Something I realized a bit ago was that writing this blog has a strange side effect of connecting all my worlds. Past meet tour, tour meet home, home meet business, business meet friends and everyone meet family. This cross life interconnect is an odd sensation and as time progresses, so does my caution fade. Plus, I guess I now have a 600 page answer to the question "So, what do you do?"
And what I did on thursday was to go on a snowboarding blitz with Grier.
I had to head up and grab my boarding gear and from up there and may as well do some runs while I am there and awesome, Grier was up for joining. Two hours away, wonderful day and home by 4pm. Years ago I bought a house in Big Bear, up near the ski resort,
used to live up there and now I just use it as mountain get away of peace and quite to balance the flurry of tour. I have been renting it out as a vacation rental and if any of y'all are ever wanting to head up there, let me know and I figure out some sort of super bloggery friend discount.
As you can see, in one of my wacky brainstorms, I decided to put a in a train that runs around near the ceiling.
**** End Merging of Worlds ****
Grammy's rehearsals went well, familiar faces everywhere and it seems like just the other day I was here last year with Maroon 5 keeping an eye on the room sound while their FOH engineer Brian was in the broadcast truck looking out for the sound sent to the TV networks. Before that I spent the multi-hours hanging out in TV world when I was in the truck doing the TV sound for the Foo Fighters and Chick Corea combo. It is all pretty much the same each time, the Grammy's, the MTV video awards and all the big TV productions. Lots of humans, lots of rules, lots of caution and lots of waiting around.
**** Nerd Speak ****
I learned something cool. Ok, normally with touring shows we use chain motors (hoists) to lift up the gear. An up-rigger goes up to "the roof," drops a rope which a down-rigger attaches to a hook on the end of the chain running through the motor. The up-rigger pulls the hook/chain up and attaches it to the roof in one of several ways. Then, when the motor is energized, it can be remote controlled to climb up and down the chain. Occasionally something goes wrong with the remote control and a motor stops working. When this happens, a rigger either climbs up or or lowers down on a rope to the motor and fixes it or they attach a second motor and transfer the load. This takes quite a bit of time. For live TV, there is no time for that type of mucking around and there are quite a few stage bits that move in and out during the show. So, in order to insure that a stalled motor does not screw up the elaborate TV production, they put two motors case to case on the critical moving set pieces. One motor is upside down attached to the other. So just imagine in the pics below that the motor hooks are connected and the chain bag is not defying gravity
So what they do is, control one motor to move the set pieces in and out and the other just gets towed around but.... If the primary motor fails, they can switch to the secondary motor really quickly and still keep the show going.
**** End Nerd Speak ****
While I am down at the Staples Center doing Grammyish things, I walk to lunch with my good friend Frank and brother in law, Jason who is working there as well and look at that!
It is the Variety Arts Center, have not seen it for years. The riot when the Butthole Surfer played, Janes Addiction and we did so many gigs there it was like a second home for years. Ahh, the memories I love to hold and hope not to repeat
Ok, it is actually still the 8th but since I can play with blog time versus
the real world in a slip synch rubber band way, it makes no real difference
when I write and it gives me the feeling of being ahead of the game to believe
I it matters. I just got home from the Pollstar Awards and other than the chatting
with a few humans that I truly like, like the GoldenVoice crew, Paul and Dave
from JBL and Stuart Ross who is a bit on a mentor to me from way back, I must
admit that with a few exceptions, the Mcdonalds' of the entertainment world
has once again won 'the best coffee in America' awards in every category, hurray,
So on we move and back to the cats. Oh, have I mentioned that I love fuzzy
critters? Though I do not have any that I keep in my home anymore, I do love
the furry friends and sharing my space with them is something I actually quite
enjoy but unfortunately the fact that they seem to lack long term food management
skills makes pets a bit incompatible with my tour schedule. "Ok, fang (I
used to name all my pets fang), here is three weeks of food, the tuna snacks
are over here, chicken is in the middle and there are assorted dry foods over
here in these bags, just open the bags as you need them so everything stays
nice and crunchy. Don't scratch the couch, please poo in the toilet, be sure
to flush and I put my cell number on speed dial so call me if anything goes
awry, kiss kiss, hug hug and I will see you in three weeks. Oh and don't forget
to feed the rats and make sure their water bottle is full with fresh water."
Unfortunately my confidence in the outcome of this strategy is less than huge.
I guess if I kept a female human in the house to tend to the pets that I don't
currently keep, this could be solved but .... ooooooh, that brings a whole new
set of dynamics. Stepping sideways of that subject...
The coffee cat video I posted brought some interesting reactions from my bloggery
friends ranging from smiles to disdain. From my perspective it puzzles me to
think that anyone would derive an ill will or careless disregard in interpreting
my intentions or actions, though I do respect the variety of opinions. So I
think that perhaps a bit more depth on the subject may be in order, so here
is another related video clip and I am honored to introduce coffee cat (actual
name is Coffee Bean) and her three siblings to offer a bit more of the story
I don't know why her particular feline affinity for java existed, I just know
that it did and in small bits, who am I to deny a friendly furry friend a bit
of pleasure? As far as the eventual outcome, to be honest, I went on tour and
I am not sure if she was eaten by a coyote or passed onto a friend to to take
care of. What I do know is that while our lives crossed paths, there was no
gap in the mutual joy.
When I started writing this blog, I carved out time in most days to paste myself behind the computer for some to several hours. As with most projects, there are obsicles in the early stages and one of those obsticles for me was my roadie friends missed me and two roadies in particular chose show that miss by repeatedly informing me that I have become "boring." Heart warming. Well, one of those roadies, Grier who is very creative and works on the Peppers show designs as well as owns part of a taco stand in New Zealand, makes cool clothing (he did several of the Rat Wear graphics) has fallen to the dark side and much to my glee and hopefully his dismay, I see that he has become boring as well and started his own blog http://www.griergovorko.com/blog/. Ha ha!! Hey Greir, Boooooriiiing!!! So for all you lampi and artsy fartsy types out there or anyone else desiring to be bored, it may worth a gander.
Now that we are done passing the boring wand over to Grier, we can have some fun and what better way to start having fun and while also sticking with the coffee theme, I dug up an old video that I took way back when I kept critters in my house. Oh! and some day I hope to again and I did promise my shorties that when this tour found an end I would acquire some little fuury friends. In the mean time, say hello to "Coffee Bean," a pet cat with a puzzling name.
And that completes coffee lishious blogerishious segment for today,
Starbucks office again. I failed!!! After waking up to see that Dan had posted this comment:
Great blog (and I don't say that about many!), it's kept me suitably entertained for the past few months - but I've got to call you up on one thing: Starbucks? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Pseudo bohemian corporate scum - there must be somewhere better just round the corner or have they already put them out of business.
In my delirious morning state, I decided he was right. Why support some corporate conglomerate when I can support a smaller local entity. So I set off to find an alternative, drove around for 20 minutes looking and then after getting jammed in local traffic decided it will have to wait for another day. I don't hate Starbucks nor do I feel any alliance to them. Though I must admit that the grungy mix of homeless people, local starving actors and business people on morning break that come in waves to this particular location does provide a wonderful backdrop. I will try again to seek a new office, but I will save that battle for another day, today my time is short now shorter.
Hey, lets have a look at the work week - Today the monitor rig gets loaded into the Grammy's, tomorrow rehearsals, friday is more rehearsals, saturday is off and sunday is the real Grammy deal, monday we fly to London to arrive tuesday, Brit awards wednesday and fly home thursday, friday I am going snowboarding with the shorties.
Hey, look! Rat Sound is up for Pollstar "Sound Company of the Year" and the awards ceremony is on Friday as well and if all goes well, I may even make it down there to watch! An honor to be nominated and how absurdly cool would it be for little Rats to win against companies that dwarf us so dramatically business wise. Furthermore with Mcdonalds being voted "Best Coffee in America" and after tossing a pathetic chuckle in the general direction of the absurdity of the humans that actually marked Mickey D's as "Mmmmm, yumm, wow, this is the best coffee in America!," I ponder the relevance of winning anything that involves a cross-sectional american vote.
But here I am sitting in Starbucks, possibly without much a leg to stand on as far as being coffee critical. Oh well, off to the Rat shop,
Starbucks, Magnolia and Vine. My morning office that satisfies the the requirements of hot coffee, edible food and a constant flow of humans reminiscent of trying to work in the crew room or catering. Fifth day home and the first day the tour haze begins to lift and the realities of this other world come into focus. Fifth day at home and for every morning I wake up and realize how cool it is that a housekeeper has not tapped on my door every 15 minutes for the past 3 hours, I am equally dismayed that the mess I left here yesterday is still where I left it and once again there are no clean towels. If I only had a phone in my room I would call the front desk to complain.
I spend the bulk of my home-time solo, at least solo as in "not in the proximity of the humans I speak with other than buying things like food." The exception being the two or three days a week I go in to the Rat office or the weekends that I have the girls. I spend most of my tour time surrounded by huge quantities of people I know quite well with the exceptions being the mornings of days off before the quest for coffee inspires me out of my hotel room. My two lives could not be much more different. I think the term used in describing these transitions is culture shock, when applied to normal humans.
I guess working at Starbucks is just my little version of Cargo Cult Science as if hanging out at home around bustling humans will somehow inspire the tour bus to show up. If you have not read it, it is worth a look look, if you have read it, well, it's is still worth a look. Richard Feynman would have made an excellent roadie.
Perfection is unachievable and on projects that I put my heart into, mediocrity is unacceptable. Combining that thought with the project of the big rock show and the fact that my sound world is but one facet of a multi-dimensional presentation results in a complex balancing act that is far from boring. Pushing for the best but not to the point that it will overly compromise another department's presentation, requires a level of cooperation, understanding and the ability for all involved to look at the bigger picture. I guess that applies to just about every cooperative life endeavor.
OK, my newly implemented morning work/blog time limit is and the fully charged laptop battery is reaching red line warnings. Upload time and oh, hey, tomorrow we load into the Grammy's!
The momentum of being homeward bound mixed with being chased by arctic frosts and multiple states declaring a "state of emergency" hot on our tail combined with a glimmer of warmth all combined with the amazing south Florida crowd to create a stellar finale to yet another tour leg.
The end of tour mean gather all the bits that need to join me on the flight home and cram it all in suitcases in such a way that the airline will not hate me or capture it. It is always best to sort through things in an area that is spacious which is why I chose the largest and closest place I could find, which happened to be the parking lot next to the bus. For the most part everything went reasonably well with one exception
It appears that somewhere in my travels, there is a very lucky human that can enjoy the pleasures of hoping around on a very comfy left shoe. My initial reaction was one of dismay until I realized that having a single right shoe could come in very handy if I am skate boarding bare foot and I encounter some broken glass in my path, at which point I can whip out my comfy left shoe in order to navigate the obstacle. Wow, how lucky am I! And runing into Marcel, I said goodbye as he will not be joining us on next leg due to Mars Volta commitments.
I ran into Cee-Lo in the parking lot and hit him up for a photo op. Cool people and I have wandered on their bus a few times for beer after a show.
And for those of you curious, Cee-Lo is the human that sings for the Gnarls Barkley band. So show time rolls around and much to my concern, I notice that one of my tigers has escaped and after several seconds of searching, aha!!!
Ok, enough of this monkey business and pandering, off to face the other world called home and try and pretend to be a normal person, yet again,
Another phase of the eBay auction and today we fulfilled the "weaing of the ad." A bit of background. Scott and I had auctioned off the space on our backs in oder to finnance redecorating our front of house area. Twisting as things so do, the action exceeded our expectations and not only got us on the radio in several cities and a top spot on GoofyAuctions.com but it also brought in a whopping $ 406.00! Well, it turns out the winner was George Ravlich who owns a small sound company in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. George, upon winning the auction, informed me that Rat Sound had been an inspiration in forming his sound company. His bidding was in part a way to say thank you and George, thank you! We on the other hand donated 25% to Surfrider Foundation and then failed miserably at attempting to decorate the FOH area in Tiki, switched to a Pirate theme and went way over budget, but all that was just burning time with smiles.
Following the auction and after after much thought, George decided that it had dawned on him that what would bring him the most happiness and the most memorable use of his unique purchase would be memorialize a good friend lost in a tragic way. He then had four shirts printed and sent to the Rat shop. So in a celebration of life and pulling threads of light out of darkness to weave a banner of awareness to possibly alieviate even one repitition of the senseless loss, we send our hearts out to Don Doucet who's life was taken by a drunk driver.
And so with unity and somber hearts yet smiles for perpetuating an uplift from down, the roadie advertizing adventure reaches reaches the finish line with roadies Leif, Scott, Dave Rat and Lee together. We are honored to be doing our small part in helping a global memory live of a life so carelessly taken.
To all the family and friends of Don, about the best I can come up with is
"Long after the band stops playing the music we remember can still make us smile." And from what George has told me, Don rocked!!