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Becoming that "[...] sound guy"


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  • Becoming that "[...] sound guy"

    So, I'm starting to see myself become that "**************************** sound guy"

    Last night's gig was 2 bands playing a stag and doe for a local couple. The first band was a couple in their 60's, playing party songs to a drum machine and backing tracks. They mentioned that "they've been touring for 40 years" but "have never worked with a sound guy, well, [they] did once but he couldn't make the tracks work". They had a lot of odd requests, which made it painfully obvious they don't work with production. I patiently managed to get them through a line check to sort out the monitors (which they wanted LOUD AS ****************) and get ready for the show. They weren't too bad I guess.

    They were nice, but I found myself getting really frustrated with them. The guy kept asking me questions about my experience and what work I've done... dude this is a family stag 'n doe, not a world tour. It took a lot of effort to keep them on task, but once we got the show going they were extremely happy. They wanted my contact info to spread the word of our sound services. That's nice, I guess.

    The next band was a really good blues band, they were super easy to work with and were very happy with the sound. They also said they'd spread the word and try to get me more work. Cool.

    It was a long night but I managed to keep it together and make the night go smoothly. Getting paid in advance really helped, though. It took a lot of effort to avoid coming across as condescending, which was very hard with the first band who kept saying things like "if you can't get it to work I'm bringing in my PA" and "why don't you have 1/4" inputs?? our mixer does!"

  • #2

    Well done .

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    • Tomm Williams
      Tomm Williams commented
      Editing a comment

      What is meant by "stag and doe"? Not a term I'm familiar with.

  • #3
    Bachelor and bachelorette


    • agedhorse
      agedhorse commented
      Editing a comment

      I was a the assh*le sound guy last night (actually the TD but the thought's the same), the band's production manager blamed me for the weather!!!


      Fortunately, I do this mostly for the money and take the good times whenever they come.

  • #4
    I once worked with a singer songwriter who walked in like she owned the place, used terms like "Are you my sound tech?" and had a bunch of strange requests/no idea what she needed. Total diva. When it came time to make some noise, her guitar was laughably out of tune... The other engineer and I looked at each other and struggled to hide the snickering. We wanted to say something but figured we'd be told we were wrong.


    • #5

      There are many times where it is SO hard to just keep your mouth shut. I am not known for my pateince and tolorance of stupidity and attitude... but you just have to remain professional... for as long as possible anyway!

      In general IME, the better the musicians; the easier it is to work with them. I have only had a couple of really good players act like ****************************s. I've had a ton of inexperienced mediocore "gods of the bedroom"... usually members of the opening acts... but in general, by the time they can afford me, they've paid their dues and know how to work with others to pull off a successful show. These are the guys I prefer to work with (obviously).

      Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. -Will Rogershttp://facebook.com/SpitShineRocks


      • lonotes
        lonotes commented
        Editing a comment

        Must've been something in the air this weekend. I, too had a bit of a conflict with a mediocre singer that was severely afflicted with Lead Singer Diva Syndrome. He was dictating all sorts of ridiculous demands that I simply was not going to accomodate because a; they would not fix the minor problems that we were having, and b; they were ridiculous to begin with. At one point he got so upset with me (I remained calm but firm throughout) that he gave the ultimatum of "it's either him or me" to the club owner. The owner replied (with no hesitation whatsoever) "Dude, you do what you gotta do, but he's my sound guy. He's not going anywhere". Over the course of the next few minutes all of the other band members apologized to me for his behavior, and lamenting that this is something that they have to deal with all of the time from him.

    • #6
      In pretty lucky in that I don't end up with many divas.

      Knock on wood. LoL
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      • Rob_H
        Rob_H commented
        Editing a comment

        It is tough to keep your cool for sure...one band I work with has a singer who is over the top ego and mediocre karokee talent level at best...the rest of the band is really good to work with...some of his antics include telling me through the mic (part way through the song) what he needs for EQ changes...so tempted at times just to crank feedback into his monitor every time he does it...


        Agree 100% on the talent level comments having an impact, I used to do a fair bit of work on film sets and it is generally the people you have never heard of who are the drama queens..


        One thing I have found helps is where possible, I have a quick chat with the band as far in advance of the gig as possible to find out what they are bringing and what they want through monitors, do they have any preferences with what gets mic'd and what goes direct, do they have any of their own mics or DI boxes they want to use instead of mine etc. I know for some of you that probably isn't practical but it helps if you can. It also helps me prepare for if they insist on running junk and what do I need to do about it.

    • #7
      I give people 3 chances while trying my best to remain calm, nice, and solving any issues. But if I'm doing everything I can to make them happy and they're still giving me ****************, well that's when the gloves come off. I don't give a **************** if you're a huge icon in the music business, or a nobody, if you treat me like **************** its coming right back at you.


      • #8

        I'm usually known for being pretty patient and helpful when mixing bands, but I did lose my patience last weekend with a band I have mixed before who came through a club I mix at. Well, at least I did with the drummer. It was a Fri/Sat with the same band. They recently got a new drummer, and Friday, he was really loud and basically bashing the drums and cymbals.  That caused the band to increase their volume, which caused the club manager to ask me to lower the volume.  I did as best I could, and then talked to the drummer on break and politely asked him if he could play much quieter so the overall band volume could get back to normal. I also talked to the band leader about the situation.  This night the band did only two long sets, so only one break.

        Well, you can guess what happened.  The drummer quieted down for only a couple songs, then reverted back to his 'bashing' the rest of the way.  The rest of the band did try to keep it down, which was nice, but the drummer basically was overpowering them. I finally walked up to the stage and glared at him, but he basically blew me off. 

        At the end of the night,  I talked again with the leader, a nice guy, and let him know the drummer was hurting his band's performance.  He said he'd talk to the drummer for next time. 

        As it turned out, the 'basher' couldn't make the Sat. show, so they got a sub drummer. He turned out to be a real pro, who played at a very reasonable level with nice dynamics.  This allowed the band to play at a lower level too, so stage volume was great, and everything was able to be in the mix.

        At the end of the night, the leader basically said, yeah, you were sure right about the situation. It was a night and day difference and I could tell the band got a lesson in how different things can be between two drummers and how it can affect their show.  It will be interesting to see what happens the next time they come through with their loud drummer.  That is, if he's still in the band, lol.