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Day 409 - Save the World From Us

**** Ponderings ****

Is it a quandary to impact the environment by having a tremendous amount of humans gather for a giant rock show to promote social awareness of the impact that a the tremendous number of humans have on the environment? Is the event itself in it's magnitude directly undermining it's own cause? Busses, trucks, planes and trains haul masses of bottled water and beer drinking humans to create a mind bending amount of trash to promote reducing trashing our world. The hypocrisy was most purely embraced in full ignorance by Duran Duran's singer's attempt at self elevation when he walks on stage spewing "Raise your hand if did not arrive here on a private jet." As if somehow throwing spikes at the fellow performers gathering for a common cause would have some sort of positive spin.

More specifically, I arrived on an overnight bus ride of misery and left on a private jet to get to the next show that same night, with the rest of Peppers core crew. No other other way we could make the jump to Denmark for the show we had booked long before the Peppers were personally asked to support Live Earth by Al Gore. We all jumped many hoops. So one could ponder, would it have been better that Peppers not play? Was the environmental impact of transporting the band and crew to the event excessive compared to the effort towards of catalyzing humans to take up the mission of walking more softly upon the planet we tread? If the answer is yes, could than same response be applied to the event as whole and therefore it should never have existed?

First I must say that I fully support treating the world we live with care and respect. Whether it is global warming, decimation of other species or obliteration of the key components that necessitate healthy life, I feel that care and respect should be considered in all avenues. What concerned me was not the events existence but it's lack of thoroughness. Cool concepts like "return 10 empty cups to get a free beer to promote recycling, reduce the mess to be cleaned" that they do at the Werchter Festival in Germany and how Roskilde pays cash for empties, was sadly missing. The laminate lanyards they gave us said they were made from 100% recycled fiber while the laminates themselves were plain old plastic instead of cool recycled paper. How much of the festival was powered by renewable power? All I could find was that the web site servers were, the festival itself, while we just plugged into the wall of course. In the back of my mind grows the thought the true change will grow from innovation in grass roots events that focus on awareness while maintaining near zero impact, setting an example rather that just preaching what "you" should do.

Perhaps to truly solve the issue we face, we would have to also address the speed at which humans mass produce more humans at alarming rates. Where do we draw the line on whether we attack each other or work together and how effective we can be at slowing down the inevitable, all remains to be seen. Regardless though, there should be little doubt that less splattering of the planet sure beats screwing it up faster.

**** End Ponderings ****

**** Sound Nerd Speak ****

So I am on little sleep, nearly all our gear in another country, I am mixing on a console I just met an hour ago and an EV X-Line PA that I have never used on a large event. Oh well, no biggie, it's just for hundreds of thousands of humans all over the world. What better time to play it safe? So I ordered in the best mixing board I could think of to handle the job. This is a big huge show and we all know that big huge shows must have big expensive complicated mixing boards so the soundman looks cool. Unless of course the soundman desired something small, fast, dependable, predictable and easy to setup. Hmmm, I see a $200,000 dollar Midas XL8, three $100,000 Digico D5's and $70,000 Yamaha PM 5D laying around the mix area here, all high end digital desks. Somewhere around here is my baby, aha, there it is on the left:

Oooooh, wow! Look at that $15,000 analog Midas Verona! Though the show could have gone smoother for me, given the fact that I had absolutely nothing in my favor, including loosing most of what little line check before I actually was given working snake lines and no time to play music through the PA so I could tune it, things went relatively well and compared to the various forms of trains wrecks I heard leading up to Peppers, it fell well into the window of good enough.

*** End Sound Nerd Speak ****

And off we go...

But not before grabbing a few pics


Meet Roadie Bryan, an awesome sound engineer and a long time friend, he mixes Foo Fighters, hanging with Roadie Daniel.

And just because I can, the gratuitous glamour shot with the guy that introduced the Peppers

Hurry up, we rocked and now we got to roll. Hour to the airport, two hour flight, 30 minute drive to the gig plus we lose an hour in the time change. Roskilde, the last show of this tour leg, here we come!

Dave Rat



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jean (from madagascar) on :

Hi Mr Rat ! I'm a french fan of the Rhcp, and I read your blog since the beginning of the Stadium Arcadium Tour. You gave us a lot of things about the Peppers, but I thing something is missing...I never see on the net some pics of JF's and Flea's Guitar stands ( I think those pics will me make some dreams !!! )... So many guitars, strat, tele, white falcon, Lespaul, Modulus, Jazz Bass, P-bass !! I wish you could give that to us! Thank you in advance, and keep the Peppers sound nice as you do it (particularly 06/07/2007 in Paris!!!!) ps: afflicted for my approximate English

Dave Rat on :

Hmmm, no guarantees but I will see what I can do.

Ashley on :

Thanks for the insight! Your critique of the show was really well put and very interesting! Keep on keepin' on

Dave Rat on :

Thank You Ashley!!

Goron Mcgregor on :

Dave congratulations on using the Verona its exactly what I would have done in that situation, IMO digi desks etc are fine when in a programmed and predictable situation but no good at all in a jump in and swim against the tide as hard as possible. ( though I did take a Roland VM7200 which was preset for a gig using MIDI controlled effects to a large festival which raised a few eyebrows :)) I agree about the "greeness" debate as well, I'm sure some kind of more noticeable effort couldhave been made ie bio-diesel gennies or some such, as well as the buyback scheme for cups etc Hope you get on OK in Glasgow when you show up I'll not be home to see the band but a few of my friends are going.

Dave Rat on :

THe Verona worked fine for me. The main issue was getting the PA to dial in. I still struggle on the digi desks. I just have not gotten my head around watching the board instead of the band when making changes.

Mikey B on :

As I got a mini tour of the Vi6 last night with Deep Purple, I thought about you. Lexicon effects... BSS processing, small as a Sienna. The layout just seems so user friendly.

Daniel Higgott on :

Hey Dave! I was at Live Earth! Yeah the PA wasn't exactly kicking was it? Not a huge fan of the EV system myself. When I skoped out mix work I had a chuckle at the thousands of £££ worth of desks lying around considering the quality of the end result. Currently in Edinburgh working with Soweto Gospel Choir, who supported the Peppers in Germany. Any memories you feel like sharing? All the best! Danny

Dave Rat on :

I am with ya on that EV rig. You get to these big shows and to be honest, it is not about the music, it's about TV. The live side is just an annoyance that is needed to get the people in for the crowd shots.

Mikey B on :

You pretty much said it all, in regards to the ecological reality of the Earth event. The lack of large scale hard solutions is what troubles me most. Reforestation, EV commuter cars, Maglev mass transit, are a few. As for the artists role in this, unless artists become satified with performing in their own geographical footprint,ie hometown, their is'nt much chance of them being able to control their ecological impact. Also the fact that even though one country or society gets their shit together, another could care less and overpopulates and consumes resources uncontrollably.

Dave Rat on :

I so agree. Dave Rat's Pre School of Taking Care of the Environment: Children, the bigger mess you make, the longer it will take to clean up. Jonny, just because Suzy is making a big mess, does not mean you should to. If you break all the crayons, the next class won't be able to color. Billy, no you can't have all the paper to make airplanes to sell to the other kids for their lunch money. You must share.

Rachelle on :

Yes I tend to agree that Live Earth is a bit of a wank as anything that goes directly against it's cause is very hard to belive or buy into. Moreover - I think more people were interested in the music rather than the cause. It reminds me of a meeting I sat in on a while back - My company (a big travel company) was all excited to be the first travel company in NZ to offer carbon offsets to our clients. This to me was a little rediculous as who will buy into something like this from a company who doesn't even do anything itself for the cause ..... Love the pic of you and Chris hope u are well Dave Rachelle xx

Dave Rat on :

Hello Rachelle!

Christian on :

Dave When you forgo the H3K and downgrade to a Verona or Sienna and lose the double V-Dosc hang, how do you adapt your mix style and the way you set up the groups. Especially with no VCA's and a lot less groups which would limit your spatial imaging options. I live for the sound nerd speak since I am one. Christian "Deore"

Dave Rat on :

Hello Christian, Well, as far as the double hung vs single hung PA is concerned it is the reverse. I made sure that when I started using the double hung PA that I would not have to alter my mix style from how I mix on a single hung PA, so my mix style is the same regardless. Basically, I use three levels of fader control. Inputs VCA's (which are just remote controls for the inputs) and Sub Groups All my comps are on subgroups. Theinputs are pre compressor levels. The Subgroup faders are post compressor levels. The VCA are just a convienient way to control input levels easily. So.... VCA are not necessary and my subgroups give me the Vox/Guit/B/Kick-Snare/Durms volumes grouped. The main advantage of the VCA for me is that I can alter compressor thresholds while at the console rather than walking over to the rack to do it and back to the board for make up gain. Make sense?

Dave Rat on :

Shhhh, don't tell anyone but I am pretty sure "big huge sound board = small pee pee"

Monique on :

Hi Dave, I have a question to ask--I've been looking for a specific record player for a while with no luck whatsoever. I've avoided asking you this because I didn't want it to come of as "fanish" and I didn't want to step overstep my bounds by asking. Here goes nothing--I'm looking for the record player in John's picture here: I have so many albums and I'm looking for something nice sounding to play them on and I figure, if it's good enough for John.... I'm wondering if this is possibly a vintage turntable with no others like it left around these days or if it's something still available to the general public. You can shoot me off an email if you'd rather answer that way, or to tell me to go fly. Thanks so much! -Monique

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