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borntohang

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  1. Hello Basschat; my name is Richard (formally Richard II when onstage), I am a session musician of the (currently) semi-professional variety, I have just returned from my first genuine big boy tour, and I would like to tell you about it! A couple of months back I mentioned this would be happening in another thread and it was suggest that I post a trip report - the last month has been something of a blur and this will mostly be an attempt to collate some of my memories into a parsable format so I thought there might be some interest in reading about something not many people get to do. Wembley - Night 2. Please excuse the hair... For roughly the last 18 months I have been working with a lovely set of musicians called Bang Bang Romeo covering various roles including bass, guitar, and keyboards. They aren't famous (yet), but are a little higher up the ladder than most club bands so it's been a real pleasure to drop onto most of the gigs they've been getting. I've known them on and off for a long time as we're all from the same town and there are only so many people working at that level in the local area so it became inevitable that our paths would collide. About a year into my stint our agent told us to clear our summers and kiss our wives goodbye as we had dropped onto a big tour. He admittedly says this a lot, but this time it turned out to be a genuinely life-changing run of 14 dates supporting P!nk on the UK Beautiful Trauma Tour around the UK and Europe, with an option for another 6 dates if we didn't manage to show our entire asses on the first leg. I was nervous but just about keeping it together until I received the tour manifest through and found that the SMALLEST date on the run was a 30,000 cap stadium... The next six months were mostly a blur of rearranging songs for maximum impact and paring the set down to a machine-precise 25 minutes until about a month before we left when it really started to hit home that this was happening. In particular there was a moment of panic where the other guitarist and myself were doing a stock-take of equipment and realised that we had no cables long enough to reach our pedal boards from where the amps would be at the back of the stage. We'd all played some big events before, but this was a whole new kettle of fish and we were very much the amateur chancers on this tour - yes we were playing two nights at Wembley but right now we were still fitting rehearsals around our day jobs! In the end it was probably the best introduction to the touring life that we could hope for. Pink hires the best in the business and every single person we met was lovely to us. I was however reminded on regular occasions that this is unusually cushy for touring life and I shouldn't get used to this standard in the future... Her band introduced themselves to us early on and we got quite chatty with them over the course of the tour; Justin Derrico is the loveliest guy as well as a MONSTER shredder who incidentally has not just the best LP with piezo sound, but possibly the best acoustic sound I've ever heard in a live setting. Regarding gear, we are luckily good friends with the Hiwatt UK guys who kitted us out with rental amps and overnight shipped a replacement when one went down at Paris, so I can't give enough love to those guys. Initially I took my Tokai SG and a second guitar out, but after a string of equipment failures in the second week I was left with no usable guitars. I contacted Gibson Germany in a blind panic who very kindly talked me off the ledge and provided me with two gorgeous black SGs as loaners for the remainder of the dates. In the middle of the run we also flew from Belgium to Switzerland to play Montreux Jazz Festival with Sting and before you ask, no I can barely believe that particular sentence myself; at one point I actually burst into hysterical laughter in the airport shuttle because the whole thing had begun to seem so ludicrous. I think we stayed in Switzerland for about 18 hours before catching another flight back for the Wembley run (see above regarding hysterics) but we were privileged enough to play a full 50 minute set in the Stravinsky Auditorium with the best in-ear sound I've ever heard. While I can't hope to entirely do justice to the legendary spirits of improv that have walked those halls, we certainly gave it everything and it was possibly the most technically perfect set we've ever played. We also dropped onto the lakeshore to do a session for Swiss national radio with me on bass in the traditional four piece lineup while our tour bassist (Phil) chilled in the lake for a bit. I initially thought I got the better half of that bargain until we spent an hour sweating under a brutally hot tent canopy trying to parse the French-speaking interviewer's questions as Phil gambolled and frolicked in the blissfully cool waters of Lake Geneva behind him. I'm incredibly sad to be back now, but at least we have a few dates left on the run as I go back out for the Scandinavian leg of Copenhagen, Oslo, and Horsens in August. I'm not counting the days, honest... I'll spare the gory (and fairly tedious for those who aren't interested in tour buses!) details of each individual show, but here are a few highlights: Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart - "Hello... gods, where are we? Hello Stuttgart!" Olympiastadion, Berlin - screw Wembley, what a venue! La Defense Arena, Paris - the gig prior to the SG taking a tumble! Montreux Jazz Festival - extra fly date supporting Sting. HELLOOOOOO WEMBLEY! (Night 1) Thanks for bearing with me this long - I'll be happy to answer rig questions or anything anyone might be curious about in later posts. If anyone is still interested in checking out more informal pics of backstage/touring life then my tour instagram can be found HERE.
  2. I had the same issue with the PB Mini powered from a daisy chain - my soundman referred to it as Ming the Merciless because it was making an awful buzz through the FoH. Annoyingly, when I switched to a Truetone CS6 I STILL had the same problem which panicked me a bit until I realised I was running it on the daisy chain output; as soon as I switched it to an isolated output it was fine and my two drive pedals don't mind the daisy.
  3. I suspect Lemmy might have struggled with just a clean DI from the bass!
  4. The headstocks on those are a bit neck dive inclined, but I doubt you'd lose much weight with those piddly holes! The small ones might be for guitar tuners for a VI conversion considering there's been a bridge replacement too, but damned if I know what those big ones are for!
  5. I'm not fond of MAGs, but I've got an EVO rack and we're using an ABM head and 410 on tour at the moment. I really like the cab but I'm unfortunately under-utilising the head a bit due to the presence of a Sansamp in front of everything. I really just use it for monitoring and room EQ but I'd be happy to gig it straight with the valve kicked in. Met some of the team last summer at an industry do and they were really helpful. Chatted through some options for fly dates and similar and got a business card and an open invitation to call from the MD, which was nice of him considering he'd never heard of me before I rocked up to his stall.
  6. You'll need to investigate a work visa if you're getting paid - wouldn't like to risk a visitor visa if you're doing something prominently public. If you're dealing with an events organiser they should be comfortable arranging that for you or pointing you to someone who can. If they can't then that's a bit of a red flag! Regarding the legal system and complications arising thereof, Bahrain isn't Saudi Arabia so just don't take any drugs on the flights with you or get involved with politics while you're there and you should be good.
  7. We're at that awkward phase where there are enough people coming to shows that we get recognised, but not so big that it isn't still awkward when they find you at the next one and ask why you declined their friend request! On our last tour we pulled up at a service station at about 3 in the morning feeling extremely weary and the instant we opened the van doors got mobbed by teenagers who apparently had nothing better to do than hang around a McD's on the M6 in the early hours. They didn't know who we were but there's only so many options for people travelling in vans at that time of night and we weren't dressed like brickies. "Are you in a band? What are you called? Who's the singer?!" We told them we were the Arctic Monkeys and that our roadie was Alex Turner, then legged it inside while they mobbed him for pictures. Sorry lad, but someone had to go under the bus and you're getting paid to be here... On a separate note, my singer is extremely distinctive so she gets recognised a bunch. Her dad is also a well known soap actor - not exactly rich or famous but you'd probably recognise his face if you've watched much British TV in the last twenty years or so. We've really enjoyed watching his growing discomfort as people have started stopping him in the street... to ask if he can take a picture of them with his daughter!
  8. It's an incredibly pointless feature and I have no idea who they think it helps!
  9. I wouldn't like to present an accurate figure but I would say that the majority of instruments sold are probably never played onstage, either because their owners don't gig or because they gig other things. I have guitars that I play around the house but wouldn't tour due to not working for that band or just being too sentimental to risk. There are even a significant percentage of posters on these forums who don't gig!
  10. OK, so this is one of my massive bugbears about FB Marketplace and I have no idea why they made such a stupid interface choice. On the app it's incredibly easy to accidentally click one of the automatic responses to a post you weren't even really looking at. I consider myself fairly computer literate and not generally prone to fat thumbs syndrome, but four or five times now I have discovered that I've sent a message to a seller about something I have no interest in. It was bad enough when it just posted a template comment on the post, but now that it actually messages the seller it's become a scourge that has nearly killed my remaining will to battle with the platform. Embarassing and a waste of time for both parties. I feel bad about this one, but last year I sold a Rickenbacker 620 on gumtree and somebody offered me an incredibly low ball - something like 450 when I only wanted 950 on a 2K guitar in demo condition with all case candy plus some spare parts. I messaged him back politely and said I couldn't go lower than 900 collected but got a snarky message back and a offer of 550. I actually had a full price offer lined up so I just ignored that one, but for the next week he sent me increasingly desperate messages raising his offer slightly. The day I actually delivered the guitar to it's new home I got another message saying "OK, 950 DO WE HAVE A DEAL?!!!!" and really should have replied to decline, but to be honest I was enjoying myself a bit more than I strictly should have letting the git squirm. The other buyer turned out to be lovely and I spent almost two hours drinking coffee and swapping war stories.
  11. The travelling accidents do give me the willies. As a band we did about 14,000 road miles last year and plan to top that this year plus flights, so it's always on my mind. We knew (although only in a nodding acquaintance sense) both Hers and Viola Beach before their accidents and there's just not really a good way to process it apart from accept it's a risk you're willing to take. I have to admit that the Hers incident was, at least I felt, especially senseless as they were essentially innocent and got wiped out by another driver with very little chance to do anything to prevent it; drunk driver, headlights off, wrong side of the road.
  12. It's not really to do with the actual person; It's grieving for what that artist represents to you and the hammering home of your own mortality. It's the realisation that a small part of your youth just left forever and can never return, and that one day you too will pass down that same road. Or maybe people just like to feel part of something bigger than themselves, I dunno. The first big one for me would have been Amy Winehouse. I wouldn't even really consider myself a fan although I'd seen her at various festivals and support shows but even at the time there was definitely a sense of "where were you when...". We were getting ready to headline a stage at Tramlines festival so had all suited up and were doing the fifteen minutes of quiet routine before we went on when a stagehand stuck their head round the door to tell us the news. A bit of a sombre start as we announced it to the festival at large, but we managed to refrain from slipping any mawkish tribute covers into the set... My dad was at Glastonbury when the news of Jacko's death hit and said it was wild to watch it spread round the campsite by word of mouth. First it was just the lucky souls with enough reception and phone battery left spare to check the news, then it started coming from the stages as various artists delivered variations on the theme of What He Meant To Me, and by the end of the weekend it was wall to wall rushed covers whilst reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper and every food stall in the site was blasting Thriller.
  13. @Chiliwailer has delivered some excellent advice here, but I'd just like to repeat the one about not staying in bad if you can't sleep. You need to train your brain to associate bed with "I'm in bed therefore I must be tired and sleeping". No watching TV, no reading, especially no phone browsing! Are you using a blue light filter on your phone in the evenings? It's not a perfect solution but might be of some help.
  14. Hard to argue otherwise, but I think they're mostly limited by the availability of OEM hardware. If they were wanting to get original reproductions of some of the more niche stuff then the cost would skyrocket at the kind of run numbers they do. I will say the pickups they use on the Airline guitars are superb - humbucker covers but they're actually some kind of single-coil underneath with a real bite and punch to them. A lot louder than my P90s and I wouldn't have guessed they were single-coils in my '59 at all until I spoke to them at the open day. I don't think they sell them individually or I'd have them in a few more of my other guitars!
  15. Great guys and we've been using their stuff for about a year now: Map Bass, Airline 3P and Rivolta Mondata in the band. We do have a casual non-endorsement relationship with them so feel free to take this whole post with salt to taste, but I'm happy with the quality on all the stuff we got and none of it was special order or anything. Wouldn't be using or defending it otherwise. General thoughts on the Map Bass are that it's incredibly heavy but also possibly the deepest bass I've ever played. Get a lot of other players asking if I'm using a sub octave or something but it's just a very strong fundamental and a lot of output and low end. In fact there's so much low end that I struggled a bit to start with but after lowering the pickups it's now got a nice vintage growl to it. Still very high output and I have to severely rein the gain in on my pedals to keep it clean. We went up to the demo day they did last year with most of the range in and I was impressed with all the higher end stuff. Lot of nice decorative touches across the range that you wouldn't find on a Fender of similar price but the lower stuff definitely felt like it could do with a setup. They're very interesting guitars and get a lot of attention - lots of other players and audience members asking what they are.
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