Jan 2001 Company Holiday Party
Its been over 20 years since the formation Rat Sound and we had our first Holiday Party!
Rat Sound has been going through a lot of growth and self analysis over the past few years and now as we enter our 21st year as a company we are focusing on setting new long term goals. We are reevaluating as our original direction "to survive following a dream" evolves into "maintaining a stable and growing entity for years to come, for everyone in the Rat Family."
This is a unique industry where backline crews and technicians dedicate years of their lives to working with bands transitioning from starving musicians to millionaires. It seems all to rare that the people that work so hard, receive any kind of long term security or appreciation, even after years of dedicated service. Once the touring cycle for the current album ends, if you are willing and able to tour, maybe you have will have job. All to often, the band breaks up, new management brings in new people or the album does not do well enough to warrant your presence leaving you out looking for work. Yet if you are not readily available for last minute shows, you are quickly replaced.
As part of the implementation of our commitment to the long term stability of Rat Sound in the industry we have been doing several things to make a difference and improve the Rat world for the current and future Rats. A Rat Sound medical plan has been in effect for a while and currently we are working on a retirement plans and profit sharing. We have started having a Rat training class at the shop and it to get our techs skill levels constantly growing. Currently, one of the most challenging obstacles is to establish consistent work for our people in this extremely seasonal touring industry. As part of this effort we have also taken the systems we offer to a new level.
We have always believed that it is of the utmost importance to offer the highest quality sound systems available and in years past, that required us to design and create our own system. Now, in addition to our own designs we offer the both the V-Dosc and the Nexo Alpha systems. Each of the three systems is the current "state of the art" of the theory behind the design. The much imitated V-Dosc for Line Array, Alpha for ultra compact horn loaded and Rat Trap 5 for High Density direct radiating each offering unique assets covering the full spectrum of musical styles and engineer preferences. Historically, professional sound companies have offered one type of system and then fought to convince acts of the merits.
How we became Rats
The company, if you could call it that at the time, started out a nameless one and it seemed to take forever till we came up with the short lived "Solid Sound Systems." It just was such a typical name and boring to remember, we wanted a name that no one would forget, that stands out, is unique and means something. It was one of those things where you go over and over it in your head and nothing seems quite right. Eventually, the name came around late 1982 inspired by my pet gopher snake eating his weekly meal. Pretty much we were living from week to week and it seemed all the sound companies were either bad mouthing us or undercutting us, we were making like $100 a night for two people and a PA system. None of the clubs or bands were willing to try anything new and "custom designed and built system" translated into "homemade PA." So I was hanging out with my friend Beverly, watching the rat about to be eaten, joking about the similarities of the rat's predicament and the way it feels to try and survive as a sound company. "We are just like the rat in the cage, all we want is to eat food, have a place to live and go about our lives and everyone hates us." The name "Rat Sound" reminisces of the name of the ultra secret division of Lockheed Aircraft called "Skunk Works" that built the high performance SR71 spy plane among other cool machines that push the boundaries of technology. It was perfect, we could come up with "Corporate" sounding words to line up with the "R.A.T." acronym and for the shows we really wanted to do which was pretty much just the punk shows, Rat Sound fit right in. We came up with "Recording Art Technical Sound System" which worked pretty well except for the fact there was really not much "Recording Art" going on. So maybe a year or so later, with the help of a dictionary, the name "Reliable Audio Technology" came about. We felt it fit well as we were truly developing new designs and technology and all those punk shows definitely taught us how to build "Reliable" sound systems, even in the most adverse conditions. Over the years the company name has evolved into our current legal name, "Rat Sound Systems Inc."