actually looks through a piece of glass at the road he or she is traveling on.
Turning around we can see truck driver Chris sitting on his analog bed. These mini hotel rooms are decked out. Microwave, stereo, DVD player, fridge, Homer, scary skulls and pretty much everything a human would need to live the gypsy life, in style.
The wondering when Harley Davidson will bring out a digital motorcycle,
« previous page (Page 3 of 3, totaling 23 entries)
Links to Things of Curiousness
Subscribe in a reader