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Old Soundman: The Limits Of Primate Principles

Yes, he really did say "feedbacks."

Dear OSM:

I’m wondering if you have had this question before…

Probably, but go ahead.

… I work for a local company with dreams of going regional/national…

You have something in common with many fellow Americans! And foreigners too!

… although my employer never seems to get the gigs.

See, you have even more in common with many audio servants! As well as people all over who work for caterers, Top-40 bands, laser companies, gardening services, and of course, the highly skilled “Zamboni” technicians who perform their work in full view of a paying audience at the local ice hockey arena!

Meanwhile, I’m stuck running his system in a club, where I’m also employed (we won’t get into how “not much” I get paid).

Do you want some cheese to go with that whine? Buck up, buckaroo! Things could be worse! You could be working in a factory in a third-world country, living in a shack made of cardboard while a stream of toxic industrial runoff and human “number 2” runs outside your door! Or, you could be Rammstein’s monitor mixer!

Look at the whole world economy, not just the swinging mixers you read about in the sound magazines! If you don’t love your work, what would you rather be doing? We assume that championship tennis is not a possibility.

I receive many accolades from several of the bands that come through the venue (no, not getting a big head here)…

Yes, you are! That is exactly what you’re doing! But it does not make you a bad person. My head is as big as all outdoors. They should put me on Mount Rushmore! I wrote the book on fiddling while Rome burns!

… as to how much attention I give the monitors and how good it sounds out at FOH (I do both). The dilemma is my boss will come in and complain about how crappy it sounds, while at the same time, the customers telling me how good it sounds.

Does your boss enjoy consuming drugs and alcohol, by any chance? How about the customers?

At least my employer rarely ever grabs faders and changes the mix. But I’m wondering who to believe here? There are several local bands that would refuse to perform unless I’m doing their sound, and two of them have wanted to get their own PA and take me on the road with them.

And yet they have not. Is this because they’re unable to? Wanting to is such a different verb than actually doing something. Are you seeing that? It must be why you’re frustrated!

So for now, I’m paying my dues in the small time. But I’m wondering how to deal with my employer.

Want to keep your job? Obey him and agree with him at all times. Do not ask for a raise.

I don’t want to burn any bridges…

Why not? Bridge burning is really sexy. Listen to more Rammstein!

…but the annoyance factor is approaching 15 on a 1-10 scale. I’ve even had to argue with him over feedbacks (guitar on stage or vocal in the monitors).

You weren’t saying “feedbacks” are good, were you? Get with the program, pal!

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Just wondering how you would handle this?


I’m not your parent! You’re an adult soundman! (I think.) Do you understand the passive-aggressive complex? You’re conflicted. Part of you wants to get fired, but another (rational) part of you doesn’t know where else you would go or what you could do.

Have you considered Alaska? The food chain there is based on reptilian and primate principles of survival and killing. Unfortunately, you must survive, while society insists that you may not kill.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? That’s because it’s not!

The Old Soundman

There’s simply no denying the love from The Old Soundman. Check out more from OSM here.

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