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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

Day 153 - Oct 23 - Philadelphia Show

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

With baited breath and the heart pounding anticipation one would feel waiting in line for seven days to get a new driver's licence, each day brings new surprises. The ebay auction has already financially surpassed our expectations nearly tenfold and it looks like new carpet may turn into a reality after all as the bidding has reached $ 172.00. Wow!

Beyond the financial side and much more importantly, the responses we have been getting are phenomenal and it looks as if news of roadie antics is spreading far and wide. And then, look at this, we made it to the big time! has put us up as featured ad.

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

I like Philly and other than being a bit chilly in Philly and a minor show start guitar rig stumble, I had much fun and really enjoyed the show. Remember the napping roadie at my door? Well, with as much luck as it took to capture a photo of lightning I shot this pic and take a close look at the video screens from the song Throw Away Your TV.

How about that for a bit of Peppers trivia, if you do come to a Peppers show and remember to look, you may get a chuckle at knowing what the picture is of.

And not one to want to ignore The Mars Volta:

Special Bulletin!!!

In tribute to all that has happened and is happening in the roadie realm, I hereby, by the powers vested in me dub the last week of October to be "Roadie Awareness Week." The start of Roadie Awareness Week is to be determined by counting backwards 7 days from halloween and it is 8 days long, ending on November 1st of each year. During Roadie Awareness Week, nothing special really goes on other than occasionally attempting to send warm thoughts to roadie's everywhere whenever you need to lift something heavy or push around something on wheels.

And to start off Roadie Awareness Week, I bring you a new game called 'Meet the Roadie.' The rules are very complex, basically it goes something to the effect of

1) I post a picture of a roadie, tell you their name and what they do for a gig.

2) You then and thereby consider that roadie met.

My goal being to introduce you to all of us before the tour is over.

**** Begin Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 1 ****

Today your Meet a Roadie's are Fletch, Gabe, Raff and Chuck.

Here is an excerpt from way back on Day 89 when I did a crew over view

Riggers - are the sharp edged early risers. First in and last out, they calculate and hang the heavy loads safely over our heads. These clean, mean and meticulous machines effortlessly climb to frightful heights. The upside is that they typically can get a nice long mid day sissy nap.

What do riggers do? They rig things of course. Fortunately we carry many things on tour with us that enjoy being rigged. The speakers and lights and video walls all love it when the riggers rig them. Some things that do not like to be rigged are tour busses, catering food and socks. When properly rigged, the sound, lights and video hangs safely over our heads, that is good. When improperly rigged, very heavy things can come crashing down a smoosh humans and roadies like hitting a snail with a hammer, that is often referred to as bad.

First we have Fletcher, which we refer to as the Lead Rigger. Notice his effective usage of the coffee cup while pointing something out to roadie Scott.

Roadie Raff is a specialized rigger in that he heads up the moving motor aspect. Don't be fooled by their gruff looks, these guys are sharp cookies and don't mess around when it comes to safety.

Gabe is also a rigger but he has no extra modifier to his title, here we can see him in a common rigging position. Riggers like to look upwards a lot.

And at what does roadie Gabe gaze? Did you notice roadie gabe is looking skyward? Why is he doing that? Hmmm, well the current reason is that there are humans running around up there. Wow, how did they get up there?

I don't know, maybe catapult? Those humans in the rafters are called "up riggers", though not sure why. The riggers on the ground are called down riggers, another puzzling name. Up riggers drop ropes down that down riggers tie chains onto. Then up riggers attach the chain to steel ropes that are wrapped around beams in the roof. Each of these chains comes threaded through a motor that can climb the chain. The other roadies then attach the gear that is going to be flown (lifted) to the motor and up and away it goes bye bye!

We carry four riggers with us and then hire local spare riggers in each city.

And so, meet Chuck, touring rigger number four.

As all riggers do, rigger Chuck experiences much comfort hugging the chain motor hook.

**** End Meet a Roadie Campaign Episode 1 ****

Good day and good night,

The big eyed and curious,

Dave Rat

Day 152 - October 22 - Day off

On on this day of we chose to wander. Seeking food the roadies set out on foot. Each new hunting grounds presents it's own dangers and challenges.

Many sights were seen and none worthy of sharing other than perhaps these non edibles.

**** Highlight of the Day ****

Roadie feast. One of our roadies, Little G we call him, arranged a dinner for all at Chikie's and Pete's. Feast we did till we could feast no more. Crab, lobster, shrimp and more and more and more in a seemingly endless foray of food. Truly fun and filling, unfortunately I only captured about 1/2 of the roadies in pics and even our beloved drummer Chad made it down and hung out with the troops. Very cool, very fun and large roadie gatherings outside of the gig are rare indeed.

Clockwise from Back of head around is: Nick Lampi, Walt Production Assist, Scott Lampi, Salim Chef Assist, Chad Lampi, Cliff Lampi, Leif Lampi, James Lampi

And here clockwise is Kim Camera Op, Joe Lampi, Rusty Video Tubes, Rodrigo Video Screens, Mike Bus Driver, Chuck Rigger, Dave Lee Guitar Tech, Tim the Thumb Stage Manager.

**** End Highlight of the Day ****

**** Begin laying down with full belly ****

**** Begin Sound Pondering ****

There are always going to be those humans that desire to quantify or pigeon hole the challenge at hand and relegate it to a predictable and repeatable set of methods, taming, perfecting and eventually reaching the goal of making it right. I am definitely one of those humans and though there is significant and clear validity to that scientific approach, to apply it while overlooking one of the most fundamental aspects of music, relegates the outcome to a tail chase. I believe that to truly gain any traction on the pathway leading in the general direction of achieving excellence in sound quality, one must must first realize, accept and embrace the reality that the quality of sound is merely an opinion.

In trying to zero in on an analogy that meshes, all I seem to be able to find is the parallels between sound and wine making/drinking. Rock shows are like wines except infinitely more complex, fluid and interactive. But other similarities exist in perfecting the processes while accepting the imperfectability of the outcomes. No matter how hard they try, the finest wines vary from year to year, batch to batch and there is a certain amount of unpredictability in the process which creates the uniqueness. Furthermore, there are the opinions. Most, many or at least some humans all can agree on a truly bad wine, yet Mad Dog 20-20 and Boon's Farm still show enough profits to carry on, so someone must like it. The mid quality wines are crap to some palates and pleasing to others while the finest wines are at least moderately liked by most wine drinkers. And humans being as they are, certain ones are especially liked by some if their friend likes it or if they know the exorbitant price it costs. Of course if too many friends like it, a percentage of humans will then be inspired to unlike it, being too cool or rebellious to join the others. And to further spin the opinion wheel, 'many' of us are not 'most' of us and many of us could care less about the main stream tastes and choose to subculture their own preferences to bask in and enjoy. We humans seem to like our music much the same way we like some things in life but unlike many things, live music and wine making share the quality of being an unrepeatable at the upper levels. Hmmm, maybe golf fits too.

Which brings me to the whole point of the ponder. I am often asked , like nearly every show, the questions "How was the show?" and "How did it sound?" Seemingly innocuous enough but I find the queries surprisingly difficult to answer. My gut reaction is to respond by describing the the nuances of the issues I faced at that show. Yet, I realize that my perspective is so totally skewed and what is an issue to me is often irrelevant in the big picture. Plus, having to choose and balance between what feels to be self critical and self complimentary is an awkward position I prefer not navigate More importantly though, as I am the person holding the status of 'man of sound, I feel remiss in being a part of biasing, deflating or elevating another persons opinion of the event. My roadie purpose is to present the music that the band creates. It is the adventure for the humans attending the show is to form an opinion of the experience to carry with them and share with others.

**** End Sound Pondering ****

The going to sleep well,

Dave Rat

Day 151 - Albany

Roadies like to make friends. I made two friends just today, would you like to meet them? The first friend I met was not only attractive to look at but very intelligent as well, her name was Zumex. Zumex was really cool and I was very happy to meet her. As soon as we met, the first thing I did was turn her on and then I watched her hypnotic moves as my mouth watered. I left with the most delicious taste in my mouth and quite impressed. And then, not even a minute later my heart skipped a beat as I spotted her from across the room. Heavenly she sat with sleek lines and that flashy look. Without hesitation I glided towards her and instinctively knew which buttons to push to get her going and boy was she hot! Jura, her name was Jura and I think she is Italian. Deliciousness was what she had to offer and with a start like this, today is going to be a good day.

Sometimes as we travel around the world with tons (literally) of high tech and complex gear there are mishaps which cause the equipment to get an 'owie.' As you may recall, we had some amp racks get big owie's when the fell of the fork lift. Well when the sound gear gets an owie it is important to deal with it appropriately. The decision of whether to rush it to the sound hospital or wait to get it looked at by a sound physical later on depends on many factors. In the photo below you can observe a V-Dosc cabinet being operated on by the sound roadie surgeons Lee, Nick, Neal and Jamie. If you look to the right side of the photo you can see a smaller speaker with an ipod atop. This is important and is playing music while the operation takes place. This music acts as an anesthesia for the larger speaker of the operating table and helps reduce it's level of distress.

What had happened was during a load out Nick the Fly had decided to land the V-Dosc a bit differently than we normally do. This resulted in an abrupt modification to speaker cabinet, here you can see Nick the Fly holding the resulting creation. Though similar to the original, the little silver colored owie's toward the right side made it difficult to continue using, hence the operation.

In the photo below you can see roadie Jamie and myself holding a metal bar that also has an owie. Since we together made it slightly curved rather than straight, we proudly pose together with our creation.

This particular metal bar assists in preventing the tilt stand under my mixing board from falling over. Nick the Fly has devised an alternate plan to replace the metal bar rather than attempt to straighten it, I will photo that when done as well as the cool tilt stands.

The missing my friends,

Dave Rat

Day 150 - Oct 20- Boston

We have already been here and now we are a back again where we were before so today should be the same except for the parts that are different.

**** Issue of the Day ****

Our beloved and very much needed band humans found themselves on the wrong side of a seven car pile up between NYC and the gig. The ensuing traffic jam left them far away as we anxiously awaited. Fortunately they were arrived in time to rock but not in time enough to play on time. The upside of the event was that Mars Volta played an extended set for us to enjoy.

Another upside was that Lampi Scott and I were left with way too much extra time on our hands to concoct mischievous plans.

**** End Issue of the Day ****

During that spare time we decided to dedicate our time wisely and contrive a grand master plan to solve all of our earthly problems. Well, at least some of the earthly issues or most accurately, one. Without question our unanimous vote of two resulted in addressing our most pressing trauma; "How are we going to finance the redecoration of the FOH mix world?" Hmmmm, primarily we will need cash, and lots of it, I figure five's and five's of dollars at least. Acquiring that kind of bankroll will be a challenge indeed. Shall we pan handle? Pick pockets? Sell our bodies? There must be a way we can easily and quickly generate the finances for this endeavor. Aha! Sell our bodies, perfect! And it was then we committed to do what any entrepreneurial 21st century roadie would do in this situation:

Aghast we were soon to realize that there was a serious flaw to our plan and after several minutes with no bites we began to rethink our strategy, yes people were seeing our ad for ad space:

But no takers. Argh! And that is when it dawned us, we need a bigger audience, we need go public, we need to, yes that is correct, go to Ebay.

Our Ad

And so a new adventure begins.

The curious as to what happens next.

Dave Rat