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#2850203 - 04/18/17 07:58 AM Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy?
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 2969
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Sorry, folks, have to rant here. Grab a good hot cup of coffee, or bowl of whatever, and pull up a piece of floor . . .

First up, I generally have all respect for professional FOH sound crews. They know their sound space far better than I do, and I know that if I work with them, they'll make me sound good. Note that I say "professional" . . .

This past weekend, I had a show with a bunch of local friends, at a neighborhood venue, a sort of loosely-run (very loosely) community center housed in a de-certified diner. They don't serve food or drinks, they just rent out the space for performers, that kind of thing. The place is funky to the point of being just this side of run-down, but most of us in here have probably played or hung out in worse places.

The in-house sound system is a beater Yamaha mixer, a pair of powered speakers, and a shit-simple cable snake/stage box set-up. You have one of three 1/4-inch Mono jacks to plug into, and that's all; generally, we only use two. Most of us bring our own small mixers, if we need more channels or inputs. There's not much to it, so there's not much to trouble-shoot, if it acts up.

At best, the system is idiosyncratic, but there's one guy who's able to get it to work. This past weekend, however, he was nowhere to be found . . .

The guy who showed up is one of the owner/organizers of the space; apparently, that was his sole qualification for being put at the soundboard. As the first act set up, asking to be plugged in, he started whining (yes, really, whining) about how he isn't really sure which Inputs to try, and that was the start of our night. I think it took fifteen or twenty minutes for him to get them coming through the house system. It did not get better from there.

I'd helped organize this weekend's schedule so there'd be as little set-up and break-down between acts as reasonably possible; in fact, the last three performances were set up to run through my mixer so there'd be NO need to change any settings on the house system, at all, between acts. It should have been nearly effortless. If the sound guy just sat on his hands, and left everything alone, his work was all but done for him, yet somehow, he managed to lose the sound while we took our brief breaks between acts?!?!?!?

I try to maintain a pleasant, professional attitude, wherever and whenever I perform, but this guy truly tested my patience. At best, he was useless; two drunks and a blind monkey couldn't have done much worse, and they might have been fun to watch, at least. I have never walked out on a performance, but I think if I see this guy at the board again, I may have to. If I'd paid to rent the place for the night, I'd want my money back, to say the least.

Thanks for letting me rant.
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#2850206 - 04/18/17 08:16 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Caevan O'Shite Online   content
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Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24315
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Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
Sorry, folks, have to rant here. Grab a good hot cup of coffee, or bowl of whatever, and pull up a piece of floor . . .

Thanks for letting me rant.


Understandable. I've had similar experiences!
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#2850215 - 04/18/17 09:10 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9360
Loc: Northern California
I think the best thing to do for a place like this is to bring your own PA amp and speakers (not just a mixer that you have to switch out with each act) and run it yourself or have one of your friends do it...that way you don't have to rely on an old pair of drunk Yamaha powered speakers that sounds like they are not working and a blind monkey LOL! cool

ps. oh yeah, it's OK to kill the Sound Guy LOL! Most of the real ones are very good and worth saving though! If a real one shows up, they can run my system any day LOL! cool


Edited by Larryz (04/18/17 09:13 AM)

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#2850226 - 04/18/17 10:01 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Larryz]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 2969
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Larryz
I think the best thing to do for a place like this is to bring your own PA amp and speakers (not just a mixer that you have to switch out with each act).


Believe me, brother, I tried . . .

The first act only needed two Mono Ins, and that devolved into bad comedy, quickly. Knowing that my friend Bev and I were going to carry most of the night between us (we were essentially 3 of the 4 acts that night), I'd purposely arranged our rig such that once it was set up at the beginning of the night, no one should have to adjust anything.

I was on solo as the second act, then I did a Synth Duo with my friend Bev, who followed with a solo act of her own; no equipment changes, no mic levels to set, no live drums, no re-cabling whatsoever. We (Bev and I) were fully plugged in and cabled up at the beginning of the night, levels set, mixer channels on, no switching required. Like I say, all this guy had to do was sit on his hands, and everything would have gone smoothly; instead, he kept screwing with things he clearly had no idea how to work, and having to find his way back to where they'd worked. Beyond incompetent.

Next time, I'm bringing a blind monkey . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/regrets-only

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#2850228 - 04/18/17 10:05 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Scott Fraser Online   content
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Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 4805
Loc: Los Angeles
In this case, since an actual sound guy is not involved, then, yes, the killing is understood to be morally justified.
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#2850253 - 04/18/17 12:16 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Caevan O'Shite Online   content
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It's even worse when you were supposed to get paid, but didn't, after the "sound guy"/"DJ" and his sorry @$$3d excuse for a PA and monitors that destroyed everything DID get paid... mad saber HeadPop rolleyes
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#2850276 - 04/18/17 01:14 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 2969
Loc: Inside the Beltway
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
It's even worse when you were supposed to get paid, but didn't, after the "sound guy"/"DJ" and his sorry @$$3d excuse for a PA and monitors that destroyed everything DID get paid... mad saber HeadPop rolleyes


Even if I'm playing without pay, the audience is still entitled to a professional presentation, period. I do everything within my power to make sure they get that, from making sure my gear is tight, to dressing up for the occasion. This is what we do, so either do it right or GTFO . . .

In fairness, I can't honestly accuse this guy of damaging anything, and even if he did manage to blow the house system, well, replacing it would be his problem, not ours. Maybe they'd even have to get something that really worked?

BTW, Scott: If only that argument would stand up in court . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

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#2850284 - 04/18/17 01:41 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Winston Psmith]
Caevan O'Shite Online   content
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Registered: 04/05/02
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Originally Posted By: Winston Psmith
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
It's even worse when you were supposed to get paid, but didn't, after the "sound guy"/"DJ" and his sorry @$$3d excuse for a PA and monitors that destroyed everything DID get paid... mad saber HeadPop rolleyes


Even if I'm playing without pay, the audience is still entitled to a professional presentation, period. I do everything within my power to make sure they get that, from making sure my gear is tight, to dressing up for the occasion. This is what we do, so either do it right or GTFO . . .

In fairness, I can't honestly accuse this guy of damaging anything, and even if he did manage to blow the house system, well, replacing it would be his problem, not ours. Maybe they'd even have to get something that really worked?

BTW, Scott: If only that argument would stand up in court . . .


FWIW, I was meaning that the so-called "sound-guy" destroyed the gig (not any of our gear) and made it difficult to perform- and got paid, after which the money was gone and there was none left to divvy-up, only excuses and empty promises of taking care of us further on down the road.

He couldn't have been much less professional- unless he'd been like a r@c!st Kay Kay Kay Elvis-impersonating pedal-steel player and PA/monitor-system owner that I once encountered, and unplugged... ! crazy

We'd originally offered to bring our own PA and monitors and let anyone and everyone use it- as did another band that was there playing before us- but we were assured that the PA and monitors were going to be provided. rolleyes
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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#2850317 - 04/18/17 04:08 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Lokair Offline
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Registered: 04/12/08
Posts: 591
Loc: Braeburn PA
I being a sound guy with a sound mind have noticed lately that some DJs/karaoke guys seem to think they are sound guys. I have showed up at gigs in the last few years where I had run sound for bands and the guy only knows how to control volume. One place saw me and asked me to help out and the wife and I just left. I said f*** em, they could have paid me to come in and do a job. I have become jaded over the years, I was playing a gig last year and offered to bring my small pa for an extra 200$ and run it, they said no and said the sound guy would be there. Their sound guy had no monitor mix, only 4 mic ins , and like 700 watts of DJ power. Lucky for me and the guys we didn't need anything else but the other bands all went down in flames. I felt bad for the bands but what could I do.

Lok

Nowa days My PA sits, and its not a great pa, but when run by a sound guy it does a good job. I was gonna upgrade a couple of years ago to all powered speakers and subs and use my existing monitor set up till I noticed everyone was under cutting prices.
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#2850363 - 04/19/17 04:00 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Lokair]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9043
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
I'm unfamiliar with all this stuff. But what I found interesting( and dismaying) was that the gleep who DID show up couldn't bring himself to admit he was clearly WAY out of his element, apologize for it, and humbly ask any one of the performers( like you Winston, who sounded like you knew WAY more about it)for any assistance. Did he at least, whenever the sound WAS working, offer an apology to the patrons?

This guy sounds as if the average DUNCE CAP would be FORM FITTING on him! wink
Whitefang
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#2850432 - 04/19/17 10:06 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: whitefang]
Danzilla Offline
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Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 5317
Loc: Baltimore, MD
Yet another reason I need to get out to one of your shows, WPS. Tin ear or not, I can at least troubleshoot a pathway and pretend to move a few sliders and knobs for ya.
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#2850436 - 04/19/17 10:17 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Danzilla]
Dannyalcatraz Offline
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Registered: 07/28/04
Posts: 4949
Loc: Dallas/FW Metroplex, Texas
What you do is set the soundboard as needed, then give the fill-in sound guy a Fisher-Price toy soundboard as a distraction.
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#2850442 - 04/19/17 11:13 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9360
Loc: Northern California
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8icdqw7i8 <---kind of like this guy LOL! cool

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#2850447 - 04/19/17 12:08 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
Caevan O'Shite Online   content
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Registered: 04/05/02
Posts: 24315
Loc: The Great Spirit's Handprint o...
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
What you do is set the soundboard as needed, then give the fill-in sound guy a Fisher-Price toy soundboard as a distraction.


Good call!
_________________________
Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~
_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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#2850454 - 04/19/17 12:57 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Larryz]
Scott Fraser Online   content
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Registered: 03/20/05
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Originally Posted By: Larryz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8icdqw7i8 <---kind of like this guy LOL! cool


No, man, he was going wireless.
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#2850460 - 04/19/17 01:43 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
Winston Psmith Offline
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Registered: 02/15/10
Posts: 2969
Loc: Inside the Beltway
@Whitefang - no apology, no excuse. FWIW, if you've ever successfully connected your television to your DVD player & your cable box, that's a more complex process than this guy faced.

@Danzilla - with all respect, brother, anyone in this Forum (and I include Whitefang, despite his claim to honest ignorance) could have done as well or better than this guy. Sometimes, just knowing when NOT to touch anything is enough; this guy wasn't even that smart.

@Caevan - sorry to say, you win there. Once we got the sound On, more or less in spite of his efforts, there were no problems with it, as such, and we didn't get stiffed to pay for his screw-up. Doubleplusnotgood.

OTOH, I have a plan for revenge. If I ever see this guy again, I'm going to patch the Bad Comrade into a S/R loop feeding only the FOH sound. When the hounds of hell start baying out of the speakers, I'll insist that all the noise is coming from his system, not mine, and to prove it, when I switch back to my little KB Amp, the sound will be pristine. Let him spend the rest of the Summer trying to find the problem . . .
_________________________
"Monsters are real, and Ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win." Stephen King

http://4-4-2music.bandcamp.com/album/regrets-only

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#2850472 - 04/19/17 02:13 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Winston Psmith]
desertbluesman Offline
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Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 4163
Loc: Near Phoenix Az
Quote:
Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy?


Nah the gendarmes take a dim view of someone messing the place with sound guy guts spewed all over the place after the grizzly murder that some of them deserve. It is OK to fire them however, set everything @ flat, and tweak from there until pleasant, then get on stage and boogie......
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#2850495 - 04/19/17 05:00 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: desertbluesman]
harvey Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/05/09
Posts: 1170
Loc: Sydney, Australia
So really, you're not actually killing a 'sound guy'...

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#2850510 - 04/19/17 07:04 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: harvey]
p90jr Offline
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Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 2738
In my experience, when I hear the title "venue owner/soundman" I usually have my spirits crash and accept that there is nothing I can do, this gig will suck... and I will be blamed for it sucking.

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#2850536 - 04/19/17 11:11 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Scott Fraser]
Larryz Offline
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Registered: 06/23/08
Posts: 9360
Loc: Northern California
Originally Posted By: Scott Fraser
Originally Posted By: Larryz
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK8icdqw7i8 <---kind of like this guy LOL! cool


No, man, he was going wireless.


LOL! Love the kids watching him work those knobs too! w00t

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#2850550 - 04/20/17 04:07 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Dannyalcatraz]
whitefang Offline
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Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 9043
Loc: Lincoln Park, MI, UNITED STATE...
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
What you do is set the soundboard as needed, then give the fill-in sound guy a Fisher-Price toy soundboard as a distraction.


grin

Sounds like what they did to Murray Wilson in one of them Beach Boys "biopics". Gave him a "dummy" board and sit him in front of the sound guy who was working the REAL one. wink

Yeah, I had NO problem hooking my TV up to all the other stuff(PLUS my home sound system). Nothing to it. But I STILL think you wouldn't want ME to be your sound guy. grin And maybe THAT might be a solution....

At the bar my ex worked at, I noticed each band they had come in used both their OWN board(s) and soundman. A few didn't even USE any of that. Just set up their amps like a "garage band" would, and still managed to sound OK. wink
Whitefang
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#2850768 - 04/21/17 04:34 AM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: whitefang]
Eric Iverson Offline
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Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 5162
Loc: Jackson Heights, NY
For a few years I played in a band whose bandleader was a professional sound guy, and he definitely knew how to get a good mix for us, and train the guy sitting at the board.
At one point I played in a church band in a building with terrible acoustics. The pastors were clueless about music and the kids at the sound board also; our bandleader would work with them on getting a soundcheck, but the kids apparently had the "blind monkey urge" to fiddle with the controls just for the hell of it, even turning off the mikes for the singers and sax player, which DID make us want to kill them.
They miked my guitar amp, and I could hear myself fine; I don't know what the audience heard, LOL.
In that environment, the only thing they really cared about was that the music should be LOUD, and if the mix was muddy or worse, so what?
Anyway, me and the bandleader finally quit, because there was a lot of other nonsense going on.
Oh well, I'm still friends with those people, but don't want to PLAY there again, for LOTS of reasons, LOL.

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#2851053 - 04/22/17 01:31 PM Re: Is It Ever Okay To Kill the Sound Guy? [Re: Caevan O'Shite]
d Offline
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Registered: 03/20/01
Posts: 5451
Loc: no longer lexington, Kenfunky,...
Originally Posted By: Caevan O'Shite
Originally Posted By: Dannyalcatraz
What you do is set the soundboard as needed, then give the fill-in sound guy a Fisher-Price toy soundboard as a distraction.


Good call!


Reminds me of the tactic K Richards used when organizing the Chuck Berry documentary Hail Hail Rock & Roll.
Onstage amp & mic attenuated at the board; "real" amp under the stage.

Per the thread title, success in such matters is dependent on careful, uh, execution & a good escape plan.
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