Monday, May 20, 2013

The Abuse

If you're a live sound engineer then this is your life.

During "business hours" you're either day jobbing it like normal folks, or you're advancing, prepping, repairing, or driving.

After business hours the work really starts. Let's face it there's not a ton of concerts going on at 10 AM on a Tuesday.

On your "days off" you're basically on call. Advancing more gigs, dealing with folks at the venue that can't turn your stuff on much less use it, chasing down clients to pay you.
When the gig "ends" and the room clears you're still on duty and won't be off until the truck is loaded and driven back to the shop or the next gig.

While you're in a room full of hundreds or thousands of revelers you're one of the few if not the only one fully sober and on duty. Maybe the bar tenders or security are sober but they don't have to worry about anybody getting electrocuted or having a speaker fall on them.

You get to deal with small time performers who think they're big time performers, big time performers that think they're deities, and a host of people with an ocean of requirements and no real knowledge of what goes in to making them happen or even sometimes how to ask for them.

It is acceptable behavior for anyone who as ever touched a volume knob to walk up to you while you're working and criticize your work. 
Unless you have good security it's acceptable for the person who is the most falling down drunk to come spill their drink on you and ask if the band will play songs that are as far removed from their musical genre as possible.

You will more than likely at some point be doing the job of the lighting guy, stage manager, house captain and a host of others but none of those people will be able or qualified to cover for you if you need to go pee or answer an emergency call.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

But when it comes right down to it... what the hell else are you going to do with your life?

Those of us that do it couldn't imagine doing anything else.

Because every once in a great while, you get to work on a really really good gig.

2 comments:

  1. I can't figure out if you just had a couple of really bad OR really good shows :)

    Anyhow, buckets of truth. I especially liked this observation and found this to be just too painfully true:

    "You will more than likely at some point be doing the job of the lighting guy, stage manager, house captain and a host of others but none of those people will be able or qualified to cover for you if you need to go pee or answer an emergency call."

    Why is that? I've had (more or less musically or technically pretty educated) people decline politely if I just asked them to operate one fader if the in-between-music needed to be turned up or down while I was busy somewhere else. On the other hand this probably means they're just having tons of respect for my gear. Or for my awesome skills operating this digital behemoth. Until 15 minutes later they feel their girlfriend on stage is not turned up enough. What it really means of course is I need a remote. That works everywhere IN and OUTSIDE of the venue, so there's no pause at all all night. :)

    ANYHOW ...off to the podcast!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I once saw a poster on /r/livesound and I try to keep the sentiment of it in mind at every gig I do. The poster said "every band is someone's favorite band."

    So, every gig I try to approach as positively and humbly as possible. If someone who sees the band regularly has something to say about the mix I am more than happy to hear it. And, I'll usually try to respond to their critique with actual changes to the mix... and not just directing them to the lampie.

    ReplyDelete

You're the Scotty to our Kirk