|03 September, 2015 (10:52am) |
Here's a friendly reminder that VOLTO! (featuring DANNY CAREY, who just ranked high on "Rolling Stone's" list of the top 100 drummers) will be performing the LATE SHOW (as in 11:59 PM) at THE MINT in LOS ANGELES on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. 21+. For more details about the show and large PBRs, kindly scroll down to my Volto! post below...
|31 August, 2015 (01:01pm) |
Can I have your full attention please - yes, YOU - checking to see if this is new album news? It's not, but I am certainly excited to announce that MORE TOOL MULTI-PURPOSE BLANKETS have been produced - 3 DIFFERENT ONES in fact - all in VERY LIMITED QUANTITIES!
SPECS: Blanket made from recycled Tool shirts. Hand-sewn to soft, comfortable fleece. Comfortable enough for home use, durable enough for festivals.
Very limited quantity and availability.
- Individually cut-n-sewn in the USA
Remember, if you want one, don't procrastinate! Don't go to the nearest courtesy phone, or wait for a healing thighbone... Don't look for unreal blue butterfly eyes on a lark, or attempt to grasp the physics of an anti-quark. Don't go out to get a Thai noodle salad massage, or look for a doghouse with a two-car garage... TIME IS A WASTING... Why are you still reading this? I'm willing to bet you an undertaker's wart that these new TOOL collectible blankets... go fast!
|31 August, 2015 (09:35am) |
AUGUST, 2015 E.V.
Any person that has been to a Tool concert knows how important the stage lighting and video projections are to the overall live experience. To make all this 'magic' happen, the band employs two of the very best in the business - with Mark 'Junior' Jacobson as their long-time lighting director, and Breckinridge 'Breck' Haggerty as the video designer. Having done an interview with Junior back in 2012, I recently asked Breck if he would like to answer some questions. Fortunately for us, he agreed to do so, and I truly hope that you enjoy his revealing glimpses of the Tool concert video process as much as I did.
INTERVIEW WITH TOOL VIDEO DESIGNER, BRECK HAGGERTY
BMB: Let's start at the beginning. How did you originally get involved in video design?
BRECK: I was working as a lighting and set designer when I started experimenting with video. My motivation at the time was to realize video-as-lighting and video-as-scenery. Then in 1998 when I was working as Junior's lighting crew chief, I was also helping video director Camella Grace with some experimental video stuff. She was trying to re-direct projections with robotic mirrors (VL-Ms) and we gave it our best. The robotic part didn't really work out for that tour (we ended up hand-positioning 3 out of 4 mirrors) but that failure kick-started my quest to connect the worlds of lighting and video to do a better job in the future.
BMB: Did you work for any bands in lighting or video projections prior to Tool?
BRECK: Yes, I'd been designing lighting and sets since 1987 when I started in the local theatre and club scene in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Since leaving New England, I've designed and programmed lights for theatre, musicals, dance, corporate events, television, music videos, and tours. When I received the call from Camella to do Tool's Lateralus tour, I was loading-in the 9:30 Club in DC, touring with the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.
BMB: When did you first start working with Tool in video design, and how did that come about?
BRECK: When I came to, there was a bright flash, then a man in a white lab coat standing over me. He said: "dude, border crossing" and disappeared. At the next show, I was the video director. My new experiments in video had eventually led me to a method of controlling video equipment with a DMX lighting desk. This became known as the "NEV". In 2000, I did a demo in a Hollywood hotel room for Junior, Camella, and video guru Steve Gilbard. It went well, and a few months later in DC, I got the call from Camella - Tool wanted to use the NEV for the Lateralus tour. From there I bought a case of chicken ramen, pulled the shades in my Topanga Canyon cabin, and NEV development went onto overtime. Tool's first show with the NEV system was May 15, 2001 at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. It wasn't until after a year of successful touring with the NEV that Adam and Camella sat me down and promoted me to Video Director. My first show was in Bakersfield in 2002.
BMB: What band or theatrical stage show made a positive impression on you while growing up, and have you seen anything more recently that you were particularly impressed with?
BRECK: A great projection show that turned me on was "1000 Airplanes On The Roof" by Phillip Glass. It was an odd production, just a monologue about life after an alien abduction or two, but with a full orchestra conducted by Mr. Glass, full-stage projections designed by Jerome Sirlin, and lighting by Robert Wierzel. The projection surface was a steeply raked white floor with a series of white portals. The lighting was hidden behind the hard portals and came in from the sides only, shuttered off the floor and portals so the character "M" could wander around the image and remain illuminated without fouling the projection. It's one of the coolest shows I've seen and it was done '80s-style low-tech with just slide projectors and lekos.
BMB: What is the usual process of putting together the video clips and such for a Tool show or tour? The starting point and finishing touches? How much of the material used in the projections do you create, and do you get input from the band members? I'm guessing that Adam Jones is involved?
BRECK: Adam has always been very involved in the design, and all of the other band members contribute in different ways. Generally, Adam will give us the big picture, and Junior and I put the show together from there. The visuals are made up of small looped segments that I weave and layer through the show. There must be 2000 clips in the collection at this point, so there's a lot to work with. The iconic images you remember from the shows are the works of far greater talent than my own. By name: Camella Grace is responsible for the psychedelic nudes and swimmers, Chet Czar creates the fish-skinned creatures of your nightmares, Meats Meier crafts the intricate mechanical/spiritual beings that populate the show, Matt Santoro, Kevin Willis, Robyn Breen Shinn, I could go on and on... My role is in the arrangement and mortar, and I build the abstract visuals that bind all these great artworks together as a whole.
BMB: What are the usual preparations for putting together and syncing up the video design for a Tool show or tour? How long does it normally take before you are good to go?
BRECK: The prep time depends on how much the show needs to change. When we made big leaps in design like with a new album, it can take months. If we're just on to another leg with the same design, it may only take a day. This time around, we're starting with a new overall concept from Adam, and we're going to re-work the entire thing, so we're starting to build the Halloween show now.
BMB: With Tool live shows, there is a delicate balance between the stage lighting and video projections. How do you and Junior coordinate this - what's the process and are there ever compromises that have to be made?
BRECK: Junior, Scotty and I all work in the same visual space, so we're always working together to balance the color palette, the brightness, the texture, the movement - everything you see. For example, when we were doing a lot of video projection, Junior would have to hold back his overall brightness to not foul the projection. Now with these huge bright LED walls, I have to hold back the video to not overpower the lighting.
BMB: What kind of equipment (video processing units, media servers, etc.) do you use these days, and how do they differ from the equipment that you used on earlier tours?
BRECK: For the Lateralus tour starting 2001, the video screens were fed by the NEV system directly. For 10K Days in 2006, we added Pandora's Box media servers between the NEV and projectors so we could start doing multi-screen projections. In 2011, we upgraded the NEV to HD and moved to the MA VPU media server. 15 years later, the NEV system continues to evolve. More weird stuff to come!
BMB: How does the video design differ from outdoor shows as opposed to indoor shows, and which do you prefer?
BRECK: It's a much more pleasant experience to watch a show protected from the elements in a real seat with a real bathroom nearby. When the weather turns, everything is at risk. Production equipment and the structures themselves are vulnerable to extreme weather, and as we've seen too many times in the last few years, audience members and stage crew have lost their lives. So we prefer indoor shows. It's an easy solution, and a better safer experience for all.
BMB: Over all the years, what's the worse thing that has happened as far as things going wrong with the stage projections?I'm talking about equipment failure or other unforeseen problems with weather, venues, etc.
BRECK: Adam got doused by about 50 gallons of rainwater that had pooled in a pocket overhead at an outdoor show in Hawaii in 2001. He was not happy, but ok. Earlier that year at Red Rocks, our projection screen caught the wind and started stretching and swaying until the stage crew wrestled it to the ground. Nothing but the screen itself was wrecked, but I nearly had a heart attack when it hit Danny's gong. Tool's crew is the best in the business so we don't have problems very often, and if we do, it's usually sorted out well before the audience arrives.
BMB: Do you have a favorite Tool show or tour that you can share with us?
BRECK: At a show in Hamburg, Germany, Danny decided to re-appear in the middle of load-out to play more. He only told Junior about it, so we thought Junior was trying to play a joke on us. Nobby and I had almost shut off the audio and video systems when Danny got up there and started playing again. I don't think he'd ever played that solo live before, it was very cool. The German cleaning crew were just standing there slack-jawed. So just in case he plays it again sometime, check with Junior on your way out. He's the only one that knows for sure.
(NOTE: I could be wrong but I think that Hanburg was the 666 show - June 6, 2006 - which I was at, but left for a beer garden immediately after the final song. If Danny returned to play a drum solo, I wonder if it was another live 'hidden track' like he did once in the states with his Art Bell/Area 51 segue entitled FAAIP de OIAD. - BMB)
BMB: Is there a particular city in any given country that you really look forward to visiting during a tour? Why?
BRECK: I look forward to the days off in cities I've never been to before. I like to get up early, make a plan, grab the video camera, and go explore a new place. Even though I've been to a lot of places, show-days don't count any more than layovers at airports, you only get to see the inside of the venue. It's all about those days off.
BMB: What kind of beer do you keep in the cooler during a show?
You're more likely to find a bottle of formula in there these days, but we'll always keep a Stella for you Blair!
(NOTE: Much appreciated, but I'm more of a Bud drinker these days, having returned to the "king" of mid-western roots. - BMB)
BMB: Have you received any honors or awards for video design that you are particularly proud of?
BRECK: Yes, I've received two awards that mean a lot to me, but there were so many people involved in the work I did, these awards are for them too. In 2002 I received a LDI "Special Award for Product Innovation" for my NEV video control (thank you Steve Gilbard and Bob Gordon) and in 2006 I won the very first Parnelli Award for "Video Director of the Year" for my creative work with Tool (Thank you Adam, Camella, Meats, Chet, Junior...)
BMB: Let's talk about upcoming Tool shows and tours? Without going into specific details, what might fans expect as far as the stage lighting and video projections during the next round of touring? Also, will there be a separate lighting/projections scheme for indoor shows and outdoor festivals?
BRECK: We are planning to split the show for indoor and outdoor. No longer will outdoor shows be watered-down versions of the arena show. The outdoor Halloween show will be the first of our dedicated festival show.
BMB: Are the visuals for Tool shows for the most part programmed in advance, or do you improvise parts, and if so, can you explain how this is done?
BRECK: First of all, there is no timecode anywhere on stage or at front-of-house to rely on, so the show must be operated manually. Everything you see on stage is made by hand every night - both the music and the visuals. I usually have two types of controls programmed for a song: a main stack of sequential cues to cover the basics - a setup cue, the first cue, and the last cue. Sometimes it's only those 3 cues, other times its over 100. Then I'll build a collection of handles to accent and play in the middle. Longer more complicated songs, like Rosetta Stoned, i'll build many more specific sequential cues and less accents because it helps me keep up with all the crazy time signatures and false endings in the song. Other songs like 3rd Eye are completely improvised - I'll have a general idea of where I'm going, but I try new things, or lose my place and go freestyle. It's never the same twice either way.
BMB: Are there video ideas that you have that you would like to see incorporated in the live show that can't be done for whatever reason, and if so, what might these be?
BRECK: Yes, but we're still trying, so I can't say much. The project has new hope after we were contacted by the group that produced the rainbow over Levi's Stadium for the Grateful Dead show this year. There's a high demand for fake rainbows these days, so they don't have a lot of time, but with any luck we'll have a prototype working for the big Halloween show. You'll know what I'm talking about when you see it!
BMB: What do you envision in the future as far as stage projections go - not the immediate future, but, let's say, ten years from now?
BRECK: I think the convergence of lighting and video will gradually continue, and then lasers will take over both to some degree. It's all about new technologies that come down the pike and how we can use them to move artistic boundaries forward. Our industry is too small to drive major innovations, so we're always looking to adjacent fields to learn and steal from, like the NEV did by borrowing from '80s video editing technology. Sometimes you have to make a leap of faith. Don't be afraid of the border crossings!
HAPPY BORDER TRAILS
|30 August, 2015 (05:03pm) |
Here are the tour dates for our friends in WOVENHAND, who are currently out supporting Chelsea Wolfe.
8/29 - bluebird theater - denver colorado
|28 August, 2015 (04:59pm) |
THINK DIFFERENTLY - THE "PSILICON VALLEY" tee shirt illustrates the connection between the 1960s' counter-culture psychonauts and today's 'Psilicon' Valley technologists, some of who are allegedly still using the neurological amplification of psychoactive substances to improve creativity and inspire new I.T. developments. Hence, the iconic "Apple" motif is replaced by a psilocybin mushroom. THINK DIFFERENTLY contains a message for larval moralists about how the energy released (multi-level exposure) by the visionary experiences of the pioneers of cyberspace played a substantive role in the computer revolution.
As with similar themes explored on Danny's website involving elevating states of consciousness while questioning mainstream paradigms, the "Psilicon Valley" tee shirt (available exclusively at www.dannycarey.org) suggests that certain entheogens can be used as a tool to greatly enhance creativity and that, in the 1960s, the psychedelic uprising inspired the computer and I.T. revolution. The graphics are meant to be thought provoking in light of the old materialist perspective and follow in the footsteps of other psychonauts such as Huxley, Leary, and McKenna, who believed that these "plants of the gods" were in part responsible for a quantum leap in human mental development.
|28 August, 2015 (12:35pm) |
Tickets to see PUSCIFER live at THE PERFORMING ARTS CENTER at YAVAPAI COLLEGE in PRESCOTT ARIZONA on MONDAY, DECEMBER 14 are now available.
|27 August, 2015 (09:21am) |
VOLTO! (DANNY CAREY, JOHN ZIEGLER & LANCE MORRISON) will be performing at THE MINT in LOS ANGELES on SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. LATE SHOW at 11:59 pm.
|26 August, 2015 (03:47pm) |
We're pretty sure this is fake, but wouldn't it be great if it wasn't...
|25 August, 2015 (01:11pm) |
ALEX GREY Y ALLYSON GREY EN MEXICO!
|23 August, 2015 (06:05pm) |
Our talented friends in "RAJAS" will be playing a FREE SHOW at the GRIFFIN here in L.A. on MONDAY, AUGUST 24.
The band starts at 10:00, and not one yoctosecond later.
|22 August, 2015 (05:59pm) |
Here are the special guest musicians for the AUGUST 24 jams at the 'tator.'
|20 August, 2015 (10:48pm) |
Thank you for your attention. 3 TEETH at THE VIPER ROOM on FRIDAY, AUGUST 21. 9:00... If you should happen to see a member of TOOL there.. any member... tell them that I said "hi."