Re: rods for lower volume?
FWIW, I also use rods occasionally when I want a softer sound. For example, there's a little snare intro to Melissa Etheridge's Angels Would Fall which I attempt to play AND sing on so there's definitely no time for a stick change after the intro. On the track it sounds as if they use brushes but that was too soft so I tried the rods and found that I could use them both for the intro and during the song. Kind of the three bears approach...you know, sticks too loud, brushes too soft but the rods were JUST RIGHT. :)
I am deluded enough to think I can bring something to the table - Huey Lewis.