dealing with unrealistic demands rant

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by wilberthenry, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. wilberthenry


    May 12, 2009
    I play in a band that is starting to get better gigs and gain some traction. Our guitar player has had two bad sound man experiences in a row and is insisting that he won't play any more gigs-including those already booked, unless we have our own person mixing and setting up that "knows the band's sound" because "we deserve the best". I have pointed out that an equal share of our take wouldn't be enough to hire even a marginally competent person. His response was pretty childish and personal and insinuated that I didn't care how we sounded. Two of the booked gigs are at pretty prestigious venues known for stellar sound where we will be opening for popular touring acts. In my experience, venues that have their own PA and sound guy don't tend to let folks they don't know near the soundboard. Cancelling on short notice would not be very helpful with getting future gigs to say the least. I am too old and too impatient to deal with this sort of soap opera garbage and am strongly considering moving on. He is far more essential to the band from a musical perspective than I am and the band would likely call it a day if he left. I have plenty of other low-drama playing opportunities to keep me busy.
  2. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    If the venue supplies house sound and a soundman an he is SOL. I have never seen a club that would let you touch a knob . Talk to the soundman and get the best mix you can. We are all at the mercy of "the soundman". If you are in charge of the sound for the night then bring it and let the know it all run it.
    I have been in a band where a member try's to always control the bands live sound, they start off a gig by ticking off the's not good.

    MYLOWFREQ Supporting Member

    May 13, 2011
    If the venues you're going to play at are prestigious, then they should have decent sound persons. Were the bad experiences he had at nicer venues? Some venues do let you bring your own sound persons, but they have their in house sound person assist him/her. I totally get your bandmate regarding his concerns however I strongly feel that prestigious venues most likely have decent enough sound persons.
    maxmaroon likes this.
  4. wilberthenry


    May 12, 2009
    No. One was at a radio station and was was at a benefit where 4 other groups played short sets. He tends to overreact amd may come around.
    CooWoo likes this.
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Agreed that if there is house sound, there is a house soundperson. Tell the guitarist to get real. He isn't Keith Richards - and I am sure there are plenty of bands who will be happy to take your gigs. If he wants to pay for a pa and soundperson, let HIM pay for it.
  6. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    Life is too short for band drama.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    What exactly led to the "bad experience"? In the opinion of the guitarist, what was it exactly? Did he try to control the sound person and then get angry about? Or did the mix not come off to his liking?

    Do the other band members agree that the mix was not the best?
  8. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    My experience has been the opposite of most here I guess. You absolutely can bring your own sound guy to most clubs or "prestigious venues". Many acts I have worked with do it. Sure, that guy will have to cooperate with the headliners guy or the house guy. But it's very common to bring your own if you are a successful act.

    Now, if the OP is in a weekend warrior cover band the guitar player is being ridiculous.

    @wilberthenry you are in a fantastic position here in that you have nothing to lose. You are prepared to leave anyway, so if things blow up no biggie.

    So just talk to the band. Tell them you're tired of the drama. Tell them this isn't rocker surgery. Tell them that every single gig isn't the one that will launch your recording contract with Sony. Sure, you want to sound good too. But at what cost? Half the band's take? Nah. All you have to do is WORK WITH THE HOUSE GUY or the HEADLINER GUY. It really is that simple. Be pleasant yet firm. Make requests but understand you won't get all of them.
  9. Mushroo

    Mushroo Guest

    Apr 2, 2007
    Here's a suggestion: Go to the "prestigious venue" a week before the gig, listen to the bands playing that night and how they sound through the house system, chat up the sound engineer, buy him a beer, give him a CD of your band (so he knows how you want the mix to sound) and slip him a few bucks, maybe a half-share of your gig "take." I guarantee you will get better results than if you are total strangers to the sound guy, showing up the night of the gig with a bad-attitude guitarist.

    ps Your guitarist should pay from his share, since he is the only person who "cares how the band sounds." ;)
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  10. Sometimes if you're playing a new venue it's best to play first and get there early and do a good soundcheck until the soundguy gets more familiar with what works and doesn't work for your particular band. We play originals music and typically play shows with other bands. We don't mind playing first if it's us and two other bands because we like to get a good soundcheck. There's a difference between an actual sound check and a quick "line check". It may be a different issue also. He may be expecting you guys to sound like your favorite band did at the house of blues or something even though your playing a local club and local clubs often have older PA systems that have seen better days. It's just something we all have to learn to deal with and make the best of as local bands. He needs to be careful about what he says because I've seen soundguys totally mess up bands sound because someone in that band was talking junk about them. It is what it is. You still have to go on and put on the best show you can. If the band gets a bad reputation because of your primadonna guitar player you're out of luck because it will be a nightmare trying to get gigs at venues with better sound.
  11. Unless you're a household name, you're gonna have to pay your dues. Putting up with a less than satisfactory FOH is part of that. Sorry.
  12. In my experience
    99% of the time front of house sounds good and 99% of the time the monitor mix sounds terrible
    If how he hears himself and the band is a concern you could probably hire someone just for monitors on the cheap.
    Best of luck to ya.
  13. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    Your guitarist sounds exactly like the kind of person who deserves to have bad experiences with sound guys. I don't deal well with this kind of poopie. Sound guys remember the bands that cause them grief.
    jamro217, obimark, DrayMiles and 7 others like this.
  14. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    If I could only own 36 basses what would they be?
    Nothing sucks more than to spend a lot of time and money getting a good band together just to have the whole experience flushed down the toilet by a bad sound man ...

    The old proverb of a tree falling in the forest and no one there to hear it and does it really make a sound ... well if the band plays well but the bands sound is destroyed by a lame ass sound guy then did the band really play well or did they just suck?
  15. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    AS others have said, you (and the rest of the band) need to have a talk with him about "being a pro" and a teamplayer. I don't know how many times I got bad sound because the sound guy didn't get what we/I was/were doing. Did I take my toys and go home? No. I griped backstage and then played my butt off once we got on stage making it sound as good as I could make it and hoped the audience would enjoy whatever was coming out of the speakers. That's life.
    ESPECIALLY if you are opening for name acts you are going to have to accept that your sound is almost certainly going to not be "right". His ego is getting ahead of him - he needs to wait his turn and get "his" sound when you are the headliners.
    As for whether you need to quit - at least give the talk a chance, once he truly understands, maybe he'll come around to the realization that you gotta play the big gigs and they are NOT going to go your way. Then one day you'll be the ones with your own sound guy.
    If you are dog showcases or special gigs where you are the headliner - absolutely put your best foot forward and spend the money to get a guy who's good and knows your sound, but the rest of the time, right now you're paying your dues.
    DrayMiles and Brian Silcock like this.
  16. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    Funny, I just used that precise wording, then I read your post.
    jamro217 and Brian Silcock like this.
  17. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Nobody cares what the opening band wants. Someone needs to help the guitarist with a reality check.
    CaseyJ, obimark, DanBass and 9 others like this.
  18. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I try to work with all soundman at the venues we play. Overall they are very helpful and have served the band and me well. There are just some musicians who have this idea of what their band should sound like and feel only they can achieve this. Sometimes its all in a persons head what the sound should be like. When a band fails to achieve "their sound" in some cases it is the lack of musicianship of its members they are trying to compensate for.

    We are all at the mercy of the soundman so work with him or haul your own gear and run it. I personally would trade for a soundman and house gear over the hours of set up and teardown my band has to do for gigs.
  19. jjmuckluckjr


    Mar 24, 2015
    "Biggbass, post: Life is too short for band drama.
    So true, but let's go the immature route. Rage quit the band, sell all of your gear and go sell insurance. No, I won't apologize to insurance salespeople, you can't make me. I'll hold my breath. Ok sorry, nap time. Good luck, and don't listen to me.:woot:

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