Jump to content

Don't piss off the help


Recommended Posts

  • Members

Been doing sound for around 5 years now. More or less came to the conclusion that Metal gigs are not for me. Too much damaged equipment, too much attitude. Recently got a back stage tour of a major facility with the monitor engineer who told a number of stories of the big-time folks who came through. Some were saints and some were jerk-wads. Makes me wonder, what is the view of most bands of the importance (or lack of) the sound engineers? If an engineer pissed you off, how did he do it? Do you guys feel that you usually have a good repoire with the sound guys? Always wondered what the "other side" thinks.

 

TW

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Any time my bands have worked with a sound company, it's been a pretty big deal.

No engineer has ever pissed me off - mainly because I've never given them a reason to piss me off.

During soundchecks, if it sounds even remotely close to want I need, then I tell them everything is perfect.

During the show, if I need some more of me, or another band member in the monitor, I give an enthusiastic grin, and flash the usual hand signals for what I want.

Then after the set/show, I'll compliment them on how good everything sounded and thank them.

I've made some good sound company friends around the Southeast. They've all been around and have all worked with some serious egos and assholes.

If they think you're cool, not too picky, and easy to work with, you'll sound like a million bucks.

If the sound is just bad or not to my liking, I keep my mouth shut, and still thank them for what they do.

Don't ever piss off the FOH or monitor guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I suck up to the sound guy at every gig I play.

At my last gig, no one told me that we were soundchecking

as the acoustic guy downstairs was in the middle of his

set. So I'm getting this exasperated look while trying to dial

in my settings, and I thought he needed me to turn up,

turn down, or something. He really just needed me to shut

the eff up as soon as possible. I thanked him profusely

at the end of the night, as per my usual, and he was

really nice. I only found out later that he thought I was a

total prima donna about my sound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I've had a rocky road with Sound Guys. We play medium to large rooms for the most part and the very best sound guy I had is now doing 50 years in prison for a sex crime. He REALLY knew his stuff. (Sigh!)

 

The next best guy I worked with I met while doing a benefit gig with a younger band and he did a great job but didn't care to mix for us 'classic rock older guys.'

 

All the others were just a pain in the arse. Many of them treated me like they were doing me some sort of favor. I always treated everyone I worked with with respect and professionalism but at the end of the nite, I'm the one paying the guy. I know the sound I want, please get it for me. No different that I am the one who is working for the club owner and I always do my best to please them if there are any issues.

 

Having run sound for a sound company in a larger city about 15 years ago, I finally decided it was time to bone up on the latest theory and equipment and started doing my own sound from stage. Switched the band to IEM's, mic everything and I get the main signal feeding the speakers. I have a good friend who's ears I trust, who knows the sound we're trying to get and he may make a suggestion or two during the evening depending on the dynamics of the room. Works for me and the rooms we play.

 

As a matter of fact, it works so well I've been hired to do sound for 2 other bands when I'm available.

 

If I've somehow offended someone, flame away. I'm just expressing my opinion and what I finally found that works for me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Over the years I think I've done OK in terms of establishing good relationships with the sound guys I've worked with. Recognizing that the bands I work with are teeny, tiny fish in a VERY large pond - I tend to approach sound guys with a "what do I need to do in order to help you make us sound good?" attitude - and then follow his lead to the greatest extent possible. I persist with this approach - even when I encounter those soundmen who apparently feel that they need to treat every musician like they're nothing but a pain in his ass in order to maintain control. It's been my experience that it you clearly give the guy some respect up front - and do your best to work with him - you'll get his best.

 

An engineer can piss me off quickly by refusing to communicate with us. The guy who simply goes to work and doesn't answer any questions, won't talk to you about timing (i.e., the order in which he wants things done) or seemingly ignores your feedback about sound on stage during soundchecks - frustrates the hell out of me quickly. That frustration is doubled or tripled when I'm the one who contracted the sound - and am the one answering to MY client with regards to where we're at in terms of finishing setup and soundcheck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Been doing sound for around 5 years now. More or less came to the conclusion that Metal gigs are not for me. Too much damaged equipment, too much attitude. Recently got a back stage tour of a major facility with the monitor engineer who told a number of stories of the big-time folks who came through. Some were saints and some were jerk-wads. Makes me wonder, what is the view of most bands of the importance (or lack of) the sound engineers? If an engineer pissed you off, how did he do it? Do you guys feel that you usually have a good repoire with the sound guys? Always wondered what the "other side" thinks.


TW

 

 

After checking in with the bar/venue manager, the sound guy is the second person I introduce myself to. We had a show with other bands last night, and it was important to make it as easy for him as possible. Result=great mix!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

The only time a sound guy has pissed me off is when he hasn't been there when we needed him.

 

I always try to get a good cooperative relationship going with the sound guy. They can literally make or break your gig, so you want to get along with them and communicate well and politely.

 

Really the biggest problem I've had is in little places where they have some guy who runs sound, but he really has no idea what he's doing. I don't recall any of them being jerks or getting in a fight with any of them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

Saturday night during a break, the sax player said one of the musicians in the audience wanted to know how I got the sound so good. (Mixing from stage while playing keys.) I told him it was luck. (Couldn't have anything to do with the 40 years of experience.)

 

Honestly, it's a very good cover band.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

I run sound for my band, and piss myself off all the time.


Does that count?
:D

 

Yup... we have a Driverack with all our venues preloaded.

Have pink-noise mic for anyplace else we have a gig at.

Soundchecks are usually quick and easy, but I really don't like my "soundman job". I only got it by default, because I have a great ear, I can hear problem frequencies, and I know how to slot instruments into the mix.

I tend to lock onto either the audience, or what I'm playing...so, I occasionally get small objects or plastic shot cups lobbed at me when somebody in the band isn't happy with what they're hearing. :p

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Unfortunately, I rarely find any venues where using the pink-noise mic is possible.

 

 

Good suggestion that I saw was to EQ the room at the end of the night. It chases the customers out of the place and will help the next time you're playing there. I can still see some problems, but it's got to be better than just before the gig starts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Good suggestion that I saw was to EQ the room at the end of the night. It chases the customers out of the place and will help the next time you're playing there. I can still see some problems, but it's got to be better than just before the gig starts.

 

 

That's not a bad idea!

 

The problem I have is I do mostly casuals, so I rarely see a room twice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Yup... we have a Driverack with all our venues preloaded.

 

One of these days I'll have one of those.

 

Until then I've gotta go with what I have, unfortunately.

 

The Lexicon MX-300 is helping tremendously though: compression on channel 1 insert (lead vox), and reverb on Aux2, with the return looping back into a fader so I can have a fader that controls wet/dry for background vocals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

There are some good engineers out there. I try to work with them whenever possible. They know their role, which is to deliver the band to the audience. They know how to integrate a live stage sound with an audience delivery, they make it work.

 

The other type I try to stay away from. They are the ones who erroneously believe that their defacto position as gatekeeper makes the show all about them. They try to tell the drummer how to tune his toms and to stuff his bassdrum with pillows; they demand the entire band play whisper-quiet while they themselves subsequently bring the whole thing up to earbleed level. They are an emotional drag on a band, and that creates lackluster performances.

 

An overall good show is the objective, and the good engineers get that and contribute to it while the not-so-good ones use their power as gatekeeper to stand in the way of it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

My best experiences with sound guys come from sound companies who's job it is to make everything sound good and go smoothly from band to band.

 

My worst experiences with sound guys come from "in house" guys who's job is secure whether they do a good job with this one band, or not.

 

Sound hell examples:

1) On the road in the 90's playing some bigger clubs etc and we get to a club and the sound man is FURIOUS that we aren't using him. We were a road band and we use our guy. It was in our contract. And this is the first time he's come across that? Weird how PISSED he was. Something else was in play....

 

He goes over to the rack and futzes with the crossover, inputs, lighting system, power amps etc...with 20 minutes before downbeat...."See if you don't need me now." And walks away. Our sound guy had lots of club p.a. install experience and was able to fix the house guy's tantrum to a certain degree, but there was no gates on the drums, monitor eq and a few other details. We got through it and the buyer was happy. We mentioned sound boy's tantrum to the buyer and he just rolled his eyes and changed the subject. Tantrum boy wasn't there when we played there 6 months later. The new guy was super helpful and cool.

 

2) Playing an outdoor fest and this company is running 3 bands thru the day with ONE cat doing it all. He was setting everything up then running out to the board 25 yards away from the stage, with no talkback, cupping his hands and yelling over the crowd "KIICK PLEEEZE." "SNAAARE." and running back and forth from the stage to the board. Poor guy was stressed to the MAX. Us and the other guys from the bands were pitching in, but to no avail.

 

Well, we were the third band and he got his inputs mixed up, started re routing stuff and couldn't fix it. Feedback squeals that would not go away. Kik drums lows that would not stop vibrating. He was in hell and so were we. We find out later that he was just supposed to be the monitor guy, and the 2 other soundmen didn't show up. We were un plugging the monitors to stop the squealing, and had to stop the show twice to try to get it workable. He was completely flummoxed. People were putting their hands in their ears and packing their stuff up and leaving. His confusion virtually cleared out a lawnchair crowd of about 3 or 4 hundred in about 30 minutes.

 

We weren't pissed at him as much as we were pissed at the sound company. Our manager was part of the promotional team that put the gig together. After the gig was over, the sound guy apologized to our manager and anyone who was within earshot profusely. But the sound company was like "Hate it for ya. Ya got what the contract stated." Apparently, in order to get a good price, the promoters paid in advance. Dumbasses. :facepalm:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

That's not a bad idea!


The problem I have is I do mostly casuals, so I rarely see a room twice.

 

 

Repeat business is a band's bread and butter. One venue we play once a month will book us for the entire year. (At least he has for the last two years.) Love playing there. We've gotten to know quite a few of the clients and staff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members

 

Repeat business is a band's bread and butter. One venue we play once a month will book us for the entire year. (At least he has for the last two years.) Love playing there. We've gotten to know quite a few of the clients and staff.

 

 

Yeah. I'm a bit restricted by geography and pay-scale. We've got one regular room we play currently. And even that place doesn't pay what I'd like to get paid, but we get some other gigs from it so we use it basically as a loss leader.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...