Being disrespected by the FOH engineer; has this ever happened to any bass player’s at a multi-band gig? Especially when your band is the first of a few bands before the top of the bill?

At a recent outdoor show, our band was first up for the afternoon. We previously submitted our foot print with notes concerning our feeds to and from the FOH and Monitor “engineer’s” boards - amp feeds, vocal mics, wedge or IEM monitors, etc.

In my case, I play a two-amp, wet/dry rig. So I informed the stage manager that I would provide them a “pre” XLR feed for the dry signal, and a post XLR for the wet (effects) amp. I was informed, two minutes before we were scheduled to start, that FOH was not receiving a signal from either of my amps.

It was not easy to verify as my gear is all racked together and the I/O’s to everything is via a single space patch panel. As you might have guessed the only solution, because the show was waiting on me, was play through an eagerly provided simple XLR direct box. The following set was not a fun afternoon for me. My sound wasn’t there and it compromised my playing.

Angry and embarrassed I took my gear home, set it up in the garage and began meter testing all my I/O connection points… and SURPRISE... everything was working perfectly! It was then that I had the epiphany that the FOH engineer had screwed me! He saw my rig and it upset his apple cart. I assume he thought that a bass signal has a monolithic place in the EQ spectrum and he wasn’t having any part of a “nobody” like me making special demands.

So my ultimate question is; how do heavy-weight artists (Geddy Lee, Billy Sheehan, Victor Wooten, Justin Chancellor, Chris Squire) and other multi-amp’ers do it? I think that this would be a worthwhile article for BP magazine.

I am now in the process of purchasing a Whirlwind Q-box tester. That way I’ll have a quick means of verifying that the FOH/Stage crew are ‘effing liars!