My band played our first set at a local venue last week and it went great, but at one point after our set, the sound guy cursed at me quietly and then I think he gave me the finger slyly (not sure on this, though). I’ve had run-ins with some sound guys before at other clubs, too. I love playing at this place and want to do it again sometime in the future, but what can I do about this sound guy, or is it just me?
Vexed at Venues
Ah, sound guys. I’d go out on a limb to say that most musicians have exchanged words with a sound guy at one point. That number may be higher locally - unless it’s JC, he doesn’t want to talk to you. Many Denton-lifers have come to love and embrace most of our sound guys, but it can be kinda tricky.
This “love” first requires accepting sound guys for what they are; jerks. Bear in mind that it’s not hard to love a jerk. We all enjoyed watching Gregory House in the late Fox drama, House, pestering his co-workers and accidentally killing his patients. We even loved our drunken Uncle Boris who once asked our then girlfriend to sit on his lap during our little brother’s high school graduation party back before poor Boris died of male breast cancer. He was our Uncle after all. Sound guys are the same once you’ve gotten to know them. Some will stand by their collective genius, citing their “awe-inspiring” knack for random things like trivia. Others will just never get it. If the life of a Denton sound guy is ever developed into an hour-long comedy-drama on Showtime, we’ll be able to have a better grasp on this particular brand of “anti-hero,” but until then, they’ll go on correcting your grammar and dropping food crumbs on your drumset.
None of this actually answers your question, though. While we’ve been hashing out ways to love and appreciate the goodness that is a sound guy, your question was more along the lines of how to get them to like you, an inquisition not as easily answered. People with “emotional deprivation disorder” have a hard time enjoying the company of others, especially annoying little white guys like myself. Try bringing tacos to ‘em. Comb their beards. Ask the sound guy questions about World of Warcraft such as, “Which orc are you today?” or, “Does a cylon outrank a White Walker in Cataclysm?” Heck, you can even read these questions directly from this piece of paper and they won’t even notice due to the lack of eye contact.
Now, it’s important to note that these are tips and tricks for the advanced sound guy encounter and you aren’t quite there yet. Before practicing these techniques, focus on getting the sound guy to just not dislike you. Not much is known about what sets sound guys off, but The Wiseguy can tell you what we do know. You should never touch anything on the stage that isn’t yours, make sure you arrive to the club on time (ask in advance what time to show up!), bring extra cords if you have strange equipment and make sure to answer any of their questions quickly and with as few words as possible. Basically, respect the stage for what it is: the sound guy’s playground. Practice these techniques and let me know if they work for you, or if you find something else that does. Heck, I don’t know. Most of ‘em still hate me.