Monday, July 9. 2007
I never cease to be amazed at how willingly people offer opinions about things they have no clue about yet they speak with a such bravado in their false authority? While pondering one of those gaseous blabbering's as I read while electro-wandering the thoughts carried me to a viewpoint illuminating that aspect of of our world where humans scurry from a plethora of fears. It must be disconcerting for them to realize that water is toxic. What is it that inspires that useless desire to form a black and white overlay upon our lives? Pure clean water kills and radioactivity is abundant in red bricks from which we build our houses, yet only in debatably harmless amounts. Can it be true that snake venom sufficiently diluted it is healthier than overeating an abundance of leafy greens? Will we continue to fail to realize that it is not the substance but the quantity and balance that perpetuates life and continue to be cursed with propagating confusion? Of course we will as the ultimate quandary is that everything kills and the primary cause of death is life itself. Oh, and speaking of red bricks and houses, check it out:
Looking down at the full "pre-modified" state. Notice the wall of blockage.
Bye bye wall, Bye bye all the walls and see we do and hello big beams.
And then came the cool bio friendly blue stuff to add the coziness.
Bye bye bad 70's fireplace that would be more at home in a porn movie and hello drywall with bull nose corners.
A bit o primer paint really cleans things up.
Add in a simple concrete fireplace surround and some acid stain on the floor and it is getting closer.
And hopefully someday, I dream of having a place to sit!
Sunday, July 8. 2007
So off we dash to gig #2. A 1 am show time in Denmark. Bleary delirium haze as the sun is too shiny for the slow motion muscles. Auto pilot pulled by the momentum of being done and going home tomorrow, hurray!
Oh, I remember this place. Lets head out to front of house and I specifically carried boots this trip for this particular show. Ah yes, the familiarity slips back in.
Another day, another PA and some familiar songs as I find myself once again surrounded by thousands of happy humans.
So, I turned it up of course, as me the soundie so naturally would and should. Uh oh, what do I do now?
I know exactly what do! Sally forth, onward ho and away we go with some more of the same!
11 am flight tomorrow. It's 3am now so night night and see ya from the other side of the Atlantic pond soon.
**** Ponderings ****
Is it a quandary to impact the environment by having a tremendous amount of humans gather for a giant rock show to promote social awareness of the impact that a the tremendous number of humans have on the environment? Is the event itself in it's magnitude directly undermining it's own cause? Busses, trucks, planes and trains haul masses of bottled water and beer drinking humans to create a mind bending amount of trash to promote reducing trashing our world. The hypocrisy was most purely embraced in full ignorance by Duran Duran's singer's attempt at self elevation when he walks on stage spewing "Raise your hand if did not arrive here on a private jet." As if somehow throwing spikes at the fellow performers gathering for a common cause would have some sort of positive spin.
More specifically, I arrived on an overnight bus ride of misery and left on a private jet to get to the next show that same night, with the rest of Peppers core crew. No other other way we could make the jump to Denmark for the show we had booked long before the Peppers were personally asked to support Live Earth by Al Gore. We all jumped many hoops. So one could ponder, would it have been better that Peppers not play? Was the environmental impact of transporting the band and crew to the event excessive compared to the effort towards of catalyzing humans to take up the mission of walking more softly upon the planet we tread? If the answer is yes, could than same response be applied to the event as whole and therefore it should never have existed?
First I must say that I fully support treating the world we live with care and respect. Whether it is global warming, decimation of other species or obliteration of the key components that necessitate healthy life, I feel that care and respect should be considered in all avenues. What concerned me was not the events existence but it's lack of thoroughness. Cool concepts like "return 10 empty cups to get a free beer to promote recycling, reduce the mess to be cleaned" that they do at the Werchter Festival in Germany and how Roskilde pays cash for empties, was sadly missing. The laminate lanyards they gave us said they were made from 100% recycled fiber while the laminates themselves were plain old plastic instead of cool recycled paper. How much of the festival was powered by renewable power? All I could find was that the web site servers were, the festival itself, while we just plugged into the wall of course. In the back of my mind grows the thought the true change will grow from innovation in grass roots events that focus on awareness while maintaining near zero impact, setting an example rather that just preaching what "you" should do.
Perhaps to truly solve the issue we face, we would have to also address the speed at which humans mass produce more humans at alarming rates. Where do we draw the line on whether we attack each other or work together and how effective we can be at slowing down the inevitable, all remains to be seen. Regardless though, there should be little doubt that less splattering of the planet sure beats screwing it up faster.
**** End Ponderings ****
**** Sound Nerd Speak ****
So I am on little sleep, nearly all our gear in another country, I am mixing on a console I just met an hour ago and an EV X-Line PA that I have never used on a large event. Oh well, no biggie, it's just for hundreds of thousands of humans all over the world. What better time to play it safe? So I ordered in the best mixing board I could think of to handle the job. This is a big huge show and we all know that big huge shows must have big expensive complicated mixing boards so the soundman looks cool. Unless of course the soundman desired something small, fast, dependable, predictable and easy to setup. Hmmm, I see a $200,000 dollar Midas XL8, three $100,000 Digico D5's and $70,000 Yamaha PM 5D laying around the mix area here, all high end digital desks. Somewhere around here is my baby, aha, there it is on the left:
Oooooh, wow! Look at that $15,000 analog Midas Verona! Though the show could have gone smoother for me, given the fact that I had absolutely nothing in my favor, including loosing most of what little line check before I actually was given working snake lines and no time to play music through the PA so I could tune it, things went relatively well and compared to the various forms of trains wrecks I heard leading up to Peppers, it fell well into the window of good enough.
*** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
And off we go...
But not before grabbing a few pics
Meet Roadie Bryan, an awesome sound engineer and a long time friend, he mixes Foo Fighters, hanging with Roadie Daniel.
And just because I can, the gratuitous glamour shot with the guy that introduced the Peppers
Hurry up, we rocked and now we got to roll. Hour to the airport, two hour flight, 30 minute drive to the gig plus we lose an hour in the time change. Roskilde, the last show of this tour leg, here we come!
Friday, July 6. 2007
**** Daily Ponder ****
Competition is an instinct that refines the survival of the individual and the group.
**** End Daily Ponder ****
Today was was one of the most stressful days of this year plus tour. You know that scene in Goodfellas where Henry is is trying to make dinner but has to meet up with the babysitter and he keeps seeing helicopters and he is hectically pulled in all directions of disarray? That is how I felt but the outcome was a bit better.
We are in France where they make V-Dosc, the speakers I use for the main system. The last three times I was here L'Acoustics, the manufacturer and more specifically, Christian Heil, the CEO and physicist behind the design, for whom I hold tremendous respect, has invited me to the factory. To not go yet again would have been disrespectful beyond comfort. Plus curiosity and the chance to sit face to face with him and chat sound is an honor indeed. The best part was I felt as if he was as excited about what I am doing with the dual hung PA system as I was to gain knowledge from the system's creator. All good, except....
I have more friends and people to attend to than any gig yet, I am an hour away from the gig and given the magnitude of changes that were implemented, I could not help but be scattered as my ability to present calm was pushed to new levels. But that did not stop from following through with my turn at wearing the "Hot Pants." The adventures and photos of which I will leave to the curious to scavenger Google hunt, should they wish to know more.
One of the downsides of being swamped is I forget to take pictures but did grab a few that came out. On the upside, the relief of running smooth and having a good solid show and some smiles with friends, made it all good in the end.
And today is the last day for Roadie Thomas on the right. He was our advance sound tech for this trip and would be at the next gig before we got there making sure the sound was setup properly when Lee and I arrived. Lee then would fine tune and dial it in. Thank you Thomas!
And so we drive overnight to London, except you cant actually drive to London because the English Channel is in the way. So we drive and then we float and then we drive again. Oh the pleasure of getting up at 5 am and trying to focus my eyes on questions some border cop is throwing at me. Then once again the choice comes. "Do I walk up topside where the seats and humans and life rafts reside or do I hide in the underbelly of the ferry in my bunk, in a sealed bus in a sealed chamber in the boat belly with no hope for survival should the boat sink? What would you do? Well, I applied the "airplane theory." Heck, if a jet plane falls out of the air, I will become the human version of a squished snail tossed in a campfire. If the boat forgets to float, hey, at least I wont be on fire!
The glad the boat floated,
Thursday, July 5. 2007
**** Ponderings ****
Survival is a choice heavily inspired by instinct.
**** End Ponderings ****
Which brings about the subject of food. To eat is a choice which is highly complementary to survival of the individual. Sleeping and breathing kind of fall into this same general category. There are few general "rules of thumb" which seem to apply globally to things that are alive. If you keep them "Well fed, well slept and secure in the fact that the next breath will be available in a relatively reasonable amount of time, they tend to be more fun to hang out with than if you take those things away.
**** Legendary Delectable Euphoria ****
That is why the celebration culinary delights called "catering" really pushes us roadies to new heights of exuberance. Come feast your eyes upon this mouth-watering collection of pure temptation:
Though I realize that when something is so beyond tasty, there is no need to go further, yet still, yes there was more
**** End Legendary Delectable Euphoria ****
Some people just absolutely love to look at knobs. So here today I present you none other than a collection of knobs for those that seek the view to bask in. Long awaited, much requested and not forgotten, here we have the in it boldest "show all" Mr. Silver Jubilee amp to left and what we call "rig #1" in soundman speak
Stepping up next to show it all in full glory, we have the big boy weighing in at 200 tubular watts, Mr. Marshall Major
Not to be left out but still left out of all but 1 or two songs each night, rig #3, the powerhouse driven by Gretch, the twin brother to rig #1, show your stuff Mr. Other Silver Jubilee
**** Roadie Research Segment ****
Roadies, like other critters don't always get along harmoniously. Competition for desirable mates, feeding grounds and other important roadie issues often drive roadies to spar and mark their turf. Also, on occasion, in order for roadies to gain status in the herd, it is necessary to elevate oneself at the expense of another roadie. In roadie speak that 'stepping on another' to elevate is commonly referred to "throwing under the bus."
Fortunately, Peppers roadies are much more civilized than that and know how to work out their differences in more practical ways.
**** End Roadie Research Segment ****
Yep, back to the dome stage. Fortunately someone put a pole in the middle of the audience area.
Light it up, make it loud!
Tear it down, drive away. Deja Vu, Deja Vu, Deja Vu.
Off to where ever we are headed. oh joy!
P.S. In case you were wondering, the 4th of July is not much of a party in Germany.
Wednesday, July 4. 2007
Heading back from Auschwitz I try and comprehend and envision the chain reaction of events that could possibly inspire a group of industrious and civilized humans to build a human slave and death industry. Well, it turns out that as horrific as the outcome is, finding the confusion that created was quite is quite easy.
http://www.prisonexp.org/ This has a pretty interesting slide show.
http://www.stanleymilgram.com/milgram.php And being aware of our human weaknesses may be helpful in self guiding ourselves away from things we do not wish to become.
Ok, enough of that for today and though it wont go away, how about shifting gears over into being aware of the fact that Mickey Avalon is playing and ponder the benefits of doing some exercise Jane Fonda style.
Watching his show just makes me happy and crossing paths afterwards gave me a chance to grab the gratuitous photo.
I must remember to go see them do a headline gig in LA.
It was a nice warm night, clear skies, pretty normal stadium and your typical skier's chair lift hanging over the backstage parking lot. Nothing unusual here folks, move along.
Back to what we call a "box" stage again and for some surprise reason mix position somewhere out in left field. I can mix the show from anywhere, hey, if audience are going to stand there, I should be able to mix the sound from there, right? Well, kind of right, I can and have mixed from all over the place and I could probably drive a sightseeing bus from the back while sitting on the roof but it would be a lot more mind-work and more stressful. That is how mixing the show feels from an off center spot. Too close is not good either as it becomes difficult to grasp the overall audience perspective. The optimum mix area is far enough away to be in tune with the entire venue while close to maintain a visual connection with the band. There is almost an invisible optimum area and it is the point where the audience naturally transitions from pit/crush to sparse. That beltway that divides the physically immersed from the visually immersed. Oh, and preferably in the center.
**** Link of the day ****
**** End Link of the Day ****
Monday, July 2. 2007
Today for our little journey we are going to head into the depths of horror. A true mind crushing surreal nightmare.that defies comprehension. Why, you wonder? Well, to remember. To remember never to underestimate the ability of humans to embark gung ho in the worst of possible directions. To remember that human perception slides with the times and the environment that we are immersed in. To remember to look around at the world we live today and perhaps spot the seeds of bad ideas taking root and to reject blindly accepting them as an acceptable "normal." There was a time not to long ago where a group of humans thought that to slaughter their brethren as one would kill giant insects, was somehow a good idea. In the world today, that time is still now and may always be but history knows of none that has ever pushed the mass extermination of humans to a more clinical, cold, horrific level.
"Rudolf HÃ¶ÃŸ was one of history's greatest mass murderers, the architect and SS Kommandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz, whose name has come to symbolize humanity's ultimate descent into evil. Responsible for exterminating 2,5 million people in World War II, he was a mild-mannered, happily married Catholic who enjoyed normal family life with his five children despite his view of the crematoria chimney stacks from his bedroom window." http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mag/2001/11/25/stories/2001112500210400.htm
"Work Makes (one) Free"
"About 700 prisoners attempted to escape from the Auschwitz camps during the years of their operation, with about 300 attempts successful. A common punishment for escape attempts was death by starvation; the families of successful escapees were sometimes arrested and interned in Auschwitz and prominently displayed to deter others. If someone did manage to escape, the SS would kill ten random people from the prisoner's block. This was a quite persuasive method to discourage escape attempts."
"Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chamber to accommodate 2000 people at one time whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: We had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transports of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavored to fool the victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes, but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.
I understand English as it is written above. The above statements are true; this declaration is made by me voluntarily and without compulsion; after reading over the statement I have signed and executed the same at Nuremberg, Germany, on the 4/5/1946. - Rudolf HÃ¶ÃŸ."
And for those whom wish to see photos that are so grim they are hard to process for their true intesity http://www.oskarschindler.com/Albums5/album.htm
A doorway built by humans that existed in an incomprehensible perception realm. I try and grasp a state of mind that could possibly swirl everyday humans into executioners that carry out orders and laugh as children and mothers and doctors and tailors and wanderers and are gassed and shaved while pillaging their belongings and selling their hair for mattresses. The alien concept is so surreal it feels as if it could never occur, not here, not there, not anywhere. But it did and it can again as we humans are not immune from a bad idea spreading amongst us as a mind-virus infecting the masses, crystallizing our fears into manifestions of hatred.
Wary, I am so wary of anything or anyone that utilizes fear to perpetuate their objectives, as thought-structures that are built from fear can not help but be permeated with hatred. It is so pathetic that it proves irresistible for our false leaders to shovel out piles of fear to manipulate us, the idiot masses. "Danger danger, quick give me your money and soul so I can empower my greed and validate my twisted illusions." So transparent yet it fools the fools everytime.
So rather than ride a bus for 16 hours I asked my musical friends if I could join them on the plane. This tour is a bit rough. Though not as rough as climbing Mount Everest barefoot and naked but it is more rough than the previous tour legs we have acclimated to. We are moving fast and far and have lots of trucks full of gear and jumping between festivals and stadiums and everything keeps changing. Tough comes in various forms, the hard work type were you kick ass sleepless day after day and the mind fuckery tough where you are constantly chasing gremlins between the times you are trying to predict and prevent them. One has a rhythm, the other does not. So maybe rough is not the right word and perhaps more accurately stated, the motion of this tour lacks rhythm, which makes it tough.
As we are greeted upon landing by our bullet proof vest wearing pals, it becomes clear that we are not in Kansas. So of course we grab the tough guys to do a photo op with Sat Hari while crossing our fingers that bullet proof vests won't be an item I find myself wishing I wore.
Now what do we do?
And while thumbing through a German lighting magazine, memories of the good old days come rushing in
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