Before I sweep up the tail end of some straggling Coachella shots, I want to share a bit of a different adventure. As you most likely realize by now, I try and dedicate a percentage of my time sharing back bits of info. Part of the motivation is rooted in the desire to offer glimpses into the touring and sound world that I wish I had when I was getting started while the other part is me trying to capture the memories in a way that wont fade into the abyss of the falling away past. Anyway, though it does not phase me to stand behind a mix board with 100,000 humans dependant on every knob twist, the thought of standing solo on stage and being on the band side of the microphone when the show starts, scares the shit out me. Sooo, what better adventure to partake in than exactly that?
I have been trying to fit it in to my schedule for a while now and finally a gap formed large enough for me to run out of legitimate excuses. "Yes, Gene, I would love to come out to Full Sail University and speak to the students." "Did you say 250 will be attending? Four hour time slot available?" Yikes! Perfect, all good, I am on my way and off to Orlando I headed.
I need a plan, an approach, a way to figure what to say. So my plan was not to have a rigid plan. Since I am headed to a stage, I will approach it a band, minus the whole rehearsal part. My set list will be a folder on my laptop with some pictures that look interesting and have some background. More importantly, what better way to figure out what to talk about than to ask? None better.
I really enjoyed the whole experience, and though I do not have any comparative reference, I am told it went well. Four hours of chatting with and to 250 of my new best friends I felt nothing but welcome from everyone.
Oh, so at the end I tried to take a picture of everyone before they left but the lights were pointed the wrong way and all on me. Since I could not put the lights where the people are, why not put the people where the lights are! "Hey everyone, come up on stage!" I have always wanted to do that, seen so many punk bands do it, never thought I would get the chance!
Thank you Gene and Kristi and Dana and especially everyone that came to hang out with me! Rock on Full Sailers and good luck in your adventures ahead.
That was fun, I could definitely do that again. While I am thinking about it and on the subject of learning and getting into the business, I may as well cover a question I was asked:
"Is it better to go to a school such as Full Sail or learn another way?"
The Coachella and Stagecoach Festivals are about 180 miles from home out in the hot and often windy desert. As seems to be the case with any adventure, there is a lot to be seen and learned. Fortunately I was pay attention enough to grab a few pics.
Whoa! Check out this massive propeller farm!
And a bit later I look to my right and what do I see? ...........
"How was Prince?" I keep getting asked. Well, I saw a lot of bands the last few days and several that I really like. The two bands playing here though that held the most hype were Roger and Prince. As I lay in my after show hotel bed rolling over in my mind the few nights past, a contrast dawns on me clearly. Prince with a magnificent show, skills immaculate add in Sheila E, Morris Day and a show that was refined and rehearsed to every detail of talent and impact perfection. Roger's presentation was built on decades of concepts and ideals and talent as well, bold statements, perfect alignments of technology and vision. What is it about Prince's show that has my defenses up and Roger's show that I feel trusting? It was the the words still resonating that were forced into my own and everyone else's ears, that define it best, "What's My Name?, Say My Name!" and watching the crowd respond quasi-unified act as commanded and I realize that Prince's show is all about the perpetuation of the 'ME' that is the 'him' that we are occasionally allowed to call Prince. In what I am sure is was an unintended yet amazingly perfect 'ying and yang' contrast, Roger Waters' show carried message after message focused on the benefit of the 'WE' that is 'us' as a human group and individuals sharing the planet that surrounds us as "Don't be led to Slaughter" floats away on an inflatable pig.
**** Sound Nerd Speak *****
Enough of that and lets take a look at the main stage. 15 deep V-Dosc with triple dV's under, 6 V's over 6 dV's on the side hangs and a thundering 40 Rat Subs across front. 8 of which are loaded and processed separately as they are Rat Super Subs and quite a bit more powerful than the standard Rat subs. As things develop down that front, I will share more in time.
Each day FOH changes a bit and consoles come and go with the various bands, here we have a pairs of Digi Design Profiles, Midas Heriti 3000's, Yamaha PM5D's and one Lee.
Out in the field there were eight surround sound clusters loaded with 6 to 8 V-Dosc.
Two left, two right two mid field pointing toward the stage and two rear field pointing toward the stage. Plus the midfield clusters had Kudo on the back side as delays and the stage left clusters had ARC's acting as VIP fills. All in all, there was a whole lot of everything everywhere which would account for why we needed eight semi trucks to haul the sound gear out here, yikes!
While we are sound nerding out a bit, check out the new EAW MicroWedge 12's rocking the Outdoor Theater Stage
And loading into the Sahara Tent.
**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****
But more important than the gear, cause anyone with a wad o cash can mish some mash together and end up with a pile o boxes, how about let's start meeting the crew!
**** Mini Ratchella Crew Special Part 1 ****
Grandpa rocks the old school Rat shirt working the Sahara tent.
Hoover bunnies the FOH duties on the vintage Rat rig in the Gobi tent.
How cool is it when time loops back on itself and the past becomes the present from a differing point of view. When I was 16 I was listening to music as loud as the headphone/stereo combo would get, lost in a state of timeless bliss trying to pick out all four guitars on the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young live album, 4 Way Street. I was 15 years old when I bought the just released Pink Floyd "Animals" record and are there actually a pig sounds in the recording or is it just the swine references that make it seem like they are there?
Anyway, fast forward 30 years and here I sit surrounded by hundreds of surround-sound speakers sprawled out in a giant field. The reality did not hit me until the show and I heard my memories in real time. Me and my friends that built, run and operate this evolving entity called Rat Sound are providing audio for Roger Waters! Who would have knew! Ha, that rules! And not only that, since the moment the show ended and I got done pinching myself, I have been drilling to find memories of a show that was more impressive and amazing.
If if that was not enough, check this out. You know the big pig that is all over the news that got away? The $10K award for finding it pig?