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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How to Be a Sound Guy (Without Electrocuting Anyone)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 8:00 AM

So you wanna be a sound guy? Get paid to go to all those shows? Control how everyone in the room hears the band? Sounds pretty sweet, huh? Bay Area native Nick Malgieri has been doing sound since he was 15 -- for clubs, festivals, conferences, and, oh, yes, churches. He works as a crew chief for events and concerts for McCune Audio, and can often be found behind the desk at Thee Parkside. For those of you interested in doing a profession that involves something called "gig butt," here's how to be a sound guy (without electrocuting anyone).

click to enlarge desk_and_stage.jpg

Do Not Injure Yourself or Your Audience
"Other than falling off a 40-foot speaker tower or being electrocuted by a 400-amp power service, this is a pretty safe job. But -- maybe you never thought about this before -- you know the 8,000-pound speaker cluster hung above your head at the arena concert? I put that up there at 6 a.m. when I was hungover, after four hours of sleep. Alarmed? Well, if you truly want to never feel safe at a concert ever again just go to Google Images and search "Justin Timberlake truss failure" or "Elton John stage collapse." I'm just kidding ... kinda."

Be Prepared for Bands to Lie to You

"Okay,

guitarists, listen up. When I ask you to turn your amp down, don't

pretend to turn the knob and then ask me if it's better. It's not

better. It's not different at all. I can tell. I listen to things for a

living. Not that anything will ever be worse than the time one of the

guys from Slipknot peed on my gear during the show."

Learn to Love Bad Bands
"There are so many godawful bands out there. How could I do this job if I couldn't stand bad bands? I couldn't. I

mean, seriously -- how many bands have you heard? And how many of them

were great? Not many. You have to look at it this way: Working with a

bad band is still a lot better than listening to the CEO of Cisco

present quarterly earnings reports to stockholders. Just do the job, do

it well, then get paid. Easy."

Understand That Sound Groupies Are Different from Band Groupies

"Hell

yeah, sound guys get groupies -- dorky dudes that follow us around and

ask questions about the electronics. It's nice that they care, but not

exactly what I'm looking for when I've got a buzz on at the rock show."

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Rae Alexandra

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