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It’s Only Rock and Roll

Steve La Cerra, from his seat at FOH, says that there's no need to be rude to crew... it's simply a rock and roll show

Looking at the big picture, much of what we do as audio professionals could be considered stuff on the candy store shelf. Notwithstanding those of us who are handling live sound for the Pope or the President (legitimate high-pressure scenarios), our clientele attends shows to sing, dance, reminisce, bang their heads, and maybe consume an illegal substance or two. We’re not curing disease and we’re not going to war. Which is why it upsets me when I see someone react in a manner that doesn’t fit the context of what we do.

A few days ago I witnessed a band’s FOH engineer make an ass out of himself yelling at the audio crew over a talkback mic because there were a few mispatched input lines from the stage. I suppose that if it was his crew, his reaction might have been considered somewhat less rude (I doubt it), but it wasn’t his crew, which made his attitude all the more inappropriate.

I had the same issue later in the evening when it was time for my line check and the lead vocal microphone was nowhere to be found. Obviously, I wasn’t happy about it and time was an issue because we were in a festival situation. As I watched the clock tick past our start time I got a little annoyed, but I let the FOH systems engineer know what was happening and moved on to check other inputs.

More Mix Blog Live: What’s That Sound?

The systems engineer radioed the stage to tell them what was happening (or what wasn’t happening, as was the case), and they started working to solve the problem. In the meantime, the systems guy politely let me know that it was time to start. Point taken, but I’m not starting a show if we’re not ready. When I informed him that I was still waiting on my lead vocal microphone, he got back on his radio to blast his patch guy, with a firm, “Where’s channel 22?”

Moments later, the vocal channel came up and we were ready to go, albeit five minutes late. No yelling, no screaming, cool heads all around. We all breathed a sigh of relief as the set started, and the net result was the same as if I had been jumping up and down like Yosemite Sam. The difference is that there was no animosity or discourteous behavior on anyone’s part—which makes it easier to put your head on the pillow at the end of the night and makes working with the same crew easier in the future.

Lighten up. It’s only rock and roll.