Dear Old Soundman,
One of the bands I mix (that does corporate shows) has an older bass player who does nothing but complain about the sound every night.
“It’s too high-end-y, the sax should sound fuller, forget the singers!
Turn their damn monitors down now! You suck, get your ears fixed, etc.”
Yes, but does he say anything about turkey basters?
Now I should note that he is not the leader of the band, nor does he sign my check. The rest of the band is happy with what I do.
Could you … perhaps … talk to the Leader Of The Band, maybe, or whoever else signs your check?
Ask them, hey, why doesn’t Fecal Matter over here have to speak to me politely?
Do the Elephant Man routine, the line about “I am not a monster! I am a … Man!” That ought to go over well.
How do I deal with this guy?
Last year I saw a hilarious interchange, between a dark and stormy FOH/Tour Manager and his incredible stage crew. The techs were really good at what they did, and were relaxed and friendly.
Their boss called them a name and the drum tech replied in a thick New York accent, “So, what, you don’t have to speak to me like a person?” It irritated the guy so much, how they laughed at him when he vowed that they would never work for him again.
I wasn’t prepared for the rudeness that this individual then sprayed at me, whose check he definitely didn’t sign. I have personally been on the peace tip for about seven years now, and have been rewarded by Society for doing so, but I wanted to put this guy into a wall, really badly.
See, I came from an environment where you slugged someone who bothered you. Eventually, I had to temper that inclination, once I had a handgun around the house.
To be serious for two seconds here, you also need to look at how you appear, how you think of yourself, and whether you are dissatisfied with the gig.
Do you look this bonehead in the eye, or do you slink away and just take it? Are you truly confident of your competence?
I was getting jerked around once by a big lug. He walked up to a keyboard I was soundchecking under a tight schedule, and reached over and changed the patch I was using.
I blew up, he walked away laughing, and when I had the stage done, I found him outside the venue.
I faced him and said “What is it going to take to get you to act right with me?” I had had it. He was genuinely perplexed, and said he hadn’t known he was bothering me that much.
So – are you giving this individual the excuse of saying they weren’t aware you were bugging? Are you a frustrated musician, and look up to these lowlifes too much?
If you deserve better, are you willing to go elsewhere?
These are hard questions to answer. Contrary to popular opinion, every once in a while I do put the joking aside.
But don’t think i’m going to make a habit of it!
The Old Soundman
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