Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wheels and Wires

We've now entered the real ramp up phase of the tour, it's all about building the rock show. Humans from all over the world cluster in a single spot, gear gets wired, hung and tested. Concepts that started as napkin drawings and absurd "what if's" have mutated into tangible realities. Huge moving screens and light fixtures, nuanced signal paths the way sound will travel it's invisible paths all come together, the bugs get worked out and with big eyes and ears, all the departments interface to construct a cohesive presentation soon to be a traveling rock show.

Ya just don't get to or last at this level if your not damn good at what ya do, and when you have a lot of people that good working together, the outcomes can be quite impressive.

The new songs are great and I don't think there is a person amongst us that does not feel the welling anticIpation of an epic tour ahead. Can ya tell I'm excited?

Oh! And check out the pic of Chad's drumfill! 2 EAW MicroSubs under the blow through drum riser and 2 MicroWedge 15's up top. MicroSubs are only 13" high and the 15" speakers angle upwards at 45 degrees, so it lined up perfect. With the Exception of Anthony's wedges, which are the vintage Rat L-Wedges he's used for the last 20 years or so, the entire Peppers monitor rig is MicroWedge!

And wow is this a brand new adventure stage wise as well. We now have Mauro an awesome percussionist adding 10 inputs, a piano or electric piano depending on the gig, a marimba, Chris Warren rocking some keyboards driving me up to a stratospheric 40 inputs. I will share more about all that over time as well as go over a bunch more of the sound nerdery side of things.
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Monday, August 15, 2011

Chris Warren is synonymous with happiness! Here is him repaying me back for a series of "Oh man, you should have been there's"  I have been tossing his way as the flight attendant gave him drinks but not me.

I just thought the flex of the Boeing 777 wing tip looked cool

Phone pic of the Peppers in Tokyo playing Summersonic

And the setlist

And I love flight attendants! Fellow earth travelers!

The first Chili Peppers non secret, real gig, adventure soars to a close. I say "close' as if there is some sort of separation or finality to the Asian segment consisting of 3 shows and a TV broadcast. Fight home, a 3pm Monday Tokyo departure for a dozen hours only to arrive in LA 6 hours before we left.
The free hours are all good news as we are going to need all the time we can get. Does a tour leg really end when the flight home sees us going right to a load in?
Ahhh, living that glamorous life of rock n roll! There are people out there that stumble on success but the Peppers' world is not one of them. This is a collection of quirky charismatic humans working hard for many years to perfect their craft and quest forward.
Oh, if you have not seen the movie 'Water for Elephants' do it or I will stab you in the eye. Well, not really as that would be overly inconvenient for all of us. But anyway, the movie captures a bit of the essence of crossing the line to road life.
So here is today's sonic quandary. "Why in the heck would we, given the option, mix in mono when stereo is already at our fingertips? Now I am not talking about the just main PA sIde because that fairly obvious, this time I am talking about subs.
Let's rewind back to band practice. You walk in, meet introduce yourself or hang with old friends. The new songs are well developed with some finishing touches dealing with converting some of the recording studio tricks to actual playable live approximations. Between learning the solos and mind bending on how in the heck you'll make any carefully crafted studio song effects into something humanly possible, you step back and listen. Listening not only to the song structure and important cues,, but also to where the sounds actually emanate from in the room. The realism and natural dimension of the sonic landscape created by a band playing in a relatively small room makes the larger scale stereo sound mix end up mixing sound like a crayon drawing copy of a nature scene. Sounds comes from everywhere, left, right, high, low and all the in betweens. This is real, our goal, or at least one of them. If we can create that rush of a great rehearsal jam, in a giant venue, we win!
And so, in our sound engineer infinite wisdom we combine the sounds created by our musical friends down to a stereo facsimile with high hat sent to the subwoofers because some of us are to lazy to send subs on an aux send.
What is interesting is the prevalence of mono subs on an aux and the complete absence of stereo subs on an aux. But why? Why not send subs stereo aux, lean kick left and bass a bit right. Not drastiaclally but rather yet another step toward achieving that variation in the mix as you move about the room. Why deprive ourselves control over something so easily achieved? Don't know but I have been guilty of it for years, but no more!
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