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Author Topic:  Is it really that cutthroat out there?
Mark van Allen


From:
Watkinsville, Ga. USA
Post  Posted 23 Aug 2018 7:03 am    
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I’ve been fortunate to get to play some large venues from the late 70’s up to fairly recently, across various genres. It used to be fairly common to see some monkey business with the PA, particularly in rock venues. I have frequently witnessed power to the subs withheld until the headliner’s set, as well as access to much of the lighting array. I rarely took it as “professional jealousy”, more building performance excitement into the headliner’s set. I have seen some angry blow-ups over it...

As for soundfolks, I used to often run into the cliched angry, unhelpful, snarky crew members fairly often, not sure what happened but over time my experience has been that crews have gotten much more professional and helpful. I always tried to be as courteous and helpful as possible to (often harried) stage and sound crew, as it was common to see them being treated like some sort of peonage. Seems obviously counterproductive to me! People can be a real trip.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Bronx via the Philippines
Post  Posted 23 Aug 2018 9:13 am    
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Mark van Allen wrote:
over time my experience has been that crews have gotten much more professional and helpful. I always tried to be as courteous and helpful as possible to


Back in the glory days of jet set touring with sky's the limit everything, it was more conducive to get snarky.

Today with the austerity factor, most realize they're lucky to be working.
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Chris Walke


From:
St Charles, IL
Post  Posted 23 Aug 2018 9:31 am    
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Mark van Allen wrote:
As for soundfolks, I used to often run into the cliched angry, unhelpful, snarky crew members fairly often, not sure what happened but over time my experience has been that crews have gotten much more professional and helpful. I always tried to be as courteous and helpful as possible to (often harried) stage and sound crew, as it was common to see them being treated like some sort of peonage. Seems obviously counterproductive to me! People can be a real trip.


Many years ago I played a large festival in Chicago, big stage, national touring headliner, radio station sponsorship. We were (are) nobody - that day we were the opener for the opener for the opener. We played to maybe a dozen folks at the time the gates opened, hours before the headliner's set (and well before the thousands of crazy Chicagoans showed up). Stage crew was being constantly berrated & belittled by the crew lead. By contrast, he was incredibly polite, professional, and encouraging to us. He was exactly the guy the performers wanted on their side. But I don't think any of us would have wanted to work FOR him.
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Bronx via the Philippines
Post  Posted 23 Aug 2018 9:42 am    
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Chris Walke wrote:
But I don't think any of us would have wanted to work FOR him.


Have worked with many top pro tours last several years. You get nice guys and you get tyrants. Then you get the band whose crew is so afraid of the stars on the stage, they warn you to get off the stage before you get yelled at.

You would think that after all the success and the major part of music history they'd built, they would be beyond that. But naaah....

Then you get the crew that is F this and F that because they are worried they'll get canned if they don't perform. Cool
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John Lacey


From:
Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada
Post  Posted 14 Nov 2018 6:48 pm    
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I had the extreme pleasure of opening for Waylon back in ‘92 for 5 shows in Canada. Waylon was straight and sober and right on top of everything. His crew acted top shelf pro. No messing with our sound and very helpful. I was blinded by the setting sun on one gig and the crew picked up on it and found me a hat pronto. Oh did I mention, I got to watch Robby Turner play every nite.
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Duane Reese


Post  Posted 15 Nov 2018 9:50 am    
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I've heard of and experienced people re-tuning your guitars when you aren't looking...turning out the lights on you in rehearsal studios...hiding your stuff... Remember, when you're dealing with people who fancy themselves as stars in the making (and that's just about everyone, at all levels and ages) or stars maintaining, the object is not to see talent and merit prevail; the object is for yourself to get rich, famous and have untold access to you-know-what. Talent and merit are only part of the means used to achieve that end...for those who really, really want it. That's what you get when you have too many people trying to do the same thing.
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Bob Hoffnar


From:
Austin, Tx
Post  Posted 16 Nov 2018 9:25 pm    
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Paul Sundt wrote:
I did sound reinforcement professionally for ten years. Of the thousands of shows I did, I was never asked to make any act sound anything less than the best I could. I had heard of this sort of thing happening, but it never happened to me. That's good, because I would have refused.


I've played thousands of show also. Sometimes headliner and sometimes opening act. I have never experienced anything remotely like sabotage.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 18 Nov 2018 8:59 am    
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The sound crew makes you or breaks you. It doesn’t matter if you’re headlining or opening for the opener. My experience has been if you treat people with respect, most of the time you get it back.

Regarding performers....When the band I was in opened for Carlene Carter, John Jorgensen saw me setting up my little club amp in front of his Marshall stack. He came right up on stage and asked me if I wanted to just plug into his rig. I have had other random exchanges with top pro players, and that one epitomizes all of them.
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Duane Reese


Post  Posted 18 Nov 2018 9:18 am     Genre
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It's probably worth noting that the level of sabotage, underhandedness and general ill will is going to vary depending on genre. It all has to do with the kind of people who are attracted to that kind of music.

Speaking anecdotally, you'll see a lot of misbehavior in heavy metal that you won't see in country. Within country, behavior is much better in the traditional country scene than in the younger "Texas Music" scene. Bluegrass? No idea what it's like in Kentucky, but elsewhere, is seems that many bush-league bluegrassers have a lot of attitude and snobbery – especially the ones who are doctors and lawyers by day. And then there's rap... I've heard of rappers pulling guns on the recording engineer, in the studio, because they didn't like what they were hearing. I can't imagine what it takes to get the major rap productions out the door without anyone being killed (I'm assuming no one is killed, but maybe I shouldn't).
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Bill McCloskey


Post  Posted 18 Nov 2018 12:19 pm    
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The OG of carrying a piece in the studio was Phil Spector. He reportedly pulled a gun on John Lennon and Leonard Cohen: http://mentalfloss.com/article/28392/5-artists-reportedly-held-gunpoint-phil-spector
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 3:22 pm    
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The problem I have with these "conspiracy theories" is the sound mix in the type of venues discussed here are screwed up so often for everybody that it is hard to imagine the people would actually have the competence to purposely screw it up for one group and get it right for another.

And does anyone else think that now with the higher tech and digital equipment that sound mixes and levels are much worse than they used to be?
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 5 Jan 2019 8:55 pm    
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Darrell Criswell wrote:
And does anyone else think that now with the higher tech and digital equipment that sound mixes and levels are much worse than they used to be?

I think the next generation of players and fans are going to go deaf at an earlier age than we did.

The push has always been for clean headroom in the highs and the lows. I think that has been achieved to the point where all the fun in the midrange gets drowned out in the FOH mix for the sake of sheer volume. But bad sound is not necessarily sabotage.

The equipment now is too sophisticated for the average band guy to run anymore, unless your day job is in computer engineering. Everything is running on apps. If bands could include a sound engineer as part of their band, I think modern digital gear can do wonders for them. But then you’re also splitting that 100 bucks five ways instead of four, so...
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Clyde Mattocks


From:
Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 1:57 pm    
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It has gotten much better with the digital stuff now that they can recall your house and monitor mixes instantly. I have seen musicians throw a fit if their mix was not up to sound check levels the instant they hit the stage. I always show appreciation to the tech crews. You get it back. They even remember it when you run into them again. I hear, "We like working with you guys, you're easy to get along with." And they will go out of their routine to make things work for you.
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Darrell Criswell


From:
Maryland, USA
Post  Posted 6 Jan 2019 2:02 pm    
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A trick someone taught me if you want the sound to be good get a seat right next to the sound guy, it may sound terrible everywhere else but it will be good if you are sitting next to the sound guy!
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Bob Watson


From:
Champaign, Illinois, U.S.
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 2:20 pm    
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There could be factors other than the artist involved here. Perhaps the headliner has someone in their crew that gives direction to the sound crew, good or bad, without the artist's knowledge. Also, its possible that the promoter or the sound guy is the culprit. I'm not saying that there aren't artists that would pull something like this, but there are other possibilities for why something like this happens.

Last edited by Bob Watson on 7 Jan 2019 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Alan Rudd


From:
Ardmore, Oklahoma
Post  Posted 7 Jan 2019 2:43 pm    
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I played a 4th of July gig with a local band that hired me since they "needed" a fifth piece, but I was never called upon to play any leads, and when I was asked to sing the last song, the lead singer went straight to the board and began "honing" my vocals. I told him I would never play in a band that he had anything to do with again, don't bother to call me ever...
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Godfrey Arthur


From:
Bronx via the Philippines
Post  Posted 9 Jan 2019 10:24 am    
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Darrell Criswell wrote:
A trick someone taught me if you want the sound to be good get a seat right next to the sound guy, it may sound terrible everywhere else but it will be good if you are sitting next to the sound guy!


Especially since the FOH sound guy is sitting smack dab in the center of the power alley-regions where LF energy is too hot.

Even with arrays, and subs, depending on the quality of the sub and where they are placed, the audience depending on where they sit in relation to the subs are receiving comb filtering among the bass frequencies where some of the lower freqs are out of phase again depending on the frequency, meaning you could have in-phase 100hz bass but then other frequencies will be out of phase.Rolling Eyes

Cancellation occurs at frequencies where the time arrival difference results in 180 degrees of phase difference between the two signals, so these frequencies get lost.


Photo shows bass cancellation (green) frequency at 80hz.

The areas between the lobes are bass cancellation. And it changes among the differing bass frequencies. Not so much for the highs and mids because they don't get thrown as far as bass does.


The "fingers" will get less going down to 50hz.
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