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Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:33 pm
by jeffl
We played an outdoor gig Saturday night. We've played this place numerous times before and have always had a good experience there. There's never been a soundman there before, but there was one waitin' for us this time-- unannounced-- and he was drunk; not obviously drunk, at least until he tried to do his job. It was a train wreck. He acted like he'd smoked too much good dope too, 'cuz he was just lost at times. I thought our rhythm player was gonna beat the crap out of him. He actually put his guitar down during one tune and ran over screaming at the guy and twisted some knobs or sliders. We had feedback and hum issues, and the guy would fiddle with a good setting and wreck it. After about 90 freakin' minutes of that I told him to just get away, nicely.. he knew he was having trouble coping. The level of tension on stage was so bad that we had guys in the band gettin' shitty with each other. If that ever happens again, I'll tell the guy that we're runnin' his board, or he can disconnect his gear and we'll hook ours up. We looked and sounded terrible, in front of alotta friends and acquaintances.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:27 pm
by BobHolland
Only thing you can do in that situation is just buy him more beer & maybe he will just pass out over in the corner. Then he wont be a problem at all. It usually works & he will probably thank you later if he can remember. :wha: :blink:

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:41 pm
by jeffl
He was a real nice guy, so I tried to be nice to him and get him to go away, but it took a while. I don't know what prompted him to think he could run the sound while being drunk; it's tough enough sober. If there were 300 knobs and slides on the board, he was probably seein' 600. I'll bet he's ashamed of himself now, 'cuz there was nobody slappin' him on the back to tell him what a great job he did. We had two acoustic 6 strings,4 vocal mics, and sometimes a mando mic'ed up, plus a humbuckered bass,keyboards,lap steel,drums, and harp. We're used to managing that herd, but it ain't a cakewalk. If he's there next time (If they ever invite us back,lol) , he's outa work, 'cuz he had his shot.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 3:45 pm
by jeffl
Two of our guys quit over crap that happened at that gig (in addition to apparently ongoing frustrations). Our resident curmudgeon and his apparent understudy both quit prior to our gig on this past Saturday. One of 'em verbally attacked the drummer about his drumkit, playing style, and supposedly rockstar attitude, and he used the term "pussy" along with plenty of profanity. It's not the way to discuss musical differences, especially with a friend you've known and played with for a long time. Both of the quitters are over 60 years old and haven't perfected their "conflict resolution" skills. It pissed me off 'cuz most of us have played with these guys for at least 15 years, and I took it as a statement that the rest of us are just not that important to them. We don't need 'em to fill out the lineup, although both of 'em contributed plenty of tunes. We had too many guitar players anyway, and that might've been part of the problem. I'm movin' on, and lookin' forward to it.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:01 pm
by JakeyVimto
Addition by subtraction bubba, sometimes throwing a talented guy out is the best thing you can do if they are making problems. If they are grown men who cant discuss what the want without cursing out a guy, then you are best off without them. Especially if he cursed out a good drummer. Guitarists are ten a penny, good drummers are rare birds. :D

I moved in the same circles as some guys like that when i was a novice, met some nasty little control freaks on my travels. i was lucky as mostly they were wee guys and they dont shout to loud at guys who are a foot taller than them, but I saw other folks take some browbeating. And thats just not worth it.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 7:46 pm
by maxx england
If it helps, Jakey, I'll shout at you anytime, but I'm good like that.

One thing I've found is that players with a bad attitude end up freezing themselves out. I'm in this game to have fun while I still have the breath to do it, and I wouldn't jeopardise it by getting all Superstar.

Jeffl, treat this not as an end of something, but a fresh beginning. Now go out there and knock them dead :mrgreen:

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 9:28 pm
by jeffl
I've been involved in stuff like this before during the last 40+ years of playin' in bands, but it hurts when it's between friends who've played together for many years. It's a form of rejection, 'cuz it means they don't value playin' with ya' that much. And it's a disappointment 'cuz we're older men, not freakin' adolescent crybabies. But, I think the problems arise from 2 guys who probably stopped maturing when they WERE adolescents, so they act like teenagers (no offense to you younger guys, but a 63 yr. old with lotsa experience SHOULD be more mature.). I'd like to think that friends can work things out. I've already told the younger guys in the band that we'll not only be OK but we'll utilize different strengths and it'll be a little bit like a new band for a while. We just have to reassign some of the parts, and different guys'll have to step up on different tunes. Part of the problem stems from the fact that we started out as just a schlock jam band, playin' benefits and doin' favors, and as we got better we got more requests to play and had to start chargin' more, and the pressure went up a little and the strain got to those guys I guess. We've been playin' alotta outdoor gigs this summer, and now that the weather's turnin' cooler up here, we probably won't play out as much and we'll have time to re-direct our focus with this lineup without too much pressure on us. And besides, with the guys we've got left, I think the gigs will go alot smoother.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:58 pm
by maxx england
In the community (non blues) band I'm involved in, we range from one man & guitar numbers all the way to five piece and singer, it lets us tailor the resources to the song's needs.

Apologies for sounding like one of those brainlessly optimistic self help books, but you don't have a problem there, you have an opportunity.

OK, OK, I'm going, stop hitting me.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:35 pm
by jeffl
maxx england wrote:In the community (non blues) band I'm involved in, we range from one man & guitar numbers all the way to five piece and singer, it lets us tailor the resources to the song's needs.

Apologies for sounding like one of those brainlessly optimistic self help books, but you don't have a problem there, you have an opportunity.

OK, OK, I'm going, stop hitting me.
Thanks Maxx. I'm gettin' over the frustration, disappointment, sadness, etc, and I'm starting to get excited about the new possibilities. Personally, I'll be one of the guys who prob'ly needs to step up: I'll need to work on some keyboard tunes, and I'd prefer to play harp all the time. I've played more keyboard with these guys already than I have with any group since the 70's, and I'm getting better. We do have some talent in our band that's been relatively untapped, particularly one guy who plays mando and sings like a bird-- especiallly innovative harmonies. He's a real interesting singer/songwriter and we haven't tapped any of his tunes yet. And we've got a young guitar player who we've never asked to step up, but he's a good musician, so we'll get more out of him. We've got plenty of assets to work with and I'm now looking forward to it. I appreciate all the support I get from you guys, especially since I need somebody from outside the band to vent this stuff on. We've got another jam/practice tonight, so it should be fun.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:51 pm
by birddog
From your posts I've read you have a level head and this will all work out for the better for you. Glad you are getting excited about it and looking at it as a new opportunity.
The others will be on the outside looking in, hard to believe it started with a drunken sound guy and end up like this. Not the first time this happened, saw it a couple weeks ago without a soundguy.

Wally

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:54 pm
by jeffl
Thanks Wally. Yeah, this stuff happens all the time.. I know. In fact these same two guys who quit were both kicked out of a band at the same time (I played in that one too) about 15 years ago. The crankier one of the two is a curmudgeon I've complained about here numerous times, and the standing joke about him in the music community is that he's been kicked out of (or quit) every band he's ever been in-- and most of 'em HE STARTED.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:44 pm
by jeffl
We had a great night last night. Somebody contacted a female rhythm player who used to play with us and she came over and sat in. It was good to see her and play with her again. She took a few songs later in the night and she did a good job and fit in really well. We've all known her for years, and she's always been "one of the guys", so if she wants to continue it'll work out fine. Life moves on. We re-worked some tunes that used to be handled by one of the "quitters" and those went well, so no problemo.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:21 pm
by jeffl
Life sure can be weird. Last night at our weekly jam one of the two guys who quit showed up. He just walked in and set up, without sayin' a word about coming back. It was good to see him (even though he's high maintenance) just 'cuz I'm all for reconciliation when possible; it's a positive thing. The guy got a ton of ribbing from everybody, including remarks like "Are you gonna be here all night?", and "Man, we've been totally disorganized since you left." (In jest - He's a notorious control freak) I told him that it was good to see him and he responded in kind. We'll see where it goes. I've talked to the other guy who quit, a coupla times, and he seems to have a bigger chip on his shoulder...more personal stuff. You just hate to see life-long friends actin' like little kids, but in retrospect the whole thing was kinda like brothers feuding.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 12:55 pm
by Laker
Was it the crankier one of the two, the curmudgeon, who showed for the jam?

I was going to post about lame soundmen but your thread seemed to have diverted a bit. In the last few bands I've played in we either had our own soundman who would handle whatever PA we would use, or one of the guys in the band had PA experience and would set up the sound prior to our show. It seemed to eliminate most PA related issues.

Re: Drunk Soundman

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:51 pm
by jeffl
Laker wrote:Was it the crankier one of the two, the curmudgeon, who showed for the jam?

I was going to post about lame soundmen but your thread seemed to have diverted a bit. In the last few bands I've played in we either had our own soundman who would handle whatever PA we would use, or one of the guys in the band had PA experience and would set up the sound prior to our show. It seemed to eliminate most PA related issues.
Yeah, it was the more difficult one of the two... and the better musician. He's been in the middle of 3 or 4 blowups in our group before, and has a reputation for this behavior spanning over 40 years. BUT, he's been part of this gang for prob'ly 25-30 years, so he's everybody's curmudgeonly friend. The rest of us have taken the position that he's basically on probation if he wants to play with us, and if he acts up anytime soon, we'll kick him out. We've enjoyed the different directions our music has taken without him. The thing that created the soundman problem is that we've played at that place numerous times before and never used their equipment or soundman, but this time they didn't tell us that they were usin' their guy (and gear) and that he was drunk. They caught us off guard unintentionally. They're good friends of ours...it was an honest mistake.