David Scheirman’s approach to both his life and career is characteristically direct. “Rise to the challenge,” he says. “Develop your character, and your confidence, based on the knowledge that there is always going to be more for you to learn.”
Born in Oklahoma, the 57-year-old Vice President of Tour Sound at JBL Professional came to understand audio basics early on, when as a 12-year-old, he helped set up mics for events at his local church. Ultimately, however, it was his subsequent work as a musician that would lead to his career in pro audio.
Scheirman studied upright bass in junior symphony programs, but after seeing The Beatles’ legendary 1964 performance on The Ed Sullivan Show, he became intrigued with the burgeoning rock ‘n’ roll scene.
“When I realized the instrument Paul McCartney was holding had the same strings and fingering, I realized I had a head start.”
By the following Christmas, he was figuring out an entry level bass guitar and amplifier, given as a gift by his parents, and soon after was playing in a band with several schoolmates, aptly named The Young Sound.
With no one in the band old enough to drive, the family station wagon became their primary means of transportation, and Scheirman ended up responsible for their Shure Vocalmaster PA. In 1969, the family relocated to Kansas City. where he completed high school, studied at Johnson County Community College and performed with local nightclub bands.
For the next five years he worked as a professional musician, relocating to Los Angeles to record with Warner Bros. country-rock recording artists, Mason Profitt, with whom he performed on tour with artists like Alvin Lee, Gentle Giant, Marshall Tucker Band, and others.
The album he recorded with the band was never released, and the band lost its focus, but the gig ultimately led to his decision to switch his own focus to audio engineering.
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“One night I was extremely frustrated about how poorly things sounded on stage,” Scheirman explains. “I didn’t know it, but the chief engineer for the sound company, Tycobrahe, was in the audience.
He saw me being disrespectful to the monitor guy and his sound equipment and had strong words with me backstage. He challenged me, saying, if I thought I knew so much about how things ought to sound, why didn’t I try my hand at becoming a soundman? That turned out to be Jim Gamble, still a friend to this day.”
Fascinated by the evolving designs of the era’s concert sound systems, and recognizing the need for improvement, Scheirman quit the band and began questioning where he might land a job in concert audio.
One unintended answer came from a road engineer working with The Who at a concert Scheirman attended: “Kid, about the only job you could ever get on a tour like this is driving the truck!”