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cruel to the sound guy?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by eric atkinson, Feb 25, 2005.

  1. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    I was amazed the other day when my nephew talked me into going and seeing some frinds of his i a band. We got there early so i could talk to the sound guy which i new from several shows that he has done for us. The band that was setting up was making cracks at him and bossing him around like he was a idiot! And trust me this guy is a awsome sound guy. What kind of idiot is nasty at the sound guy? All that sound guy has to do to ruin youre entire night is tweek a couple things. So just to inform any new guys to gigging take my advice be very nice but firm with youre sound guy! Let him know what you want and dont settle for anything else but at the same time be nice about it! Anyways the sound guy was pro enough to still do the sound ok even though i was trying to talk him into some kareokee break in. Just crazy man tottaly blew my mind!
  2. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Yes, a good sound guy is worth his weight in gold. On the other hand, most sound guys "aren't" (good). I agree with the advice posted. Be nice, but firm. Don't take any BS, and don't let the sound guy run the show. :)
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, you should make the sound guy your best friend, but still make sure he knows what kind of sound you are after.

    If the guy is hired by you to run sound, he is employed by you and should be working in your best interest. If he runs a sound company and is hired by you, you are still paying him, so the same thing applies.

    If you are part of a bigger show with other bands, then he is not under your "control" and being nice to him is even more important as he has no reason to do you any favors.

    Treating the sound guy bad is just bad business and more importantly, a rotten way to be towards people in general.
  4. There was one sound guy who I was rude to. My band was playing a club that the sound company had to bring in a PA when bands played there. At the end of the nite I helped this guy carry the PA up the stairs, and it took a good while and a good amount of effort. A month or so later the guy cut off my band at the end of the nite- not because it was bar time- not because the bar owner said to cut it- because he wanted to go home. We're talking shut off the PA mid song. I was a knob to him. Oddly enough, I only saw him doing sound once after that.
  5. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    These guys were teasing him and poking fun at his dred locks! Golden boy sounds like you needed to fit that pa up that sound guys butt!
  6. NJL


    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    we have this great sound guy for our tuesday night house band gig. he's really, really great. he's not mr. technical, but can troubleshoot quicker than anyone. we treat him as one of the band members and do announce him like we announce band members. he and i get along great cause he's also a bass player.

    some engineers suck, but that doesn't mean you have to be a dick.

    i consider myself lucky cause i come from a family of sound engineers (studio and live) - and they are considered big whigs in the industry. one of them even has a whole chapter in a SR book. so when they come through town, the FoH at my gigs always get nervous :D
  7. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Wow i was jeaulus at the sound guy-bass player idea! That would be great!
  8. wyliee


    Jul 6, 2003
    South Hill, WA
    It amazes me that so many bands will put in countless hours of practice, but just have 'some guy' working FOH and expect everything to sound like rehearsal. Communication is a huge issue here. Speaking as a FOH engineer, I always get set lists and talk through the songs with the band before the gig. If I don't know what you're doing, I cannot help you make it the best possible gig.

    Respect and trust are, perhaps, even bigger issues. Both the engineer and band need to work together. Yes, the FOH guy needs to listen to your expectations, but the band also needs to listen to his/her suggestions. What you hear onstage is not going to be the same as what is coming out of the mains.

    A pro would never ruin a show because of the band. However, that pro's rates might start creeping up or his availability might suddenly become very limited and the band will have to find someone else.

    Speaking for myself, there have been times I've let a band member chew on me a bit, but it has been because I recognized they needed to let off some steam before the show and, had they not done so, wouldn't have been in the right mindset to give their best performance. I always make it a point to talk to the band afterwards and clear up any issues. If someone is giving me crap just because they feel like it or feel entitled in some way.... well, I don't have to mix for them again. Pay me and I'll hit the road.
  9. eric atkinson

    eric atkinson "Is our children learning "Is our teachers teachin

    Feb 4, 2001
    Last gig i ran sound for was some woman that does music for children called critter rock! Man i thought before the gig this is gonna suck. But i wanted to run behind the stage with this woman! She was awsome at whatg she did and man was she great looking! And a huge flirt. Kinda funny setting up a huge system for a bunch of 6 year olds. By the end of the show i was helping throw stuffed animals out in the audience.
  10. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    You never go knocking at the sound guy unless you want to sound bad...I'm the sound guy at my church, and its not like I'd make it sound bad on purpose...its the new board, I'm tellin ya :p (Seriously, I wouldn't, still trying to figure out the new Berhinger board from the Mackie)
  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    The only time I yell at a sound guy is when he sucks. And that's after I have asked him very nicley to turn up my bass, or to turn the vocals down etc. If I get "well I'm the sound guy and blah blah blah" then I ask the bar owner if we could run our own board or if one of our friends could run the board because the sound guy SUCKS!
  12. jayzarecki


    Feb 23, 2005
    san diego, CA
    lol, yeah we've played several gigs at a local bar in SD that will remain nameless....but the sound guy would do a sound check and kinda walk away and go outsuide during the first song, and you see him walking aroudn all night...you coudl never hear anythign but my bass onstage and teh drums, the drummer coudl only hear teh bass also...and teh guirarist had nothign...we souldnded liek **** in there everytime...i hate playign there.... we coudl never find the guy while we were playin and constanly send teh road crew lookign for him...we tried to get the drum tech back in the booth once,,,but it was locked...... figures, i dont think that guy works there anymore...
  13. chekerbored


    Nov 18, 2004
    Ok, the sound guys at our church are ridiculus. I understand that patience is one thing, but waiting for them to quit playing on the computer or arguing with them to turn their CD off so we can tune and sound check is stupid. I know this stuff takes time, I've ran sound a couple times myself, but when you ask them to put a little more bass in the monitor and they BLAST it and refuse to turn it down because thats what you asked for is retarded. And thats why I'm certified (as of today) to run sound at the church. Only hafta have those jerks do my sound check and i can do everyone else's if they wanna play video games...ugh.
  14. HiFi


    Apr 20, 2002
    Anaheim, CA
    One night this club that my band was playing at was told that we had to use the "house sound guy" so we figured we'd just go with it and hope for the best. (My experiences with sound guys have been less than enjoyable). This guy walks in and starts asking us our preferences and worked the entire time before and during our set to make sure things were just how we wanted them. I was more than impressed with his willingness to serve us and we treated him with the utmost respect and bought him a beer because we realized the favor he had done for us.
  15. rfalter


    Jul 20, 2004
    Pasadena, MD
    Our sound tech is also a bass player. Not only does he give me plenty of space in the mix, he is letting me use his MusicMan. Thanks Ron !
  16. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    Well, heres how my friend whose up in sound put it: Turn it up until its too loud for htem/they tell you to stop. I mean, I'll turn it down/stop when they want it, and well, its always easier to have someone who actually plays instruments and knows whats going on running sound because its easier to relate, or at least they know how you're feelin if things are goin crappy because of them.
  17. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    The last band I was in had their own sound guy. He was literally part of the band and went with us to out of town shows. He was part of all band meetings. We had (and still have) the kind of relationship where we hang out outside of band functions and so on, just like with other band members. He has a lot of pull in the band, although he doesn't have creative input.

    To deal with club owners who had an on-staff sound guy, we told them in advance that we were bringing our own. If they would only let us use their sound system if we used their sound guy, we just brought our PA too. It was worth lugging all of the extra gear to get someone who knew the music and was friends with us so that the stage mix and crowd mix was a known quality.

    Reacting to a malicious sound guy is one thing, but they are as an important part of the team as anyone in the band as far as I'm concerned. They have an important job to do that can be a real pain if the club isn't set up for good sound (ie bad layout, subpar equipment). People bringing in high wattage amps that are cranked complicates matters enormously as well. But they are the middle lion in the Voltron that is a live show and economics dictate that they wouldn't be there if they weren't necessary. It's amazing to me that most of the replies in this thread have been along the lines of "f**k the sound guy". What do you think the sound guy is saying to the club's booking person after you guys leave?

    Unless I'm playing with a band's regular sound guy, one of the first things I do when I show up is buy them a beer if I have time, or at least chat them up a bit. I make friends with them and advise them that the music is my department and the FOH mix is theirs, so they should let me know how I can help them out. It's always appreciated and generally ensures that fighting with the sound guy isn't going to happen that night.
  18. Droog


    Aug 14, 2003
    I started doing sound well before I ever became a musician so I have a little different perspective than most, but it amazes me sometimes how inept sound guys (gals) can be as well as how oblivious musicians are to sound re-inforcement. Most of the sound persons that suck out there usually have no real formal training at what they are doing, often times a failed musician that likes to turn knobs and he/she may not really know what they are doing. Not to say that you have to take classes or anything but there is definately more than just equipment involved with running sound. Finesse for one.

    As stated before, communication is very important, a lot of people are very concerned with what they need/want and not what others need. I am way more likely to take a gig doing sound with somebody(s) that want to talk a head of time and convey what they need. This will also allow me to discuss what I can and cannot do for them within the confines of the venue. Also establishing an order of operations is very nice. For instance there is a singer/guitar player. I tell him to start playing, I will then get my levels set at the board and then I'll bring him into the monitors and then I will bring him into the PA, and follow the same algorithim for vocals and everybody else. Almost invariably if you don't establish how you work somebody is going to step to a mic and talk into and if they cant hear themselves they are going to glare at you, just relax I'll get to your mic after I have the lead singer situated.

    Though there is no excuse to set levels and walk away. It just does not work that way. Good sound people are attentive and intuitive, good luck finding that in a bar.

    So speaking as a sound guy and a bass player I would say to keep in mind that the sound guy has more than just your bass on his mind so be patient and communicate. Sound guys should remember that the people are there to see the musicians so due your best to accomodate them. Its amazing how many crappy show occur because of ego battles.

    As like any other creative endevor, communication is hey.

    Ok I am done. Just don't start bitching about DI's :)
  19. One thing to consider, before jumping to the "sucky soundguy" conclusion....

    Sometimes the acoustics of the stage and the room are just plain bad. Case in point:

    At a recent multi-band gig, there were several bands that were well above the mark in terms of talent and experience. Playing through a gorgeous PA. Ran by the best soundguy in the city. Still sounded like crap. The stage sounded like crap as well. Acoustically, a bad stage and bad room, period. No amount of engineering credentials or experience can magically make ice cream out of dog skat.

    If you've been there and responsible for the result, you would understand. I have played and mixed in enough acoustic environments to realize that it isn't always fixable.
  20. willgroove2


    Aug 16, 2003
    chicago IL
    Endorsing Artist;Essential sound products,Dunlop, Ergo Instruments
    a few years ago i was gigging down in orlando FL at pleasure island at their jazz club.we were doing a two week run and on the first day i knew there was going to be trouble with the soundman because during load-in/sound check he announced that he really didn't want to be there and didn't like jazz/funk of any type(and guess what we were playing?you got it jazz/funk)the club supplied backline and i had a demeter/crest/edens rig witch was cool because that what i had for a rig personaly.we start sound check and i play a low c or d flat and he jumps on the talkback and says "is that a five string?" i replied yes it is and he say "oh i don't like five string's, please roll off some bass on your rig because i don't want any rumble" i looked at my band mates and said uh oh this going to be a long two weeks.so the first few day's we deal with this guy and no matter what we do or how nice we act he is just angry all the time for no reason.finally one night we start the first tune, come to a break-down for the sax solo and hear a cool echo on the snare,we all look up and see a different guy running FOH and he was great! used delays panning all the things that make a band sound great on stage.turns out that the regular dude called in sick and this guy had just came of the road with a major country artist and was picking up some fill-in work.we asked the manager if we could get him for the rest of our run and he made it happen,so we got to enjoy the skills of a great soundman for the rest of the run.