Out at FOH we live in a gated community. We keep the riff raff away. (except the unlucky person who “wins” a seat next to me from the local radio station. THAT poor bastard had no idea how much better a regular seat would be compared having to abide by my no drinks, and no being an asshole rules.). We usually get what we want. We run the show and no one notices us. …until we screw up.
The goal is to not get noticed.
If we were rock stars we’d be on the stage wearing our girlfriend’s jeans and screaming into a microphone. Instead, we chose the career path with a little more room in the crotch.
As I’ve grown in my career I’ve adopted several guidelines that serve as a general ethos of professionalism.
A.) You’re only as good as your last gig.
B.) The same old method isn’t always the best method.
C.) The people who came before you probably know a thing or two about this gig.
D.) As much as you try and act like you do, you don’t know everything.
E.) Music, physics, math and science are all parts of the job, but the main job is customer service.
Believe me, I’ve learned the hard way. Regardless of how good your resume is, someone else’s is better. If you go about your gig quoting your resume to everyone around you, sooner than later you’ll be expected to live up to the standard that you claim to have set. Trust me, it’s easier to climb up the ladder slowly than to jump up prematurely and get knocked down by pride.
It’s quite amazing the amount of times one hears “this is how we’ve always done it” or “Jimmy always did it like this”. While I’m sure Jimmy is or was a fine engineer, for whatever reason he’s not working here anymore. Furthermore, I fall back on my knowledge and experience. They tend to serve me well. That’s not to say that a phone call to Jimmy wouldn’t be prudent in certain situations, but always remember that YOU have the gig now. It’s YOURS to screw up.
But… like i said. FOH is a gated “community” and in that community we have retirees and rookies alike. The retirees and even the elder statesmen on the verge of retirement actually have a thing or two to offer the rookies. A little bit of humility goes a long way. More than once I’ve had my mouth shut by someone who may not have had the technical knowledge that I do, but their experience and wisdom dwarfed mine and they mixed a flawless show amidst a flurry of chaos. Listen to these old guys. They’re going to tell you stories about soldering the cable before packing the truck that they had to drive to the gig, overnight, to an 8am load in immediately followed by a soundcheck and mixed the show only to load it out and do it all again. The old guys never slept, they partied hard, they fixed the truck, and didn’t need any of your fancy line array crap. Somewhere in their tall tale of roadie bullshit are gems of knowledge. Find them.
That was all I had for this installment. I know… weak, right.
We’ve heard that all before, E-Rock…
There’s an epilogue.
Just this week I was presented with a rather unique opportunity that would require me to find a replacement to fill in some on some fly dates for me. Rather than make a random post on the internet, I looked to my peers and mentors. Those same old guys who came before me and taught me everything that can’t be taught in a classroom just might be available for a one-off or two.
Paying forward is a noble thing to do… paying is the right thing!
Be safe out there.
p.s… I’m committing to The Rev and to you all to write a little bit every few days. Since it takes me months to crap out a proper article type blog, perhaps some weekly ramblings from a FOH perspective will fill those gaps.