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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

Day 154 - October 24 - Philadelphia Show 2

I love the shows. I especially love the time frame from the moment the house lights go dark and the deafening crowd roar pushes adrenaline through my veins. I love the first note, I love the overdrive of Flea's bass and thundering subs. I love turning up the guitar loud when it comes in on Can't Stop and I love it when AK's vocals comes through loud and clear on the very first word. And with each part I love, the crowd roars as if expressing what my mind is thinking. I love the rock shows. I also love to watch the rock shows and some days I can see better than others:

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 2 ****

These roadies consider themselves a team of highly trained specialists that parade into the gig at the latest possible moment to perform their critical duties before heading to the bus earlier than any other department, aside from the band themselves. While this concept may have similarities to the truth, it would be more accurate to catalog them as a group of 5th Beatle's requiring a fairly high maintenance level and while performing relatively little work.

Today's "Meet a Roadie" roadie's will be what we call backline, monitor engineer, FOH engineer and LD (lighting designer). Being that they all travel on the same bus as I do and I am one of them, you most likely have already met us all by default, if you have been hanging around here for while. Never the less, that does not excuse any of them from this excellent opportunity to parallel the Meet a Roadie Campaign with the embarrassing roadie picture project. Two great tastes for the price of one and so .....

An excerpt from Day 89:

Backline Techs and Monitor Engineer - These techs have an even later of a call time and finish relatively early in the big picture. The workloads are fairly light comparatively but the responsibility huge. Each backline roadie deals directly with their band human, one each for bass, guitar and drums while the monitor engineer with all four in he band. Every nuance from which guitar tuned how and when, to making absolutely double extra sure that the guitar, bass, drum and monitor rigs operate as close to perfection as possible, every single show. There is no error unseen by either the band member or possibly the entire audience. They have both awesome gigs and mind bending stress as each of them is pretty much responsible for the band hearing themselves and each other so they can perform the show.

FOH World - Lighting designer and FOH Sound Engineer live in a bit of a different realm. On one hand they are far from the fray of stage where the action is, on the other hand, everything the audience sees and hears is at their finger tips. The mass of ears and eyes is a unique critique that responds to feeling and emotion. Meanwhile, there are enough people in the know at each show that errors do not go unnoticed. It's an ethereal slow, distance once removed, stress that can pop into immediate trauma if something important goes pear-shaped. A gig I love and would not trade for the world.

The shy and humble Chris Warren is truly a magnificent example of a roadie. Not only has he been The Peppers drum tech for over seven years, he is also a talented musician as well playing several part during the show and even stepping out to sing for the encore intro.

Next in our line up of tough guys is none other than the legendary Dave Lee. As a true veteran that joined the organization back in the One Hot Minute days, he actually has transitioned from Navaro to Fruciante. He is the one who keeps the incredibly complex and precarious creation called "John's Guitar Rig" functioning at least most of the time.

Rounding out the backline three is none other than the powerhouse we call Tracy. As the maintenance machine responsible for ensuring you hear the flurry and intensity of bass sounds created by Flea, a bassist in a band of his own and more recently Bus 2 Guitar Hero king, his task is not one to take lightly.

Bus # 2 is sometimes referred to as the 'old school bus' due to the fact that six of the eight roadies onboard have over seven years with the band. So next I introduce a roadie that is not only new, but young as well and weighing in at a mere seven months and already on the geriatric bus, we have roadie Daniel. Carrying the multiple responsibility of supplying all four band members with the sound they want to hear and also the closest thing we have to an 'Anthony Tech.' This boy has lot of weight on his shoulders and is so new that he has yet to earn the honor of an embarrassing roadie pic. Here seen still eating candy, I present, our monitor engineer:

Familiar to all and most likely you have seen a bit more of him than you ever wanted to, lets give a warm round of applause for the pillar of visual presentation at the rock show, Lampi Scott:

Not only does Scott operate the visuals you see, he was also involved with the design of the show with another roadie that only joins us for the beginning of the tours but is never forgotten, roadie Grier:

On our bus remains three, Lyssa B, Rose and me. To do them justice, I will be savoring the presentation of the tour ladies of Bus 2 for a future blog. So now for the grand finally of 'Meet a Roadie Episode 2,' I will make a rare exception to my self created rule of never displaying photo's of our musical four while they are off stage and share with you one of my personal favorite embarrassing roadie photos featuring myself and three honorary roadie's that we hold in high regard:

and though honorary roadie Chad is not in the photo, we must not forget to honor him equally as well in this celebration deemed, 'Roadie Awareness Week.'

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 2 ****

The luckiest roadie in the world,

Dave Rat