Local Crew: H.A.S. ProductionsMUSICIAN LOSES JOB, GETS LUCKY BREAK 4/01/2008 8:00 AM Eastern
Larry Hall, owner and founder of H.A.S. Productions (Las Vegas, www.hasaudio.com), believes that “things happen for a reason.” For example, his music career took a fortuitous hit in 1994 after he moved his young family West to join a band. He had been living in New Hampshire with his wife and two small children, hating the cold and feeling disappointed in the local music scene, when friends suggested he relocate to Las Vegas.
“They said, ‘You guys should move out here because a professional musician in Las Vegas can buy a house and a car, and they get treated like normal people,” Hall recalls. “They sent me a newspaper because bands actually advertised, ‘Wanted: singing guitar player who can sing this type of music.’ I auditioned for a group over the phone, and they hired me, so we sold off a bunch of stuff and got in our little car with our two kids and the little P.A. I had at the time, and we moved out here. But the band had flaked on me and they'd hired somebody else.”
A stranger in a strange land, Hall had to find some kind of work to keep his family afloat, so he took a job cleaning carpets at the Mirage Hotel and Casino. Coincidentally, his new supervisor was also a music and audio lover, and he and Hall began working on outside projects. In addition to playing, Hall rented out and ran the P.A. he'd brought West for low-budget gigs around town and began investing every dime he could spare in more and better gear.
“When I was working as a musician, I took all the money I made rental-wise and dumped it into more gear so I could do more at that lower level — the casinos and lounges, and that kind of thing,” Hall explains. “Then I got to a point where I was making more money being an audio provider.”
As his business (then called Hall Audio Services) and inventory grew, Hall continued to invest wisely. “My wife said that as long as I was providing enough money to take care of us, she didn't care what I did with the rest of the money. Say I needed to make $800 or $1,000 per week to support our family, and I made $3,000 that week, I would put the $2,000 into Hall Audio Services.”
In time, Hall added services and more gear to the business. Today, the renamed H.A.S. Productions provides backline, staging and lighting, as well as full-on audio production and equipment rental to clients in Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah and New Mexico. Hall laughs when he remembers his first pro-level gig: a Gary Hoey concert that he worked using an old Allen & Heath board and Carvin speakers. His inventory now includes multiple Yamaha PM5D and PM4000 boards, and additional consoles from Midas, Soundcraft and Allen & Heath. H.A.S. also maintains more than 100 line array cabinets, including an impressive JBL VerTec rig and three D.A.S. Audio arrays.
Hall is proud to list among his clients the Academy of Country Music (“everything but the big awards show,” he says), Fremont Street and the MGM Grand. Recent performers have included Patti LaBelle, Michael Buble, Randy Travis and more. He hired operations manager Danny Lane a year-and-a-half ago because H.A.S. has grown to where one person can't handle all of the day-to-day operations. Three full-time staffers keep the gear maintained and the office running, and Hall has his pick of 15 to 20 freelance engineers.
The road was a bit bumpy at first, but Hall has come a long way since losing that promising bar-band job. “When I first got here, I had two small kids and a pregnant wife, and no income,” Hall says. “But if I hadn't ended up getting this stupid job cleaning carpets at the Mirage, I wouldn't have ended up doing that Gary Hoey show and having the support and courage to take this business to the next level.”
Barbara Schultz is an assistant editor at Mix.