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OT: Fired one of our sound engineers


EscapeRocks

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As part of our band, we use contracted sound engineers when playing a venue that does not have house provided sound.

 

We've had a great relationship with two engineers for the last several years. As such, they know us, our show, and how we need to sound. It works great.

 

Earlier this year, we started working with a third, when one of our original two had to cut back due to illness and other factors.

 

The "new" engineer was good, has great equipment, and know his stuff.

 

The first few shows he did with us were great.

 

We then started to notice a drop off in quality. Missing cues, horrible monitor mixes, and so forth.

 

We had a show using him this past Friday night. I had gone and set up my gear early in the day so I could show up later, rested, ready for sound check.

 

The entire evening was like one long Spinal Tap moment, but not in a funny way.

First, we hit our intro music. All is well. We walk on, and I start playing Separate Ways. All sound good in our ears or floor wedges.

However, I notice the audience giving the "we can't hear you" sign.

 

Well, when the intro music was over, instead of muting the track, sound dude muted the entire board. WTF?

 

The evening continued like this. AT one pint I lost everything in my ears. I pointed, and gave him the signal about that. He corrected it. Thru my ears he said, "sorry, wrong button."

 

On our first break, one of the venue people, a friend of ours, told us that while engineer was setting up in the afternoon, he noticed him going outside a lot.

 

Turns out the guy was getting baked on his weed. By the time downbeat came around, he was fully toasted.

 

Now then, I give a shit what anyone does, so this isn't some anti-drug diatribe.

What I do care is when someone does whatever, and it affects my (our) performance. It was not fun hearing from audience members that the mix was all over the place.

 

At the end of the night we simply asked him if he was stoned during the setup and show.

 

He admitted it. It turns out the last few shows that we had minor issues, leading up to this with the major sound issues, he was also getting baked.

 

Totally unprofessional, especially with what we pay him.

 

So we made the decision to cancel the rest of the shows he was going to do with us.

 

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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We had a similar situation with a sound guy back in the day, but his affliction was the fine white powder. I empathetically understand that navigating life can be difficult and we all have our vices, but when other people's stuff adversely impacts your product, it's time to move on. Hopefully your ex-sound man will use this as an opportunity for self-reflection to facilitate positive change in his life.

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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Another danger with a drug habit is when gear shows up missing. I have heard from a friend whose band had booted a member because he had pawned off other people's gear to get money for drugs.

 

I have absolute zero tolerance for coke crack or heroin addicts. Occasional weed or alcohol is tolerated (I don't touch ANYTHING) as long as it doesn't impact the organization and performance.

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I am not known for tolerance in regard to music performance! I try, but it's tough for me.. my standards are high... in another post I say play to the weak guy... but that works when I am playing with a really weak player! OP says he does not give a darn about weed and so on.. but that is BS weed = BS in my book. Only the tiniest buzz is an option.. one drink, kind of thing. Any more than that hurts performance. It affects perception, thus time sense is affected.. and if you are "home alone" that is on you, but around me, get f ing lost. Sad he is gone, because he was talented.

I am anti drug on a job.. guy. There is a reason Cheech and Chong and Spicoli from Fast Times are so funny.. they are stupid funny.. "time and place", applies. Drugs are not funny in most areas of life. They are comically "f***ed up", but there is a boundary between fantasy found in a comedy, versus real life.

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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We had a second keyboard for awhile, had to fire him for alcohol abuse. The final straw was when he didn't play at all during the 3rd set because he was too toasted. He disappeared and missed the 4th set. While we were packing up the drummer found him passed out in the back of his van. I cannot put up with people who are too stoned to play. We are payed to play and give a professional performance not indulge our habits. I never drink during a gig!

I put up with too much of that crap in the 80's!

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Results count. I don't care if the guy is out of his gourd, as long as the results are right, and he's dependable.

 

Agreed, but I have yet to meet anyone who could do that. Its either one or the other in my experience. It always ends up getting out of hand. I have no problem with light drinking a couple beers before the gig etc. If your doing something illegal in the parking lot between sets, I have a problem with that because being arrested wouldn't exactly be called dependable is it? What someone does on their own time on their own property isn't of any concern to me. If I can't count on someone they are gone period.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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Results count. I don't care if the guy is out of his gourd, as long as the results are right, and he's dependable.

 

If not, the reason doesn't matter.

 

This is closest to my answer. Don't blame the weed, blame the guy. I've played with plenty of guys over the years who could have cocktails all night long and still play their asses off. And I've played with some who totally lose it after a couple of beers.

The fact there's a Highway To Hell and only a Stairway To Heaven says a lot about anticipated traffic numbers

 

People only say "It's a free country" when they're doing something shitty-Demetri Martin

 

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One could argue that it's more important for the soundman to be completely sober than the band - at least early on. Even a slight amount of alcohol or weed can affect how you hear things. If they want to have a couple later on in the night after everything's dialed in I have no problem with it though.

 

Everything in moderation... not noticing that the mains are off when the band is playing goes beyond that by far. That's incredible - even if the guy back there is completely toasted.

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Results count. I don't care if the guy is out of his gourd, as long as the results are right, and he's dependable.

Agreed, but I have yet to meet anyone who could do that. Its either one or the other in my experience. It always ends up getting out of hand. I have no problem with light drinking a couple beers before the gig etc. If your doing something illegal in the parking lot between sets, I have a problem with that because being arrested wouldn't exactly be called dependable is it? What someone does on their own time on their own property isn't of any concern to me. If I can't count on someone they are gone period.

My post followed yours and seems like a contradiction, but isn't, or certainly wasn't intended that way. Your views make perfect sense, and you have every right to act accordingly.

 

Also, I might feel a different if I had more experience, especially more experience at a higher professional level. My mortgage payments do not depend on my (pretty much nil) musical income.

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Hey all, before this gets too off track.

 

Yes, results are what matters. However, after investigation and questioning the man himself, it was determined that his bad to unacceptable nights with us were the nights he was using his drug of choice.

 

We, in the band, are not teetotalers. We do have a glass of wine or a beer before or during an intermission. For reasons of the type of show we do, we don't drink on stage. (this has to do with the family friendly nature of our show, etc..).

 

What we don't do is get so buzzed that we start messing up.

 

It's one thing to make mistakes, clam a chord, etc.. we've all done it. It's another thing if a driving factor in those clams all night is due to your mind not being in the game due to chemical alteration.

 

At the level we've reached in our game, we can't afford to have "outside" influences affect our show in a negative way.

 

Most of our big time shows have come about because some big wig came to see us, unknown to us. We have to treat every show as an "A" room show, even if it's a tiny dive in nowhere's ville. You never know who's watching.

 

 

As Moonglow said, I do hope he learns from this. Unfortunately we can't be his learning tool, when we already have others who perform solidly

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Arturia Keylab 61MK2 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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Yes, I think the bottom line here is anyone who even remotely considers themselves professional or semi-pro know where the line is and don't cross it.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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I regularly played a really nice club in Providence R.I. for a few years where they had a good house system run by house guys. Soundman was usually one of a pair of brothers. The smaller of the two looked like an evil garden gnome and could usually be found out in the parking lot enjoying a pre show joint. One night the little stoner came up to the stage during a mid second set song and motioned me away from my rig to yell in my ear that my stage volume was so loud that he couldn't mix the band. Actually,I had a powered monitor cab on a pole right in back of my head and hadn't changed my (low) volume all night. I made motions like I was turning down and he went back to the soundboard and gave me an OK sign. I had changed nothing.

 

When I asked him about it after the gig he tap danced a little and asked if I had turned up one of my boards for a lead and had forgotten to turn it down. Ridiculous. I told him to never let me see him pull someone away from their axe mid song unless the building was on fire. This baked twerp had totally lost his knob twiddling mojo and wouldn't admit it. Sad to think we sometimes have to put our presentation in the hands of such cretins.

 

A good to great soundman is a blessing. Having no sound guy is preferable to an impaired,inept sound person. Drugs or booze can only hurt. No angel here,having experienced and seen a lot. I like a party as much as anybody,but when it's time to come up with the goods it's best to have your wits about you and hope others onstage feel likewise. Obviously Escape Rocks did the right thing.

 

 

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The "new" engineer was good, has great equipment, and know his stuff.

 

The first few shows he did with us were great.

 

We then started to notice a drop off in quality. Missing cues, horrible monitor mixes, and so forth.

 

Sucks you had a few bad gigs before you got to the bottom of the issue - hopefully it didn't affect your band's rep.

 

Yeah the guy has a problem.. once it starts to impact your job, family, relationships, etc. you need to get a handle on it before it impacts where you sleep at night (ie your car, a cardboard box or a jail cell)... Hopefully this was a wake up call for him and he shapes up.

 

 

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Yeah, to me, it's all about being responsible and doing your job. I'm not going to tell somebody what they can and can't do, but they must be able to perform, and they must present a professional image. Fortunately, I've been blessed to work with folks who have adhered to this.

 

Sort of a side note, hopefully not taking this too far OT, but aside from drug use, there are health issues that can come into play. I'm type I diabetic, and have always managed it well except ONE time. When you're Type I (insulin dependent) it's very important to maintain routine and diet according to your insulin schedule. One time we had a summer concert scheduled to start right at would normally be meal time. I ended up running late and taking my insulin and stuffing my face basically during sound check quickly before starting. The hot temps, excess activity, and difficulty in judging the portions and carb types of the snacks I ate resulted in my Blood Sugar crashing early in the 3rd set. I had snacks onstage and ate them while playing, but it was still crashing. It's an amphitheater with 10's of thousands of people and we're within 45 min of the end of the show. So the dilemma...do you say to 10's of thousands, sorry, wait a few minutes while I go grab a snack, or do you try to stick it out? I tried to stick it out. I made it, though I don't really remember the end of the show. I saw video later of parts I don't remember and was playing surprisingly well. At the end of the show, I went backstage grabbed a snack and collapsed on the floor while eating it. The guitar player came back and realized what was going on and started stuffing me with Lemonheads. Paramedics came. After a rice krispy treat and half a box of lemonheads, my BG level was still only 21 (dangerously low). A little interveinous glucose and within 10 min I was back to normal. I was embarrassed as that's the only time in my 42 years that it's ever happened, but it just goes to show that you have to be responsible for your own well-being and make sure you're prepared. I learned a valuable lesson that day and have been much more careful ever since.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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In my experience I've seen alcohol and coke cause more problems than anything else.

 

Having said that, it's a no-brainer that one should never:

1. Get buzzed on *anything* while on the clock that could affect work performance and

2. Be so bone-headedly obvious that people notice you "sneaking off" to get stoned. That not only makes you look bad but it also reflects badly on the band, the club, etc.

 

While a little toke here and there might not be a big deal to some folks, myself included (though I no longer partake)... it IS usually a big deal to people like employers, club owners and police. Part of being a pro means understanding this.

 

Sorry to hear that you were put in this position. You absolutely did the right thing.

 

 

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If it gets really bad maybe you could suggest rehab.

 

He may not be that receptive to the idea.

 

Might just refuse.

 

In triplicate.

 

Heard that happened before. In fairness she was fronting the band and not the sound engineer. Just said she was too busy and then her father got involved and he didn't see a problem.

 

Didn't end well.

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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As part of our band, we use contracted sound engineers when playing a venue that does not have house provided sound.

 

We've had a great relationship with two engineers for the last several years. As such, they know us, our show, and how we need to sound. It works great.

 

Earlier this year, we started working with a third, when one of our original two had to cut back due to illness and other factors.

 

The "new" engineer was good, has great equipment, and know his stuff.

 

The first few shows he did with us were great.

 

We then started to notice a drop off in quality. Missing cues, horrible monitor mixes, and so forth.

 

We had a show using him this past Friday night. I had gone and set up my gear early in the day so I could show up later, rested, ready for sound check.

 

The entire evening was like one long Spinal Tap moment, but not in a funny way.

First, we hit our intro music. All is well. We walk on, and I start playing Separate Ways. All sound good in our ears or floor wedges.

However, I notice the audience giving the "we can't hear you" sign.

 

Well, when the intro music was over, instead of muting the track, sound dude muted the entire board. WTF?

 

The evening continued like this. AT one pint I lost everything in my ears. I pointed, and gave him the signal about that. He corrected it. Thru my ears he said, "sorry, wrong button."

 

On our first break, one of the venue people, a friend of ours, told us that while engineer was setting up in the afternoon, he noticed him going outside a lot.

 

Turns out the guy was getting baked on his weed. By the time downbeat came around, he was fully toasted.

 

Now then, I give a shit what anyone does, so this isn't some anti-drug diatribe.

What I do care is when someone does whatever, and it affects my (our) performance. It was not fun hearing from audience members that the mix was all over the place.

 

At the end of the night we simply asked him if he was stoned during the setup and show.

 

He admitted it. It turns out the last few shows that we had minor issues, leading up to this with the major sound issues, he was also getting baked.

 

Totally unprofessional, especially with what we pay him.

 

So we made the decision to cancel the rest of the shows he was going to do with us.

 

 

I haven't been in the music biz for some time, but for an important contractual job it seems the band should check out these people, see if they have recent good refs, are reliable, etc.

Why fit in, when you were born to stand out ?

My Soundcloud with many originals:

[70's Songwriter]

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The 80's band I am in plays a local bar that has an in house system and sound person. The sound guy arrived 10 minutes before we were supposed to start. He said he was late because he was smoking weed. We had our equiptment ready and all he had to do was fire up the system and hook our stuff in. He couldn't get both sides of the PA to work so we started with only one side. When he did get his PA to work it sounded awful. We conplained to the owner and he said he would take care of it. Our crowd said "we" sounded bad. Second time He was there 20 minutes early had problems again and we started 30 minutes late because of him. The third time we took our own system and engineer paid him out of my pocket but sounded so much better. I guess we sort of fired house guy.

 

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Originally Posted By: Reezekeys

How about the sound man who sucks at his job when he's stone sober?! That could be another ten threads...

 

 

Amen to that... "SOUND guy" ... a joke, in many cases

You don't have ideas, ideas have you

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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You did the right thing, as a smoker I just don't understand why people cannot wait until the job is done, people like that give the rest of us a bad name, there's a time to relax and enjoy a smoke, and that time is when a person has nothing in the world to do but enjoy life, not a job to do.
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The 80's band I am in plays a local bar that has an in house system and sound person.

 

Been there, usually in many of those cases you can't do anything about it either because the sound guy is the owners son!

Our bass player runs our sound and we haven't had problems since.

 

He has really taken reigns and has learned how to setup the system properly. He has got the system sounding sweet. We are often complemented on how good we sound. With technologies such as the DBX drive rack and digital mixer we have settings stored for nearly every place we play. This has cut down the sound check time immensely. This allows us more time to concentrate on the stage monitoring. Because we already have the FOH base lined.

 

We no longer book any in doors events where we don't run our own sound. We also now do a couple annual multi-band outdoor events where we provide the sound. It was a big initial investment but it has paid for itself in just a couple of years.

Boards: Kurzweil SP-6, Roland FA-08, VR-09, DeepMind 12

Modules: Korg Radias, Roland D-05, Bk7-m & Sonic Cell

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I do enjoy my extracurricular activities but when it comes to performing, I like to go on straight. Granted I keep a glass of Irish whiskey and a pint of guinness nearby (as well as water or club soda) nearby to sip on during sets, but those usually last me the entire evening.

Nord Stage 2 SW73, Kurzweil PC3LE7, Moog Sub 37, Alesis Ion, Rhodes Stage 73, Moog Werkstatt-01, Yamaha CP-300

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