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Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
#2998663 07/15/19 04:44 PM
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A few weeks ago I got invited to join a local 80's band by a mutual friend of the lead singer. Their current keys player was transitioning out with a hard deadline of end-of-year so there was no pressure. The songlist was a good cross-section of stuff I already have "in the can" so I said sure.

Audition was 7 tunes and went fairly well, however I noticed a few musical issues like the guitar player singing unison in lieu of harmony on backup vocals, and the drummers tendency to not play the rests, causing the bass player to stutter getting back on the beat.

First rehearsal was last Friday. We ran thru 21 songs, and spent some time working through harmonies with passable success. I addressed the meter issues with the drummer and he was quite professional in his reaction, saying he would get a click in his personal stage monitor to help him lock in. He does not use in-ears.

Yesterday I attended their show to video them and experienced a bit of wtf'age.

The guitar player brought the PA and mixed from stage. They had no stage monitors (guitar player insisted he could hear himself from the mains just fine). Lead singer had ear-bugs, drummer had his little monitor (with no clicky track yet).

Despite my best-effort coaching and hand signals from FOH, the sound was horrible and the levels were constantly changing. I asked the guitar player at one point to bring his vocal down and add some FX to it. He insisted the FX would throw him off and he needed it up to hear himself from the mains. facepalm The drummer still refused to play the rests, and inexplicably seemed in a great hurry to get through rolls and fills. The lead singer couldn't find her note on several tunes and wound up delivering melodies that were a 4th off from where they should have been. The guitar player seemingly knew how to get only one basic tone from his moderately elaborate pedalboard - heavy overdrive, which he employed for every song.

On one break I discussed my sound concerns with the guitar player, offering to bring my XR-18 and iPad for subsequent shows and get an engineer to work FOH. The guitar player (who apparently runs FOH for the Kennedy Center in DC - a well known high-end venue) insisted that digital mixers sound plasticy and sterile and lack the warmth of analog. He further insisted (with escalating vehemence) that he already had the basic levels and FX settings dialed in on his Peavey mixer and no way he's gonna go through all that again on the Behringer. By then I was starting to see a pattern.

Later that evening I sent them an email declining their offer to join the band. This garnered hate-mail from both the lead singer and the guitar player. Surprisingly, the drummer sent me a very professional reply thanking me for the observations and wishing me the best.

~ vonnor


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998668 07/15/19 05:05 PM
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Frustrating experience, Bill. I could tell it wasn't going to end well. It's so hard to find the right group of guys....


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998670 07/15/19 05:08 PM
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Bullet dodge! smile


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998671 07/15/19 05:09 PM
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You went the extra miles and then some. I totally agree with you declining.

Possibly, they just want to do their own thing, and they have egos.

Its cool the drummer was open minded. Ideally, everyone should be but stuff happens.

Something much better is out there for you, is my bet.

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998678 07/15/19 06:10 PM
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As a way of promoting co-misery, I will be splitting out the videos I was able to capture, and posting them as private on my YouTube channel. It's possible a link to one of the "gems" may or may not appear in this thread shortly...


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998680 07/15/19 06:19 PM
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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998683 07/15/19 06:45 PM
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Congratulations. Took me two years to realize the egos would prevent absolutely any improvement. Zip, nada...

Vehement adherence to its the way I/we have done it doesnt even need to be stated to be fully active as an absolute. Especially, when it is unconsciously coming from the BL.


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998684 07/15/19 06:46 PM
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Sorry, Bill. Some situations let you fix them like GRollins has posted about in other threads, and the bands apparently are happy to have the help. Other times, they think they know what they are doing and that's that.

Do you know why the other keyboard player is leaving? I'm wondering if it's some of the same reasons.


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998685 07/15/19 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by vonnor
Later that evening I sent them an email declining their offer to join the band. This garnered hate-mail from both the lead singer and the guitar player.


As Michael noted, you dodged a bullet. Reminds me of when we were auditioning for a new guitarist for our band last fall. We had 5 candidates, one of whom seemed like the frontrunner (the other guys in the band knew him and had been corresponding with him online quite a bit). He came in with a half-assed "I got this gig in the bag" attitude and lost the job to another guy who just blew us away. When the first guy found out he didn't get the gig, he went off like a rocket with a rocket up its @$$. We figured we were lucky we didn't have to hang with a guy who was that unprofessional.


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998692 07/15/19 07:46 PM
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And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I audition a band at a gig.

The bullet that you dodged is a spotlight-hogging narcissist "look at me everybody" guitar hero who insisted on running his PA with his equipment because it sounds good with his guitar, and with egotistical attention whore guitar hero in charge of mixing he will always be heard and the singer & keyboard player will be neglected and/or shut out. It's all about the guitar and you surely would had been frustrated. Kudos for having the b@lls to call them out.

Did I mention I had been there?

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998726 07/15/19 11:00 PM
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Top ten signs you made the right choice by not joining a band: the most professional and mature member turns out to be the drummer. Nicely done.

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998739 07/16/19 01:24 AM
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A few years back I managed auditions for a lead vocalist in one of the bands I'm in. One of the things I told each candidate was "remember, you're auditioning us as much as we're auditioning you". To my way of thinking both parties, band and musician, have the right of refusal during the audition process.

I echo the sentiments of all above - good call on your part to make like a tree, vonnor. Sounds like a nightmare.

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998792 07/16/19 01:26 PM
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Vonner, you made the right choice. Egos are an unfortunate part of the business but when they effect the music in negative ways, it gets ugly quick! Run from that one!


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998813 07/16/19 04:10 PM
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Funny thing was, the guitar player didn't really have an ego as far as "Look at me! I'm the coolest!"

More of the, "This is how I've/We've always done things" refusal to explore other options. I was getting a "closed-minded / fear of learning a different or better way" kinda vibe. Like, "this is MY area. You don't need to be concerned with it, get the F out of it."

Meaning the whole Stage-setup, Sound system, Mix thing. He really wasn't overly loud and he didn't over-play. Quite tasty actually, just that he used the same freaking tone for every cover song.

I do remember him going to the board and simply potting down the channel slider on the lead singer's mic when it was feeding back at around 8k. I asked "couldn't you just roll or notch that out in the channel EQ?" he looked at me as if I was from another planet and said "Dude I got this."

You sure do, bro. You sure do.

~ vonnor

Last edited by vonnor; 07/16/19 04:11 PM.

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Software: Cantabile 3, Halion Sonic 3 and assorted VST plug-ins.
Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998814 07/16/19 04:22 PM
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Man I'd love it if someone came to me and said "that feedback's at 8k". "Really? (sweep the mid, cut 2dB) Hey, you're right, thanks!"

Cheers, Mike.


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998816 07/16/19 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by vonnor
Funny thing was, the guitar player didn't really have an ego as far as "Look at me! I'm the coolest!"

More of the, "This is how I've/We've always done things" refusal to explore other options. I was getting a "closed-minded / fear of learning a different or better way" kinda vibe. Like, "this is MY area. You don't need to be concerned with it, get the F out of it."

Meaning the whole Stage-setup, Sound system, Mix thing. He really wasn't overly loud and he didn't over-play. Quite tasty actually, just that he used the same freaking tone for every cover song.

I do remember him going to the board and simply potting down the channel slider on the lead singer's mic when it was feeding back at around 8k. I asked "couldn't you just roll or notch that out in the channel EQ?" he looked at me as if I was from another planet and said "Dude I got this."

You sure do, bro. You sure do.

~ vonnor


That's ego in passive-aggressive mode. It's also fear - fear of changing his ingrained techniques, and fear of anyone who dared to suggest a better way to fix problems.

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
The Real MC #2998817 07/16/19 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by The Real MC
That's ego in passive-aggressive mode. It's also fear - fear of changing his ingrained techniques, and fear of anyone who dared to suggest a better way to fix problems.

^^^ that^^^


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998818 07/16/19 04:30 PM
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Not to start anything here, but.... assuming you're 100% correct that mr guitar player was doing a bad job at mixing, is it possible that a new guy (that's you), coming in and "coaching" & doing "hand signals" might not go over too well? Again – I'm not saying you weren't on the money with your criticisms, but imo it's not a great look to start telling a band you just joined that they're "doing it wrong" (to coin a phrase from the Troggs tape!). I would probably find a more tactful way of expressing these views besides hand signals and "coaching." Just a thought. Interpersonal relations between band members can be tricky when skill levels are not equal! I can easily take criticism from someone I know and respect. Somebody I just met, who I don't know well? I'm not sure about that. Large egos & musicians, they do tend to go together! smile

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
Reezekeys #2998821 07/16/19 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
Not to start anything here, but.... assuming you're 100% correct that mr guitar player was doing a bad job at mixing, is it possible that a new guy (that's you), coming in and "coaching" & doing "hand signals" might not go over too well? Again – I'm not saying you weren't on the money with your criticisms, but imo it's not a great look to start telling a band you just joined that they're "doing it wrong" (to coin a phrase from the Troggs tape!). I would probably find a more tactful way of expressing these views besides hand signals and "coaching." Just a thought. Interpersonal relations between band members can be tricky when skill levels are not equal! I can easily take criticism from someone I know and respect. Somebody I just met, who I don't know well? I'm not sure about that. Large egos & musicians, they do tend to go together! smile

Possibly a bit of ^^that^^ as well, if I may put myself in his shoes, although he was the one that asked if I could run out front and let him know any needed tweaks in the 1st couple songs. It was when I started suggesting the implementation of those tweaks that the brick wall came up in a hurry.

~ vonnor


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998829 07/16/19 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by vonnor
he was the one that asked if I could run out front and let him know any needed tweaks in the 1st couple songs. It was when I started suggesting the implementation of those tweaks that the brick wall came up in a hurry.

I gotcha. Well, he asked. I'm guessing he expected you to suggest level tweaks – not things like asking him to add efx to his vocal. That can be a touchy subject. It really sounds strange that someone who's the FOH engineer at the Kennedy Center (or who claims to be) thinks it's OK to mix himself in the mains so he can hear himself the way he likes on stage! Makes no sense at all. I can't imagine a professional sound engineer having that mindset. The Kennedy Center is not your local rock club – Isn't the FOH gig there considered near the top of the food chain for a live sound engineer? They wouldn't hire a hack for that gig. Something smells a little here!

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
Reezekeys #2998830 07/16/19 05:30 PM
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The Kennedy Center thing came to me off the grape vine 3rd hand, so I don't really put much stock in it. It wasn't verified.


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998839 07/16/19 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by vonnor
The Kennedy Center thing came to me off the grape vine 3rd hand, so I don't really put much stock in it. It wasn't verified.

He probably just runs cables there. wink


The great thing about music is that there's always something to learn. The frustrating thing about music is that there's always something to learn!
Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
vonnor #2998849 07/16/19 06:47 PM
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I can't imagine any act that plays there not bringing their own FOH person.

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
Reezekeys #2998879 07/16/19 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
I can't imagine any act that plays there not bringing their own FOH person.

I’d say this venue, having multiple rooms of varying sizes, is hired by all manner of acts for a variety of purposes. Never been there but I reckon a fair level of in-house production capability including sound engineering would be available as part of the hire package?

Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
Joe Muscara #2998920 07/17/19 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe Muscara
He probably just runs cables there. wink

Haha... likely.


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
Reezekeys #2998925 07/17/19 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Reezekeys
I can't imagine any act that plays there not bringing their own FOH person.


I have been there more than a few times and have to agree here


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Re: Sometimes you just gotta GTFO
davedoerfler #2998933 07/17/19 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by davedoerfler
Originally Posted by Reezekeys
I can't imagine any act that plays there not bringing their own FOH person.


I have been there more than a few times and have to agree here

Fair enough then- can't argue with first-hand experience! The rationale behind my erroneous supposition above is that down here it kind of works the opposite way, in that the more "premium" a venue, the more likely you'll be able to outsource production elements to the venue itself (if so desired). Whereas your more remote or lower-end venues require you to bring your own.

Either way, I agree this dude is probably putting a bit of pepper on his "I'm the soundy at the Kennedy Centre" story given his disclosed capabilities.



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