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Day 161 - Oct 31 - Cleveland Ohio - Halloween Day

Today I set my alarm four roadie shifts early and headed into the venue to investigate what goes on in the wee hours and stumbled into a cool adventure. My curiosity ended me up in an elevator with a bunch of local up-riggers headed for the high steel. Soon after I was traversing a maze of Cat walks in the roof with heart shuddering views and riggers clipped off

over death defying heights, dropping ropes and pulling chains.

Fun scary stuff, just don't look down:

The black dots are humans, the red squares are chain motor cases and the white chalk marks are where the motor points will hang.

**** Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 8 Continues ****

Here it is, the last and final installment of this years Meet a Roadie Campaign and teary eyed end to Roadie Awareness Week. None caught the math error including myself but the 8 days of R.A.W. is now hearby revised to end whenever is does. In fact, lets just make it roadie awareness year, every year.

Excerpt from Day 89:

Bus and truck drivers have even earlier call times as they drive all night and sleep all day, these nocturnal roadies like riggers, hold our roadie lives and the safely of our beloved wires in the grip of a steering wheel. An interesting side note is that bus drivers typically get carted off to a hotel during the day, while truck drivers sleep in the micro hotel room located in the cab of their truck. Bus drivers drive straight through to deliver their roadie cargo while truck drivers do showers at truck stops that are setup for exactly that, along the way.

An official definition of 'Roadie':

The road crew (or roadies) are the technicians who travel on tour with musicians who handle every part of the production except actually playing the music. This catch-all term covers Tour and Production Managers, Stage Managers, Front Of House Engineers, Monitor Engineers, Guitar Techs, Bass Techs, Drum Techs, Keyboard Techs, Security/Bodyguards, Lighting Techs, and pyrotechnics technicians, among others.

From the above description it is clear that truck drivers and bus drivers are not actually true roadies but a clearly a related breed, possibly similar to the koala bear not being a true bear but actually being a marsupial. Regardless these cross country haulers of gear and humans are absolutely critical to our world, so I dub them all honorary roadies. Many of these guys, and we got ourselves one gal as well, are surprisingly specialized and tend to haul almost exclusively musical production. In no particular order and I apologize for the ones I could not capture on film, please say hello to our truck drivers and band bus drivers:

Bobby (Flea Bus), Doug (Crew Bus 1), Kurt (AK Bus) and Bobby Lee (Dimmers and Grid truck)

Now this cool shot with Roger (Sound/Subwoofers truck), Doug (Lights 2) and Nick (Wardrobe truck) standing next to the fuel dude. Why do we have a fuel dude? Well, we converted all the busses and trucks to Bio Diesel in Albany and so now a truck full of Bio fuel comes and fills 'em up at the gigs. How cool is that!

And look! John's bus driver, Eddie is an especially friendly bus driver and can be seen here offering us some food.

Security Dave practicing on our lead driver Scott (Rigging truck) and about to take a head slap is truck driver Vic (Backline truck).

Not shown but no less important and appreciated are Jack (Lighting truck 1), Nancy (Versa Wall truck), Bobby (versa Spines truck), Luc (PA truck), Chris (Truss truck) and Jason (Video truck).

Ok, gasp and wow, this was a much more challenging project than I anticipated but I have to say it has been an incredible learning experience, not only about the roadies but also about the tour. While doing my research and interviews I actually have a solid grasp of what the heck they all really do. Best of all, after five months on the road, the head nods of crossing paths are now hello's with names attached and that rules!

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign ****

Stayed tuned for the Halloween Special Feature!

Dave Rat


Day 160 - Columbus Ohio

Day 160 - Oct 30- Columbus Ohio

First order of business today, shopping for Halloween costumes. Scott came up with a plan and I think it is a good one. We originally started with the idea the four FOH roadies dressing up as the band we work for, but soon that sideways-evolved into us being The Village People. After reaching irreconcilable differences about who gets to be the Indian, we had to scrap that and we decided to..... (you will find out tomorrow)

Here you can see runner Dave, Scott and I begin our quest for the perfect costume:

Given the items we were shopping for, it was a fun and funny adventure that I think runner Dave will not soon forget, we had a blast!

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 8 ****

Like any large campaign, the end run blitz of the final days requires long hours and hard work. Here at R.A.W. (Roadie Awareness Week) headquarters, currently located in my hotel bed, our industrious team of one still has high hopes for a successfully completed project. As we round the final turn toward the Day 8 finish line, I have the Dressing Room Duo, The Video Six, The Band Driver Trio and a Truck Driver's Dozen left in the barrel.

Long overdue and the ones who build beauty on a daily basis, our next contestants are the orchestrators of ambiance, the queens of comfort, and damsels of dressing room design. Up first is our punk rock princess from back in the day, a multiple and a fierce competitor in the 'who has the most road cases' competition big hugs and kisses for our very own Lyssa B. She is the interface between the band party and the venue. Creating the illusion that a rock venue is actually a comfortable place to hang out doing such a good job that she is practically turning the band into gig huggers. At Lyssa B's side doing what may be the most opposite imaginable of an easy gig, we have our Cleveland thorn-less dressing room assist, Rose. May I present the tree hugging ladies of bus number 2:

It is now time to tip your hats to the bringers of delicious visual delights. After they set up this monolith contraption, some of these busy bee roadies have the added excitement of interacting with the performance and getting those cool band shots for all to see. Additionally and almost as importantly, these beautiful screens are a virtual playground for humiliating roadie photos to reside earlier on in the day.

I will start out with the Camera op's. Dressed in black and nearly invisible unless you look at them, the camera operator roadies set up gear during the day and track their respective band member during the show. So let's break it down and we have:

Roadie Dane gets to play with wires all day and sets up camp down stage left to keep the camera eye locked on the amazing John Fruciante. Each of the camera op's are like little autopilot roadies cruising around and filming their band human. When you see that blazing guitar solo zoom in to J.F.'s flying fingers, that is Dane's work. When John dashes out on the runway and you still see the spot where John was standing pre-dash, well that would be Dane's work as well. So here he is, one of the closest thing we get on a road crew to a chick magnet, roadie Dane:

With the job many women would die for, she is actually paid to watch Anthony. Zooming in for intimate close ups and following his every move with her fluid camera work she performs her day job at night and her office is located dead center between the barricade and the band. It is with deep pleasure that I introduce our only female roadie 'gig side' of the production office, perfect angel roadie Kim:

Ok, so you are watching the show, there is the band rocking out and hey! Wait a minute. Who is that guy? Look, there is a guy crawling around the drum riser. I see him, there he is:

Number three in the list of Camera op's is the king of crouch, dedicated to capturing Chad every move even if it means taking a virtual shower in sweat, the only non-backline roadie up on stage during the rock show and Chris Warren's drum riser roommate, roadie Scott,

Our fourth camera operator you have already met, fast enough to track Flea and a long time friend, I will give you one hint and you try and guess his name. It starts with a "D" and ends with and "irty Walt." Let me know if you need more clues and I will write the answer upside down in the next issue.

So now that we have captured all our band humans into the video ether world, where do the images go? And which one is the one to show when, during the show? The dynamics of video decision are handled by Cheech and Chong's long lost third member, George. He sits backstage behind what looks like a video gamers wet dream and provides what is termed 'video content' that will eventually make it to the big screens, meet roadie George our video director:

Since George actually controls something in real time having to do with the show, he gets to have a roadie of his own and filling those shoes currently is roadie Bill. An ex soundman and veteran of many corporate gigs, his workload encompassing a wiring nightmare of complexity that rivals the trash can of a spaghetti factory, meet roadie Bill:

The last stage of the video stream before our eyes is the final control point at FOH. Handling these duties is Lampi Scott and our friendly foliage roadie Leif:

As the brainiac roadie that actually understands how all that stuff works, he is Scott the Lampi's Nick the Fly. Leif keeps the mechanics of the FOH side of the presentation in operation and most importantly has a big yellow track ball that he rolls around to control that Synchro light sweeping around before the band returns for the encore. And though we are near done with video, there is on crucial aspect forgotten. How in the heck are we going to see the montage that has been created? How about four large high resolution moving video walls? How about four huge 4000 pound hi resolution video screens, that can move both vertically and horizontally to form various video scenes? To handle the task of keeping those huge puppies operating and showing our musical friends we have the Uruguayan wonder, a man who will take on the football vs. soccer argument to the point of tears and holds the honor of hardest to understand on the tour, please say hello to roadie Rodrigo

To be continued ...


Day 159a - Travel to Columbus

**** Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 Continues ****

As we working our way through to the next touring department, we stumble upon something new. Do you know those cool lights that make up the non moving back wall and hang over audience in all the show shots, those are called Versa Tubes. I have no idea how long they have been making these Versa-things but if it exceeds three years I would be quite surprised. These tubes look like harmless florescent lights but in reality are capable of presenting very bright full motion video and many pretty colors. Setting it up, just two roadies short of a six pack, the four roadies that make up team Versa-Tube. Assembling over 900 feet of what looks like giant lit ladders, every show day. And then they miraculously proceed to make the monstrous contraption work.

Versa-tubes are so new, that if you hired a crew of Versa-veterans who started in the industry as Versa-techs you would end up with Versa-kids. On a tour like this we have no time for that so instead they bring in the big guns. These are all savvy and converted lampi's with mad skills and Versa-tile enough to adapt to an offshoot gig. First to meet in the this 'four roadie mini tribe' is the Versa-Cheif, Kenny.

A bit of trivia on Roadie Kenny; he touring back in the late 70's with a band called Generation X that I remember from the punk days and still have the album. Though you may not remember Gen X, you may know that Billy Idol guy that was in the band. So then he goes on to do 11 years with that another obscure band called the Rolling Stones.

Moving on to Versa-Indian #1, all the way up from way down under and from a place where rooting for your favorite team is a lot more fun, I introduce Versa-Tube tech, Aussie Steve (also known as Raff 2). Each department carries an in-house-techno-fix-it roadie that has an in depth knowledge of the inner workings or at least someone that is good at pretending to, for Versa-world, Steve is that roadie.

Roadies love toys and most of you have already met roadie Rusty, this time seen here not seeking food, he seems to have located some sort of little toy. As roadies often do, curious as they are, he has very cleverly taken it apart. Maybe there is food in there? I doubt it but I do know that he is Versa-Indian #2, meet roadie Rusty:

Rounding out the Versa-Tribe of four is none other than Versa-Indian #3 roadie Kevin, unlike roadie Rusty above, roadie Kevin is clearly hungry and has decided to eat the chef. If you look closely you will notice the expression of surprise on the chef as he prepares for his escape:

And if I got the Versa-tribe out of order, sorry and ooops!

Now if that is not enough and assuming your curiosity is still holding strong, Our next set roadie specimens are neither fast nor vicious. Survival on the road is no easy task and if there was a single thing that can flare a camp of friendly roadies into a flash pot of flying flying spike throwers, it would have to be starvation. Well our next pair of roadies are professional anti-starvation technicians. Both are in possession of magical powers to transform the simplest and healthiest of foods into culinary masterpieces that will bend your mind and ruin your meals next week of of meals elsewhere. These two roadies can easily pass two of the three stooges and I would like to welcome roadie Wayno and roadie Salim:

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 ****

**** Ebay Auction Update ****

What can I say? Check this check out! Our excitement is ten fold as our auction winner and honorary roadie George has sent us what we have been so anxiously awaiting, confirmation that this is 'pinch ourselves' real. Guess who is going shopping!

Who is this mysterious George? Do we know him? Is this all for real? What will the ad be? Many mysteries remain but they will indeed unravel. I can say that yes it is for real and we had no idea who the winner was till he contacted us after the auction. And for more details, stayed tuned for the next thrilling adventure with Roadies in the Midst.

**** End Ebay Auction Update ****

The looking forward to Halloween,

Dave Rat

Day 159 - Oct 29 - Travel to Columbus

Staying behind in New Orleans and leaving my fellow roadies to fend for themselves almost made me feel bad. What if they miss me and then they are sad roadies? But I quickly came to my senses when I did a mental scan of my workload, realized I get another night in New Orleans and I will trade a 900 mile bus ride for a 2 hour plane flight. I can party a bit, get my work done and still be ahead of the game if all goes well, hurray! First thing in the AM some blurry eyed computing caught me up enough on pressing matters just in time for phone call from Kevin, a long time friend of Scott the Lampi and owner of Sky Dive Nawlins. A plan was contrived to go on a mini-adventure to Dupre's for coffee and eat some weird looking square donuts. They call Benets (Benyays) and they are covered in enough sugary white powder to make Scareface drool. And hey look! It's Elissa and Susan that I met at the show last night. They had showed up with cool roadie gifts, we roadies love swag and here they are again! Coffee with friends in far away places, very cool.

Two Hurricane's (not the windy kind) and a wander later I came up with the brilliant idea of playing a little game of hide and go seek with one of my bags. First I HIDE my bag in the trunk of the cab, I wait for a half of an hour after I get dropped off and then go on a quest to SEEK out that long gone taxi and find my bag. Luckily I am a good FINDER and after a few phone calls I was very glad the well tipped cabbie came back for a visit.

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 7 ****

From Day 89:

Bus and truck drivers have even earlier call times as they drive all night and sleep all day these nocturnal roadies, like riggers, hold our roadie lives and the safely of our beloved wires in the grip of a steering wheel. An interesting side note is that bus drivers typically get carted off to a hotel during the day, while truck drivers sleep in the micro hotel room located in the cab of their truck. Bus drivers drive straight through to deliver their roadie cargo while truck drivers do showers at truck stops that are setup for exactly that, along the way.

As captains of the land yachts in which we and the gear travel, driver roadies Magellan their way across the country with the greatest of ease. Capturing these mobile roadies in an un staged photo without the use of bait was nowhere near as difficult as I had anticipated. Where and how you might ask? Well, first I asked myself, what do all roadies eat, food of course and when do they eat, when they are hungry of course. When are driver roadies most hungry? Aha, after an overnight drive. So early I rose and creeped of the bus, sneaking into the venue and bingo! Catering is chock full of drivers, so quickly before the darted off I snap a pic:

A special surprise was to see all five crew bus drivers together.

I will introduce now the crew bus drivers and their bus numbers. In researching these particular roadies I was pleasantly surprised by how helpful each of the drivers were as supplying nicknames for the other roadie drivers. So kind of them to be so helpful! - From left to right meet Louie 5 (Scrubber), Doug 1 (Off road), The General (The Colonel), Brownie (Brutus) and Brian 2 (Mr. Clean).

And hey look! It's Louie in action!

In an unfortunate oversight, I sincerely apologize for overlooking the following two departments in the Day 89 tour staff overview - Merchandise and Versa-Tube. A bit late but not forgotten:

Our next introduction brings us the emperors of swag, the Santa Clause's of tour apparel, these multitasking roadie's are seen here accomplishing the amazing feat of eating and napping at the same time. Virtually a complete business venture in their own domain, they have their own truck with driver, Cal:

Not only do they carry all the tour swag sold at the gig, they also do all the inventory tracking and deal directly with the venue's to arrange all the details. Almost like a separate sub tour within the tour I present lead merch roadie Chris:

And his trusty partner and actually could be a Santa as a side job, Jim:

to be continued...


Day 158 - October 28 - New Orleans VooDoo Fest

**** Ebay Ad Update ****

Wow, a whopping $406.00, who would have knew and we can not wait to go shopping! First we would like to thank all those that thought we were crazy and admit you are correct. Next we would like to thank all those that bid and and though I can not imagine having another auction till the season changes, there are plenty of roadies out there with untapped back sides. Now for the big questions, "Who is this mysterious winner of the illustrious ad space?" and "What will the ad be?" Well, fact is, so far, we don't know! But equally as important with our endeavor a clear success and the pressures of spending wisely now firmly upon our shoulders, Scott and I have adopted no solid plan and will have to depend on the proven and reliable method of 'winging it' when the time comes. Certainly we will do our absolute best best to reach our main goal of having fun. Oh, and don't forget, $ 101.50 to Surf Rider Foundation!

And looks like we went international as well as made it to radio stations in Portland, Northern California and several web sites including this one all the way away in Israel:

**** End Ebay Ad Update ****

Big news! Look what I found, this is huge:

Oh yes, that is right Guitar Hero 2, now that is some exciting stuff. And speaking of exciting, how awesome is it to see the Peppers on stage with The Meters? And honor for us as viewers and an honor for the Peppers as well to share the stage with such and influential and legendary band.

If you don't know of them and you like the Peppers, I recommend gathering some roots and checking out The Meters and The Neville Brothers music. Ok, End Dave Rat Tip of the Day. And guess what I did after the show? I went back the hotel, washed up and went straight to bed like a good roadie would. For the most part with the exception the part where I was running around Bourbon street drinking margaritas and checking up the Fire Department. Yep, good job guys! Fire here, fire there, good thing they seem to have a good grasp on things. Ok, everyone, Firemen are here, it's safe to party.

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 6****

Today we get to meet our fearless leaders, the Wizards behind the Oz that we call the not so yellow and rarely bricked 'road.'

Starting off the inner look at the machine of organization we have Dirty Walt. This is not his first Peppers tour and if you have been around a while and have good eye for a face and talent, you may recognize him as the famed trumpeter from none other than the amazing band Fishbone on a few of the Californication tour legs. Currently in the capacity of production assistant, having Dirty Walt out with us is a honor and a blast.

Heading up the role of top tough guy we have a very cool roadie named Dave. Being the lead Dave on the tour means he gets to keep the solo "Dave" moniker relegating the other tour Dave's to answering to the dual names Dave Lee and Dave Rat. Strange how some humans get two names and others just get one. This is the roadie/band protector that not only keeps us all safe, he also looks out for the fans. Security meetings informing the local security on how to treat fans with respect but not loosing control happen at every gig. Shown here putting on his tough guy face, if you run into trouble, he the man to radio in for help.

The next victim in line for the roast is none other than roadie Liam. A fierce and treacherous roadie, this tasmanian devil in disguise takes no prisoners. Here he can be seen laying down the law and don't even try and approach him with a bill larger than $ 20, I graciously offer the guy that checks us into hotels and buys our receipts:

Working our way down the list and but not down in quality, the following two roadies are both master craftsman. Though roadie Tim has graduated to the somewhat miserable gig of Stage manager from carpenter and Big Daddy is our current tour carp, I hold both of these roadies in the highest regard. First meeting Big Daddy before he was big in 1990 when I was a monitor engineer and he was a guitar tech, I must admit that having him on tour great. As tour carp, he creates, he resolves and he will fix just about anything imaginable. A warm hello to mechanical solution master whose real name is Phil but we all call him Daddy:

And meet Tim the one who personally took the time to teach me to arc weld on the bottom of aluminum truck ramps, please meet roadie Tim our Stage Manager. You have seen his load out sheets which have now been deemed the 'crew setlists.' Tim is the solution master of crew. Awarded the fun job of inspiring the wayward mass of touring and local crews into getting 12 trucks loaded in less than two hours, meet Tim "The Thumb" Shanahan:

Saving the dynamic duo for last Bill "The Crusher" Rahmy, the superman of rock production and his wonder girl New York Natalie, team up as the operation central of precariously guiding the giant jalopy we call a road show through world travel. These are the ones who can put the hammer down and pound out the dents, our fearless King and Wonderbread Queen can be seen in full adventure action:

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 6****

The running out of days in R.A.W.,

Dave Rat

Day 157 - Oct 27 - Travel to New Orleans - Off

Wireless Internet through my cell phone and an AC power outlet in my bus bunk has opened a whole new realm; bunk-puting. It is similar to my office at Rat Sound, just drastically more horizontal and considerably less room to wander around. The only real disadvantage to utilizing a bus bunk as an office is it get pretty claustrophobic if you attempt to have any sort business meeting in there with more than just a few humans.

Arriving in the Big Easy my first order of business is a bag drop at the room and to venture off in search off nourishment. Actually what I was really seeking was some good old home style cajun cooking. Hotel guy hooked me up. After naming off half a dozen restaurants, I asked Marvin where he eats. "Aw hell, I'll bring y'all to the hook up." As if he was going to walk me there and off we go across the street stopping and pointing at black pick up truck. "This is it, you gonna love this" and then with a big smile and the sound of victory in his voice he warmly offers his motto "Marvin is the man, if he can't do it no one can."

Standing next to a pick up truck with food containers piled on the floor and seats, my skepticism vanished when a line formed behind me before I could even finish listening to today's offerings.

The cooking down here is neither known for its beauty nor its healthiness. Down here they will eat anything from alligator to pigeon and just one thing matters; "Does it taste good?" I went with the gumbo and crawfish pasta. As you can see below, the gumbo I got was an exception to the rule and was quite attractive in its visual presentation:

The food was awesome though my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I stuggled a loosing battle and had to leave some of the pasta uneaten. Off to do something new, hey I know, "How about wandering around the city for a change?" Hmmm, what city are we in, aha, a clue:

And not far beyond was I sight I know you all are familiar with:

A shoe in a window sill of course. Some sort of running shoe perhaps? I smile as I imagine the tilted walk that the guy or girl wearing the other one must have right now.

And speaking of sexy shoes, check out these sexy pictures that Nick the Fly took of some gorgeous hardware a few gigs back:

**** Begin Sound Nerd Speak ****

Notice the 4 follow spots on the truss (tree house), the Pods with Synchro Lights, dual PA system, side wrap PA hand and check out all that rigging steel hanging down! And here it is loaded up with humans for show time:

**** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

So in the strangest of coincidental deja vu's, I once again found myself cruising around the Bourbon street with a bunch of roadies at a late hour in this once more familiar city. As comforting as it was to see The Quarter mainly intact, that was not the case for the surrounding suburbs driving in. Devastation and obliteration out the bus window; seeing "Help" written in by peeling roofing tiles sends shivers of the true desperation and horrors from a year and a half ago. And for mile after mile it looks as if it could have happened last month. The state of disrepair seems odd, whole neighborhoods lifeless and powerless and small signs of life mixed with wasteland. It made me sad. But not so sad that a icy cold Hurricane could not wipe that memory temporarily out of my mind at nightfall and here we can see the local firefighters doing there job by playing with the local fires:

How many cities have you been to where someone somewhere says "Hey, I got an idea, how about y'all take the big fire truck downtown and see if there are any drunk chicks that want to take their picture with you?" "Gee, I dunno Commissioner, can't we just stay in the fire house and watch TV and clean the trucks?" 'Fireman in New Orleans' has just climbed to second best gig next to roadie.

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 5 ****

Today you get to meet none roadies. In case you were wondering why R.A.W. was eight days long, it was so that we had a spare day. Good roadies never travel without spares.

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 5 ****

The not so chipper this morning, owie head,

Dave Rat

Day 156 - Deluth (Atlanta) Show Day

**** Begin Ebay Roadie Auction Update ****

With our backs currently valued at a whopping $ over $300.00 Scott and I are near speechless in excitement.

I have good news! As the auction rounds the bend into the second to last day, Lampi Scott and I began to concern ourselves with the the wonder of what the band's reaction will be. Could they, would they, should they shut us down? Are we bad roadies over stepping our bounds and crosseing the line of acceptable roadie behavior? Then with a few moments of thought I realize that the only relevant question is "Do ya think they will be pissed off if it ends before they know about it?" With our new biggest concern now being trying to figure out a way to leak it to the band, we go undercover and devise an intricate plan. Shhhh, here it is: First under the cover of stealth, Scotty will sneak into the production office and with shifty eyes, print the ad and then scurry off before anyone realizes what he is up to. Next, Scotty will belly crawl into the dressing room and inconspicuously lay the printed eBay ad out in full view as if it mysteriously appeared from nowhere. Finally, Scott and I will impatiently await the outcome, and see what happens. Shhhhh.....

Everything went according plan except we had to abandon the belly crawl when Lyssa became suspicious and told Scott to get off the floor.

**** End Ebay Auction Update ****

The show, well I am running out of things to write! Ha ha, just kidding. Here we can see a cool shot of a Synchro light in action. Those that have been to the show will most likely remember this part as you can see it here dissolving the audience

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 4****

From Day 89:

Sound Techs - A bit later call times than the lighting, the sound techs get to do a lot of waiting and then have a bit of a crunch to get set. The sequence of events during load in is usually rigging, lights, video, sound and then backline, with overlaps of course. The state of the art sound systems that we use today are a far cry from the old "hang a pile o boxes here" mentality of 5 or 10 years ago. Currently, every room is measured with laser range finders to determine the dimensions. The data is input into 3D sonic prediction software that calculates optimum coverage, potential volume levels and determines the precise angle of every speaker box. To learn this, the techs go through a training course and are certified as such.

Ladies and gentleman, it is my honor and pleasure today to introduce to you the cream of the audio roadie crop, the flying Blue Angels of sound, like cashews hand picked from a can of mixed nuts this crack team of stellar audio technicians may not be the best of the best but at least they are good enough. This is the group o roadies that make my job possible on a daily basis and without them or with a lesser caliber of crew, there would be no way we could make the sound happen as it does. Not to mention the fact that we are carrying non-standard audio configurations. Just looking at them I feel like I know them. From left to right, the usual suspects are:

The story begins when five men are rounded up for a line-up, and grilled about their involvement in setting up sound systems (the usual suspects)consisting of three sound techs and two engineer assists which also are techs.

First in the line up we have Manny as monitor assist and his job is to take care of Daniel's monitor world. Typically on larger tours, each engineer, FOH and monitors have a somewhat dedicated tech. During the rock show, with the engineers virtually trapped behind their console, the 'assist' can deal with any issues that may arise. Manny actually started the tour as a system tech and graduated sideways to monitor assist, because Daniel thinks he is cute.

Next we have our sound hombre Neal. In the pecking order he is currently tech number two and I think he does stage right PA flying and teardown. Also he is a skilled tequila drinker and has many stories that help entertain the roadies.

Viewing just the head part of the next roadie named Jamie, and from the angle of the shot you may not initially notice that Jamie is indeed a super roadie. This is an enhanced breed with super roadie strength. One major downfall of working with a super roadie is that it really hurts if they step on your foot. Jamie just joined us from Pearl Jam tour and is currently sound tech level 3.

And since Manny got left out of the fixing sound owie photo the other day and to give a true perspective of Jamie the super roadie:

Next in line needs no introduction as you all I am sure familiar with him by now. As the FOH assist, Nick the Fly, tunes my world, decorates the console with leaves and is the one who came up the idea to tour with sod in 2003.

Daniel has already been introduced but we could not persuade him out of the photo.

And that brings us to the last of the sound techs and the one ring to rule them all, meet Lee 'Keyser Soze' Vaught. Lee is our fierce and friendly sound crew chief. Wedged in the tough spot between our delicate sound roadies and the omnipotent powers of PRODUCTION, Lee is the adaptor. The interface that buffers the sound crew from spikes while pushing them to excel and get the gear in and out fast and safe on a daily basis.

Finally, me. I too could not persuade myself out of the photo. In case you were wondering, I do sound.

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 4 ****

The wondering how I always get myself into these messes,

Dave Rat

Day 155 - October 25 - Day Off Duluth (Atlanta)

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,

Dave Rat