Hi. My name is Craig, and I’m a gearaholic.
I tried to find a 12-step program, but quite frankly if I have to move gear more than six steps, I’m going to need a hand truck because my back isn’t what it used to be. It’s not just that I like gear; it’s that I’m addicted to it.
I fall asleep reading equipment catalogs. I bypass articles in trade magazines, unless they’re talking specifically about gear, to look at the (gasp) advertisements of new mixers, microphones, loudspeakers – you name it. At trade shows, I revel in all of the stuff on display, new and not so new. It doesn’t matter. It’s gear.
At concerts, I can’t just relax and enjoy the performance. I’m constantly sneaking looks at front of house, combined with sideways glances at monitor beach. If there’s a dance number, I wonder what media the tracks were recorded on, and what the sound team is using for playback.
During a guitar solo, I might be counting the number of delay cabinets or checking out the type and location of the wireless antennas. I’ve even been known to borrow binoculars to read the logos on the front fills.
It’s not just limited to audio gear – I’m addicted to all production equipment, including backline, staging, even power distribution. And I must confess: I even stare at the lighting rig from time to time. Now you know it’s serious!
When a radio station announces a band from my youth is coming to town to play a concert, I don’t wonder how many original members the band still has. Nope. I ponder what PA they’re traveling with, or will they be using local racks and stacks? Didn’t the lead singer used to use an SM58? I wonder if he still does… And so on.
I wasn’t always addicted. Like most folks, I simply enjoyed listening to music and watching shows. But one day, it dawned on me that without gear, there would be no shows. My worldview started changing.
Gear is sneaky; like a good fisherman, it catches you one little bit at a time. The hook is cast when gear whispers that it will help you by amplifying the things onstage so the audience can hear. See? Gear is your friend.
Then it starts drawing you toward the lure by mentioning that you can eliminate that nasty feedback with an EQ – and perhaps a different microphone would make it even better? Now gear is your buddy.
Next, you go to a show and hear (and feel) the earth moved by an awesome stack of subwoofers. And you want to move the earth too, so you have to acquire a bunch of those big boom-boom boxes of your own! That’s it. The hook is set, and resistance, as they say, is futile.
I came to understand the serious nature of my addiction when one night my wife and I were watching TV and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came on. Dozens of the most beautiful super-models in the world wearing the sexiest, skimpiest outfits walking down the runway right into my living room in HD.
I was mesmerized by the spectacle, and without realizing that I was talking out loud, said “Wow, that’s gorgeous!” My wife, sitting on the couch next to me, shot me The Look (you married guys know what I’m talking about) and was about to nudge me in the arm when the rest of the thought came out of my mouth: “That’s the best runway stage I’ve ever seen!” She paused and then started laughing uproariously, and it was at that moment I realized I might need some help.
So I stand before you now, ready to begin the first step in my recovery program… Oh, who am I kidding? It’s time to stop testifying, accept that my condition is hopeless, and check out some ads about gear!
Senior contributing editor Craig Leerman is the owner of Tech Works, a production company based in Las Vegas.