Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

TURN IT DOWN!!!


Tedster

Recommended Posts

Okay...let's face it...the words we MOST HATE TO HEAR!!! They f*&^ing steal the wind from our sails...suck the energy out of a performance.

 

Now, mind you, if there are three people in the club and we're playing Megadeth, I can understand. BUT...an early crowd, we're doing acoustic stuff. "Turn it down". So we turned it down and played a little mellower stuff. "You guys are still too loud". We weren't. We were VFW volume or less. I NEARLY WALKED OUT OF THE F^*&(ING GIG. The other doofuses in the band talked me into staying. So I figured we'll give 'em some real shit.

 

(Sings) "Take the ribbon from your hair" THAT'S RIGHT...played the song...actually TRYING to drive people out of the bar. When someone clapped after another tune, I said "SHHHH" over the mic.

 

Like I say, I can understand turning it down if we were playing Sepultura cranked to 11 for three people wearing "Sohigro" hats. But, I'd like to think that I've got enough sense to read the level a crowd should be hearing music at. When you hit a certain volume floor...you can't put any energy into your vocals...and everything sounds like shit. So, it's like, why do these stupid bar owners even want a band?

 

So, what do you all do when some asshole inevitably tells you to turn it down (assuming that you're not at BINGO night at the VFW hall with a wall of Marshalls playing Pantera)??

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 23
  • Created
  • Last Reply

>>>I NEARLY WALKED OUT OF THE F^*&(ING GIG.

 

-------------------------

 

One time the country band I used to be in did exactly that. We took everything out of the P.A. except vocals, and they still wanted us to turn it down. We reached a point where everyone felt we just couldn't put on a acceptable performance, so we just packed up and left. NO REGRETS!!!!!

 

 

------------------

-----------

 

KHAN (Always hopeful, yet discontent)

 

www.floydtribute.hpwebhost.com

So Many Drummers. So Little Time...
Link to comment
Share on other sites

At that point, you turn off all amplification! Just play your guitar and sing w/o any sound reinforcement whatsoever. That way you can sing or scream as loud as you want.... Let the drummer pack up his kit between sets. Perhaps he could play a conga or something....

I used to think I was Libertarian. Until I saw their platform; now I know I'm no more Libertarian than I am RepubliCrat or neoCON or Liberal or Socialist.

 

This ain't no track meet; this is football.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate that as well, but we have such a light handed drummer that we rarely hear that anymore. I am a firm believer that drums control the volume onstage (small clubs). Of course if you're gigging with a large amp in a small club, that is a source of discontent...cause if you've got a pulse, you're gonna want to turn it up. It does suck and I am like you guys, I'll try to get fired if the club manager is on our ass all the time.....don't stay on that negative too long though, there's plenty of club managers who like it at a decent volume too. Is it my imagination, but are club managers getting younger and younger????? : )
Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

<>

 

yep yep yep. if you have a heavy hitting drummer, and things are too loud, i find making them play with the "chopsticks"--those bundled bunches of small sticks--makes a big difference. also right amp for the right room. we often gig with tweed fender deluxes (the neil young amp) or blues jrs.--both are 12-15 watt amps. in some places i also will lean my empty guitar gig bag in front of the speaker to baffle the sound a bit. of course if people think its too loud, you can always play air-guitar and lip-sync to the jukebox!

 

-d. gauss

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Khan said...

 

>>>We reached a point where everyone felt we just couldn't put on a acceptable performance

 

That's it...that's the whole thing in a nutshell. This happened to us a few weeks back again...a place where normally we can play what we want. We WERE turned way down. Turns out there were some f%#$ing GOLFERS having dinner who kept telling the lady we were too loud. The jukebox would have been too loud for these assholes. We started whispering the vocals and barely strumming...our drummer just barely tapping the drums. Then the stupid bar owner comes up and says..."Don't you think that's TOO much?" I said "That's what you wanted...we can't play any lower than what we were". I was ready to walk that time. The bartender told her, "Let those guys play...that's what you hired 'em to do". We somehow ended up staying that night...the barowner bought us a round of drinks. I left immediately after the gig...but the rest of the band said she came up and was unbelievably shoe-kissingly apologetic. All for the stupid golfers. The worst part is that again, at the beginning of the night...I had correctly assessed the situation with hardly anyone in the bar, and we WERE playing quietly to begin with. Then twice they came up and told us to turn down from hardly any volume at all. The first time we turned it down to bare bones, the second is when we started whispering. We're a quiet band to begin with for the most part, and I'd like to think that I can assess a situation pretty well, so to have someone keep saying TURN IT DOWN is an insult.

 

Well, this b*%ch says we're her favorite band of all of them that play there. Well, she lost us. Too bad. No more. I don't need the money. I do it mainly for fun. If it ain't fun...it ain't gonna happen...

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

d said...

 

>>>of course if people think its too loud, you can always play air-guitar and lip-sync to the jukebox!

 

That's it, too, d...we have a very light handed drummer. When we were in the studio I kept having to tell him to "HIT them drums!!!"

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ted, let me guess - you've been playing with your VT-22? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Yeah, I hate that crap too, and I have once or twice in my life walked out of a gig for that reason. I was reminded of just how ridiculous people can be a couple of months ago, when I went to see some friends' acoustic duo gig. It's just acoustic guitar and drums and they both sing. And the drummer is VERY disciplined, he's very good at playing at low volume and he just had a small kick and snare and one cymbal. They were playing at a restaurant - just a wings place, NOT a formal setting at all, very kid friendly, etc. And the PA was on 1. I kid you not. And they were told it was too loud. It's pretty hard to have any fun playing in a situation like that. Having a good work ethic, they stuck it out for the night, but they had another gig booked there and they cancelled it.

 

I don't know why people bother to hire live musicians if they have that kind of attitude! Sheeesh...

 

--Lee

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh, speaking of which, Lee, I was able to assess from a website that my VT-22 was made between 1970 and 72. It doesn't have the pre-70 serial number, but it does have the blue lettering and metal "A" logo (rather than plastic) on the front, so with help from an Ampeg fansite, I was able to narrow it down.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I feel your pain. : )

Yeah, we recently got dumped on by Jillians, the chain pub/eatery. They said we were drowning out the other band downstairs. Turns out they were a psuedo reggae band with a little Crate PA. We hire sound and we always have two stacks and alot of power, try to perform as professional as possible. But even though it is good money, I gathered that it's like playing gigs at a Chucky Cheese.....so we just said oh well.

Down like a dollar comin up against a yen, doin pretty good for the shape I'm in
Link to comment
Share on other sites

"turn it down" is the most hated phrase(for me).bein a one man

electric guitar thang its most disturbin and i've never found a way 'round it. i'm not very good at compromise(need ta burn dem power tubes...).its always an uncomfortable situation,and somehow i stumble on...

AMPSSOUNDBETTERLOUDER
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a live mixer, I have to tell a lot of bands to turn down. I know I'm not being unreasonable, and I'm sure Ted is assessing his own situation accurately, but that doesn't stop bands from telling me how they'll play in a room I know much better than they do.

 

I'm not the bar owner, I have no vested interest in bar sales. (ie. bartenders need to take orders - $$$) When it's too loud in the bar, it's too loud. I'm the one who's getting hit before the crowd arrives.

 

We had a discussion like this before and I mentioned to someone that every guitar player should have his/her amp pointed at their OWN ears. Try playing on axis with your speaker, where the high end is crispy! That'll change your EQ and level requirements drastically. Remember, the audience is sitting with their ears bleeding when you feel good, your amp pointed straight out, at ground level. This is the source of more complaints about level than anything save for heavy handed drummers.

 

You're absolutely right about drummers controlling the level on most stages, big or small.

 

I'm just glad I get to work with a pro band, most on ears with 3 or 4 wedge mixes on stage. The first is for an acoustic player and singer, the second is for electric guitar (and he didn't want anything on the 1st gig!), a butt fill for the drummer's low end (high end in ears), and possibly a steel/fiddle player who's joining up on Friday. The level was great onstage, at an outdoor festival. With the exception of a couple of heavy snare songs, I didn't need plugs at all at the monitor console.

 

So step back and take another look at the situation. The guy might be a flake or he might have a point. Even if he's right, for the situation, you probably won't want to and shouldn't play there again. Just realize they DO want conflicting things. Live band/canned music feel. Silly people, really.

 

------------------

Neil

 

Reality: A few moments of lucidity surrounded by insanity.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, and that's just the thing, Neil...in this case we were playing relatively quiet acoustic stuff. The first time we did in fact turn it down...even more. Then...after that, it's like...shit, if we turn down any more we'll lose everything. I know a lot of bands DO in fact play too loud, and as a monitor engineer, you've got to have a certain stage volume so you can do your job. But, I'm addressing more the situations where the club owners just can't be pleased at any volume. They want Merv and the Murphtones. It's like, "Well, you think it's LOUD NOW, we'll give you LOUD, and then you can tell us to turn it down, and anything will sound quiet after that..." http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Tedster:

...They want Merv and the Murphtones...

 

And you're the Good Ole' Boys..Blues Bros. band! Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'... keep those doggies rollin'... hmm hmmmm mmmm mmmm mmm.

 

(Watch out for breaking glass on the chicken wire. NOW I understand. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

 

 

------------------

Neil

 

Reality: A few moments of lucidity surrounded by insanity.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

Link to comment
Share on other sites

funny thing is we play a nyc club "hog n heifers" (yes the same one they made the fire-breathing-big-breasted-bartenders-celebs-dancing-on-the-bar -coyote-ugly movie about) and the jukebox is at least twice as loud as the band...go figure.

 

-d. gauss

Link to comment
Share on other sites

luck be on my side...we're playing a gig tonight that I played

as a duo last night....on a good morning you could probably

pee accross the room...and our agent booked the whole band

for the sat. gig....we have a light touch drummer and just about

everything else goes through the P A with the exception of bass

and lead....still need to get me a blues jr....but when we play through

a FOH system you have to remember that your amps are your monitor....and you are only playing to a mike about 2 to 3 inches

so you don't have to be so loud...I also work as a monitor engr..

and can't tell ya how many times the band wants the monitors so

loud that they are over powering the FOH system and they are literally

turned off in front.....mostly steel players....they seem to have suffered

the most hearing loss of any...one little fiddler for a fairly large touring

band came in and had me jack the monitor so loud that I could hardly

stand the volume....and he wanted more....he was young...and he

was giving me some grief...finally I told him that he should look for

another line of work cause his ears were shot....and that I owned

guitars that i had bought new that were older than he was.... he left

me alone the rest of the night....so there are pros and cons on both

sides...

 

laters

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's another ploy:

If they ask you twice to turn down, and you feel you're already at as a low a level as you can be, then TAKE A BREAK. Even if you've only played a couple songs. If they complain, just tell them, "You're obviously not ready to have a band playing right now. We'll resume when (fill in the blank: the diners are done eating, the Golfers have left, etc.)"

 

It seems like some places have the attitude that if they're paying a band, they MUST get 4 hours of music. So the band begins at 9:00, even though they're still doing a big dinner business. But, of course, they don't REALLY want the band doing their thing, because they want innocuous background music. But heaven forbid they have the band play from 10:00 - 1:00 instead of 9 - 1, because, dammit, they're paying you for a full night.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As usual, I have a surreal anecdote..

 

I was doing an acoustic duo gig at a popular local restaurant once about 4 years ago. This place is a casual chicken-dish oriented place located next to a popular movie theatre. Seats about... maybe 150, about the size of a Pizza Hut inside.

 

So, I've done this gig with my partner before many times (how's this for a cush gig: the music store I worked at was 3 doors down. You only had to wheel a little box mixer p.a. 100 feet down a sidewalk and you're at your gig... easiest load in ever...). Anyhow, one day this group of people sit down at the table in front of us.

 

 

"You're too loud" they said point blank immediately.

 

At which point I *could* have said "well, why did you choose to sit down RIGHT IN FRONT?", but I didn't...

 

We were no louder than normal. Right at the "we're barely louder than the ambient noise" level.

 

So then they complain to the owner. We turn down.

 

So now, some people are complaining they can't hear....

 

They complain to the owner AGAIN.

So we, turn down again. They were becoming more vociferous at this point, being quite loud themselves about the whole thing - it had turned into a joke with the other patrons.

 

So, we turned down.

 

We were now only *barely* amplified.

 

They complained AGAIN.

 

Waitresses suggested they move. They wouldn't stand for that. The owner made us turn down AGAIN.

 

So now

 

WE'RE NOT EVEN GOING THROUGH THE P.A., IT'S TURNED OFF! It was now a clown act, people weren't watching to listen to us but to see what was going to happen.

 

So, we're sitting there singing and playing guitar sans power...

 

AND WE WERE STILL TOO LOUD. It was so surreal. People were actually at this point watching the whole thing, waiting for them to call the owner over again....

 

So we quit playing. It was *impossible* to play any more softly! It was a quiet as a library in this restaurant!

 

They finally got up to leave, and when they did everyone started clapping, which was pretty funny. Played again at full volume and made decent tip money.

 

At this same place we also had a weird situation with some Irish travellers sitting at this same table in front of us, these gaudy women with bouffant hairdos so big we literally could not see the rest of audience... They wanted to hear stuff we had never heard of before: "play "Scoobydiddly Hay Bale Boy" by Billy Bob Winkerson" or some such... EVERY SINGLE SONG they had a request that was impossible.

 

THEN,

 

They get mad BECAUSE WE WOULDN'T PLAY THESE SONGS WE HAD NEVER, EVER HEARD OF BEFORE. So they stomp out with their weird beauty-pageant contestant kids and make a big scene.

 

Weird.

 

 

Somewhere I still have a napkin from one gig we did at a local bar, where the age range is between late 30's to late 40's.... on this napkin was some "suggestions" of requests of artists we should cover:

 

Bob Segar

Frank Zappa

Johnny Cash

Frampton

The Cure

Kiss

Ted Nugent

 

.. and a few other completely un-related acts. *They were dead serious*: they felt we should be playing Zappa AND Segar.... Nugent and Kiss played in an acoustic setting???? The Cure???

 

Weird. At least it wasn't loud, though.

 

 

Once watched a band called "Porn Orchard" from Athens, Georgia, play so loud they made a room full of about 150 skinheads flee the building. I had ear plugs in AND my hands over my ears and it was STILL piercing; the guy had a JCM-800 100 watt head with the treble cranked on a Tube Screamer and an eq pedal with even more high end. I was unfortunately "running sound" and had to explain to them that you literally could not hear *anything at all* other than the guitar, and that I wasn't going to blow the p.a. up trying to make the vocals audible, much less the kick and snare...

 

I'm quite sure that guy is probably deaf by now - he couldn't hear you then unless you yelled at him. Weird.

 

------------------

New and Improved Music Soon: http://www.mp3.com/chipmcdonald

Guitar Lessons in Augusta Georgia: www.chipmcdonald.com

Eccentric blog: https://chipmcdonaldblog.blogspot.com/

 

/ "big ass windbag" - Bruce Swedien

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chip...

 

I feel your pain. I think next time I'll either try Eric's thing...or, do the opposite. Crank up the Marshall and the PA as loud as we play last set or louder...play one of our most raucous tunes full tilt, and then say, "Okay, now, that first volume we were at wasn't so f%$#ing bad, was it?"

 

Or just f*#$ing leave, which is what I wanted to do, anyway.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well,there are a lot of things you could try but here's my suggestion (which is similar to Eric W's but I think even more to your advantage): If attempts at reasonable action are unsatisfactory GET REAL SMALL !

Either gradually or in one adjustment take the level down to inaudibility; I mean literally! We (musicians as a group) usually have an artistic investment in performing but if they (management or public) are happy with your inaudible performance, turn that to YOUR advantage---use that ear monitor to listen to CDs,the ballgame or conduct a private practice session & then pick up the check & book-in again for next month. It could turn into your most relaxing gig ever!

[sceptics, note that this is the technique the Beatles often used to get through those screaming teenager audiences.]

 

------------------

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate it when that happens. Pisses me off. I don't have to play at an ear piercing level but I'm a rock player - I need a certain amount of volume. But of course, business is business.

 

While on the subject of volume - There was a club in San Francisco called the Mabuhay Gardens, I think it was, that would turn the P.A. up to the point of screeching, painful, feedback at the end of the night to empty out the club. I heard that it worked very well.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Ted, let me guess - you've been playing with your VT-22? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Yeah, I hate that crap too, and I have once or twice in my life walked out of a gig for that reason. I was reminded of just how ridiculous people can be a couple of months ago, when I went to see some friends' acoustic duo gig. It's just acoustic guitar and drums and they both sing. And the drummer is VERY disciplined, he's very good at playing at low volume and he just had a small kick and snare and one cymbal. They were playing at a restaurant - just a wings place, NOT a formal setting at all, very kid friendly, etc. And the PA was on 1. I kid you not. And they were told it was too loud. It's pretty hard to have any fun playing in a situation like that. Having a good work ethic, they stuck it out for the night, but they had another gig booked there and they cancelled it.

 

I don't know why people bother to hire live musicians if they have that kind of attitude! Sheeesh...

 

--Lee

 

I sympathize, Lee. In this particular situation, perhaps a live band was overkill.

 

By the way, occasionally, "Turn it down," means "I don't like the songs that you are playing." If you were playing Sinatra, they probably woudn't mind.

 

BUT...I've been to numerous wedding receptions where I had to shout to be heard by the person next to me, and I've walked out of countless clubs with me ears ringing like a fire alarm. Lots of musicians play too loudly - and no, it's not just a guitar or drum thing. Keyboards, bassists, sax players, HARMONICAS, etc. can all lacerate the ear canal if they're not kept under control. If the PA is of poor quality or if it's not adjusted properly for the room, the problem is compounded by distortion and feedback.

 

The basic issue is as follows: most musicians like to hear themselves clearly, but amplifiers send sound out toward their legs rather than their ears. So, up on the stage, it sounds as though you're playing very quietly. Meanwhile, twenty feet ahead, people are having their eardrums melted by the sound of your amp.

 

Maybe we need to come up with a creative new approach to amp placement. Put the amps on the other side of the room facing back at the stage. This will work for two reasons. First, the band will know how loud they REALLY are (with the possible exception of the drummer, unless he uses an electronic kit). Second, the musicians will not be able to adjust the volume of the amps, BUT THE AUDIENCE WILL. When the lead player kicks on the overdrive pedals for his wanking solo, little old ladies can simply walk over and turn the volume down to an agreeable level.

 

Oh, man! This is a great idea! I'll call it "Interactive Stage Volume ." I'm going to patent it and license it to club owners everywhere. I should have enough for a private jet in about six months. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

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

×
×
  • Create New...