Having a day off in the Imperial U.S of A's suburban South makes Fresno look like a playground of happiness. Not only am I surrounded by the pinnacle of generic doldrums but the fact that there is vast gaps and virtual freeways between anything remotely interesting makes avoiding death by car the most exciting part of my journey by foot. And journey by foot we did. Scott and I went to none other than a most legendary feeding ground for roadies east of the Mississippi. What had started as joke turned into an adventure rekindling memories and stories of days of old. I reminisced "The last time I ate in a Waffle House was 13 years ago, L7 tour at 3 am. We all piled in and I brought the music. Having myself just come off of Offspring tour, the just released song 'Keep 'em Separated' ripe to fresh ears inspired our playful band of girls to dance on counter tops with the local staff." A party at Waffle House I love never to forget. So here I sat starring at smothered, covered, diced and capped which is the name given to the entity resembling food residing on the plate in front of me. For some mysterious reason, the luster I once enjoyed visiting the Waffle oasis seems to have faded over the past decade. I guess somewhere along the road I lost the deep appreciation I once had for a filling $3.00 meal.
**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 3 ****
An excerpt from Day 89:
Lighting Techs. One thing about lights is that they take a lot of power. Big power means big heavy wires and a heck of a lot of them. These roadies are coming in soon after riggers and are at the gig till the hairy end. If you look to the upper sides of stage during the show, you will see there are four follow spot roadies. Those are the specialized lighting people you see climbing ladders right before the Peppers play called follow spot operators. We carry two of them, the other six are locally hired each night. Lighting techs to this day tend to be some of the more rugged roadies, maybe it is the wires or genetics but the work hard/play hard ethic runs strong in lampi world.
Lampi's are quick and illusive critters and extremely difficult to capture on film. Furthermore, the Lampi breed find it nearly impossible to sit still. In order to lure the Lampi's together into a group I needed a suitable bait that would inspire them to cluster. Cleverly, I made a sign that I waved around which immediately attracted the lampi's like cats to catnip. Here we can see half of roadie Nick along with roadies Cliff, Joe and Chad as they were the first to scurry forth towards the bait:
Notice how well behaved and serious these lampi roadies are. Hmmm, what are they doing, what is lampi Nick up to?
and look! Clearly lampi Nick has brought much cheer to lampi Joe's life:
And after they all finally settled down from the excitement, amazingly they held still long enough for me to capture an unbelievably rare, group lampi photo:
From left to right:
James is revered as the lighting crew chieftain. As the leader of the lampi tribe, the other lampi's look up to him for the spiritual guidance needed to navigate their magical tasks as 'bringers of light.'
Nick, I am informed is the '5th man' lighting tech. Though I am a bit unclear on what that entails, it does perhaps lend itself to one of two possibilities. Possibly he is so important that he was handed the 5th man moniker to as an ode to his 5th Beatle-ness. Or perhaps lampi's have a similar social structure to that of wolves. Is there and Alpha lampi? If so, that would make Nick the Epsilon Lampi.
Next in the line up we have Little G, kind of strange that his mom would name that, but does suit him well. As you may recall, Little G is the one who lined up the cool crew dinner. His gig is called a Synchro Light Tech and he keeps those big moving moving lights that are in the middle of each of The Pods running. Synchro Lights are pretty much the lampi equivalent of a lion, and like a lion, no one gets to pet them but the lion tamer. Little G is our lampi lion tamer.
The next two suspects are easily the most curious roadies in the herd. Lampi Joe and Lampi Chad are so curious that every single day they become overwhelmed curiosity and begin wondering what is inside those lighting things. So what do these roadies do? They open the lights up and look, of course. Everyone likes these lampi's so no one has the heart to inform that the inside of the lights is still the same today as it was yesterday. They are referred to as Lighting techs.
Since you have already met Scott, we will skip him. Did I mention that he was the first one to dash towards the bait?
Finally, rounding out the lampi tribe is Cliff who performs lampi tasks similar to Nick. My research indicates that he would be the Delta lampi and confirms the wolf like lampi social order. In addition to setting up trusses and playing with wires, roadies Cliff and Nick also get to play in the tree houses! There are two tree houses, one on each side of stage and for every show, Nick and Cliff make friends with three local roadies each and climb up there. That is where the fun part is because they have these giant flashlights up there called follow spots that they get to point at the band during the show. No wonder lampi's are so playful, they have way too much fun!
Here we can see a lampi sneaking into the tree house:
**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 3****
The honored to be able to document such rare critters,
Hi (again) Dave,
Off hand, do you know how much of a light show is scripted and how much is made up on the spot? I also wonder if it is usually a person in, say, James' position that has the initial responsibility of developing/creating a potential light show, if attempting to court new clients.
Also, along that same vein, how would you go about courting clients? Or have you developed so much that the clients now come to you?
The ever curious,
P.S. Poor Scott didn't get the memo about "black top and shorts day".
P.P.S. Wow--L7. I remember buying my "Heavy Metal" magazines in the early 90's and loving it when they were in there. Well, them and Vixen. I used to wish I was Jan. I can't believe I'm admitting that...
By any chance were Lampi's James, Cliff and Joe also residents of the Lollapalooza main stage for that whole weekend? Not just the Pepper's part? And what about Lampi Leif? I seem to remember him from a looooong all night programming session earlier this summerl in
Scott and Leif spend many hours programming the lights and video looks. Then the action and timing is all controlled in real time. James is resposible for getting the Lighting aspect up and down and keeping the lampi crew in line.
Ian, It is highly likely that all roadies are a bit of a cross breed. Maybe something to do with the back lounge mating grounds?
Yes, the lampi crew doubled up on as the Lolla crew as the same lighting co provided lights for the gig, Nocturne. Leif is separate and is part of Peppers core crew.