Anything you sound guys hate?
Every musician has had a bad spun guy at some point in time. If you say you haven't then you're either lying to yourself or just dumb. And we all know how those stories go. But do you guys that also do FOH/stage monitors have any awful band stories?
1. Ridiculous Stage Volumes
2. Bands that take 4/5ths of their transition time casually wheeling their equipment on stage then complain about not getting a proper sound check.
3. Kids that don't know how to work their equipment
4. Bands that push their time slot: If you have a 40 minute set, plan for 35... Not 50! It is really disrespectful for the other bands and the event staff.
5. Bands that want to get all dramatic and break equipment on stage but don't think that they should be responsible to replace it.
Especially # 4, when you are the next band.
I agree with those five - very annoying. Although item 4 is easy to deal with. The promoter needs to designate someone as the stage manager and have them let the band know when they have five minutes left and then when their time is up.
One thing that annoys me is when people play differently than they sound check. For example, frequently I have had bass players check their sound by showing off with their slapping and then they play a metal set with no slapping at all. I would get the slapping to sound good and then their straight playing would sound like crap. I always made it a point to make that my lowest priority issue to deal with during the set and often I never got around to fixing it. After several times of this crap I started interrupting guys who did this by asking, "is that how you are going to play the set?" More often than not the answer was no and I had to tell them to play like you are going to. I don't know why people don't get this. Sound check isn't their time to solo. It is done to make sure they are going to sound as good as possible.
Spend all this time balancing sound, & seconds before action-time, guitarist cranks master vol on amp.
I'm not a sound guy, but help out at times.
Our drummer is the sound tech and our guitar player is the light tech and run production for many local events. They both co-own the PA and lights.
The biggest irritation by FAR, is players (usually guitar) being too loud, and then not turning down when asked politely.
Anyone who would dare be abusive to their gear would find themselves on the wrong end of our guitar player.
He's about 6' 6" and 300 lbs.
He's a teddy bear most of the time but you do NOT want to see him angry!
Personally, I treat the sound guy like I treat wait staff: VERY politely.
When you're in their domain they have power over you and should be respected.
Plus they have largely unappreciated jobs and take plenty of abuse without adding any more to it.
The band's sound is as much at their mercy as the sound guy's. Obviously if the sound guy doesn't know what he's doing, then you should take his advice with a grain of salt (if only to appease him somewhat), but if they're good, then listen to them. They tell you to turn your guitar down, it's because out there in the audience where he has his gear set up, that's what is needed.
I hate it when people turn their instruments down for soundcheck and then crank them for the live run so you have a few seconds of blasting noise before you can bring everyone back down to a reasonable level.
This works REALLY well!
But one time, at a festival like thing with 6 different stages going off at different times the sound guy was just a horses ass, no matter how nice we tried to be. 6 piece band - drums, bass, keys, 2 guitars and vocalist - our "stage" was a bunch of picnic tables pushed together - we barely fit, but we got onstage and set up in plenty of time. But the sound guy took his sweet time getting his job done, treated us like we were something he just scraped off the bottom of his shoe, but we stayed nice... until after the show. We were supposed to have a 30 minute set - the festival was like 3 hours from home, we had promoted the crap out it and had a pretty big following show up for us there, but because of the sound guy's problem we started late. We got to play for right at 15 minutes and the sound guy cut us off saying we were out of time. The kicker? We were the last band at that part of the show - we could have played an hour and not been in anyone's way, but the sound guy made us start late and end early. I've been in enough situations where it was us taking too much time or whatever and having to deal with that, but this time it was seriously all on him. Yeah, the rhythm guitar player and I had a little "talk" with him after the show - it was all I could do to restrain said guitar player from doing bodily harm - and to tell you the truth, if the sound guy hadn't apologized when he did, I probably would've been right there with said guitar player throwing punches. And that's not how I roll (to use an already overused phrase) - but I have NEVER been that pissed off at a sound guy before.
For anyone that's interested - this was at Monsterfest in Merced 2010 - we played it again in 2011, but told the promoter the only way we'd do it is if we were on the main stage, big font billing with the main acts on the poster and no pre-sale tickets required. Surprisingly he agreed. I've always hated pay to play gigs - hadn't done one for years prior to the 2010 show and swear I will never do another one again.
i used to do a bit of live sound years ago. it was usually a church hall that put on rock bands. it was not the best room for sound. didnt take well to great ammounts of low frequencys and had a naturally bright sound so treble was a huge problem. the other problem was it was in a residential area so there were noise limits. so we would always say the following to bands "this is a tricky room to get a good sound in and we also have noise limits so try not to play too loud". most times people understood this. however we did have a few tricky bands.
like one time we soundchecked one band and then the opening band came on all cocky (i dunno if i should sensor that or not) thinking they were opening for U2. so they all set up and plug in and decide to imidetly change the amp settings. i figured the best thing to do would be to tell them "guys, this room doesnt react well to excessive treble or bass. also please dont play too loud or the police will get phoned." to which i got the dumbest reply i have ever heard
"you cant silence rock and roll, f*** the police. they just work for the man, man. also what do you know about music?"
im the soundman...... i kinda know more about this room and how certian frequencys are affected in said room than you.
"your just part of the system"
im volenteering for a church. can we please just get on with the soundcheck?
so they sound awefull to say the least. the only member who sounded good was the drummer. however i was really having trouble with the bass player and the guitar player.
excuse me, can you please turn the bass on your amp down? its kinda sounding boomy down hear and i really dont think it sounds good from where im sitting.
"im not turning down my bass. the band wont be able to hear me"
no, they really can hear you. its just your frequencys are too low and its really not sounding good.
"im still not turning down. im not even that loud"
no, im not asking you to turn your bass guitar down. im asking you to turn the bass knob on your amp down.
"what is the diffrence? can you do it for me?"
*ran up and fixed his settings to suit the room*
ok, guitar player. can you please turn down the bloody amp? im barely running you on the mixing desk because your overpowering the mix right now.
"you cant turn down rock and roll"
yes i can..... im the soundman.
"well f*** you man, your just the man"
please just turn your amp down. its too much right now. your louder than everyone else and you can barely hear them.
"stop acting like the man"
listen, im trying to make you sound good AND not get in trouble with the rozzers. i dont want the church getting in trouble with the law.
"f*** the police. if they show up i'll kick there f***ing teeth in"
JUST TURN YOUR BLOODY AMP DOWN. your too loud at the amp.
at this point he walked off in a rockstar strop. while he was away i got my friend to go up and play guitar (who thankfully turned him down" while i finnished the bloody soundcheck. after 20 mins he comes back refusing to soundcheck. fine by me since we already finnished. so the band are playing there set and unfortunatly for me the guitar player notices his volume is lower. he turns it up to 10 on the 2nd song of the set and the band are just getting drowned out. hes feeding back like hell and the band are actually loosing there place in the song because they cant even hear themselfs. im trying my best to fix the mix at the board but hes still too loud even when i mute him on the board. when the song stops he shouts into the mic.
"this one is for the soundguy who tryed to silence rock and roll. how do you like it?"
at this point i just gave up with him because i knew the police would show up due to the noise...... they did. we got asked to turn down and i said "ok, tell it to the guy there. i've tryed but he wont listen." as soon as the police started walking towards him he ran. so much for his previous statement about kicking the polices teeth in.
moral of the story? dont be a idiot.
also, please be punctual. there was one night when the band had to be on stage and set up by 9:30. so we told the band that. they all said that was fine. so its 9:20. the bands singer is nowhere to be seen. i asked my friend to check the dressing room and he came back saying "yeah, he wants another 10 mins..... he is fixing his makeup". i ask the friend to keep a eye on the mixing desk while i talk to him. he is indeed fixing his makeup.
can you please get on stage soon? we're waiting for you.
"no. im fixing my mascara and i still need to do my eye shadow and then i'll have to do my hair. i need atleast 30 mins"
is it really that importent how you look?
"yeah man. i want the dancefloor to look like a river when the girls see me walk in"
i really dont think its that importent. i dont mean to sound harsh but any time you spend in here is comming off your setlist. we have curfues to deal with.
"ok, i'll be 5 mins"
he didnt show up till 9:45. i had to cut the bands set short by 15 mins to avoid curfues and make sure the other bands got to play the full set.
Even though everyone else DOES!
What can ya do?
That's why people carry earplugs.
Calling someone up to sing on the lead singer's mic that you FINALLY got dialed in. And then calling someone ELSE up to sing on that same mic after I just got it dialed BACK in. And then letting drunk girls YELL into that same mic because you are trying to get in their pants. And then having the guitar player come over and do his one song on lead vocals on that SAME mic (because it "looks cooler" if the guy singing lead is in the middle of the stage). And then, just because you are a douche idiot, you hold your vocal mic up to the guitar amp during a screaming lead solo to look cool.
Then, of course, there's showing up late so that I can't sound check at Stinky's Bar and Grill, cuz nobody likes to eat greasy awful chicken wings while you hit the same note for 15 minutes trying to get "your tone" on stage.
I could go on and on. The best part is that I take it all in stride these days. You could be driving me up the wall but you'll never know it unless you really cross some lines. Most of the dumb stuff bands do only hurts them, not me. So I do what I can with what you give me to work with.
But in the (now locally famous) words of a recording engineer I used to work with.......
"I'm good. But I can't polish a turd."
45 minutes after sound check is completed, doors have been open for 30, show time is in 5: "My friend wants to sit in. Can you set up another mic and run another guitar line?".
This is topped off by the "friend" complaining about the monitors.
I always try to be polite and friendly to my soundguys. They're employees of the venue just like the bar tender only more important to my bands perception. I always try to introduce myself, ask them what they need from me and the band to help things go smoothly. If they are attentive and do their job well I make sure to tell them. Somtimes I have given a few bucks to the guy, especially at one place where he's working the stage board AND the FOH board at the same time, always running back and forth. Gave him some bucks, a beer and a huge thanks for helping us sound great.
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