Rule #1: That guy behind the board controlling your whole world?…Don’t piss him off. Logical, right?
The sound guys have a lot of nonsense to deal with. During the show we make sure it doesn’t sound terrible. Before the show even starts we have been there for hours making sure everything is perfect. Once the show is over, we get to stay for hours afterwards to put it all away. Amazingly, people seem to think that we are second class citizens or worse, their friends. There are two types of soulless zombies that piss off the sound guy: the audience and the band. The following information is presented to you people who feel like it is necessary to spread your contagious stupid to the people who matter. We will first start with the lesser of two evils: the audience.
They are a bitter/sweet breed of cattle. Rather than being a source of agonizing mind assault, the people who enjoy the show are more of a minor annoyance and source of much needed entertainment. The most common error these creatures make is to ask the sound guys earth-shatteringly stupid questions. Please refer to posted signs and using senses like sight before asking people what time the band starts or where the nearest bathroom is. Also, don’t try starting a conversation with us. We already hate the mediocre pop music you are here to listen to and thus have nothing worth talking about. For those of you that are interested in maximizing your risk of being found dead backstage with an SM58-shaped hole in your kidney, please by all means suggest we turn up the bass.
There is nothing experienced sound guys love more than having random people suggest rudimentary equalizing techniques during a show. For optimum results as an audience member, just enjoy the show and tell the sound guy it sounded good as you walk out. You will get a smile, feel good about yourself, and maybe prevent the sound guy from telling science how many syringes can fit into a human cubital. But please, continue getting into fights, dancing like morons, acting like thugs, and grabbing the musicians appendages. Its the little things in life that keep us doing what we do.
Bringing us to the nexus of this bucket of insanity is the band. No one on earth has more self-entitlement than musicians. And no one on earth cares less then the sound guys. If you are in a band and you are reading this, someone somewhere wants you to be beaten with mic stands in front of your children. Here are some of the many types of dickhead band members:
Sound check does not mean the same thing as rehearsal. If you can’t get your lousy cover of American Woman down before the day of the show, why the hell would you play it 4 times during sound check? It makes no sense to play something that already sounds awful while the sound guy is dialing the band in. Play something your good at, consider your failure at life, and get off the stage.
If you want your monitors moved 2 inches to the right, and you are literally standing in front of your monitors, do it yourself. You waste more time waiting for the stagehand than you would by bending your cheetah-printed ass over to push the 20lb box. Similarly, don’t back your “chick magnet” van up to the stage and ask for help unloading just to walk away leaving us to build the 90 piece drum kit ourselves. If you do, don’t be surprised to see that everything was assembled ass-backwards and all of the t-bolts are cranked down as if Thor himself decided to build your kit.
Something is seriously wrong if you require 6 monitors to hear during a show. You aren’t Ozzy. The louder you crank your stage volume the higher the chance of feedback. If you can’t hear, get your self some in-ears. If you still can’t hear, find a new hobby.
This applies more to the tour manager. There are very few good reasons why band members need to change where their gear sits on the stage and approximately zero of those reasons are ever used. Every time I hear “Oh that’s last years stage plot”, atmospheric greenhouse gases increase by 1%. Yes that’s right, tour managers are the cause of climate change.
Here is where it gets ugly. Nothing. Nothing is worse than watching someone come sauntering out of a hotel room to grab five water bottles from the roadies water stock, just to turn around and bring them back inside. Perhaps many band guys don’t know, but there is a difference between stuff in the green room and stuff on the side of the stage. If you take my Monster Energy drink from the cooler, trained bears will attack your family. It’s a scientific fact. The drinks and stuff by the stage is for the people who have been outside working and sweating, not the people who demand floor fans to blow their face while they play a key-tar solo. This is the type of action may result in having a lead snipped in your 1/4” guitar cable, or your guitar tech mysteriously strangled and left backstage. Don’t take the roadies water!
Now perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “Shut up roadie, just do your job”. To that I say, “Your band is terrible”. What is awesome about the sound guy, is that he ultimately decides your fate on stage. Sure your rendition of The Flame was perfect, but the pitch bend effect on the Harmonizer thinks otherwise. Sure your song is going great, but the ‘faulty’ monitor send may make things hard to hear when that guitar solo is due. It falls under the same category as “don’t crap where you eat”, except roadies aren’t scared of fecal matter. So with this I leave a simple rule: Don’t Piss Off the Sound Guy.