Should the sound guy source backline gear too?

Discussion in 'Live Sound [BG]' started by lat, Feb 6, 2019.

  1. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    So, I got asked to do sound for a touring act at a local cultural society hall (seats about 250 people) for $300. I said sure. Good pay for doing sound.

    I find out later that the tour is a fly-in and they are only supplying their guitars. Full drum kit, 2 keyboards and rack, 3 guitar amps and a bass rig are to be sourced locally. My response was that I would help with setting up the gear / PA and doing sound, but sourcing gear would need to be someone else's job (with the exception of the bass rig, which I have experience with). My reason for pushing back on sourcing the gear is that A: I have no experience with that, and more importantly B: While I am doing sound, I want to concentrate on that. If an issue arises with some of the gear, I don't want that distracting me from doing sound.

    My question is, am I out of line for taking this stance, or is this consistent with how others would do it?

    Thanks for your feedback everyone.
    Kubicki Fan, MCF, Charlzm and 2 others like this.
  2. Barisaxman

    Barisaxman Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 17, 2005
    Omaha, NE
    If they wanted me to source/supply backline as part of my production agreement, it would cost extra as I'd probably have an extra person on hand just to deal with any issues that might arise. More than likely I'd tell them to hire backline from a professional company that has the inventory to satisfy the band's needs and the staff to provide support so I could concentrate on production. I think you're right on target.
    Zbysek, Ronzo, tekhedd and 18 others like this.
  3. LBS-bass


    Nov 22, 2017
    Hiring a sound engineer is not equivalent to hiring a sound company. If they needed gear, they should have done the latter.
  4. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Here was my response, when they questioned why I was pushing back:
    "My concerns are centered around lining up all the other gear and ensuring that is what they want / need. Those tasks bring this more into the realm of event production as opposed to just doing the sound.
    Having said that, I would still be willing to do this as long as my role is understood to be as the sound guy. If there is an issue with the amps, keyboards, drums provided, that would not be me that would handle that. I can take care of items after the musical equipment."
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    May 24, 2006
    I have a huge amount of respect for anyone who honestly and frankly declines to take on a task because they lack the interest, ability, experience, or resources to do the job.

    I don’t think you’re out of line at all by declining.
    Zbysek, Kubicki Fan, neuman and 10 others like this.
  6. Bufalo

    Bufalo Funk in the Trunk Supporting Member

    Jan 6, 2005
    Harrisburg, PA
    Is the venue providing the sound reinforcement equipment? If they are, then I would suspect they should be responsible for backline, as well.
  7. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    That sounds good to me. $300 doesn't even begin to cover the amps etc....
    I would try to give them a full service price and negotiate a better paycheck for yourself.
    Check your local music store for rental prices etc....
    Also get them to let you hire a 2nd person to help lug all the equipment.
    Be hospitable(As you have thus far) and be willing to negotiate.
  8. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Are they really thinking $300 will cover backline?? SMDH!
    ERMAL, kobass, okcrum and 2 others like this.
  9. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Here's a bit of back story.
    The hall in question is one I play at frequently with the two bands I'm in. The drummer that I play with in both bands is part of the cultural society that owns the hall. He is the one managing the event and he asked me to work sound for it. We will be renting the PA and backline all in one shot, so he was hoping that I would just handle backline as well. For the reasons I stated above, I pushed back on that. Basically stating that no one would end up happy if the backline got screwed up. Better to get it done right by someone that has experience and can focus on just that component.
    Fun Size Nick likes this.
  10. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    No, rentals are on top of that. $300 was just for my labour. Pretty good payday for sound, IME. That's one of the reasons why I was wondering if I was out of line....
  11. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    They have since added another guy (Guitarist in one of my bands that has an SUV we can use to haul gear). Three of us should be able to handle setup, although it will still be a long night, with all that gear.
    LBS-bass and Misfit Wookiee like this.
  12. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    I would consider backline services separate. Some large companies can provide everything: staging, lighting, sound system, backline, greenroom catering, etc, but often various parts are contracted out to separate companies. The touring act should have provided the event coordinator with various riders that specify their requirements.

    $300 to run sound is pretty decent, but it sounds like the event coordinator thinks that will be enough to pay you to hire additional stage hands and also rent a backline (including delivery). IMHO, you need to find out what the $300 is expected to cover, because it sounds like somebody may have unreasonable expectations...or maybe you just don't understand what is expected of you.

    In the event the other stage hands have been hired and an allowance is available for hiring/transporting the backline, it seems fairly reasonable for you to line up the backline service. Check the tech rider to see what type of gear is specified and make some phone calls to find out what sort of gear is available. It's very likely that you won't be able to get everything on the rider exactly as specified, so discuss how to work rider exceptions with the event coordinator.
    LBS-bass and larryatravis like this.
  13. lat


    Dec 30, 2014
    Lower Basstonia
    Some good points here...
    They did provide a rider, but there were some things missing from their rider, like lighting, that I will be adding to the rental. Greenroom catering will be handled by the hall since they have a great kitchen.
    I think he initially thought that I could do it all for 300 (rentals paid separately), but he has now come around to getting another hand, which he volunteered which is great. I think part of the problem is he doesn't know what he expects from me. I think he was hoping that he could throw money at me and I would just take care of the whole problem... Not a good way to ensure a positive result, IME.

    Here's the "tech rider" they sent, translated from their native tongue into English via Google Translate:


    "Maybe if I broke down their list to show where the lines of responsibility could be drawn:

    Green is stuff I can do:

    1 complete drum
    If you could put it together:
    Drum: 1 complete set:
    1 pc Foot drum, 1 drum drum + stand, 2 top tees and 1 stand Tam, 1 pc Footer + stand, 1 pc Ride cin plate + stand 3 pc Crash cymbals + racks, 1 pc Double foot machine. (Duble BASS)
    Keyboard Instruments:
    1 NORD Electro 5D 73 or (L100, A 100, or B3?) Hammond Organ + Leslie.
    1 piece KORG Triton
    1 shelf with two shelves.
    3 guitar amplifiers + chests (Amplifiers should have 2 channels with clear and distorted capability.)
    1 Bass Guitar Amplifier + Box (Any Type Suitable)

    3 Shure Beta 58 or SM 58 vocal microphones
    3 boom microphone stands with 1 straight microphone stand
    We carry 1 HD player, it needs at least 2 mono channel inputs to the desk.

    Monitor Roads:
    at least there should be 4 roads, but I see 2 roads. Somehow, we'll get everyone to hear everything.
    It is imperative that you have 1 chest and 1 way, or an ear monitoring option !!!
    The singer must also have 1 monitor path + 1 chest.

    Somehow it should be solved to have + 2 paths to the bassist and drummer.

    Channel allocation:

    1 foot drum
    2 parachutes
    3 feet
    4 Jan 1
    5 Tam 2
    6 Jan 3
    8. Bass guitar
    9. Nord left
    10. Nord right
    11. Korg left
    12 Korg right
    13. Guitar 1
    14. Guitar 2.
    15. Guitar 3.
    16. Singing 1.
    17. singing 2.
    18th song 3.
    19. HD left
    20. HD right

    So, if someone could take on the items in black (although of course I could recommend a bass rig to rent if needed), I can do the items in green. Maybe that's how you already envisioned this happening? If so, great! If not, then hopefully we can find someone that can address the items I have very little experience with..."


    To translate the translator... roads = outs, chest = wedge, foot drum = kick, parachutes = snare, feet = hihat, jan/tam = toms
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
  14. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    3 generic channel switching guitar amps...good luck!
    larryatravis likes this.
  15. InhumanResource

    InhumanResource Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2012
    Bucks County, PA
    I'm surprised I had to scroll this far, $300 for that job should have been a tip off that gear rental was not part of the quote. Amazing someone would fly an act anywhere and not be very very clear on this expectation from the beginning.
    Slinger likes this.
  16. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Mission creep always sucks.

    Go over everything and make sure they didn't forget something.
    MrLenny1 and larryatravis like this.
  17. Kevan Campbell

    Kevan Campbell Bergantino Artist, Vibe9 IEM Artist Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2008
    San Antonio, TX
    I’ve gotta ask, is this the first time this band has had fly dates? Is this the first time the venue management had dealt with a band flying in?

    It just sounds like one or both sides didn’t really understand what they were getting into, and hoping that since they hired you to run (not provide) sound then you could also be asked to arrange a backline for free...which is highly presumptuous in my book.
    LBS-bass and larryatravis like this.
  18. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    $300 to run sound seems great, but I'd be very wary of this gig. I think you can plan on there being unplanned gaps in what you think they need, what they think they need and what they actually need. I'm picturing a venn diagram with three circles that do not overlap.
    lat likes this.
  19. You may be correct about what you think is reasonably expected of you. But if backline is sourced from a reputable backline company and dropped off the day of the show or piecemealed together from yours and your friend's equipment, when the hammer drops that day, you will be the first person they look to for assistance. If they haven't properly planned you may also be looked to for stage management, emcee/announcements and any number of other duties you had not planned on undertaking. And while it may not be your job as you understand it, the day of the show making it work is your job, not digging your heels in. Getting in front of it all as you doing is the best course of action.

    Speaking of getting in front of it; I would be looking for a lot more clarification from the band. Did they send a dated stage plot as well? I don't how many production packages I've gotten that were so inaccurate that after I set the stage and the band showed up, I found out that the package I got was ten years old and half the band was no longer with them.
    TheBear and Wasnex like this.
  20. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    My thoughts exactly.

    Or else someone is taking advantage of someone else.

    Either way, reeks of bush league on one or both parts.

    @larryatravis, I’d be inclined to stick to the agreed upon lane of being the sound man and only the sound man.
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