Malcolm Weldon, Dave Rat, & Roy Bickel To Receive Top Parnelli Honors

The Parnelli Board of Advisors has announced the three top honorees for the 23rd Annual Parnelli Awards: Malcolm Weldon, Lifetime Achievement; Dave Rat, Audio Innovator; and Roy Bickel, Visionary. “This trio of live event professionals have left their mark on our industry beyond their individual prolific careers,” states Terry Lowe, Parnelli Awards Executive Producer, and Founder of PLSN/FOH magazines. “They are admired and treasured throughout the industry and for good reasons, and we are honored to honor them at our next Parnelli Awards gala.”

Malcolm Weldon famously insists he’s “just a guy pushing boxes,” and his humbleness and self-deprecating sense of humor are as well-known as his remarkable talent on tours. From South Central Los Angeles, he began his career learning his way around a recording studio where he initially intended to stay and become a producer, but fate next landed him a live gig at the Beverly Theater. There he met renowned Tour Manager Marty Hom and convinced him to take him on the road. He soon was touring with Paula Abdul, including her worldwide Under My Spell tour in 1991-1992, which took the 20-something young man to Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. Despite his personal affinity for jazz, he quickly moved up in the pop world from doing Stage Manager and Carpentry work to being Production Manager for some of the biggest acts in the business including Tina Turner, Cher, the Eagles, Sade, Lionel Richie, Janet Jackson, and Beyoncé. Since 2018 he’s been by Pink’s side, deftly moving her mammoth shows around the world. In addition to his universally admired skills in logistics and matchless ability to create a cohesive working environment, Weldon is also a respected mentor and a frequent speaker and panelist at industry events. His dedication to inform and inspire the next generation of live event professionals is a major part of his legacy.

Dave Rat, born Dave Levine, grew up in Southern California, and his career started when he was hanging out in a former Baptist Church turned punk rock rehearsal space. There acts including Black Flag practiced, and members of the Descendents and Minutemen would hang out. The young Levine would attend shows with mics and a tape recorder and trade tape copies for free entrance to the gig. He then built a reputation as a Sound Engineer especially skilled with the punk shows. He first toured with Black Flag in 1985 (it was Black Flag’s Henry Rollins who bestowed the nickname “Rat Man” on him). He was dissatisfied with what speaker components were available, so he started designing proprietary speakers—his subwoofers continue to be in his inventory four decades later. He continued to design speakers and sound equipment, including the EAW’s MicroWedge. In 1990 he began a three-decade run as Sound Engineer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers (he won a Parnelli Award for his work with them in 2005). In addition to working with other acts including Blink-182 and Soundgarden, he’s known for his festival work including Coachella. He provided audio gear and people for the first Warped Tour and almost all the other ones. He’s also been a tireless educator: He’s written scores of articles for audio magazines; is a frequent speaker at pro-audio conventions; and his educational YouTube Channel has 9.7 million subscribers.

Roy Bickel ran away to join the circus, where he didn’t hesitate to agree to get shot out of a cannon. It would shoot him into concert touring history where he became one of pioneering riggers in the business. It all started in 1969 when he became one of the five “Disney Riggers.” Bickel’s talent was spotted by Broadway, where he handled the flying for shows including Mary Poppins, Chicago, The Wiz, and Pippin. During this period, he was instrumental in getting CM Hoists to configure hoists better for live touring, which were used on his first rock tour, Jethro Tull. This led to him rigging for one of the most historic tours, 1975’s The Stones’ Tour of the Americas. Just a few other innovative tours he was part of include those of Yes, Kenny Rogers, Neil Diamond, Billy Joel, and Kiss. A big part of Bickel’s journey has been being a proud member of the IATSE Local 720 for nearly 60 years. In the 1990s he relocated to Las Vegas where he was instrumental in bringing concert touring rigging sophistication to events there in addition to sharing his knowledge and experience with any younger rigger interested. Known for his entertaining storytelling as much as his expertise as a rigger, he is still working into his sixth decade in the business.

The Parnelli Awards will be held on the evening of Jan. 24, 2025, at the Anaheim Convention Center during The NAMM Show. Tickets will go on sale in August. Stay informed at