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Rick's Rap   - May 2003

      05/04/03

      Well, all kinds of stuff has been going on since my last update. We mapped out a practice schedule that would allow us to cover one full nights' worth of material (plus a little extra) just before the gig on May 10. Barb has been putting in lots and lots of hours putting together a very nice demo package. She's also been putting in lots of time on the phone, and lots of time driving around making personal contacts, trying to book the band. The initial results have been encouraging. We haven't gotten any bookings from the package yet, but a number of club owners/managers/booking people have reacted positively to the concept of booking a Dead tribute band.

      The practices have gone quite well, and last Saturday we finished our "lick and a promise" by covering every song on the projected set lists all the way through from start to finish, once. Barb took some pictures so we can add a "Meet The Band" link. Afterward we gathered on the back patio to enjoy the truly fine weather (and a taste of Rebel Yell) and spent a while reflecting on how much work we've done since that first meeting in September when we decided to go for it. We are now on the brink of the next phase, i.e. transferring the raw basement material into a live show, and pretty much we're looking forward to it with a bit of trepidation, and quite a bit of excitement (which I think is pretty much the point of why we're doing this at all).

      Proceeding on with R&D on the recording setup, I did some web surfing looking for the best prices on the mic preamps, and the analog mixer, which we haven't yet purchased. The good news is I was able to find just what we need. The bad news is that when I add up the individual weights of the case, components, cables, connectors, etc., if we put everything in one case it's going to weigh about 75 lb. WRONG! The problem with splitting it up is that since we're configuring it as a 16 channel system, that's a lot of cabling to connect every time we set it up. I'm thinking that it may be a reasonable compromise to put the recorder and preamps in one package, since the analog mixer won't be necessary during live performance recording. I think probably the best thing to do now is order the preamps and weigh them, the recorder, and all necessary peripherals, and see if it's reasonable to include the preamps and recorder as one package, or if they really need to be put in separate cases, just so we can reasonably move them around. Sigh ... this kind of stuff is a lot easier when you just think about it and don't actually try to make it happen.

      Another little project that we're in the middle of (as if we actually need another project to be in the middle of) is an experiment to isolate the vocals from the instruments, which should do a pretty effective job of alleviating feedback squeals. The idea is to hook up two mics of the same model in parallel but out of phase, and then only sing into one of them. According to one of the books I've read recently (I believe it was "A Long Strange Trip"), that's the technique the Dead used when they had the wall of sound. The parts are on order, and I'm really curious to see if it works.

      Well, I've got lots more stuff to chat about, but Barb is writing a web site suitable for public consumption to replace this little toy I've been having fun with, and I've got to stop now and lend a hand with that.


      05/11/03

      Well, if you've gotten this far then you know that a website that is deemed to be suitable for public consumption is now online. (Memo to the rest of the band: I hope you're finally happy).

      The parts for the dual mic experiment have arrived, and I'm anxious to try it out at rehearsal next Saturday. I hope it eventually pans out. Not having to deal with feedback is definitely something I'm looking forward to.

      Last night was our debut as a (mostly) Dead band at The Outta The Way Cafe.

Set 1         Set 2         Set 3
Round & Round
Big River
Dark Hollow
Friend Of The Devil
Neon Moon
Franklin's Tower
U Win Again
Promised Land
Great Balls Of Fire
    The Race Is On
The Next Time U C Me
Candy Man
Good Lovin'
Fennario
Mama Tried
Truckin'
U.S. Blues
    Peaceful Easy Feelin'
Jack Straw
It Hurts Me 2
Iko Iko
It's All Over Now
Evangeline
1 More Saturday Night

      We saw some folks that we hadn't seen for 20 - 25 years, including our original roady. The heart of our first PA was a pair of home made EV Eliminator speaker cabinents. I got them because they were really efficient, loud, and cheap (qualities I've always had a special affinity for). Unfortunately they were also too big to fit in even a full size station wagon. Fortunately Donn had a buddy with a pickup truck, and we were good to go.

      There were even a couple of folks who just happened to wander in, that actually remembered seeing us in the 80's.

      I'm thinking that now what we have to do is survive long enough for word to filter through the local deadhead community. Here's hopin'.

     

      Stay tuned,

Rick

               
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