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The Old Soundman: Lawyers & Open Mics

Whining from a Yale law school student, who is set straight about a life in sound by the Old Soundman with help from another old-timer.

By PSW Staff March 2, 2018

The Old Soundman

Dear Old Soundman:

I’m a 23-year-old law student at Yale, and I discovered this summer that I really hate the practice of law. I mean I really hate it.

Here is what you should do. Tell your parents to send me your tuition money while you go “find yourself.” How’s that sound?

So much that the $500/day I’m earning isn’t worth it to me. Or is it?

Do you have any idea how few sound mixers make $500 a day? You need to spend a day selling little boxes of Chiclets on the streets of Tijuana, barefoot. That’ll send you running back to daddykins and Yale faster than I can say, “load that bobtail, bubba!”

What I really want to do is open up my own recording studio. And my own music store.  And music website. I want to have my fingers in as many musical pies as I have time for, and I’m willing to work hard to do it.

This is the new millennium, and the watchword is “specialize, specialize, specialize.” Niche markets, Todd!

But should I stick with law for a few years and earn some money to invest in my businesses? 

No, sit on the streets of San Francisco like Robert Crumb’s brother with a monk’s begging bowl in your lap! And every so often, eat a 10-foot strip of cotton and then pull it out of your southern aperture, like he also does!

Or should I just start doing what I love now, by starting small and working my way up financially?

By all means, if you want to end up 40, broke, and deaf, with multiple hernias and a lawsuit from some cretin who tripped over your snake at a festival because he was drunk out of his mind.

Thanks so much for your advice,

Todd, listen to the next gentleman’s story. Then think about what you asked me.

Dear Old Soundman:

I run a weekly open mic in south Texas, situated in a lush beer garden with back alley junkies and the smell of urine… You know, a dream gig.

Can you see it, Todd? Can you smell it?

By the time I get my equipment moved in and set up, I look like somebody dumped a bucket of sludge water on me. Of course, the club pays me nothing to do it, but I get free beer.

Want to trade places with this guy, Todd? Why don’t you ask him if he would like to make $500 a day without having to kill someone, service them sexually, or smuggle contraband weapons across state lines?

Do you think my sweaty appearance is keeping me down?

Ask Todd to lend you his pinstripe suit, his George F. Will-lookin’ suspenders and – don’t tell me, let me guess – the obligatory red tie!

Somebody’s got to lift and haul the equipment, right?

Todd is too busy partying with some wealthy producer in “Studio Todd 2000” or giving away all the gear in his “Todd’s Music” store to some rock hottie who batted her baby blues at him.

I’m the only idiot I know that’ll do it for free… Please help me.

I’ll help you, Coydog! You tell me where and when, and I’ll be there with my guys!

We will hump your gear, I will bring my rack of special EFX, and afterwards, we’ll beat that cheap owner within an inch of his life!

Then we will drive off in his Suburban with the stereo blasting ZZ Top!

You haven’t lived until you hear me sing “got me under pressure” when I’ve got a buzz on!

Just one thing. I regret to add that, at the sound of me snapping my fingers, you will wake up and not remember anything I just said!

Luv –
The Old Soundman

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