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Day 252 - Jan 30 - Orlando Show

Inspirations and great ideas can strike at any moment. The key is to act upon them instinctively without hesitation. Fortunately, when the bus pulled over for a late night truck stop and several of us stumbled in, I was clear minded enough in my not so sober haze to follow that instinct and purchase a cowboy hat

and two large stuffed 'mixing' tigers that make roaring sounds

that so graciously rested upon my sound board for the entire show and added a whole new level of depth to our FOH theme.What puzzled me most is wondering how I got on so long without them!

And look, they are are so snuggly curled up in their new home in the case we refer to as "Throwing Hammers"

The Florida shows have been really good, awesome crowds and though cold for Florida, the warmer weather is refreshing. I grabbed a show shot as well so you can check out the band rocking as I do each night

And now for today's installment of....

Dear Ratty!

Hello Dave Rat!

I found your blog this past December during finals week at my college. It became an addiction during study breaks for finals, as I started from the very beginning and worked my way through to the present day (studying was often delayed because I just (*had*) to read one more post!). To say the very least, your blog is awesome.

On the unofficial sound nerd scale, I rank around 2 or 3, on a scale from 1 to 11. I really enjoy reading sound nerd speak, though, even if it is sometimes way over my head.

So, I have been trying to conjure up a good sound nerd question to ask the venerable Dave Rat, and the recent Dear Ratty segments have encouraged me enough to come out of my blog-comment-lurking shell. All righty, here goes nothing:

As a sound person, the most important tools in your toolkit are, most likely, your ears. Also, as a sound person, you do many rock shows each week where you are exposed to high sound pressure levels. However, ears tend to dislike high sound pressure levels, especially for extended periods of time. So, my question is what steps, if any, do you take to protect your hearing?

Sorry for being so long winded,


Hello Rich,

You bring up a good point and very polarizing subject. In direct answer to your question, what I do to protect my hearing is simply to minimize exposure to loud volumes when I am not mixing. While I am mixing the show though, I feel it is critical that I hear and am exposed to the same volumes and sound that the audience hears so, yes I do get bombarded by multiple shows and a fairly consistent exposure to high volume sound.

Since you brought it up, I will go into a bit more depth on the subject. There are two things that come to mind regarding exposure to rock show volume sound as a sound engineer. First is protection of engineer's hearing because a deaf sound engineers should be, but rarely are, in lower demand. Second is hearing fatigue which causes the engineer's listening perspective to be out of whack with the audience perspective.

As far as protection, there are vastly different ways people look at it. Some people are hyper cautious and freak out about loud sound and perhaps apply the same caution to other aspects of life as well. The "be super careful of everything" angle. Finding that balance between the overly cautious approach witch in my opinion ruins life by immersing the human in boredom and constant fears vs the reckless approach that often leaves a human wishing that more care had been taken to preserve the humanly physical assets like vision, hearing, necks and backs. Some people desire to create rules based on their personal choices and then force those rules on others. My opinion is that each human needs to research and determine the way they wish to live based on how they want to look back on their life when they get older. If you do dumb shit, you then get to pay the price later with back pain or various ailments and whether it is 'dumb' or 'worth it' is determined by whether or not it brings you smiles or regret at a later date.

Actually based on the fact that my exposure to loud music is currently a small fraction of what it once was when I worked for many bands and the levels I mix are lower with Peppers than they were with bands like Rage Against the Machine and I tour much less, what concerns me more is compensating for the effect that multiple shows has on my hearing and not loosing touch with the audience's sonic perspective. I wrote a bit about it here if you are curious.


Hey Dave,

I was talking to Buford about the advantages of digital snakes on long cable runs. Have you ever considered using one for the Peppers? I know you mix in the analogue domain so yes you would need to convert the signal more times that one would like.. but the high frequency loss on long cable runs can be quite significant, it would be interesting to try out a solution like a digital snake to see what thee results actually sound like with a decent set of converters on each end.

You mentioned you tried mixing the peppers on a digital board at the start of this tour.. did you notice you needed to boost the top end less when mixing through a digital signal path?

All the best,


Hello Danny,

Buford Jones is an awesome engineer and one that I truly respect and it was great to see him the other day in Nashville. As far as high frequency loss in in long cable runs being significant that may be true but I believe that the words 'long' and 'significant' require further clarification for the statement to have any relevance. Furthermore the audio cable industry has been infiltrated by a plethora of 'snake oil salesmen' so finding accurate info on the subject is difficult. So before seeking a solution, first confirm the problem you are attempting to solve actually exists. My experience is that the hf roll off due to typical audio cable runs is insignificant and easily testable. Just plug three 100 foot mic cords together and A/B the sound to a short mic cord. See if you can actually hear the difference. Try it and I bet the the word 'significant' becomes something more like 'questionably audible.'

As far as having to boost the top end with analog, actually the opposite is true, I typically am rolling off the highs as you can see on the pictures I posted a week or so back of the Meyer CP10 parametric system EQ's.

Now, what is audible to me and clearly so, is the sound of the digital desks that the support acts have been using. Mars Volta was on a Yamaha PM5D, Mike Watt was on a Yamaha MC7L and Gnarls Barkley is on a Digidesign D-Show. So everyday I get to here a digital console plugged into the exact same rig that I mix on, through the same PA system and the support acts have 100% full control without limitations of all of the PA gear. It is not too tough to zero in on to the sound artifacts that are digi console related and are in line with my experience of A/B'ing a Digico D5 to the Midas during pre production. As far as digi snake, we have one with us, the Light Viper that is used for the protools rig is fully set up to be used as a main snake and we can drop the Tonelux mic pre's on stage. When I weigh the potential advantages to be gained vs the non existence of issues at hand and the detriments involved, making the switch to a digi snake into an analog console currently has little desirability.

-- Ratty

Dear Ratty;

How do the versa tubes go into the truck pack? My thought is that the stay in 10 or 16' sections and roll in on set carts, am I close?


I think they are in 6 or 8 foot sections and yep, they hang in set carts. There is a picture of Rusty I believe near a Versa set cart in the blog somewhere but heck, that may be tough to find in the hundreds of pages. I tried to print out the blog a few weeks ago and stopped after the 400th page spit out and I went through $100 in printer ink cartridges.


Mr Rat,

Thank you for providing all the inside information on what's going on with the tour!

Quick, but curious question, how do you feel about those who may try to record the show...whether by audio or video?


I personally am fine with it as long as people are not then reselling or trying to profit from it but that is more of a question for the artists involved. I practice what I preach as well. For example, this blog creation is open and free to share but it would bum me out if someone was attempting to profit by reselling my words or pictures.

Good night and off to Ft. Lauderdale for the last show of the tour leg, hurray and also sad as another adventure comes toward an end.

Dave Rat


Day 251 - Jan 29 - Orlando Day Off More...

To start off today's words of confusion and uselessness I will start with something that is neither confused nor useless. As you all know perpetuation and preservation of the roadie breed is of the utmost importance. Unfortunately not all can always be a shangri-la of smiles in roadie world and occasionally the big hammer of crushing reality enters our roadie world to test our voracity and strength. So with a concerned and well wishing heart I present some difficult news. A friend of many and long time amazing sound roadie named Gungi has been diagnosed with cancer a little while back. While much has been done within the roadie community to assist him and other roadies with life challenges I thought that given the wonderful group of friends that share my travels, I would share some info to those that may be curious enough to take a look and perhaps assist. If so, take a look at

So, our day off in Orlando has us staying at an oh so joyfully located hotel that is part of the Universal Studios compound out here.

Oh joy! The coldest day Florida has seen in 40 years and we are shacked up at a tourist trap that is a virtual ghost town a 20 minute cab ride from anything that is not big piles of fake marketing crap. The water taxi was the thrill of day, so thrilling that we decided to walk back to the hotel after eating lunch in order not to over thrill ourselves in one day.

Welcome back to another fascinating slow motion interactive segment of...

Dear Ratty!

**** Warning! Techno Babble Below ****

Posted by janedoe2

Dear Ratty,

Considering the size of your sound board, I always wondered if you have to make constant adjustments during each song throughout the concert, or do you have some sort of preprogrammed set up that handles some of the load once you get a look at the set list? I also wonder if digital boards are made with analog parts?


Dear Puzzled,

I do make some adjustments during the show. Mainly I set up each song, which involves making some changes in levels to compensate for things like different guitars, effects, who sings and song speed etc. Also, during the songs I make some changes to compensate for level variations related to how hard or soft each person is playing or various cues like solos or effects All in all, compared to most sound engineers, I do relatively little though. Nothing is programs though and all the things I do are done manually by hand and I do not use preset scenes.

As far as digital vs analog, I would first like to clarify that the terms digital and analog typically refers to how the sound is dealt with rather than the parts used. In an analog piece of audio gear the audio travels through wires and things and stays relatively intact as a version of the original signal. Digital typically refers to a process where the analog signal is converted into series of numerical representations. These numeric representations are then moved around and altered as needed and at the end of the signal chain those numeric representations are interpreted back into an analog signal and run through a speaker for our ears to hear.

An analogy that may help clarify would be to imagine we have a piece of paper with a intricate hand painted water color artwork drawn upon it and it is the "analog" original creation that we are dealing with. We now want to send this painting to someone that is elsewhere and for this example, lets say we only have two viable sending choices. One method is to hire a courier and have it delivered to the recipient which I will equate to an "analog delivery". The other choice we have is to scan it and have the artwork converted to a digital representation of the original which is then emailed, and then the recipient prints it out creating a an analog final product that is very similar to the original.

Each of these methods offer advantages and detriments. By scanning the document, depending quality of the scanner (A to D converter) and printer (D to A converter), a nearly exact copy can be created on the receiving end. Plus, once digitized email format, the writings can be forwarded via email over and over again and each time it will be a near perfect representation of the original. Whereas with the courier method, each time the artwork is forwarded and admired by someone, it picks up a smudge and over time begins to get worn out and degrades over time. That degradation can occur quite quickly if much care is not taken at every step in the documents journey and eventually the readability can be lost, sort of like how analog audio degrades when it goes through too many pieces of gear or poor quality gear or if care is not taken to have everything set up properly.

On the surface it would seem that digital is a clearly superior choice but looking deeper, there is more than meets the ear. The painting in reality consists of more than just colors and patterns. What about the texture, thickness and feel of the paper it was painted on? does the paper reek of smoke or perhaps have an essence of perfume? Is the paper wrinkled or warped from the water when painted? Even though scanners and printers do an incredible job of capturing and recreating, they are far from perfect and I will venture to say that with any relatively complex document , it would not be very difficulty to differentiate the original from the scanned copy when held side by side. Of course if enough time, care and expense is allowed, some or many of these nuances can also be approximated to a higher and higher degree of perfection so that the final reproduction is closer to the original. That 'striving for a perfect recreation of the analog original" is what the designers of digital equipment are striving to do. As the quality of digital continues to reach new levels and as it improves, it keeps getting closer and closer to the analog original with fewer and fewer concessions made due to technology limitations or cost. But the fact remains, "no matter how perfect you digitize and then recreate a copy of the original, it will never be as perfect as not digitizing it in the first place."

So, stepping back and looking at the decision about whether to convert something to digital really depends on many factors and opinions. If the artwork will get forwarded many times or if you need to do some complex manipulations or you need to store it away for a while, then digitizing offers strong advantages. If you are going to move it a relatively short distance or you have quality methods of handling the original as to minimize degradation, then quite often there is no reason to replicate the original when you can just use original.

Put into practical terms that I try and follow, I avoid converting to digital unless converting offers distinct advantages as it does with system processors. If I do let the signal enter the digital domain, I keep it there as long as possible and never convert the primary signal more than once in and out of digi because it is just plain silly to keep making copies of copies. Also, when I do convert the primary signal to digital, I try and do in such a way that it does not sound displeasing to me, I use the complex method of listening to determine this part. That is about as far as the analogy will take us but hopefully that brings some clarity to the lucky humans that are not cursed with the techno gene.

-- Ratty

User Name: Justin Slazas

As a fellow engineer, I am very happy to see you offer up your tips and tricks to the curious. I have had the pleasure to work with some of the tops in the industry. The one thing I noticed that they all have in common, is a love to teach. I love to learn and this blog is no exception. I will confess that on a late sleepless night, in china on a corporate gig, while surfing away on the web, I ran into your blog and have been hooked ever since. So here is my chance to ask a couple questions.
When you start tuning for the room, do you smaart or do you throw on one of your favorite tunes? What tunes do you like to tune to? What bands are you jamming on your Ipod right now? What is your go to program for the current Peppers V-Dosc rig. And last but not least, just in case I run into you on a gig some where down the road, what is your favorite drink?
Thanks for all the great insight, I will post more technical questions later on.


Good thinking Justin!

I currently am drinking red wine as the tough guy roadie drink of choice.

I do not use Smaart to tune but do use it when developing processor settings for MicroWedge etc... This far into tour, I do not play anything, I just stand in the venue and listen to the echo's of load in for a bit. I look at the seat coverings, shape of the arena and have a listen during the support act to figure out any aberrations. Lee, the FOH system tech, deals with making sure the PA is hung properly to cover the venue and matches up the various zones. For the most part, as long as we are in arenas, the main variations are room resonance and brightness. Everything else stays relatively constant. Tuning music when I do tune is typically Dub Syndicate "Echomania." As far as music I listen to on my non-iPod, well I leak that little by little in various blog days.


User Name: Jay Rigby

Ah, just read your answer on the low mid eq and system processor which is very understandable. A different question for ya then. How do you feel about graphic eq vs. parametric eq on system eq's? One of our FOH techs here has been recently doing ALL of the system eq and house eq for venues in the XTA's. Even when something gets pulled from the graph he translates it into the parametric on the XTA and leaves the graphic flat all of the time. His reason is that the graphic eq throws the system out of phase. Any thoughts?

Greeting Jay,

I am fine with graphic EQ's, it is a tool just like everything else in the rig and with each tool I am faced with assets and issues. The graphic may be less than optimum in some respects but in it's usability more than makes up for it in my opinion. I personally do not have the time or patience mid rock show to be mucking around inside a digital system processor. I want to see everything, always. Ultimately, what really matters is "How good does the mix sound?" and "How quickly are problems and issues dealt with by the engineer when things go awry?" What ever tools an engineer uses to get there really makes no difference. So let the quality of the product produced determine the credibility of the opinion offered.


User Name: Ian

How much planning is done for each venue? I imagine that the rigging and lighting guys have some work to do with points and such, but what's done on the acoustical side? Do you model each venue in EASE, or just guess the coverage?

Every show is "advanced" in great detail and everything from truck entry ways, roof load capacities, stage placement, seats to be sold, security to be supplied, local crew and on and on is arranged to assure that everything is dead on. Things do get screwed up occasionally but on this level of touring, the roadies really know what they are doing. As far as sound, the riggers arrange to get us hang points in the right spots and make sure the roof will support the weight or else we make adjustments in the system configuration to compensate. We do not use EASE but do use L'Acoustics three dimensional acoustic modeling software called SoundVision.

Each day, Lee comes in with a laser rangefinder and an inclinometer and takes the room dimensions and relevant shapes. This data is then input into the modeling software along with the quantity and type of speakers we want to use. He then works with the software to optimize venue coverage and volume levels. The software then generates the angles between the various boxes which is then implemented in the speaker arrays. The predictability and consistency is can be extremely good with an experience system tech like Lee and Nick the Fly.

Here are a few real life and 3d software shots from a stadium in Manchester that we played in 2004.

Here is a side view of the real deal, empty

-- Ratty

Day 251 - Jan 29 - Orlando Day Off

Hello Gnarls Barkley! I finally got around to taking a full band shot

And our friend Josh Klinghoffer who is well loved in the Peppers camp and worth checking out anything that he is involved with.

**** Roadie Research Segmnet ****

Roadies are very friendly and giving creatures by nature. Their overwhelming desire to immerse themselves in selfless generosity at times can saturates the roadie so thoroughly that no option other than to act upon that desire remains. Roadie Leif is no exception.

In fact roadie Leif is a prime example of how truly kind and thoughtful a roadie can be. Most recently, as hard as it is to believe, roadie Leif was out shopping on his day off and out of the pure goodness of his heart, the realization came that roadie Lee worked long hard hours show after show and often had nowhere to sit to rest his weary legs. That is when brilliance struck Leif like a falling cotton ball. It was not long till gloriously Leif parades into the gig proudly displaying his heroic purchase that will surely bring happiness and joy to fellow roadie and comrade in rock, roadie Lee. Here we can see roadie Lee basking in the euphoria as he enjoys a gift chair so caringly given

It just warms my heart to roadies looking out for each other, but it really should be no surprise as roadies would never have made it this far up the evolutionary chain if it was not for their keen sense of survival and preservation of the roadie herd.

**** Roadie Research Segmnet ****

**** Begin Dear Ratty ****

Guitar rig, Bass Rig, Monitor Rig

Monitor Danni

Hey, great nerd speak on this one, rigging is fascinating!!! I can't wait to see your nerd speak on the monitor system!!!!


Monitor Danni

Thank you and we have a monitor Danny as well! I will do the mon setup soon but first I have to go figure out what it is they do over in monitor world.

What about the trading card?
Hey what ever happened with those?

Got swag?

Thank you for the reminder, I have not forgotten Roadie Cards and have stats on a few more roadies. I just need to carve out a chunk of time. What is really pressing is finishing up our end of the eBay auction!!

Posted by 18wheeler - January 28, 2007 11:24AM
hello dave
good blog, as always. that's the beauty of ya blogs, gives us, the fans a great chance too see the behind the scenes things, that are so vital too making those 2 hours in each town, so special, I remember the versa tubes especially, as they were what i carried on the 2nd euro leg up the ramp, down the ramp, making sure local crew were not too heavy handed with the carts, so as anything got damaged. Should be fun getting all the gear too Japan, sea containers I presume???? Not much fun too load that's my job here in england at the mo, moving sea containers all over the uk with my truck, chick peas 1 day chicken the next, its sooooo rock n

Hey hey, Hope you are taking care. The transport of gear is pretty complex. Some will be sea container, some will be replicated and hired locally, some will go air freight and some will change to alter the show. It really depends on timing, distance, where we go next and how big the gigs are. I think that all that I am bringing audio wise is the FOH drive and console plus Daniel will have the full monitor rig.

User Name: Miguel Pacheco
User Email:
User Homepage:

Hey Dave what's up? I will be in the Tampa show tonight and then I will go to the Orlando and Miami show. I am pretty excited about rocking out. I just wanted to say I love this web site and the whole idea. I was wondering could you show a cool pic of Fruciante's guitar pedals please and also his guitar rack, I would luv to see that. Thank you so much.

How about this?

I will try to remember to grab a shot of his guitars at some point for ya.

User Name: Steve
Hi Dave,

I've been following your blog world-tour since the beginning and will try to get to FOH to meet you at the Tampa show.

This might interest you with regards to Apple Computers: They are continuously ranked near to, and now at the very bottom of, the list as far as green manufacturing and recycling processes. There manufacturing processes use the most toxic chemicals and produce the most damaging byproducts.

Here is but one source:

Take care on the road,

Interesting, I would never have guessed. I naturally would have assumed that Apple would take more of a pro environment stance, especially considering the high percentage of artistic and music related humans that support their products. Thanks Steve! Well, maybe with a bit of pressure they will bump their game up a notch.

Oh, and to answer another request, here is bass world featuring roadie Tracy

User Name: Sander
Hi Dave, really love you blog! Been checking it everyday since I found it :-)

Would be cool if you could go into detail about the drum mic'ing, as a semi-professional i'm experimenting with it for a while now myself and are very curious how you guys did this for this great band!

Hey Sander,

I did some photo's of the Peppers drum mic'ing a while back, check out Day 23. As far as a more in depth look into it, well, my approach is pretty simple. I put the mics very close to the drums in order to minimize background noise, reduce feedback issues and gain control over the individual drums. I mic the cymbals in 'regions' to reduce the quantity of mics and pay close attention to placing the mics physically so they give me the proper balance when they mic more than a single cymbal or percussive thingy. I use dependable mics that sound good, do the job and do not get in the way of the drummer's playing or sight lines. I avoid getting all excited about expensive 'boutique' mics live, I leave that adventure up to the studio humans. I try to use as few mic stands as possible and rely on clamps because stands are a pain to set up, always move and are in the way. I use two mics to get the kick and snare sound because it sucks if one stops working and I don't have a spare up there. I can make it through a song if any of the other drum mics fail.

-- Ratty

Ok, that completes another Dear Ratty segment. I will do these occasionally as good questions build up.

**** End Dear Ratty ****

Counting down the hours, two more shows till home!

Dave Rat

Day 250 - Jan 28 - Tampa

Today we are in Tampa doing another rock show. The warm weather is not so warm but light years better than the various forms of freezing we have been engulfed in over the past few weeks. So I was thinking, why not do something different? How about .....

**** Special "Dear Ratty" Segment ****

Just for a change, how about something new? Welcome to Dear Ratty where I will do my best to unravel the curiosities that present themselves inside the minds of those that post their ponders and thoughts.


Steve writes-

Keep up the excellent blog work dave, if you were looking for any suggestions as to future topics to cover may i put forward a request to document/look at the racks and effects used on various channels throughout the rock show?

Many thanks,


Thank you Steve!

OK, here you go. I covered the comp and gate connections and usage early on in the blog and if you take a look at tour Blog Day 12 you will find the mic chart. An easy way to skip around the blog days is here -

As far as a look at the racks, you are in luck because I do not play the silly 'secret' game with my settings and gear.and what better way for me to document my settings than putting them somewhere where I am sure not to lose them.

I currently use a total of two effect units during the show. First and foremost is an old Lexicon PCM 60. It was not a premier unit in its day and still is nothing special. Just a simple and easy to use digital reverb unit with buttons on the front. It has 4 room sizes, 4 reverb times and a plate/room selector plus low and high roll off buttons. I use bigger and longer reverb times for the slow songs/parts and shorter tighter or no reverb at all for the faster music. Snare, toms and John's vocal are the primary channels I use it on. Oh, plus I have found that when you overdrive the unit and turn off the reverb it makes an excellent distortion box that I use on AK's vox when they play "Search and Destroy."

The other effects unit I use is a not as outdated Eventide H3500. Primarily it stays as a subtle Reverb/Flanger on AK's vocal. During songs like Sir Psycho and Higher Ground, I use it to to the vocal echo's and I re-dial it up as the guitar panner for a couple of cues in Blood Sugar Sex Magic.

As far as board channels, well, how about pictures of the console EQ's with enough clarity that you can see exactly the gain and EQ settings?

And for those curious about my compressor settings, the Drawmer up top is just a scream protector for Flea and JF's vox channels. Then the BSS quads from left to right, top to bottom do stereo vox, stereo guitar, bass, kick snare, toms, metal things and acoustic guitar totaling 12 comps.

Continue reading "Day 250 - Jan 28 - Tampa"

Day 249 - Jan 27 - Tampa Day Off

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

Or actually, just Nerd Speak in general. If you have been to the show or have been checking out the pictures you may have noticed that there are several video devices that Scott and Grier have designed into the show. The bulk of them are low resolution Versa Tubes that form the back drop and the overhead "spines." Additionally there are four high resolution video screens behind the band that move. These things are are not only crazy cool but stupid heavy. They move up and down plus ride on tracks from side to side forming several "looks" throughout the show.

Though on the surface this may seem simple enough, like many things on a grand scale, there are levels of complexity beyond what meets the eye. In order for these screens to safely slid from side to side on a portable track that can be setup each day, much attention must be paid to the varying loads they present to the overhead rigging structure. The mastermind behind this is our Australian techno genius, Raff.

Each motor that supports the track holding the screens is equipped with a load sensor that is connected to a laptop computer. During the show, in real time, in order to follow the cardinal rule of "gear fall out of sky = bad," Raff monitors the weight that each motor bears and has the ability to adjust the various motors with each move so that the weights are balanced and within the structural capabilities of the hardware. Here is a shot of the motor weights in the "parked" position.

**** End Nerd Speak ****

I have no complaints, the tour is awesome. That does not change the reality that it wears on me. The initial challenges and momentum has subsided and now it is about staying focused and keeping my head together. Another hotel, another city and the only thing that is consistent is the timeless sensation of the show itself. Combine that with the fact that my future is determined by an unfolding set of shows that appear in the form of pieces of paper and emails that list various cities we will travel. When does the tour end, where will we go? I have about as much idea as you do. Heck, half the time I find out about confirmed shows on long before schedules appear in world. No complaints, it just is the way it is as my future unfolds.

I do know we are going to Japan again as tonight we did a production dinner to discuss logistics.

Boy are there a lot of logistics in moving a show like this around the world and though I have seen it and am involved in it, it never ceases to amaze me.

Oh! I have been so meaning to grab some shots of Gnarls Barkley and here is a quick one I took, I need to remember to take some more.

That's it for now. The Charlottesville show was cool and the venue was a bit more compact sounding, I am at the point now where I look at the seat coverings and ceiling height and already know how the gig will sound before we even turn on the system.

Hey, I will not guarantee that I will do it and I know I have not been making enough time to respond to all the blog comments, but I do read them all, and if you have any requests that you would like to see me cover, post away and I will see what I can do. Just keep in mind that I am all about the techno end and roadie side of things and steer clear of the inner band stuff and any band related things when they are off stage.

Upcoming things .....

Some coverage on the touring monitor system (I should have hit that long ago)

Some shots of Flea's bass rig and perhaps JF's stacks ass well.

Till soon I write again,

Dave Rat

Day 247 - Jan 25 - Washington DC

Well, yesterday on the day off I went on a mini adventure

with Lampi Scott as we so often do.

Here we are in what is currently the most powerful nation in the worlds' capitol

and all kinds of important and not so important and wasteful and meaningful and puzzling and world changing and greedy and altruistic and corrupt things happen here and a bunch of humans that run around this place have the power to shape the world in which we live in ways we cannot begin to imagine until upon us. Sometimes the shape of which they choose involves dragging the country into the quagmire of battling an ancient christian/muslim religious war in Babylon that was sucker shoved down the throats of the American public by using terror and fear by deceivingly cross linking it to the unrelated 911 event while all the while the entire calamity is embraced eagerly by money hungry corporations awaiting their share of war profiteering guaranteed by the "good ol' boy" alliances with those assholes in charge.

Oh well, for each wave that crashes upon the shore, it is just a matter of time before it recedes. Speaking of assholes in charge, at least the asshole that the US has currently propped up in the White House is just a little itty bitty toy joke putz of an asshole as far as assholes go. Assholes come in all flavors and sizes and today the adventure for Scott and I involves immersing ourselves in the sheer and utter horror that a real deal asshole can create

It is beyond surreal to try and comprehend the true magnitude of the perversion of fear and hatred taken to the most extreme levels.

Humans captured, robbed, stripped, shaved and gassed by the thousands in an extermination process so cruel and inhumane that I would choose the luxurious life of a swine in a slaughterhouse over the fate forced on to the Jews, gypsies, blacks and gays by the Nazi's in Germany.

One of the most interesting things to me was the reality that an average normal and regular person when immersed in an environment that is saturated with hatred can so easily become a part of unimaginable realities as if it is business as usual. The human trait that allows things like the results of the Stanford Prison Experiment to be applied on a grand scale and for a country to embrace a culture of social cleansing so easily, resulting in such a horrid outcome, should be a good indicator that much care should be taken when aligning with ideals that involve taking a stance against a group of people. Nationalistic pride fueling nightmares. So when I read the paper in the morning and see flashes of the simmering stew of hatred as it brews against the illegal aliens or hear outspoken religious bigots gay bashing or taking stances against dissimilar peoples I feel a stab of revulsion. What I like is the thought of balance and I would like that balance to exist in the form that the preachers of hatred be blessed with being the exact recipients of the hatred they preach.

--- Show Day ---

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

Certain people have unforgettable inspirational and memorable impacts on the lives around them. My highlight today was to get to hang with some that I do not see that often but it does not dilute the magic they spread.

If you don't recognize them, that's OK, what they are called is no where near as important.

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

Gratuitous goofy Dave Rat photo

and last but far from least, zee rock band

The big sigh from,

Dave Rat

Day 245 - Jan 23 - Charlotte

**** Ebay Update ****

For those of you curious about the eBay auction 'grand finale,' well it is coming. Scott and I are working on something special!

**** End Ebay Update ****

Show wise with the addition of Marcel into the band for the tour leg, we have picked up a few inputs. Stereo conga mics, a single mic on the bongos plus a direct box on the Clavinet that he plays. Since these are add-on inputs mid tour, they get put down at the other end of the console where I have some free input channels. With all these new inputs and the fact that I mix in the dark, there is an acclimation period for me to memorize where the controls are on the mixing board. In the mean time, I have found a good home for a little friend that will help me find the Clavinet and I will just remember where the rest are

As far as other important show details critical to the smooth runnings of the rock show, I have put together the Tiki version of the show thermometer that I use to measure room temperature at distance. Every show, I measure the average room temperature on the floor and each balcony level and then send the info to Bill in production who does his best to get the venue to fine tune and balance. It has been working really well!

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

Wayno our traveling chef's home made chocolate ice cream

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

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

The hotel rooms tomorrow wont be ready till 1 pm. The busses stay parked at the venue till 5am before we roll. Where normally road noise, engine vibration and refreshing ventilation offer a calming backdrop to the gentle rolling motion of the bus down the highway, I am instead are encased in a claustrophobic, motionless silence that is broken only by three dimensional assortment of snoring roadies distributed throughout the bunk area. I move to the back lounge to protect my sanity and indulge in breathable air. I wake up in the back lounge at 7 am with light flooding in and head to my now sleepable bunk.

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

The cranky and tired,

Dave Rat

Day 244 - Jan 22 - Raleigh Show

The blog posts and days and shows have been all out of whack lately, I may have even lost a day or two in the confusion. I guess my attempt to catch up and blogoperate in a real time mode combined with switching to morning posting and recovering from pretty colored drinks has thrown a wrench at my illusions of clarity. Rather than attempt to fix the past, I will just add in an 'adaptor' post to line me up with the future.

To start with, lets pick up a few straggling lonely photos from the last day off, first, when I was getting all artsy fartsy with the reflection photo, I took a few others as well and the odd colors came from messing with the 'white balance' on the camera. Here is an un retouched photo where I used the pool water as the 'white' to set the cameras white balance

And the same settings with a pic of my arm

and the same arm after saturated color and a crop and rotation done in Macromedia Fireworks

and on the opposite side of the artsy fence, how about a raw production shot of the Cincinnati gig that looks almost like every other arena we do with a bit on an oversized scoreboard

When work needs to be done, it is common for roadies to take on various tasks of importance. With the arrival of our newly embraced Tiki theme, also has arrived a variety of essential delegated duties. My duty of course is blowing the palm tree up each day,

How about another meandering ponder?

**** Meandering and Boring Ponder Rant ****

Harley Davidson vs Apple Computers.

Both are corporations so I understand that ultimately they have profit motives as a purpose of existence and I am confident that the humans creating both companies were inspired by a dream of creating something unique and amazing. There are various reasons why either one may be arguably "better" business-wise than the other or whatever, but I don't care about all that. What is on my mind is the dynamics of the underlying sub currents on which these companies have chosen to base the way they sell their particular products. They both are recognizable "Made in America" brands that are culturally and passionately embraced by segments of the world population. Both brands are unique products that stand at the top of the quality heap in their particular sector. With Harley we have the 'shiny cool tough guy durable motorcycle' and with Apple, the 'peoples easy to use and attractive i-products.' Both make 'sexy' machines, both are status symbols in their realm. All of that, is all good and I enjoy the craftsmanship and quality angles that both companies incorporate but alas, there is a fundamental difference in the way these two entities financially retain the customers that embrace their products. The 'Harley Way' is to create a unique and desirable product that welcomes customization, alteration and invites the customer to embrace a plethora of aftermarket manufacturers that compete with accessories that Harley makes, should they chose to do so. A true open market, free will philosophy that empowers the buyer with unlimited freedom and possibilities limited only by the imagination of whomever wishes to contribute. The 'Apple Way' is to sell you a product that has been optimized to work seamlessly with other Apple products but also has bee cobbled in someway in order to minimize compatibility with non-Apple manufacturers. They have spent extra engineering hours designing ways to create these booby trap like incompatibilities and then pass the added costs on to the consumers. Once you buy in to the Apple Way, they do all in their power to hi-jack as much of your spending money as possible. In my eyes, Apple's business strategy represents an angle that strives to limit choices while Harley reinforces offering freedom of choice. Harley's success depends on offering quality products and accessories that are superior or more desirable than the multitude of welcomed competitors. Apple perpetuates by initially making a desirable product and then designing in incompatibilities and/or denying information that would allow competitors to make compatible accessories, whenever possible.

In my opinion the practice of designed in incompatibilities is just like SIM card locking where companies inject software that makes cell handsets unable to operate on competitive networks. Also the inkjet printer scam where they sell you a printer for $75 and the ink costs $50 for a replacement cartridge that is booby-trapped with a micro chip to block people from refilling it. Annoying, almost like giant versions of petty drug dealers giving away a samples to keep you coming back. Oh wait, did I say petty? Actually I meant international corporate conglomerate drug companies that give doctors free samples and keep huge masses of people dependant on various pharmaceuticals whenever possible. Predatory business baiting and corralling their human critters just as us humans do to sheep for their wool or cows for their milk. The company who can secure the most dependant humans wins. I accept that the predatory nature is an aspect of life and every snake needs to feed, mosquito and tigers do as well and I actually enjoy the dynamics and complexity of all of the interconnecting pieces that make up the balance of life and also I avoid unprotected exposure to hungry tigers, snakes and mosquito's whenever possible. Except perhaps if I am going fishing, hiking or many other adventures, in which case I make concessions, of course. :)

So all this rant was sparked when I read about Apple's new iPhone. Flashes of their incompatibility injections ran through my mind and reading further there was an interesting side angle. Turns out that there is some dispute over who owns the "iPhone" name and Cisco systems, a networking company focused on connecting computers together has an iPhone as well. It also turns out that Cisco Systems and Apple were in discussions over the iPhone name when Apple just vanished and released the product. Finally and my favorite part is that from what I have read it appears that Cisco's primary demand is that Apple make the iPhone interoperable with Cisco products, something that is very much against the grain of the "Apple Way" and that made me smile.

**** End Meandering and Boring Ponder Rant ****

Ok, shut up and do sound,

Dave Rat