Wednesday, March 14. 2007
Fly me home, home by noon.
The sensation of returning to my empty home is a comforting re balance and reminiscent of standing on solid ground after spending weeks being tossed around on an ocean boating adventure. All I want to take out things from drawers, go shopping for food and cook things and fix things and start projects and hop in my bed and compute and listen to music and go find my short people, not necessarily in that order. Well, instead, I will bask in the fun of laundry time, which I actually don't mind except for the folding part, and some life re-assembling. Today regroup, tomorrow off to the Rat Sound shop for a quick catch up then off to see the little people, next day I am going to search for a place to live closer to the Rat world and then friday, well, how about popping over to Japan for a bit?
As I contemplate my other life of motion while stationary the idea comes to mind of combining a few photos. Putting
to end up with some cute little ear pluggers
Enough mucking about I got stuff to do like practicing sitting in uncomfortable positions for hours on end so I will be fully in shape for some marathon plane riding.
Tuesday, March 13. 2007
It is the last day that this entire roadie crew as we know it, will be together. As the show evolves and the gear changes as does the vendors and specialized skills required to make it all work, so evolves the roadie crew. As many prepare to the scatter, here is a parting shot that Lampi Leif so brilliantly orchestrated. This is one of the pictures he lined up that includes everyone traveling in the non-band-party except the truck and bus drivers. Quite a task indeed and I was amazed it actually happened. I then took it upon myself to do a bit of hi tech and professionally skilled labeling so y'all will know who who is who
If you are curious to know a bit more about our FOH roadie, Lampi Leif, his web site is http://www.radiantdarkness.com
Though I will see them soon, I still felt the desire for a goodbye hug
Shhhh! Scott and I sneaked the tigers into a road case so they will travel to Japan, we cant be doing a show with out mixing tigers, can we? Had to really stuff them in though as we also do not want to be carrying a excess stuff to far away places. I guess it is just a matter of the various perspectives on the definition of excess.
Finally to leave the tour and a sweet note, if you are so inspired, take the time to give this stuff a try. It is an awesome delicious way to make sweet that lacks the overwhemingness of honey and the drudgery of sugar. Yumm!
Good night sweet night,
Monday, March 12. 2007
OK, we are in OK. Round two as the first attempt was temporally delayed due to overwhelming coldness and airy ice.At least we knew the ropes of the load-in though when I say we, I must give credit to the "we's" other than me as they are the heroes of the techno build and I am more of an observer and documentationer at this point in my career as a roadie.
Hey look, it's our riggers Gabe, Fletch and Chuck! Try and get your head around this perspective
Mickey Avalon opened and perhaps impatience or perhaps it was too raunchy for a pile of the locals but stepping back with a smile was easily amplified if you let yourself listen and watch though. Mickey playing the show was a direct request from our Peppers so it was interesting to see people boo an artist that is embraced by the artists that they came to see. Oh well, in any case I mixed Mickey's sound, as I rarely do for support acts, but the exception was created when requested to do so by my Peppery band friends. Scott did lights and we had a blast! All good. Not only was the music enjoyable but for some strange reason I found it difficult to avert my eyes from the performance, perhaps it was his shirt
As far as the Peppers show, well we got some some more Josh when he played on Wet Sand
We got some Flea trumpet which I always enjoy
And though I did not get pics of all the goodbye's, I will end today with saying bye bye to Chris, our awesome merch roadie
7 AM lobby call tomorrow, time for bed, night night!
Sunday, March 11. 2007
Perhaps you may be beginning to notice a distinct connection between being a roadie and spending a considerable amount of time subjected to being transported around the world? Today was no exception. Not unlike the plight of Guilligan and his isle, often something intended to be a short story can evolve into a meandering novel of epic proportions. The original delayed flight was of little consequence but when the guy in the work-suit carried the boxy thing with wires hanging from it out of the airplane cockpit, our roadie intuition kicked in and we collectively agreed that there is a high probability that is not dandy. Then add in the fact that there were free tequila shots between the airport bars at various locations peppering our path on our way to board the earlier plane in Mexico combined with the "arrive two hours early, plus a spare hour, plus a spare spare 1/2 hour, when traveling with large roadie herds," and you end up with a pack of 50 well tuned roadies with a lot of momentum and no where to go except the bar of course.
That is the part where the fun begins. Roadies are funny, usually unless they are whining and bitching in which case they are annoying, unless they are really good at whining and bitching and that if done right can be funny again. Well, being the well rounded crew that we are, we have all bases covered. Roadies are also very curious so naturally when they took the that little thing out of the plane, I headed straight over to see what was going on. Look! they actually let me into the cockpit to take a picture of me posing below the place where they took out that boxy thing with wires.
It turned out that the plane was not really that broken and the only problem was just a small issue with engines being overly stubborn and refusing to start up. Unfortunately though, without their windy thrust, we were locked into a top speed of zero miles per hour, so they decided to fix it with half of our roadies sitting on the tiny jet plane. So they shut down the power and impressed everyone by by showing off how quickly a sealed tube of humans reaches a high level of swelter. While many roadies puzzlingly endured the thermal bummout, the highlight was when roadie Scott came dashing out covered in sweat as if being chased by a critter with claws. Here we can see Scotty after he has has located a cooling breeze.
Finally after much waiting they cleared the plane and instructed us o return in half an hour, so Scott and I wander off seeking food only to get a text message 20 minutes later, mid meal that the plane was fully boarded and they are fitting to leave without us. At that point Scott and I decided it was a wonderful time to get some excessive and demonstrate our synchronized wind sprinting skills to 'da plane, da plane!'
It is time for another comic
**** Scott the Lampi Comic #4 ****
**** End Scott the Lampi Comic #4 ****
Oklahoma City tomorrow. Last show of the official US tour. Yep, there may be some scattered state-side dates and usually is if history is an indicator but no real gigs on the books other than Coachella, that I know of. At least we have a little break coming up and when I say little, I mean little. Monday OK City, tues fly home, wednesday is relax, holiday, vacation day and most of the crew flies to Japan on thursday. Fortunately, the backline techs and I are not needed yet so we get twice as long at home and leave on the following day, this Friday.
Now, it is time for me curiosity myself into some other direction and offer farewell till tomorrow or the next day or some day soon to come, but most likely tomorrow.
You know those days where you look outside and there is water all over the air? Introduce gravity and the water droplets align in a harmonious migration earthward blanketing all that lays below in a layer of wet. Well, this is one of those and the added layer of sluggishness accompanying that, makes things a bit of an uphill swim. Yet the momentum of the roadies press the day forward and through it we pass while and there is much to enjoy.
Modest Mouse, amazing music and one of the many answers to "Dave Rat, what music do you like and listen to?" Plus it was cool for several tour people to say "Hey, that opening band played the song that you put on as walk out music at some of the shows!" Their song list for the evening
and a shot of the band from my very distant mix area as seen through the wet air
So good, so happy, great music!And then this! Some things make me so happy that they leave me speechless and make make my eyes water. Look what Chad requested and Lyssa B made as one of the jump suits he wears at the gigs.
I am a very fortunate roadie indeed to be so lucky to have found wonderful and magic humans in which to travel my life. Outdoor show and things change Mexico gets a new show look and more new looks to come as the tour travels and evolves to far away shores.
Up closer with the audience water rain steam rising
Till the grand finale with, surprise! Josh is still with us and Flea trumpets
Often good ideas backfire. At times good intentions result in not so sparkly outcomes. What was I thinking when I agreed to let Scott have a vocal and unedited space to comic on the blog? Clearly he is suffering from much confusion! What could I have possibly done other than to post pictures of Scotty near naked and in every goofy and compromising angle I can. Arrrgh! But as they say, "payback is a bitch" so here goes and feel free to skip over this next part
**** Scott's Confused Babbling's ****
**** End Scott's Confused Babbling's ****
Stunned, I must now go and regain my balance and plan important adventures like capturing and hiding his passport.
Oh one more thing; over the course of the blog, I have received many requests for links to other blogs written about the would of touring. Well, here is one that comes from a different angle and I found it an interesting read.
Friday, March 9. 2007
So for a wander I go and see some things to be seen. The pond of radio control boats was cool, looked like you could rent time and pilot a tug
But easily the coolest watercraft was this innovative design seen here with it's proud creator
With full RC control, this is just too cool!
Next stop, is a quick look in the liquor store where they not only sell alcohol but also guns
Two great tastes that go great together. But there guns are filled with tequila and what a wonderful way to spend a day swigging shots from the end of a firearm.
**** Issue of Yesterday Continued ****
But wait, rewind the tape and look! A glimpse of a man in a black suit walks into the camera view and back out, almost right behind me unseen by me, as I turn left away from the tea table and walk towards the bags the flash of a hand is seen and then the black square of my phone vanishes. Then, still out of my view as I rotate back to the the table he is seen for a flash walking back past the camera. Look, the guy got the phone!
Rewind, I ask but Jose, the hotel operations manager stops the tape and says, "ok, give us a half an hour, where can we find you then?" It seemed like that they recognized the person and also appeared that the scooper was wearing the same black suit as the hotel employee. Forty-five minutes and several free margaritas later, Jose informs me that they have located the person but he is not telling them where the phone is, I have this image of a not so friendly interrogation in the basement and someone losing their job for acting on a not so good idea in front of a camera.
I was 20 minutes late for the crew dinner when Jose Portocarrero walked up and handed me my phone. Relief, happy, stunned and a bit tipsy, I must say that the and the staff here at the W Hotel are truly awesome and I can not thank them enough for caring and going above and beyond, the actions and effort made by the staff not only erased the negativity of the trauma but actually left me feeling happier than I did before. What runs through my mind is; like so many things in life, something negative occurring can bring out the positive. Perhaps also, but I will never know, though it would be cool, that this event may be the trigger for the phone-pocketeer a glimpse to see things a bit more clearly and follow a better path that lacks capturing items belonging to others.
Oh, and ha ha, I knew someone captured it! For once I did not lose it all on my lonesome. Now the extra shirt I brought to the crew dinner, well that is another story and a short one at that. Brought it in and left without, bye bye shirt. Now that I think about it, where did I last see my sunglasses? Arrrgh.
**** End Issue of Yesterday ****
Finally, as a farewell image to leave you with, look how playful roadies can be as I was able to snap a shot of two in mid frolic.
Till we we meet again,
Thursday, March 8. 2007
Mexico City, you can feel the altitude when you breath and welcome to one of the largest cities on the planet earth rating somewhere between 10th and 3rd depending on your definition of city. What do we love about Mexico? Well, the food, the people, the weather, the oceans and the very human feel to everything surrounding. It is ok to be happy here and ok to have fun. So what happens when you mix a bunch of roadies, stir in some tequila and ship them all to Mexico, well....
they take pictures of course!
But all is not perfect and that brings me to
**** Issue of the Day ****
Ok, as y'all are quite aware, I am not renown for being the best keeper of things. Items love to escape me and like the boy who called wolf, when I lose something, I am rarely afforded much more than a smile and when I claim "I swear, it is not my fault, someone has captured it, I did not lose it." Well this was one of those times. I am at the hotel bar chatting with fellow roadies. time to head to the room and look, a roadie Lee has left his bag. I pay the bill, text message Lee about his bag, grab my bag and his and head to the elevator.
I then see an ice tea cart and being thirsty, walk over, grab a tea, toss the cup, press the elevator button, do a quick pocket check and poof, no phone!
Five steps back to the ice tea table, nope, back to the bar, nope, in my bag, nope, in Lee's bag, nope, everywhere, nope! It is crazy, just vanished, so hotel security picks up on my searching distress and offers to review the security camera tapes. In my mind rolls thoughts of how I am going to replace it, how I will deal with the ongoing stream of things while in Mexico phoneless, then only two days off before Japan at home aaargh, bad timing, not good, lack of phone bad, aargh. Nearly 45 mins and several free margaritas later, they return to say they see me put it in my pocket on the security video, would I like to come look. Ok, there is me at the bar, there I am texting Lee, there I am paying the bill, there I am putting something in my pocket, but that is my camera and laminate combo. Look, there is my phone still in my hand and I walk out of view with the two bags. Switching to the next camera, rewind and there I am, I drop the bags head over to the ice tea table out of view and wait, there is my hand setting a black square on the cart, barely in view, that is my phone!
Ok, I walk away from the tea but the black phone square is still there, take four steps, check my pockets, turn around and walk back over to the tea table where there is no little black square anymore. But wait there is..... to be continued.....
**** Pause Issue of the Day ****
So we are staying in the W Hotel in Mexico city and check this out
Yes, that is a hammock hanging over a bowl shaped tub and an overhead rain shower. That is just one aspect of a hotel that has graceful and beautiful design and function intermixed, everywhere you turn. This hotel rules!
**** Dear Ratty ****
I was wondering, how large is the space you use for the Front of house control centre. I remember seeing one pic of it in the blog but that seemed huge to me. Personnaly i prefer i really small position, as it are almost always the best places in the house. I often don't even want to use a barricade or something because i want to feel the atmosphere in the audience if you know what i mean. With a jumping, beer-throwing crowd of course you take your precautions but i often see people having a half football pitch garded with barriers when only two lighting desks and two digico's are placed on a gig that has crowd that you can hardly separate from furniture. ( i refer to North Sea Jazz) Do you have something like a shot from above from the front of house? And what is your opinion on this issue? And i do not (yet) have arena-large gigs but doesn't the management complain about the space you use? (and how is this often discussed on tours this size)?
FOH size is actually something that Scott and I have put much though and effort into optimizing. Typically on a tour this size that has a headline console, support console, main lighting/video console and a secondary lighting/video console, it would be pretty typical to see a 24 feet wide by 16 feet deep sound position and a 24 feet wide by 12 feet deep lighting position directly behind. Typically sound is 18" high and lighting commonly is 24" high or more. So here is what Scott and I came up with:
1) Normally sound boards are in front with lights boards behind on a taller riser but since Scott and communicate during the show and also like to hang out, we moved his lighting board up next to me so we can work side by side. This was one of the best ideas we ever had, so much better to have us in synch.
2) Typically, I like mix sound from the floor with no riser and Scott need to see better than I do and usually uses a 6" riser. We compromised on a 3" high riser. The reason I like to mix from the floor is because I want to hear what the surrounding audience hears. Plus, having a tall riser usually causes obstructed view seating kills behind.
3) We put the secondary lighting console which doubles as a support lighting console behind Scott and the support sound console behind me. So, the support light and sound engineers are side by side as well.
4) We dropped 8 feet off of the width bringing it down to 16 feet wide.
5) Since we combined sound and lights onto a single 3" high riser, we wasted less space and crunched the combined depth down from 28 feet down to 16 feet. In order to make this work, we break down the support audio console after they play which opens up room enough for us to run the Peppers show.
6) Part of what would have been the lighting riser which is about 6" to 8" high is now a VIP riser that holds contest winners and band guests. Our VIP riser dimensions are typically 16 feet wide by 8 feet deep.
7) Scott and I also take VIP guests down in the light and sound area as well.
8) Sound engineers for most tours are usually very adamant about being a consistent distance from stage, usually something like 80 to 100 feet from stage on an arena tour, I used to be that way as well and it does make mixing a bit easier. Instead, I let them slide mix position much farther back, often against the back of the arena floor. This opens more seats and block less views with some shows I am upwards of 150 feet away.
9) All of this was created by Scott and I on our own without pressure from management or the band. It just made sense for the betterment of the overall show.
10) Finally, in order not to be an eyesore of techno-visual-jibberish, Scott and I decorate our FOH area to hopefully add a smile or two and bit more dimension to the gig for those that come to rock out.
As far as barricade, well, we need it for general admission shows but for seated gigs, bike rack is good enough. Plus we get 2 to 4 security guards as well to keep out the riff raff and keep an eye on things. So all in all that means that from the generic FOH riser of 672 square feet, we have dropped to 385 square feet and that includes the VIP riser! Keep in mind that there is a two to three foot buffer area as well that surrounds the area so actually square footage occupied is more like 896 Sq feet on a normal tour down to about 520 sq feet (we use no rear riser buffer area) for us Peppers roadies.
As far as management complaining, far from it, they appreciate the concern and effort for the common goal of optimizing the rock show.
**** End Dear Ratty ****
Ok, off to more bed as I am done computing with one eye closed to stop the computer screen from being double,
Wednesday, March 7. 2007
Say bye bye to the stage set as the world of presentation will be evolving and changing to new "looks." Our make up date Oklahoma City will be close but as our travels to far away places yonder and beyond, new things are brewing. Sound wise, well, for the most part I will hold it together as close to what we have now as feasibly possible. One thing for sure, you all will get an inside glimpse of the parts most people miss as this big musical contraption continues it's global adventure.
And also say bye bye to Gnarls Barkley, bye bye! Wonderful to have them out and they will be missed. Though the present slides into the past never to be repeated, a bit of sadness will be replaced by the curiosity of the new and yet to be known. For the last song of the last show, hey look!
It's Josh Klinghoffer rocking with the Peppers.
For an awesome grand finally.
Next we have a purely gratuitous photo of some sexy wires, ooooooh!!
Why anyone would need so many blue wires, I have no idea, but clearly this arena either needs them or maybe just likes them a lot.
Finally, before I say bye bye, for all y'all that like big huge long and impressive things, here is photo of "the other" camera that I use for the far away band shots.
Off to Mexico!!! Night night, Bye bye and yumm yumm Mexi food here I come!
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