The Hard Times Unveils Its First Ever Documentary

Watch as an unassuming band is harassed by a cantankerous sound guy in The Art of Grumpy.

Local music satire website, The Hard Times, which — fun fact! — was created by former SF Weekly music editor Matt Saincome, is venturing beyond the realm of the mere written word and into films.

Released on its site this morning, the publication’s first-ever documentary — don’t worry, it’s not one million hours long; only about four and a half minutes — is about quite possibly the world’s grumpiest sound man.

Entitled The Art of Grumpy,  the film follows a hapless unnamed rock band as they arrive for sound check at Adelaide Hall in Toronto. Little do they know that they’re about to work with David Murphy, the venue’s resident grumpy sound guy. Throughout the doc, Murphy showers the trio in insults and spews some of the most biting, not to mention hilarious critiques that a band could hope for.

“This is the real world, this isn’t a Battle Of The Bands at your high school,” he tells them at one point. Other highlights include, “That sounds like it was tuned by Helen Keller!” and “This isn’t your dad’s basement!”, as well as references to Nick Jonas and the band “sounding like shit.”

Murphy, who has worked as the head sound man at the venue for 13 years, is obviously in on the joke. “In an ideal world,” he says in the film, “a band is scared shitless to ask me anything.” Don’t be fooled though: his crabbiness is not just an act for the film. According to Saincome, Murphy’s “reputation proceeds him,” and Ryan Long, the The Hard Times reporter who produced and directed the film, had heard about Murphy long before working on the film.

Though the documentary was filmed in Toronto, the goal is for bands and artists of any genre in any city to be able to relate to it.

“This documentary is for everyone who has played in a band and met their very own grumpy sound person,” Saincome says, adding that he’d “like to think that we all have our very own David Murphy working at clubs around the world.”

Stay tuned for more hard-hitting investigative music journalism from The Hard Times because, Saincome assures us, there is more to come.

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