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Rant regarding sound guy

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bassman314, Jul 31, 2007.


  1. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    So we are having problems with our sound guy at church. He's a part-time employee, while all but the bandleader are volunteers (myself included).

    He's young, but experienced, having been behind a console for about 8-10 years, despite only being 22.

    He's been with us for about 3.5 years, and consequently has developed much of an attitude of he's the only one who knows soundtech, and that it's HIS sound system, his kingdom, etc. He gets this partially becuase he was the one who did the install. It's a sweet set-up, and bt far something you don't normally see in a church of 1500 members.

    The problem arises when something needs to change. Our instrumentation is 4-6 vocalists, keys, bass, drums, and usually a guitar or 2. Our vocalists don't have one who's the leader, adn the rest are background. Tehy sing as an ensemble, with occasional soloing. He always sets our bandleader's vocals higher. She normall sings Alto, so she's not singing the melody.

    He also does things like rolling off all the EQ on my bass, except for the low-end, which is cranked. Then I get blamed for the 'bass being too loud'. I ask for it to be turned up, because ALL I hear is the Booming bass, but I can't tell for the life of me if I'm on the right note or not. This is REALLY problematic when I play my fretless.

    We've been trying to work with him to fix alot of the stuff, but he just drags his heels and will complain about how none of us know what he's doing.

    Oh.. and he tends to call in at the last minute, ESPECIALLY for rehearsals, about how he can't make it as 'something came up', which normally means that his girlfriend (who he lives with) wants to spend that evening out with him. Never mind that our rehearsal date and time hasn't moved in 3 years.

    Lately, it's gotten to the point that we have to do 'stealth' activities to fix things. I'm currently taking the time to EQ myself on Saturdays. We're all getting together to learn the equipment ourselves, etc.

    I was talking with our band leader and her husband (our keyboard player) and she is really trying hard to find some way to get him back on board with us. I told her, that given his age:experience ratio, he just doesn't have that maturity that normally comes along with working in an industry for 10 years, and that unfortunately, the only real way he will learn from this, and that we will be able to get the sound we need, is that we move on without him.

    </rant>

    I know other people in here have dealt with this before. Anything else anyone can recommend?
     
  2. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    Normally when employees fail to preform they get re trained or fired.
     
  3. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Unfortunately, that's pretty much where this is headed. The problem? Churches NEVER fire people. We might have to. The issues here aren't even the whole story.
     
  4. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    He has experience but lacks every other quality needed to be part of a functioning group. By the way he's adjusting your sound it doesn't seem that experience is worth much either.

    If you have resorted to sneaking around behind him to try and solve the issues then it's officially gone beyond a joke.

    Its not nice firing somebody but unless you want to keep arrangements as they are then I would say someones got to bite the bullet and just get it over and done with.

    Maybe an ultimatum might bring about an attitude change. But if he's immature then chances are that change wouldn't last long.

    edit: not only is he a bad sound engineer inflexible unreliable immature but your paying him to do all this :eyebrow:

    Fire him
     
  5. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I'm in total agreement with you. The last year, he's been increasingly more and more unprofessional. I'm in the process of writing up a letter to the band director and the music director about how I see things.

    Maybe that will move things along.
     
  6. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    If it helps you can tell them theshadow2001 says he should be fired too :)
     
  7. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    I wish I had your problems. There's a reason that this is in our performance contract:

    "Treasure Junkie asks for Purchaser&#8217;s best, regular soundperson to run the sound systems for Treasure Junkie and be present and available to do so if needed. Purchaser&#8217;s soundperson must be sober and adequately trained in the proper use of venue's monitoring systems and live performance audio systems to adequately deliver high-quality sound to Treasure Junkie and the audience. Purchaser&#8217;s soundperson is hereby expressly prohibited from imbibing any alcohol or smoking, ingesting, or injecting any controlled substances or narcotics as described in DEA Title 21, Section 802, within twenty-four (24) hours before or during the performance, unless soundperson has a bona fide medical need and prescription for said controlled substance or narcotics from a government-licensed medical doctor."

    ;)
     
  8. Cactusgrant

    Cactusgrant

    Jul 27, 2006
    Jeez within 24 hours? Looks like I won't be getting the gig....
     
  9. DanielleMuscato

    DanielleMuscato

    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    We generally don't enforce that, unless he's obviously drunk or otherwise f***** up...

    - Dave
     
  10. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    *L* yeah no meth heads, heroin junkies or stoners at our board..

    Maybe we need a rider for our church band *L*
     
  11. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    I sat down and started drafting the letter, and well.. I realized that while I had tons I COULD say, none of it was really going to help the situation.

    All the powers that be are completely aware of what is going on. It's either going to come to a hea, or it won't.

    I decided that even though I'm pissed about much of it, all I can do is let go and concentrating on playing bass and worshiping, and let him stand or fall on his own abilities. I don't need to protect him or cut him down.

    so yeah.. thanks for the input (and other crazy Sound Guy stories are still appreciated), it was great to be able to just rant, and now I feel like a weight is lifted.
     
  12. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Coming from the former touring hum head around here...

    Your guy doesn't have clue #1, either from a technical perspective or (obviously) a personal relations perspective.

    Regardless of what he thinks, doing an install does not make him an expert. I've done close to 100 installs and consulting jobs over the years, and I certainly don't know everything about audio.

    From a technical basis, your description of his attitude and EQ skills are exactly what I would look for when meeting a sound tech for the first time as a system provider. In both areas, he screams "HACK!". Any time I see a sound engineer cut the highs and slam the lows on the bass channel, my limiters get cranked airtight on the mains.

    Unfortunately, he needs to be told that his performance is not acceptable on a technical or personal (including missing rehearsals) level, and he needs to either show the proper skills and humility or look for other employment.

    God didn't intend for every person who likes blinking lights to work in tech ministry.

    -Mark
     
  13. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    :eek: One, I am pretty sure that clause would be illegal in Canada. Two, how do you ever find a sound man? Or do you bring your own? Most sound men here are musicians.
     
  14. JoshB

    JoshB A great man is always willing to be little. -RWE Supporting Member

    Smartbutt answer? It's church sound...welcome! ;)

    I feel your pain, both as an engineer AND as a bassist. Luckily, me being the tech director makes it a bit easier to point things out in the midst of it all.

    I agree with what Mark said...and add that years doing sound do NOT equal a good grasp of a system, EQ, mixing for the room, or anything else as a matter of fact. I've been hired on several occasions to come in and clean up after someone like this in churches as well as bars/clubs and some schools even.

    Bottom line, get rid of him if you absolutely cannot stand it or he is unteachable. If he's willing to learn, get someone in there to teach him! The, "It's MY system!" mentality, has to go before that can happen though.

    Since you asked for stories about sound guys...this isn't a bad story, but it's one from me engineering that's pretty funny.

    The sound company I work for has mixed for BB King twice in the 3 years I've been with the company. (In fact...I think we are doing him again in the fall...not sure if we won the bid or not...) The second time, I mixed monitors with another engineer from our company. We were mixing Mr. King's monitors...asking if that was ok, or the level on this instrument or that instrument was alright. After about 3 minutes of this, he turns to us and says, "First of all, my name is BB, not Mr. King. Calling me that makes me feel old. More importantly, I'm going deaf, so just turn everything up nice and loud and leave it that way!" So we did...and he smiled and thanked us.

    Not a bad engineer story, but a funny one. I have plenty of bad ones and I'm sure I'll have more in the coming years, but this one is for sure one of the more memorable ones...
     
  15. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001

    Jun 17, 2004
    Ireland
    What about letting the people at the church know he's coming late/not showing up to practice and that he should be fined for not doing his job in it's full extent.

    At least he'd show to practice, although I don't know how advantageous that would be.
     
  16. bassman314

    bassman314 I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process...

    Mar 13, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    They know *L* trust me. Last week, our band leader about ripped heads off.
     
  17. JKT

    JKT

    Apr 30, 2007
    Buffalo NY
    Endorsing Artist: Barker Basses
    The original post is just one more example of the body of Christ being shallow and muddy at best. There just is not the talent pool compared to the secular world. On either end of the room. I wish it were different but it's not.

    In addition if I had a nickel for every "soundman" who knew what all the knobs were for, but had absolutely no ear, I would be typing this from a beach somewhere.

    The best techs are also musicians. Ones that have an ear.

    JKT
     
  18. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    We always joke that most of us who are sound techs are frustrated musicians. Not as much glory, but the work is a lot more steady! :p

    -Mark
     
  19. Please keep us updated on your story. I used to play at church many years ago and I feel your pain. Churches dont lke to fire anybody, but it is a problem that wont go away. I think its time for a meeting with the whole band & get them on side first.

    Best of luck to you, please keep us updated.

    Rusty
     
  20. bopeuph

    bopeuph

    Jul 3, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    I found this on a local soundguy's Myspace page a while ago:


    "The wise words of Henry Rollins best sums it up... 'Listen to the stage manager and get on stage when they tell you to. Know one has time for the rock star ********. None of the techs backstage care if you're David Bowie or the milkman . When you act like a jerk, they are completely unimpressed with the infantile display that you might think comes with you're dubious status. They were there hours before you building the stage, and they will be there hours after you tearing it down. They should get your salary and you should get theirs......................................."

    Now, I don't mind that someone says don't be an ass, but from what I've noticed, sound guys almost ALWAYS instigate the trouble. The last sentence just really irks me. If there was no musician, would there be a need to pay the sound crew?

    Nick
     

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