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Same song, new approach.

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  • Same song, new approach.

    I have mentioned in the past that some of my "friends" (I am re-evaluating that term) are constantly trying to get me to do sound for their jobs for free. I have stated for some time now that "I no longer do freebies". It doesn't seem to stop their attempts however. The newest one is a bit different; I play bass in a Praise & Worship group with this friend (make that acquaintance), and am the defacto sound guy for the house PA system. I also play mandolin and guitar in a bluegrass band. The P&W guy is playing a private party and wrote a song he wants to hear on mandolin. So he asked me to sit in with him for that song and perhaps a couple of others.

    Then he says " Oh by-the-way, this is an outdoor job and I'm using my small PA system. He has something like a Fender Passport, which will probably be way too small for outdoor. He then started talking about how many mics will be needed. I'm getting the distinct impression that he's trying to get me to do sound for free by coming at it from a different angle. I'm sure he knows I will say "not for free" if he asks me outright, and that this is kind of an end run around the issue.

    He has made it clear in the past that he places little value (dollar wise) on having someone provide sound for his events. This is the same guy who sends periodic payments of $200 to a Nashville songwriter and grammy nominee just to support her good work. I am of two schools of thought on this issue; one, I show up and do nothing to help set up the sound gear, or engineer during the performance. I would play my song or two and leave, since I already have another engagement a little later. Or, two; just tell him no and go about my previously planned business. My main goal here is to make it clear to him that I will not be drafted into doing a free sound job just because we are supposed to be friends. I'm thinking a true friend would understand that I am involved in the sound business to make money and not ask for such favors. In the past I have done sound jobs for him at a discounted rate, which he still thought was too high.

    I might add that I have never asked him for any favors of any kind, so this is not that kind of situation.

    Any insight you can offer is welcome.

    Thanks in advance, One_Dude

    I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.

  • #2
    " Oh by-the-way, this is an outdoor job and I'm using my small PA system......"
    The above statement says it all....
    The guy seems like he is "entitled"....

    What I would do:
    Ask him what time he expects to play his "tune" that you are on. Show up on time, play, and have a beer....

    Do not show up early for a "sound check" as he may expect to have you take care of things (babysit the rig)....

    Some bands I have played with I have done the sound for the good of the group....no problem at all if all the guys help move/set up the gear and do not act "entitled".
    As soon as I get even a hint of "entitlement" I let the rest of them deal with it and I become a sax player only.


    • #3
      Run, don't walk away
      Former product development engineer: Genz Benz, a KMC Music/FMIC/JAM Industries Company, continuing factory level product support and service for Genz Benz

      Currently product development engineer: Mesa Boogie


      • #4
        My advice is to avoid mixing the two. Either perform or do sound, not both at the same event. This should make any issue about demanding a fee easier for all to understand. Furthermore, you seem to have identified your associate as the very type of person who does not value the skills of others. It may be time to tell him "No" to anything and the problem is solved. I have one particular client that is a royal PITA and makes each job more difficult than needed. Although I do business with them, they receive "special" pricing to accommodate the headache that is certain to come.

        A&H GL2800 console, BagEnd Crystals over D-18's, 12"and 15" BagEnd and EAW wedges powered and processed by QSC, Klark, BSS, Symetrix, Valley, Sabine, Peavey and BagEnd INFRA.


        • #5
          Tomm may be on to something. Tell your friend that you'd be happy to play but have other obligations in the day (never mind that it's browsing You Tube etc..... . Also make it clear that you don't mix performance with engineering. As already recommended, show up on time, play your part and leave to attend to your other "obligations".

          FWIW I prefer to NOT mix performing with doing sound (of course I'm primarily a drummer so my position makes it doubly difficult). I have done this a few times and the quality of both has suffered as a result.

          Just my .02
          J.R. Previously jrble

          See my Dog Of The Hair studio at: http://www.dogoth.com/studio/

          Quote from someone: Flat response? Get out the jack and change the tire.
          If you think "power is knowledge", you have it backwards.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tomm Williams View Post
            Although I do business with them, they receive "special" pricing to accommodate the headache that is certain to come.
            I too have added an additional fee to my sound services as a "hassle factor".
            If a gig is going to be a PITA, why not get paid extra??


            • #7
              Hi Guys, Thanks for your input. My main goal in this instance was to reinforce in my friend's (?) mind that I will not do sound for him for free. And that his backdoor approach to having me do it by circumstance was not going to work.

              I finally decided to withdraw completely from the situation since I really do have another function a bit later in the day. Trying to do both events, even if I just played on one or two songs in the first one, would have probably thrown off the timing for the later event. By the time I advised my friend (?) that I was not available that day, I am pretty sure he realized that I saw through his ploy and he came to understand that it wasn't going to work.

              With regards to running sound from the stage while playing in the group; I always avoid that, especially on outdoor jobs. When I run sound I want to hear exactly what the audience hears, and I don't think I can do that from the stage.

              Thanks again for your help; you guys are great.

              I've had enough of folks who don't know what they want, but are very good at knowing what they don't want.