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Day 196 - Dec 5 - Drive to Vienna

**** Roadie Ritual Segment ****

The intracasies and mechanics involved in trying to understand The Universe machine that encompasses the lives we lead, are quite captivating. In my observation, for every creation there seems to exist a subcurrent of anti-creation, evolution, metamorphasis or perhaps deterioration, depending on what it is and how you choose to percieve it. Regardless of whether the world we live in is a creation, a rammification or just a natural progression, the one thing that always remains constant is change. Change can be seen in all things if you expand the time frame of observation wide enough and at some point one could propose that wherever you look and see something, there was a time in the past that that something was not there. Extremist practitioners of roadie-ism are so enamored by the 'something is, where nothing was' aspect of the Universe that they have created a ritual that demonstrates thier appreciation for it and it is called 'Secret Wall Tattooing.' This financially percarious and not so ancient rite is perfomed by a sercret roadie society whose identities are never revealed.

Secret Wall Tattoo practitioners follow a very strict set guidlines and though I am not privy to the exact rules, I have heard a few things I believe to be true.

1) SWT are to be original works of art created in hotel rooms

2) The art is typically a permanant alteration

3) Any surface may be used as long as the completed work of art is invisible when the room is re assembled.

4) The most common location for the SWT is on wall area located behind a removable picture or mirror. Other areas include the wall behind a removed toilet, the back of sliding closet doors, the underside of chairs and under the bed and on a desk under a bolted down phone. It is even rumored that one ritual involved removing a wall portion between adjoing rooms that was concealed by mirrors on each side. Accordian dropping wall paper is another known technique. Of course it is imperitive to travel with the proper tools including small vaccums, special keys to remove hotel pictures and assorted art supplies.

5) Though destructive, the purpose of the SWT is not to destroy but to add a hidden layer of charater to an otherwise sterile human rental habitat called a hotel room. It is to invoke an unseen change.

Being the curious roadies we are and also knowing which hotels are most frequented by roadies and much to our glee, one of our roadies has located an SWT at one of our hotels!


If you are cuious and want to see other SWT's you may want to check out

Also if this underground guerilla style art intrigues you then you may enjoy and in paricular maybe explore one of my favorites . Oh, I forgot to mention that the 'maid sweeping' Banksy painting is right near the Roundhouse in London. If you ever are over there, be sure to check it out.

**** End Roadie Ritual Segment ****

Roadies are curious and roadies love to play. A gas station is the next best thing to a roadie playground!

Check out the gas prices whoa!

Let's figure that out in US dollars. 1.085 Euros would equal about 1.41 US dollars and there are 3.78 liters to a gallon so that is a bargain at only five dollars and thirty three cents a gallon!

A cool looking water can

Here we can see roadie Neal has located some delicious and tasty food. Yummy yumm yumm!

And my favorite juice

And these crafty Vienese has come up with the brilliant idea of using super slick concrete in a fuel station. Not that great for cars starting or stopping, but who would bring a car in here anyway. The upside is that it is excellent for service station surfing

The wondering if that was poison ivy we hiked through in the nearby woods,

Dave Rat

Day 195 - Dec 4 - Zurich Show 2

**** Drum Nerd Speak ****

Things are rarely as they appear and deciphering between deceptively attached false traits like 'sound enhancing' to wooden knobs and true characteristics is a never ending life puzzle that requires a clear mind to navigate. As you can probably tell, I feel much disdain for those humans intent on blurring the lines between true facts and the fabricated un provable claims that these parasitic shiesters use to prey upon lazy minds to sell their wares to the naive. On the flipside though, occasionally I run across truly amazingly subtle nuances that have a very real and surprising impact on the function. Today I had the pleasure stumbling across one of them and I love it!

This is a true story is about a rock band named Chili Peppers. On each tour, every detail is meticulously and naturally pressed to another level of refinement. The interactive entity of musician and equipment has reached such a precise and precarious plateau that even the slightest variations result in surprising ramifications. We experienced that when attempting to switch to a digital monitor consol and the band found the sound disconnecting. It turned out that the digital board introduced a delay time that made the sound more distant sounding so we went back to analog. Around the same time during the promo tour we introduced a "power soak" on John's guitar rig to drop his level while maintaining his tone. It worked perfect tonally and level wise but John was unable to get the desired amount of feedback from the speakers at the lower volumes. Starting this tour Flea switched to vintage Fender basses which were wonderful for the studio but live we lost the clarity and deep low end that signifies his sound, so upon my own and Rick Rubin's request, he switched back the active pre amp Modulus basses. The pattern repeats often and much care is taken with every change made in the audio realm.

Well, today another gremlin got into our world. On a typical Peppers show, chad switches snares a few times so the set is divided on to three snare drums which seems to be the optimum balance between a consistently solid snare sound and not swapping too often. A few shows back, Chad started going through six snares a show, heads were denting and snare heads were tearing, yet nothing was changed. Did Chad acquire instantaneous super arm or did we get a bad batch of heads? Chad has proven consistent year after year so it seemed gear related. Chris Warren, the drum tech, had drum heads from several sources of various ages acquired in various countries, so the probability of a bad batch of heads is quite slim.

After a bit of pondering, the drum sticks seemed to be the only logical culprit but Chad has had his own signature sticks manufactured for him specifically for many years. These sticks are all exactly the same, made by a single company, the same design and there have been no changes. Hmmm, dented heads. Better look at the sticks anyway. Since drum sticks are expendable and they are constantly worn out and given out, it was fortunate that Dave Lee had an old one and here, take a look at this comparison.

The top one is a new stick and the bottom is the older stick. Dented heads. Look at the sharper curve. Since Chad 'side sticks' the snare, that would mean that the new stick would contact the drum with the slightly more pointed edge on the newer stick The toms, though, would contact the flatter edge as they are struck from a less parallel angle. With the force of Chad's hit being constant and if that little pointier edge of the new stick had 1/2 the contact area, that would mean the head is taking twice the force per square inch; hence, head dentation. Further comparison of the sticks revealed that they the new stick are a bit heavier all around and especially on the tip end due to a thicker taper. Now keep in mind, I am not a drummer and this may all be common knowledge, but I do understand physics and it appear that we have found the gremlin and finding gremlins is fun.

Sooooooo, when in doubt, get the sander out! And sand we did.

Curving the new stick's tips to the old shape and it was a 'three snare show' and though the sticks are not quite right, they are close enough and problem solved.

**** End Drum Nerd Speak ****

Hey, check out the newest Rat Swag

And a gratuitous shot of Gibby Haynes and I because I can and to remind myself that I am a lucky roadie.

Hoping I do not bore you and a bit tour weary,

Dave Rat