Things are rarely as they appear and deciphering between deceptively attached false traits like 'sound enhancing' to wooden knobs and true characteristics is a never ending life puzzle that requires a clear mind to navigate. As you can probably tell, I feel much disdain for those humans intent on blurring the lines between true facts and the fabricated un provable claims that these parasitic shiesters use to prey upon lazy minds to sell their wares to the naive. On the flipside though, occasionally I run across truly amazingly subtle nuances that have a very real and surprising impact on the function. Today I had the pleasure stumbling across one of them and I love it!
This is a true story is about a rock band named Chili Peppers. On each tour, every detail is meticulously and naturally pressed to another level of refinement. The interactive entity of musician and equipment has reached such a precise and precarious plateau that even the slightest variations result in surprising ramifications. We experienced that when attempting to switch to a digital monitor consol and the band found the sound disconnecting. It turned out that the digital board introduced a delay time that made the sound more distant sounding so we went back to analog. Around the same time during the promo tour we introduced a "power soak" on John's guitar rig to drop his level while maintaining his tone. It worked perfect tonally and level wise but John was unable to get the desired amount of feedback from the speakers at the lower volumes. Starting this tour Flea switched to vintage Fender basses which were wonderful for the studio but live we lost the clarity and deep low end that signifies his sound, so upon my own and Rick Rubin's request, he switched back the active pre amp Modulus basses. The pattern repeats often and much care is taken with every change made in the audio realm.
Well, today another gremlin got into our world. On a typical Peppers show, chad switches snares a few times so the set is divided on to three snare drums which seems to be the optimum balance between a consistently solid snare sound and not swapping too often. A few shows back, Chad started going through six snares a show, heads were denting and snare heads were tearing, yet nothing was changed. Did Chad acquire instantaneous super arm or did we get a bad batch of heads? Chad has proven consistent year after year so it seemed gear related. Chris Warren, the drum tech, had drum heads from several sources of various ages acquired in various countries, so the probability of a bad batch of heads is quite slim.
After a bit of pondering, the drum sticks seemed to be the only logical culprit but Chad has had his own signature sticks manufactured for him specifically for many years. These sticks are all exactly the same, made by a single company, the same design and there have been no changes. Hmmm, dented heads. Better look at the sticks anyway. Since drum sticks are expendable and they are constantly worn out and given out, it was fortunate that Dave Lee had an old one and here, take a look at this comparison.
The top one is a new stick and the bottom is the older stick. Dented heads. Look at the sharper curve. Since Chad 'side sticks' the snare, that would mean that the new stick would contact the drum with the slightly more pointed edge on the newer stick The toms, though, would contact the flatter edge as they are struck from a less parallel angle. With the force of Chad's hit being constant and if that little pointier edge of the new stick had 1/2 the contact area, that would mean the head is taking twice the force per square inch; hence, head dentation. Further comparison of the sticks revealed that they the new stick are a bit heavier all around and especially on the tip end due to a thicker taper. Now keep in mind, I am not a drummer and this may all be common knowledge, but I do understand physics and it appear that we have found the gremlin and finding gremlins is fun.
Sooooooo, when in doubt, get the sander out! And sand we did.
Curving the new stick's tips to the old shape and it was a 'three snare show' and though the sticks are not quite right, they are close enough and problem solved.
**** End Drum Nerd Speak ****
Hey, check out the newest Rat Swag
And a gratuitous shot of Gibby Haynes and I because I can and to remind myself that I am a lucky roadie.
We have not forgotten about the our eBay
auction responsibilities and the advertising will happen at some show yet
to be determined on the upcoming Jan/Feb US tour leg. George has opted to send
shirts he had specially printed for us to wear and I heard that they are currently
sitting in my office at Rat Sound.
**** End eBay Auction Update ****
I forgot to mention yesterday that roadie Leif found this place called , 17
Neumarkt Street that is the coolest interior home design setup we have ever
seen. All the floors were metal gratings that hung by chains. The very bottom
floor was a swimmable pool and the skylight flooded sunshine throughout. I will
dub this recommended stop # 63.
**** Ponderamblings ****
I was 20 years old and I worked at Hughes
Aircraft in Culver City where they built the not so flighty Spruce
Goose airplane. I was the youngest guy in an engineering department that
performed environmental testing on TOW
missle systems. It was right at the front end of the Regan era US military
expansion fueling the Second
Cold War and there were rumors of a draft. I was working mandatory overtime
polishing the US war machine and after work, my childhood friend Brian and I
could make between $100 and $200 a night for all of our gear and both of us
working from the tiny PA company we owned. Faced with losing my job at Hughes
for missing work for punk shows or letting the sound company go stagnant, I
did what seemed to be the scariest thing in the world but had to be done and
quite my job. When I arrived home I still remember the moment when I took off
the watch I was wearing and released myself from the clutches of regimented
time. My desire was to let time fly by when excitement came my way and bcome
entrenched in slow motion time if I was miserable. Bye bye job, bye bye time.
Twenty years later while in Berlin on the By The Way Peppers tour, I bought
myself a really nice self winding watch. My aim was not to be attached to time
as I am long free of that. My attraction was toward the precision of the small
and so finely crafted machine that gains its life from motion. Like a friend
or a mechanical pet, dependant yet useful and a weighty arm reminder for me
to follow the goals I set and dreams I have. For the first time in my life I
understood the allure the fine timepiece and for the first time I realized the
diference between being controlled by, or taking control of, time.
So here in the land of the Swiss I decided to reward myself and purchase another
watch while also stumbling upon recommended stop # 64 of the Dave Rat Euro tour,
Meyer watch shop. Full of very cool people and if you do stop by, look for
Pia, Laura or Sandro and tell them you are a friend of the Peppers and you need
the 'Special Discount' and tell them hello from me!
**** End Ponderamblings ****
Ahhh, the glorious gig
And an honor and a smile and a memory caputered with The Missing Men, Raul
and Tom with me and Mike Watt.
I highly recommend that the curious go check out Mike Watt's web site http://www.hootpage.com/
and if you are super curious then request to get on his cool mailing list.
Here is our piratey picture of the day with honorary roadie Peter joining us.
You may remember him as the Big Cheese.
Very often a certain city or region will have a charictaristic soccer chant
or some sort of odity that is interesting. Here in this area there is this thing
where the crowd raises there arms and go "OooohOooohOooooh" while
wiggling their hands. It is really a strange sensation when 12,000 people all
do it in unison.
At exactly 10:24 AM Zurich time I turned on a television This is the first time I have voluntarily attempted a TV watching adventure. I must admit I was a bit apprehensive and being that it has been many months since I have been in a room one on one with a lit television, I was uncertain as to whether I was up for the task. At exactly 10:32 AM Zurich time I turned off the television as I had completely and utterly failed in my attempt to gather useful information without being bombarded with aggravation in the form of commercials and mind bending watered down garbage that insults the very concept of thought and thinking. I won't be trying that again and will have to stick to acquiring news from the internet. At least that way I can pick through the garbage bin of world info looking for tidbits of curiosity without being force fed entire meals built from whatever ulterior motive controls that particular story.
Another day off makes two in a row and another day of wandering with curious big eyes to seek out the uniqueness and intricacies of this far away city. What became readily apparent as it so often does is that even though I thought I knew her, there is still more to discover. While enjoying this Swiss Miss named Zurich with her huge bank account, sweet chocolaty ways, gorgeous mountainous Alps and flawless timing we must not forget that she is quite skilled with knives. Where better to seek out a cool pocket knife? "Excuse me miss, I am looking for the ultimate roadie pocket knife, do you have any recommendations?"
"Wow, this look really useful. Compact and convenient too! What all does it do?"
"Hmmm, I think I need something a bit more piratey, thank you."
**** Esoteric Knucklehead Babbling ****
It is probably best to look at the cool pictures and ignore the rest and I am just doing a bit of mind spill here that would normally never see any home beyond my journal which lays dormant now that blog world has devoured it's time.
Everywhere I look in life I see the same patterns repeating. Construction is an inverted accelerated opposite to deterioration. Destruction an inverted accelerated opposite to anything assembled or lacking chaos. Life force is the essence that has the power to unpredictably defy gravity. Gravity applies a predictability to all things except those with life force. As humans we savor the past as much as we slough it off for the future. We embrace the dualities of life and find beauty in both. Balance resonates in every life description from all corners of the earth and all belief systems, Yin and yang, heaven and hell, life and death and old and new and within 30 steps of each other
Completely unrelated but perfectly positioned. Perhaps ever molecule of pollution that one creates the other would save if they were both powered by some middle ground propulsion. Both are beautiful to me, both are creations of much labor in a precise direction and purpose and both are too extreme to be much more than novelty in the life I currently have chosen to lead but I love that they both exist. Oh, have I mentioned that I slowly lose my mind while touring?
**** End Esoteric Knucklehead Babbling ****
Hey everyone, say hello to roadie Amir Butt. Yes that is his name and he is cool beyond description. A unique merchandise roadie that has been working Peppers European tours since 1991.
Now he needs to be a roadie card!!
The sometimes forgetting to pretend to be a normal human being,
It took me a while to figure out what those things were. I saw them everywhere in Europe and rarely in the US. Unlike the US which uses concrete on most sidewalks in major cities, asphalt is more common over here. What I found most intriguing about the kickstand dents is that each on represents a human coming to work or home on a single hot day. You can almost tell how long a person has worked or lived somewhere by the number of dents, how hot the days were and if they they got a new motorcycle or scooter. Also it it seems that each person has a preferred spot to park as specific dent designs tend to cluster. Based on the somewhat isolated location of this particular dent cluster, I would hypothesize that all these dents represent the parking pattern of a single human/motorcycle combination occurring over perhaps a one or two year period.
**** End Mystery Pic # 1 ****
And speaking of pictures, here is a picture I have been meaning to post. As you may know, roadie Nick the Fly is not out with us this tour leg as he had some family business to attend to, nothing bad, all good but he needed to hang with his peeps for some special occasions. So roadie Lee is filling in as FOH sound tech pirate and since roadie Lee is from New Orleans, he has some instinctual pirate skills which he demonstrated with this clever invention
At first glance you may just see a fierce sword yielding pirate but upon deeper analysis you also may notice that attached to the sword is our long range digital thermometer gun. With this useful setup you can see me preparing to act in a pirate-like manner while simultaneously measuring the room temperatures. Several times during each show I take an average temperature reading of the upper level and lower level of the venue and then PIN message the info to roadie Bill. He then instruct the venue humans whether to warm or cool the room. This Swordometer is truly a genius invention by roadie Lee! Maybe we should send a letter to the thermometer company and suggest they add the Swordometer to their offerings.
Oh, and check out the Fresno style watch and cool pirate belt buckle! Both were special gifts from my friends Chris and Daniella. who own the company amazingbeltbuckles.com . What you do not see is the other pirate belt buckle they gave me. I would love to show it to ya as it said "Dead Men Tale No Tales" and it was incredibly piratey, had a zippo lighter behind it and a bottle opener as well. Where is it you ponder? That is the same thing I am pondering. It seems to have escaped the confines of me bag. Arrrgh!
Switzerland is famous for chocolate, Alps, watches and clinging on to what may be the most money in the world in secret Swiss bank accounts. I guess that when you have that much money, it is not uncommon for things to get a bit expensive though logic could justify the opposite. Switzerland has expensive wired which just increases the enjoyment of finding a good deal here. This watch was near irresistible and though they would not let me touch it or photo it, they did let me take a pic of a pic.If all goes well, I hope to stop by and pick up a few of these tomorrow
Now if you do the currency conversion from Swiss Franc to a US dollar it really makes it steal at just around $ 300,000 dollars. Plus, speaking of necessities
So what did we do? Well, "Hey roadies, who wants to go out and drink a bunch of $ 10 beers?" So off to the bar and we get a taste of Swiss humor from the house band
That is some really funny stuff, time piece humor always cracks me up!