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Do you help your sound guy?


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Strange question but it's worth asking here as we (our band) don't know if we're being unreasonable.

For larger gigs we hire a sound engineer and quality PA. We pay him his invoiced fee. He's not a mate of a mate, doing this for beer money, he's a professional operation and ends up with more than any band member does.

Thing is, he expects us to turn up to venues to help him load in and set up before the gig and to wait around afterwards to coil cables and shift speakers at the end. He's got loads of gear (more than I think is necessary but the sound quality is good so I don't complain). He's not a one man business but most of the time for our gigs does it on his own.

This setting up/taking down takes ages and he gets arsey if we don't help. Are we being unreasonable in thinking this is not really our job, or should we be all teamy and hang around for ages helping him out? From a band side, we all help each other load and pack so we're not selfish in that respect.

thanks

Steve

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It depends how much you like him as a sound guy. If he does a great job, then helping him load in and load out is not too bad.

If you still wanted to use him but weren't prepared to help, then expect to cover the expenses of one of his mates who will do nothing all night apart from when gear needs to be shifted or packed up.

A decent sound guy is hard to find - so maybe being accommodating to a one man operation who seems to be doing a good job for you may be the answer.

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[quote name='EBS_freak' timestamp='1462882434' post='3046556']
It depends how much you like him as a sound guy. If he does a great job, then helping him load in and load out is not too bad.

If you still wanted to use him but weren't prepared to help, then expect to cover the expenses of one of his mates who will do nothing all night apart from when gear needs to be shifted or packed up.

A decent sound guy is hard to find - so maybe being accommodating to a one man operation who seems to be doing a good job for you may be the answer.
[/quote]
+1 tbh

We have a soundman who is a student, he rocks up early and does all the setting down, and he gets paid a flat fee regardless of gig (so he takes a fair bit more on the smaller gigs , but takes a hit on the larger gigs)
Hes a nice guy, and tbh I dont mind just helping a bit of the loading out at the end - just moving a few speakers to a car or whatever is very little efffort and looks good.

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[quote name='EBS_freak' timestamp='1462882434' post='3046556']
If you still wanted to use him but weren't prepared to help, then expect to cover the expenses of one of his mates who will do nothing all night apart from when gear needs to be shifted or packed up.
[/quote]

I think this ^^ says it all....

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If it's our sound guy that we've asked to come & work with us, then sure I'll help move stuff in / out if I'm there when needed or offer to help out. I don't like to pack things up / coil cables so that I don't break (or be accused of breaking) anything or coiling cables the wrong way.

If it's a sound guy provided by the venue / promoter / it's a multi band event, then it's up to them I'm afraid - we're being paid to do a job just like they are. That said, I do always try & thank the sound guys before leaving if they've done a good job.

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If you couldn't lift your bass amp into the car would you ask the sound man for help? how would you react if he said no because it was your gear and its "what you are getting paid for"

EBS_freak has hit the nail on the head if you want to not help him then be prepared to pay for someone to help him.

I used to work for a band leader who provided PA ect for gigs and you had the option of either turing up and helping to set up and break down or turning up for soundcheck and leaving straight after the gig finished if you wanted to, however anyone who stayed to help got paid £40 extra and if no one stayed then the bandleader made more money

maybe worth implementing something like this?

Edited by Chrismanbass
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Sounds like a simple case of the two parties having slightly different expectations. The arrangement needs to be properly discussed before too much bad feeling sets in.

If the band really doesn't want to help the sound guy set everything up and take everything down then just tell him exactly what you expect him to do. He can then decide whether to provide that service or not, charge a bit more for his extra work, hire his own helper, whatever! But at least both sides will then know exactly what is expected of them.

Of course, this might lead to a parting of the ways, but it sounds like it might be heading that way anyway given the current tensions on both sides. Edited by 4stringslow
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[quote name='bonzodog' timestamp='1462884306' post='3046600']
I would get a price from another sound company and make sure they quote for loading and unloading and see how it compares with what you currently pay him
[/quote]

But what you also need to factor in, is that competitor company staffed by bell ends? Will they do as good a job?

Sometimes its good to stick with what you know.

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I don’t think you can look at this in the same context has part of the band, he or she is a professional person offering a professional service so you have to pay the going rate, good PA hire is not cheap. Just sending one man keeps the costs down but If you don’t want to muck in then they can always bring someone else along at your expense

Edited by ironside1966
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[quote name='EBS_freak' timestamp='1462885579' post='3046619']


But what you also need to factor in, is that competitor company staffed by bell ends? Will they do as good a job?

Sometimes its good to stick with what you know.
[/quote]

Agreed. I'm not for one minute saying go with the other company but if he knows a price for the whole package, he can determine if he is getting a good deal for helping load and unloading.

Edited by bonzodog
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With my hippy head on, I'd say, "yeah, help him out...he's a fellow traveller and he'll make you sound great!" With my slightly less hippy head on, I'd be inclined to say this: like you, he is being paid to provide a service. To perform that service he needs to get his equipment in and out of vans and venues. That is his job. To pull a face when you don't immediately spring to his aid seems rather petulant. If you play a bar and that bar gets really busy, does the landlord ever ask you to pop behind the bar and pull pints? No. It's not your job. If the sound guy doesn't think he can move his kit without assistance, he should bring along a helper, otherwise he will have to rely on the good will of people who are not getting paid to shift his stuff around. By all means, as an empathetic human being, help him out, but if someone who you are paying to work for you, demands that you provide unpaid assistance, then you are perfectly within your rights to refuse.

I'm a friendly, helpful chap, and I wouldn't hesitate to help if I was asked politely, or was in a position to help. But when assumptions and demands are made then I'm afraid I wouldn't be quite so lovely.

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We are paying the going rate and it's not that he's a permanent member of the band so we're not splitting fees five ways -he's paid based on the size of the venue and the amount of gear required. He chooses to do it single handedly for us but he can use others in his company if he wanted to. Currently we do help him with all his equipment, as we do with all our band members and no one leaves until everything is packed up but it does feel sometimes as if we're paying for that privilege!

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[quote name='Muppet' timestamp='1462897553' post='3046798']
We are paying the going rate and it's not that he's a permanent member of the band so we're not splitting fees five ways -he's paid based on the size of the venue and the amount of gear required. He chooses to do it single handedly for us but he can use others in his company if he wanted to. Currently we do help him with all his equipment, as we do with all our band members and no one leaves until everything is packed up but it does feel sometimes as if we're paying for that privilege!
[/quote]

Sounds to me like its him who is choosing not to use a second person so that HE doesn't have to pay anyone else from the fee that he has agreed with you. I think I would be happy to help, up until the point where he expects it, or gets funny if you don't.

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Blow him out.... It's outrageous that he expects you to lift a finger. You pay for him for his services, his PA and his expertise. Unless his contract states you will be roadies for him, sit back and let him get on with it. He will let you do it all day long and think you are the best thing since sliced bread, untill you drop something, or cause an injury to yourself or someone around you....then your on your own... I think this bloke is another one thinks that he is doing the band a favour, and you can't do without him..

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[quote name='jonnythenotes' timestamp='1462901123' post='3046842']
Blow him out.... It's outrageous that he expects you to lift a finger. You pay for him for his services, his PA and his expertise. Unless his contract states you will be roadies for him, sit back and let him get on with it. He will let you do it all day long and think you are the best thing since sliced bread, untill you drop something, or cause an injury to yourself or someone around you....then your on your own... I think this bloke is another one thinks that he is doing the band a favour, and you can't do without him..
[/quote]

I have to agree, I would not want the band to touch the PA, that way if anything gets damaged it was down to me, good PA guys are anal about their gear, everything has a place and there is a place for everything, leads coiled a certain way, mic's cased in certain orders etc. If you are paying him to put the PA in and do your sound that includes setting it up and breaking it down, if he can't do it as a one man outfit then he needs to come to you and negotiate a price increase to allow him to bring along an assistant, that doesn't have to be expensive as he can probably find a youngster who would jump at the chance to do some PA work and learn the ropes.

I remember as an 18 year old banging on TourTech's door and begging to work for nothing so as to learn from a reputable touring PA company, even then I couldn't get in, it was only after working with SSC a few times that I managed to get a foot in the door

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1462903907' post='3046867']
We travel with a sound person and our own sound and lights. He's a part of the band as far as I'm concerned.

We all help carry and set up and tear down.

Blue
[/quote]

Sounds like a completely different set up to the OP, who is paying a seperate professional for a service at an agreed fee.

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Does he help shift your kit?

I was initially inclined to say you should help with load in and out, but if he's a professional, then realistically he shouldn't expect free work out of you guys.
Actually it's not free work is it? You're paying him for the privilege of doing one of his roles.

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[quote name='chris_b' timestamp='1462899847' post='3046821']
Unless he's agreed otherwise, this guy should be providing a full service to you.......
[/quote]

Yes, depends what you have been quoted for. How they staff/resource it is down to them,
If it is a two man job then expect it to be priced as such.
If he has said, he needs help with the load-in etc...expect that to be reflected in the price.

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I've been many a time on the sound engi end of things, and have always appreciated any (competent...) aid before or after. As a band member, I'm now well past any more than rolling up cables or rolling away flight cases, but, if it helps the tech team (a solo bloke or a whole flock...) I'll never refuse, once my own gear was done. I'm not the jealous kind, so I don't care about who's being paid for what, and at two in the morning, it's too late (or too early..?) to think about getting home a few minutes sooner. Having done this for over forty years, it's now second nature, but I really can't do much more, now, than stay out of the way and crack dumb jokes till it's finished. We all have our different attitudes; that's mine. :blush:

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[quote name='JTUK' timestamp='1462907841' post='3046916']


Yes, depends what you have been quoted for. How they staff/resource it is down to them,
If it is a two man job then expect it to be priced as such.
If he has said, he needs help with the load-in etc...expect that to be reflected in the price.
[/quote]

This exactly.
I might choose to help, but it should not be expected

Edited by dudewheresmybass
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[quote name='Wooks79' timestamp='1462905470' post='3046886']


Sounds like a completely different set up to the OP, who is paying a seperate professional for a service at an agreed fee.
[/quote]

Agreed, in the ops scenario, I would say no help, if I contract with a plumber I'm not helping him do his job.

Blue

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