Re: Both Bands doing Pretty Well now.
I downsized my stick size from Vater 3A Fatbacks to a New Orleans (0.58" to 0.55") and found that I could control the stick a little better and my dynamic range has greatly improved. I tend to play a little quieter than I used to, but with dramatically less effort compared to before. I actually got told that I could have got away with playing louder at a bit of a reggae gig I had a month or so ago.
Don't use the hotrods unless thats the sound you're after. They have a distinctive 'clicky' sound that doesn't always work with the music, something I figure might be the case with your soft rock band. Unless you're going for that MTV Unplugged sound where all the rock drummers just rock up with hotrods and play normally rather than exercising reasonable dynamic control.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!