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Day 38 - Show Day - Ipswitch, UK

June 30-

Day 38 - Show Day - Ipswitch, UK

**** Roadie Research Segment ****

Look! A Roadie bathing area, in places such as these roadies have been known to congregate and wash their fur. Unfortunately, this bathing area is uninhabited at the current time, it is very difficult and requires much stealth to photograph a Roadie during the washing ritual.

Roadies are a highly migratory species and have been know to travel upwards of 365 days a year. While on the subject of the Roadie habitat, I will share some pics of the inside of a mobile Roadie nesting ground. Do not confuse this with the Roadie mating grounds. Legend has it that Roadies are capable of performing the mating ritual practically anywhere at any time!

This is the entry way into the mobile nest also known as a "tour bus." Roadies have a highly evolved distribution of tasks to maintain the colony, here you can see where the Roadie in charge of the mobile nest resides while moving the colony.

As we travel deeper into the the nesting grounds we can observe the multitude of intricacies involved in their feeding habits and resting. Just to our right and out of view is a luminescent rectangle that roadies have been know to observe for hours, in Roadie dialect, this is known as a "TeeVee." Also of note is the area a bit farther back that is an area not too dissimilar to a hive where sleep in small cells, deemed "bunks" in Roadie speak.

Here is the individual hive unit where I reside:

As we step yet deeper into the Roadie domain we enter the ominous "Back Lounge." Rarely seen but outsiders, this has been rumored to double as a Roadie mating ground, and look! There, a reflection of yet another "TeeVee!":

**** End Roadie Research Segment ****

Ipswitch empty gig, notice Roadie "Rusty" clearly scurrying toward food or away from danger.

Turning around we see a few Roadies in the distance near the Monoliths known as delay clusters, these possibly are worship icons but I am not sure..

Signing off!



Day 37 - Werchter Festival

I don't really get bummed out when things beyond my control go wrong, but when I screw up it really drags me down. And though I mess up more than I wish I did, today was one of the former.

Once again we are off on a festival gig without our main gear set.

If you have ever traveled overseas, you most likely have experienced issues with your shaver, hair dryer or cell charger having either the wrong plug, wanting the wrong power or both, maybe you have even seen smoke billowing from something that used to be important. Imagine having a $500,000+ worth of highly complex audio gear that is all US powered and adaptored and going to various countries where every power connection wont fit and is just waiting to blow it up. Typically, when we have all the gear, we carry these giant transformers than make 'nice' power for our beloved gear to sip. On this gig, we had to adapt. Buckets they call them. Heavy things that make the poison Euro power drinkable by our US equipment.

Ten minutes to show time and something is wrong. The power supply for the mixing board reads 83 volts and is flashing in an excited way, both my racks which read 112 earlier now read 96 volts and dropping with each thump of the house music .Typically anything below 105 is scary. I suddenly feel a bit less than exuberant. Turns out the temporary power buckets we got for the day were too whimpy for the task, got hot and were dropping voltage. Low power = bad, especially if when the rig is up to full volume it takes power below the shutdown line. It took a few wind sprints and some spaghetti plugging to build a quick fix and adequate juice and start the gig. It was most annoying. I should have been more diligent in my power checkery, yet these buckets were sneaky, they were twice the physical size of what I have used previously and the connectors well exceeded my max power draw and came up fine earlier. Who would have known they would get sleepy at show time?

4am - bus bunk. Overnight to Ipswitch, is what the itinerary says. It also says something about a ferry. Wow, I love boat rides! Whee! Especially in the middle of night instead of sleeping on a show day. The deal works like this: Bus drives to dock, crew gets evicted, passported, questioned and hopefully released by immigration, crew gets back on bus, bus gets in line, waits for ferry, drives onto ferry, ferry-humans decide whether to cheer up crew by inviting us all to go sit in hard seats under florescent lights up in the top of the boat or to let crew miss out on fun and stay sleeping in cozy bus bunks down in boat belly.

Some amongst us get unhappy feelings sleeping in the internal chasm of an ocean going vessel. Maybe because these ferry things forget to float every so often.That would sure put a damper on load-in tomorrow if we spent the night trying to swim the English channel. I put my life in the hands of pilots, riggers and bus drivers on a regular basis so today my life is in the hands of a captain and I am hoping to float the ride in my cozy bus bunk

**** Roadie Sightings ****

Ok, it's 5am and Shhhhhhh! I spotted some roadies out and about, lets go take a look, be very quiet as they can be quite dangerous at this hour, especially when clustered in a small herd. And look! A rarely captured moment of roadies grazing near an immigration building:

Sometimes at sunrise roadies can be seen frolicking near their nest

And who wouldn't be frolicking with such stunning views such as these:

And then, much to my surprise, I spotted something totally unexpected, a roadie nest full of what I believe may be an undocumented species,

unfortunately they escaped before I was able to research further.

**** End Roadie Sightings ****

Good night.



Day 36 - Day off in Brussels

And my new home sweet home:

A day of calm before the storm and it feels warm in the sunshine! Brussels is grandiose! Old, beautiful, French speaking with a Germanic feel. A place to remember to visit.

My head blocking your view of an amazing building a few blocks from the hotel:

Something about this place seemed to have such a laid back feel to it, Tracy ponders this thought.

There is a strange affinity prevalent here for selling little characters of all types, here were some of my personal favorites:

And after such a warm and wonderful day we could not help but dream of fun things to do. Here you can see Scott and Tracy have their hearts set on some sort of little vacation:

(Ha Ha! a little pay back to Scott! Tracy sorry, just consider it taking some friendly-fire)


Day 35 - Arrive in Brussels

Nothing but bleary dreary today, nice outside but the battle of the lag is on. I have a whole lot of nothing going on today so we may as well talk about something fun, like like things that make loud noises!

Here is a pic of Chad's drumfill setup

It is two dual 15"/dual 10"/2" Rat Trap cabs and a dual 15" Rat Microsub. Sitting back there will make your hair stand on end when hit the drums. Plus there is a drum thumper under the seat as well.

His drum kit not only is coated in a luminescent skin, each drum actually lights up when you hit it! The drum mics split out to a small rack near the drum riser that has a little mixer into 4 gates that trigger the lighting drum shells. And rumor has it that more cool stuff is coming soon but I wont spoil the surprise.

Here the drums are in their 1/2 lit state:

**** SoundNerdSpeak ****

And here is a picture of a baby squirrel crawling on my arm:

**** End SoundNerdSpeak ****

Dave Rat

June 17 to June 26 - Day 25 to 34 Break Time

Nine days. Deal with the essentials.

Need food - 2 days I tried to survive on take out food, finally broke down and went grocery shopping for essentials, the whole starve till drive thing got old quick. Who cares if I will throw it all out next week.

Need air - It's hot in the house but that aint nothing to how hot it is on the roof. Yikes! Well, I found some fuses up there and one tests bad. Hardware store and cool air is up and running. It's been up around 100 degrees.

Need water - Well, actually need water to stop filling the mini-lake in front of the house. Sprinkler activator thing is leaky. I failed the rebuild so just bought another one.

Now for the big one. The whole 'bend the laptop' method of turning on my computer is a bit worrisome. I have had a computer die on the road before. Actually, several 'befores.' At one point I spent 2 years pecking at a Japanese keyboard after a motherboard meltdown in Osaka. Not about to go through that again, no time to get it fixed and I have torn the thing into little pieces twice already and it still needs the bendy start. My only safe option is to order a new one and have it here by weeks end. Going to stick with the Fujitsu type I have now as I have fallen in love with the fingerprint recognition thingy that remembers all my passwords. Cool stuff, I highly recommend it!

It feels like this is just a holiday in a familiar place. A place that used to be home before I agreed to move onto airplanes and tour buses again for two years of my life. It feel like a refueling station. Repack, regroup and grab a few things I forgot. Going to travel a bit lighter this trip.

Made it up to the Rat Sound shop and the Rat family had a mini birthday party for me! How lucky am I to have the most amazing group of people? Incredible!

And the Rats in the pic are Nicole, David, Taka, Danalle, Me, Jon, Jillian and Manny with Daniella snapping the picture.

My next adventure during the time off is overseeing the sound for Hullaballoo, a fund raiser for Flea's non-profit music school, The Silverlake Conservatory of Music. As we did last year, Rat is donating all the sound equipment and one Dave Rat as well. Manny and David set it all up and did a great job:

This year Patti Smith gave me goose bumps when she opened with "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." Seeing Flea play bass with her and was truly awesome, lots of happiness going on in a room of stunned focus. Truly mesmerizing!

Here is sound check:

And the gig:

Next order of business was to drop my short people off at summer camp. Thank you Ellisa, Dillan and Grayson! Oh, so this place is run by Wavy Gravy and look what I found:

Now that is an old Gratefull Dead stage monitor, A relic of PA's past and really cool. Dual 12" and 6 JBL 5" speakers for highs. I find out that GD donated all the sound gear to the camp, good stuff!

The little people's apprehension turned faded when they saw they get to sleep in a teepee and then raced the three hour drive to make my flight to Brussels. Bye bye little friends, off to another rock tour.



Day 24 - Bye bye tour! - Fly home!


7:10am. Eyes burn, hope I have all my stuff, breakfast time and I can't wait, so hungry and look, Oh Boy!

A yummy delicious bowl of raw hamburger, I better get in there quick before the rest of the crew gets down here and gobbles it up.

I made a friend in the lobby and a tearfull goodbye

My chariot awaits me

Splatter and Scatter. Everyone is heading in different directions, some stay, some take a holiday and for me, it's all about home. Six roadies on my flight, everyone else I will see next run unless I don't.

And home. So nice to be home. Even though for some strange reason I now have to bend my laptop to get it to fire up, there is a puddle all the way down the street from a leaky sprinkler (can't wait to see the water bill), its 90 degrees in my house and the air conditioner seems to have decided to stop working and my mail box is jammed full of hopefully paid bills and I find myself wishing I had turned off all the lights in the house.

At least I have till a week from sunday to get it all together before I am off to Euro Leg 2!

And for a week, back to pretending to be a normal human until the next excursion out with Roadis in Midst.

Dave Rat

Day 23 - Berlin Show Day

Argh, morning. Must get passport, bus driver had them for border crossing. Odds are that my trip home tomorrow will go much smoother if I bring it with me.

Always know where your passport is. Passports tend to gain weight on tour, check out how big these ones are getting

Pile o Rat gear and the corresponding human (Daniel)


Mics and wires and stuff.

JF's rig has a 57 on the Silver Jubilee Stack, an SM57 and an EV Raven on the Marshal Major Stack and another 57 on Marshal rig 3 three that he plays the White Falcon through.

Kick Drum mics are and Audix D6 in the hole and a Shure Beta98 inside

In Chad's world the snare setup with an SM98 up and an SM57 below:

Toms have a custom clamp I made with a SM98, Chad hits so hard that all the off-the-shelf clamps move too much

And Flea's rig uses yet another SM98 grill mounted plus two DI's.One right off the Bass (clean) and a second after his effects (dirty)

End SoundNerdSpeak

Even though this place is a rough load in and a nightmare to cramp arena production into

it was really cool to do an outdoor show. The 15 minute outro jam with Ekkehard made it special as well. Ooooooh, big sound!

Load out over gravel and the first gig of next run is a festival so the gear needs to be divided up, no fun!

3:30 am, 4 hours till lobby call, phone battery drained, laptop battery near drained, Dave Rat very drained.

Good night

Dave Rat


Day 22 Prague Show Day

9am it is all about the repack. This morning will be my last real chance to get my bags prepared for the airline's durability test without unpacking in a parking lot.. I bought a bunch of liquid gifts that will get wrapped in my (clean) clothing for the ride home. One tour I had a bottle of flowery smelling oil explode in my bag and took out everything wearable I owned. The balsamic vinegars and olive oils have that potential.

The call sheet must have been transmitted telepathically today or maybe it is invisible, either way, I am guessing noon will be my call just like every show day has been for while.

And here she is, surprise! An oval shaped room with seats around the sides and a flat area in the middle:

Probably the most stressful and intense part of each show day from a production stand point is the load out. This is where all departments (hopefully) work in harmony sharing local crew, dropping in massive things from the sky and getting it all into trucks, quickly, safely and preferably without tempers flaring. In order to facilitate the smooth smooth flow of this massive orchestration, our stage manager, Tim, creates a highly technical 'load out sheet' for each show. These valuable sheets point out key issues while also highlighting things that happened the night before that need fixing. Here is Tim with Dortmund 2's load out sheet:

And a close up of the sheet. Everything on there has some relevance to our world and the load out sheets have become pretty much the daily tour newspaper:

Here are few shots of the show when all was black except band and video screens. For those of you that have not noticed, the video walls, like the Pods, move throughout the show and I have put up pics of a few different positions.

The songs for the night are not known until AK hand-writes the set list about an hour or less before show time, the lists are then copied and distributed. I usually get one. Then directly after the show, multitudes of fans repeatedly ask me for it. For awhile I was getting extra copies to give out, but the demand was endless and it turned into a feeding frenzy that seemed to cause more unhappiness than it created. Sometimes the persistence of people 'wanting' can be less than pleasant. Scott and I try and make it fun though. Maybe trading it for something of no value like first one to have a rubber band. Scott likes to trade for a joke or funny trick. Trading a set list for a smile seems fair enough!

Dave Rat