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Happy New Year!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mellowinman, Dec 31, 2011.

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  1. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Well, this is it.

    Last May, I had a Spinal Fusion done, and we played a show a few weeks later that I barely survived, and helped not one bit with the load in or out.

    In June, we did a 45 minute outdoor set, that would've been better if we hadn't tried to add a second guitar, and if we'd had a better drummer.

    In July, we did the worst gig of my life, in a crappy trailer camp in Ohio.

    Since then, we've been getting the band tighter, bringing in drummer NUMBER FIVE, and working the heck out of our set list, and now we are BACK for a big New Year's Eve show.

    We are leaving for the venue soon, and will be there by 4:00. SIX HOURS before we have to start playing.

    Anal? You want to talk about anal?

    This is just a small room, in a local club, and many bands would get there about 7 or 8. We are going to be set up and ready to sound check by five o'clock, and ready for any of a million things to go wrong.

    My car is gassed; I checked the air in my tires; I checked the oil. I made sure our drummer is loaded and ready to go.

    I am now checking with our young guitar player, to be sure he is on his way with the truck. If he is not here with the truck by 3, or 4 at the latest, I know where I can still rent a van.

    If I have to rent a van to lug the PA, it will come out of everyone's pay equally.

    Last week we went through all four sets, from beginning to end. I have extra cords, extra power cords, extra mics, about 100 more feet of snake than we need, extra lights, numerous rolls of duct tape, extra stands, and plenty of T-shirts to sell.

    THIS is how I like to run a gig, and believe me, a few previous members/almost members disagreed with me vehemently on all of this, and most of them have not played a single show since leaving.

    I like for it to be around 7, and I have THREE HOURS until I go on, and I know every single thing has been covered, and I can stop with BAND MANAGEMENT and start with BEING A MUSICIAN!

    Woo hoo!

    There is nothing more fun than playing music.


    So, to everyone who couldn't work with me, because "you just like to have fun," take note: TONIGHT, I WILL BE HAVING FUN!!!!

    Because I finally have the organization I want around me; three other people I can rely on. (for the most part-c'mon; this IS rock and roll, after all)

    I wish all you bassists and other players, singers, fans, or just people a great, safe, fun and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

    See ya on the other side!
  2. Wow! Take the mellow out of your moniker. I've worked with the same line-up for five years, and we just all work together to make sure every gig comes off without a hitch. Have a Happy New Year, and try not to sweat every detail and enjoy being a musician.
  3. 44me


    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    I think it's a shot at irony. If not Mellow, I think you need to reread your post. Excessively anal behavior is not the same thing as being professional.
  4. more coffee

    more coffee

    Aug 31, 2011
    Denver, CO
    Great way to go about things mellowinman. Part of being a professional is recognizing the eternal presence of Murphy's Law, and meeting it head on. It sounds like you've done so.

    1. All transportation worked out, including alternate plans.
    2. Extra equipment in case of failures.
    3. A well rehearsed set list
    4. Plenty of time to allow for setup snafus, and shmoozing/relaxing time afterwards so that you're mentally ready and unstressed when it's time to rock.

    Let us know how the gig went.

  5. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I sweated every detail AND enjoyed being a musician!
  6. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    So we get there, and spend far too long setting up.

    Our drummer doesn't have any sound gear, so we "rented" some from a local sound company, in exchange for my wife doing roadie work for them at a big show last week, and we were working with a 150 foot snake on a small stage, two monitors we've never used, and an amp we've never used.

    I also used my board's only monitor out for the drummer, so I used a separate, smaller board, and splitters to get vocals and acoustic guitar and keyboards to me and the guitar player. My wife already splits herself out, so we had three monitor mixes going in a four piece band, running our own sound!

    I get all set up, and there is NOTHING going to the drummer's monitors. Remember how I mentioned I had a spinal fusion last May? One thing I hate is bending at the waist too much, and crawling around like an animal, and I had already pushed the rack unit back, because I was so confident I had everything hooked up right.

    Cables are freakin' everywhere, and I know we're starting to get short on time, and I'm HUNGRY.

    So I pull the borrowed amp, and re-wire it so we're splitting my monitor amp, using one side for the guitar player and I, (meaning now we're not separate anymore, GRRR) and one side for the drummer. Still no signal.

    Then it hits me, like a bus in traffic.


    Check! Banana clip has a wire off. Can't pull it, so I just disconnect it, and drop another one in there.

    Check! We're up and running! Sound check underway!

    We run through a couple songs, and then the owner comes over.

    She tells me everybody always plays too loud in her club, and sends everyone heading for the door, because of the club's acoustics, and we will have to play quieter.

    My drummer's snare is NOT EVEN COMING THROUGH THE PA, because it's that loud, and he's behind a six foot tool acrylic shield!!!!!

    He's reflecting off the ceiling, and I don't have a shield for that.

    I ask him can he play quieter, and he's ready to have a temper tantrum.

    So once again, I'm in between people.

    So anyway, the show goes off without a hitch, the owners love us, and say we'll definitely be back. Drummer says he can't work with my wife because she dared mention his volume, and dared ask him to take his foot of a cable she was trying to pull, and I fire him.

    He's the best drummer we have ever had, and I fired him after one gig.

    Mellow? My moniker doesn't say MELLOW!

    It says "mellowin." That means I'm BECOMING MORE MELLOW, which is true, and you'd know it, if you know me.

    One thing I don't deal with very well is unprofessional people, and if you don't know how to mic your own kit, and don't own your own mics, stands, cables and monitors, how are you supposed to play out?

    You want to place yourself at the mercy of small venue sound guys?


    Our fans said that was the best we ever sounded. It was a great show; one we are truly proud of.

    And just so everyone knows, the drummer is nuts. And I mean NUTS. He had to wear shades to hide his black eyes, because he spent the last two days calling me and telling me he was killing himself, and hitting himself in the face, and he hit his girlfriend, and he was starting to focus in on my wife as an object of his insanity.

    So I fired the best drummer this band has ever had, but he helped us prove a point:

    When we have a GREAT drummer behind us, we are the best cover band in this area. We sounded absolutely fantastic last night, and the whole venue was in love with us. We sold plenty of T-shirts; women grabbed my ass; we will definitely be invited back, and we might have even gotten some useable video, and if we did, I will post it on this thread in a few days, if anyone still cares by then, (or ever did.)

    And yes, excessively anal behavior absolutely IS the same thing as being professional. There are a million small things you have to get right when four people want to put up a sound system and light show, and play a four hour show, and sound fantastic, with a great mix, and get people on the dance floor, and keep an audience for the night.

    If we hadn't have gotten there so early last night, we were SCREWED, and I wasn't anal enough, because I should have checked the borrowed speaker cord. I was tired when we brought home the borrowed gear, and didn't feel like running a check, and since it was from one of the best sound reinforcement companies in the area, I made an ASSUMPTION, and that ASSUMPTION cost me a nice dish of french fries that I never got time to eat.

    I was really HUNGRY, too.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Masks, people, masks!
    Song Surgeon slow downer.
    IME, band management does not have to be an "anal" process.

    Seems to me that you should have known this fact ahead of time.

    Here again, the lack of preparation almost did you in. In all of the bands I've been in, we never borrowed any equipment from anyone to avoid the situation you ran into and just in case the equipment broke, we didn't want to pay for anything we didn't own.

    Several of the really good gigging bands I was in played two to four times a week year round.
    We'd roll in one to two hours ahead of time (most of the time one hour or so ), load in and be set up to play (with 10 minute sound checks) within about an hour. There was no pressure or "analness" required as we had done this hundreds of times before. Everyone has the appropriate equipment, knows how to set it up/use it and keeps it in good repair.

    In fact, most of the venues weren't open 6 hours ahead of time. We were fortunate to get them open 2 hours early. When we first got together we had to haul our equipment to local rehearsal spaces each time so we got reall good in setting up in the least amount of time.

    In one band our manager and a roadie traveled with us so we always had them to run around and if necessary, deal with the venue management or setup requirements/problems. In the other bands, we did everything ourselves.

    Whether you "feel" better about life in general if you setup 6 hours early and need 3 hours of free time until you go on stage to feel like a "musician", that's up to you. Call it being "anal", controlling, obsessive/compulsive or whatever, IME, 99% of band don't do it like that and music has been played successfully for hundreds of years.

    Like you said, "it's only rock and roll".

    Edit: Glad the gig went off well. Too bad for the drummer. Good luck with the next one.
  8. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    How does one sound fantastic playing through JBL JRX125 speakers?
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Uh, they're really good speakers for small venues.
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I don't get what your deal was on any of this.

    I DID know that ahead of time, and that's why we made sure we could get the gear the drummer couldn't provide. We did that ahead of time. What was your criticism, again?

    How was my drummer's lack of preparation a reflection of me? I made sure and COVER that. And the gear we used wasn't "borrowed," it was rented, and if it had gotten damaged, the guy we rented it from would have covered it out of his insurance, as he is a top sound reinforcement company who knows and trusts us, and assumes we would take the same care of his gear as he would.

    Being anal just means paying attention to detail. I did that, and the gig went great.

    And I haven't heard your band. I've heard a lot of other local cover bands, and here's what they all have in common:

    • No sound placement
    • Rig not in stereo
    • Terrible mix
    • Vocals buried
    • Two guitars, indistinguishable from one another
    • Drums too loud
    • Bass guitar boomy, with no clarity
    That's not what we sounded like. And most of these bands didn't run their own sound, and do their own lights, and tote all the gear. They paid a local yahoo sound reinforcement company $200.00 or more to do all that, and then they made the audience's ears bleed with a wall of noise.

    Again, that's not what we did. And as it turns out, those "three hours of free time" ended up being spent on troubleshooting.

    Every professional band that is above the level of local cover band has their sound set up many hours in advance. That is the industry standard. For you to say 99% of bands don't do it that way IN YOUR ESTIMATION just tells us how bad your estimation is.

    It's sad when someone is in the habit of doing things a certain way, and then they determine that that's the correct way to do it, and so everybody else must be doing it that way. I don't care how someone else does it in their band; I care how we do it in THIS band, and if someone finds that too anal, they don't have to play with us. I don't tell others how to run their bands, and no one will be telling me how to run mine anytime soon.

    My wife did sound for two local bands Thursday night at the Embassy Theater, one of the best stages in the area. They started bringing in gear at noon.

    For real bands, sound check is finished BEFORE the audience arrives. A real band should be able to walk onto a stage, and start the set.
  11. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Do a search on a live sound forum. They are the biggest POS that JBL sells. There target audience is idiot DJs and beginning soundmen that don't know any better. You could spend all day dicking around with them trying to get them to sound passable. My speakers sound good the moment you turn them on. If you are playing small venues I'm not sure why you are micing the snare or for that matter your obsession with running in Stereo. I do admire the fact that you spend the time trying to do it right but you are fighting a losing battle until you get some decent PA gear.
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    You haven't said one thing about what's wrong with them. They sound great. I use my EARS when I mix, and these speakers sound really good. The knock on them is that their horns are too small, but the engineering behind that is that you don't want to overpower your bottom.

    When I can walk back to the center of the venue, and I can clearly hear and feel bass and kick drum, and I can hear separation of sound, and I hear no distortion, why do you want me to believe a sound forum or internet poster that I have a POS speaker?

    And there is a very simple reason to run in stereo: Instrument and Vocal Placement.

    When two sounds occupy the same space, the mix is muddy. When you can place sound, you have clarity.

    And the reason I mic the entire kit is because it is behind a six foot high acrylic shield, and I can control the sound of the drums, and put a little bit of reverb and delay and compression on them.

    I bought the best PA I could afford. Before I had this one, we had to either rent gear, which would be DRASTICALLY lower in quality than this set up, or pay $200.00 for a local sound reinforcement "company," and be at the mercy of a guy who brings drums up to deafening level, and then says "that's as high as I can GET the vocals," when all he had to do was TURN DOWN THE DRUMS!!!

    I have listened to these guys' mix of us, and I have listened to our mix of us, and they have thousands more dollars invested in equipment, and OUR MIX SOUNDS BETTER.

    I consistently get compliments from club owners on our sound when we mix.

    I consistently DON'T GET ASKED BACK when I use the yahoos.

    I think real world evidence is going to speak to me louder than internet forums every time.

    Explain to me, in clear, understandable language, what the drawbacks of the JBL JRX125 are, and what speakers are better, and their cost.

    Have you used them? Have you had bad results? I'm not sure why you are bashing my speakers. Did one of them sleep with your wife or girlfriend? Because if it did, I will tell it how much I disapprove of this behavior, believe me. Does one of them owe you money? Man, I have that problem with my Crown amps!
  13. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    No I have never owned them. A local soundman had them and they sound like a**. The problem is they take alot of EQing to sound right. I just know you are using a 31 band or a drive rack right.;) Here is a link to what people with a clue think of them. You just hate to see it - rookie mistake Do asearch over there or at pro sound web for some more enlightenment. Just wondering if your wife is the sound person for other bands what are they using.
  14. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    So the people at A Capella are people "who have a clue," meaning you need to insult me to make your case, because the only logical inference you have made is that I somehow do NOT have a clue.

    So far, you have not made any kind of argument at all, other than to say they "sound like a**," which MEANS NOTHING.

    Not one of the posters on your thread have stated what exactly the problem is with these speakers.

    I have run many different speakers, including some EV's that cost a lot of money, and I have found that the clarity and nice tone I get from these JBL's is fantastic, and I am able to make my case without insulting anyone.

    On New Year's Eve, I played a club where the owners are very critical of band's sound, and were telling us out the gate we better not be too loud or harsh, and I managed to get us up over a very LOUD drummer without hurting anyone's ears, and those same owners were falling all over me at the end of the show telling me how great we sounded.

    I think that experience trumps your little thread on Harmony Central, with comments from people who I don't know, and whose qualifications I have no way of judging.

    What speakers are you using that sound so great, and what PA are you running? Please be more helpful, and tell me what I should be upgrading to, instead of making general statements, and wasting my time with links to forums that I don't consider on the same level as this one.
  15. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Thanks for reminding me of why I don't play in cover bands. :D Granted my experience is in other genres, but...

    If you've gone through a lot of drummers, I wonder if you'd be better off just hiring sidemen for that position. Sidemen depend on building our reputations for being 100% reliable and easy to work with, if we want to get repeat calls and referrals. A good drummer shouldn't have a problem taking direction from a bandleader, or playing at an appropriate volume. Putting the drummer behind a shield, to control the band's volume, sounds like throwing gear at a musicianship problem.

    I agree about the yahoos. Many of them have massive hearing damage.

    Still, if you regularly experience gear drama while setting up shows, then something must be amiss. We can all benefit from taking stock of our gear while off the road, stripping it down to the bare essentials, identifying the weak links, and improving our setup / teardown routines.
  16. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    My next show is Jan 20th. There's a guy here who was in the top area band of last year, and they have disbanded. He's in a couple of projects right now, and he has committed to sit in for a few shows for us.

    He has access to the gear he needs. If he brings a powered monitor, I have the feed for him, and I think I can do our next set-up quicker. I would've been twice as quick New Year's Eve if I just would have remembered the basics! FIRST you check cables!

    I hope we can have some good shows with this guy, because he is open to becoming more permanent with us, and even if that doesn't happen, he has a very good friend who he says is just as good a drummer as he is, who currently is not in a project, so there are some possibilities there.

    He will be Drummer #6, officially, and each guy has made us sound a little better than the guy before him. Drummer #4 was awesome, but he has health issues, and he just didn't have the endurance to be our guy. He was at the New Year's Eve show, and he's a real good guy.
  17. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004

    I own 6 JBL speakers. I have 4 PRX512ms and 2 PRX535s. I also own some QSC HPR151 subs. Thats my cheap gear. My nice rig is a pair of EAW NT59s and a pair of NTs22 subs. You should sell your whole rig and buy some Powered speakers with subs if you actually care about your sound. As far as the other forum some of the posters over there do large event sound and design musical gear for a living. They know way more about sound than the dumb*** bass players that post on here.:D
  18. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    And you should send me $20,000.00 so I can live the dream.

    I work for a living, pal, and I like to pay my mortgage, and utilities.

    You haven't stated a single concrete reason for this entire line of conversation. My sound is excellent, thank you very much, and I just had the people who matter, (venue owners and audience) make that very clear to me two nights ago.

    The fact that YOU and some other people who you THINK know more about sound reinforcement than people you like to insult anonymously over the internet think differently is of absolutely no consequence, UNLESS you can come up with some valid REASONS.

    The JRX125 uses it's bottom 15 inch speaker as a sub. I get plenty of bottom end from it.

    YOU believe I need a dedicated sub, am I right?

    Well, for a small to medium room, I DON'T, and experience bears me out on that. I'm not trying to make my audience feel heart palpitations, and when I walk into a club like that, I leave.

    Because you have insulted ME by claiming I don't have a clue, and because you have insulted posters to this forum in your quote above, I am done with you.

    You are beneath me, and do not deserve to have conversations with people like me.

    That is MY judgment and appraisal of the situation, and I will not waste one more moment of my time on you.
  19. modulusman

    modulusman Inactive

    Jan 18, 2004
    Well maybe the reason I own a good PA is because my band sounds better than yours.:rolleyes: Still never said what you are using for EQ or processing.:confused:
  20. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    To add to your anality..............

    - A cable tester or multimeter is your friend. They are cheap and easy to carry, and can let you identify a cable problem quickly.

    - If you are going to practice 4 sets of tunes, that would be the time to determine whether or not your drummer is too loud. If that's the case, that is the best time to address that. I find people take critique better at rehearsal than a gig, and I'd rather know whether I need to replace someone sooner or later.

    - If you are practicing at ear-splitting stadium volume levels, it might be a good idea to bring it down to the volume level required at your gigs. If your drummer was practicing to loud levels, he may think that's what gig volume is as well. Rehearsal is a good time to work on your mix as well. Better to do it at a rehearsal where you get a general mix, and use that to tweak to the differences from room to room. It'll save you time at sound check.

    - I've done in load-ins and set ups that were many hours earlier than the gig. The thing is that I made sure that the gig paid close to a days pay for my guys. And if we can avoid all that by hiring a good soundman, I will. I respect their time and energy too much, and if it's a work day like Friday, I don't expect them to take the day off to load-in and set up unless it's totally necessary and worth their while. In all honesty, 95% of the time we set up in a couple hours or less and kill time until the show. I would rather have myself or one of my bandmates make more money on their day gig, spend time with their family, etc. rather than killing time waiting for a show to start.

    - A band leader's job is to sweat the details. But, morale is a part of the job if you want to do it well. I suggest that you be anal about mellowing out. Going through 5 drummers if you're a good band with bookings isn't a good sign. You're also a husband and wife, and experienced musicians are very leery of that situation. Unless you get get guys with your level of personal intensity that can also mesh with your vision of the band and work with your style of management, it's going to be a revolving door for you. I'm not wishing you bad things or insulting you, just speaking from experience. Good drummers make or break a band, and as a bassist they directly affect your performance, so you gotta treat them well.

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