[Dixielandjazz] Sound guys

Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis larrys.bands at charter.net
Sun Jun 4 21:28:29 PDT 2006

You are of course assuming that the leader or I had anything to do with it. 
I would have been glad to do sound for them or had a friend who did sound 
for the AF band near here do it but we weren't asked.  But there's always 
next year.  I have played this gig about 4 times with this particular leader 
who happens to play for me quite often.  We had no idea and walking out of 
the job was out of the question but as I said there's always next year.

I actually carry a pretty good PA with me all the time.  I use a couple of 
the 15" EON powered monitors.  They are very adequate for groups up to about 
three or four hundred.  Outside they could use a little more punch but we 
don't need a whole lot.

I had my sound system with me as always but I wasn't about to schlep it in 
unless they paid me.  The leader on this particular day doesn't do sound for 
anyone.  They wanted sound to reach down the halls. (not actually halls but 
long narrow rooms with the band at the end on the hub of the wheel more or 
less) That's why the place was full of wires running everywhere.

We really didn't realize how bad they were until we started to play.  They 
had a monster board sat up right behind us and as I said 7 huge cabinets. 
As I recall they had one poorly placed monitor.

You said it better than I - What gives guys the idea that they can buy a 
bunch of stuff and call themselves sound men?   I guess they learned it from 
the guys who get a bunch of stuff and call themselves DJ's.
St. Louis
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <tcashwigg at aol.com>
To: <larrys.bands at charter.net>; <butte1 at mac.com>; 
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sunday, June 04, 2006 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Sound guys

Best way for almost any OKOM BAnd to avoid this situation is simply to
go shop and find your won reliable  inexpensive sound system that will
adequately handle almost any situation up to about 500 people in a room
or range.   Most of you do not play at high volume levels and do not
need all that power in the first place.

Major outdoor events, with large audiences can often require a larger
system, but unless it is a professional and highly experienced sound
company they can often be just as bad as Larry describes.  ANYBOY can
buy or Steal a bunch of old sound gear and mix and match and piece it
together to crank up volume.   That does not make them professional
sound men so the best thing to do is check them out at other venues and
events for yourself and then either bring your own which you can charge
extra for and your own operator (schlepper) who can also set up and
sell your CDs, hand out your cards etc.   well worth the money you pay
them if your band is any good, and you want it to sound good to get you
repeat and future bookings form those who may be in attendance and like
what they hear.

Even if you can't get the extra money for the sound, take it and use it
anyway for the integrity of your show, for which YOU are responsible
for, and have only yourself to blame if you sound bad up there.   But
if your band is known as "The Pretty Good Boys"  then you may be
relegated to doing everything on the cheap and not putting your best
sound and professionalism forward to increase demand for your act and
higher pay checks that come with it.

Professional acts won't settle for mediocrity it simply is not worth it
in the long run.

Will there be an occasional exception, yes, but YOU can go a long ways
to preventing train wrecks if you take care of business.
The event organizers lack of integrity or lack of professional
knowledge should not stop you from making YOUR show solid and
professional,  if it does shame on you,  If you are a Good Boy Scout
and always GO PREPARED  you can avoid many train wrecks, and sound very
good using your own gear rather than sounding bad using theirs,  If
their sound for the other acts is bad simply refuse to use it and tell
them you will use your Own if they don't agree go home, better than
putting on a bad sounding show and having to complain and make excuses
for how bad your band sounded.  The audience rarely knows why you sound
so bad, only that you did and they will talk about or even worse yet
get up and leave without staying to listen.

I have more than once asked that the sound be turned Off in venues that
I have played because it and or the acoustics were simply
uncontrollable for either the engineer or the band with electrical
reinforcement.   Some venues were simply not meant for electronic sound
systems no matter who's brother in law is getting a pay check to rent
it and run it.

I have also been fortunate to play some 3000 year old  wonderful
outdoor amphitheaters where no Sound system was needed at all and
nobody had trouble hearing every note of the show and or the talking.
How did they figure all that out that long ago without electricity and
5000 watts of power.


Tom Wiggins

-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Walton Entertainment - St. Louis <larrys.bands at charter.net>
To: Butch Thompson <butte1 at mac.com>; djml
<dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Sun, 4 Jun 2006 11:55:04 -0500
Subject: Re: [Dixielandjazz] Sound  guys

    We played a gig at an up scale nursing home the Sunday before Fat
Tuesday. They usually put the band in an atrium kind of area. There are
three areas that radiate off of the atrium. All have lower ceilings
than the stage in the atrium. The band's sitting eye level is just
below the ceiling of the rooms which are very long and narrow. The
guests are placed in these long low ceiling rooms.

  As you can imagine the sound is pretty bad especially since we are
more or less an acoustic group.

 This year the recreation director decided to hire a sound crew.

  I would have welcomed the hard rock cafe guys. These bozos looked like
they had just been fired from a bluegrass festival. They were complete
with bib overalls and beards that went down to their chests.

  Their equipment looked like it had been through one too many rock
concerts and the cabinets were huge. They brought in 7 of the biggest
speaker cabinets I had ever seen and strung wires all over the place.

  The microphones were placed on ordinary weighted mike stands with
booms. If you extend these booms very far that kind of stand becomes
unstable. They had all the mikes on those booms. Well I tipped one over
going up the steps to the stage and they had a fit about screwing up
their equipment. If the guy hadn't put it on a step that wasn't very
stable and narrow with the boom extended it never would have happened.

  The mikes cut in and out and while some people think of soprano saxes
as mass weapons of destruction, with their help it became a reality.
While I was basking in my new found power the guy playing banjo and
singing couldn't be heard. He wouldn't touch the mike because they had
yelled at me. I got up to wiggle the cord and see if the thing was
turned on and guess what. My mike went over again.

  It got pretty exciting around there for a few seconds while the blast
from the mike explosion died down.

  I'm looking forward to next year and the reunion concert with these
 St. Louis
 ----- Original Message ----- From: "Butch Thompson" <butte1 at mac.com>
 To: "djml" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
 Sent: Saturday, June 03, 2006 2:18 PM
 Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Sound guys

  >> I remember Hary Epp used to say "When you see a sound tech wearing
a T >> shirt
 >> that says "Hard Rock Cafe", beware." He was right
 > Does anybody remember who put it this way:
  > "My confidence in any sound man is inversely proportional to the
length > of
 > his ponytail."
 > Butch Thompson
 > _______________________________________________
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 > Dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com
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