Rat Sound, the original punk rock sound company
August 29, 2008 2:35 AM   Subscribe

Rat Sound Systems is the original punk rock sound company. Started in LA in the early 80s, it was a stalwart of the early LA punk scene (posters: it did happen). Starting in the 1990s, Rat Sound has been supplying sound for some of rock's biggest acts. They even went corporate, with a client list including Paris Hilton. Since May 2006, founder Dave Rat, who mixes the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the audience, has been keeping a tour blog.

Those of you who (like me) are interested in audio nerdery may be interested in the Sound nerd speak section of Dave's blog. (e.g. drum fills, subs, input lists, amplifiers, the Grateful Dead's wall of sound)

You may also read about the technical evolution of sound systems, from humble beginning to the Rat Trap 5 cabinet of the 1990s and the L-Acoustics V-DOSC and Microwedge of today. Also of interest: Dave's Roadiepedia.
posted by Monday, stony Monday (10 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, and one of Dave's most entertaining articles: The Rats go to “Mouse Town” to explore LampiLand. Frist post, forgive my extreme geekiness.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 2:45 AM on August 29, 2008

Others may enjoy less geeky things, like photo essay and stories about the old days, including the sad story of how Dave became FOH engineer for the RHCP.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 3:00 AM on August 29, 2008

This is an awesome, awesome post. It's going to take a while to go through it all. The old LA punk rock flyers are a cool bonus, I love looking at those. Easy, cheap desktop publishing has made the charmingly crude cut-and-paste/black marker punk rock flyer a lost art, sadly.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:50 AM on August 29, 2008

Those flyers are great — just looking at them brings back a lot of memories of similar shows back in the day. I wonder how much hearing he has lost, though, even if he started wearing earplugs at some point. That is a lot of hours of high-decibel living...
posted by Forktine at 6:16 AM on August 29, 2008

Forktime: apparently, he's pretty good at protecting his hearing (see this post).
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 7:14 AM on August 29, 2008

Huzzah! I met Dave, back in the day, as he road-managed some band whose name has long passed from my mind. This was, um, 1984, maybe?

He told me he was working on a book about the emerging hardcore circuit which attempted to relate the circuit to the late '40s blues circuit.

He seemed to feel, strongly, that the economics were the same. The kids learning the ropes on the hardcore circuit would provide a farm league, if you will and to horribly mix metaphors, for larger-scale careers and ambitions as well as providing a kind of background to the direction of popular music for the next twenty or so years. Or something along those lines.

Kids in vans, dude, kids in vans.
posted by mwhybark at 7:56 AM on August 29, 2008

Oh, and did I just miss Rat Music for Rat People up in the body of the post?
posted by mwhybark at 8:00 AM on August 29, 2008

No, you didn't. Thanks for the links!
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 8:36 AM on August 29, 2008

Aha! The name of the band was Tales of Terror.

"I bought the album and it really reminded me of Decry, which was one of my favorite bands ever."

Man, intarweb, you amaze me. I was not able to recall offhand if the band had been Tales of Terror or Decry.
posted by mwhybark at 11:08 AM on August 29, 2008

I did a tour with Tommy, he was FOH for mxpx. Always cool to me, despite my lower status as FOH for the opener. Very pro. It was an awesome tour.
posted by knowles at 12:15 AM on August 30, 2008

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