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Give us your top 5 'hairyest' moments!
Old 14th November 2007
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
With about six weeks left in this year what were your hairyest moments of 2007?
Old 14th November 2007
Lives for gear
sonare's Avatar
I was just recording a CD of the Houston Symphony and all the gear "talks" to the control room via optical fiber-- or at least it is supposed to.

Everything was setup and after power-up the optical link would not lock thanks to a boloxed fiber. How glad I was that I had ordered a backup that arrived on location that day!

MORAL: always have backup even when you are sure it CAN'T break!

Old 14th November 2007
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Well said Rich!
Old 14th November 2007
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar
ok ... hi steve ...

i come walking out of a venue and i hear a whining sound in the distance ... we are in the middle of soundcheck ... the runs to the building for cameras and audio are 1000' of fiber and we used most of it ... as i get closer to the trucks which are parked a bit away due to the tour not communicating with us ... as i get closer to the audio truck (JDM mobile btw) i notice that the whining is coming from the audio trucks genny ... i go get the onsite genny guy (a true backup) and drag him out of his truck that he is sleeping in ... and tell him one of his genny's is making a whining sound ... he opens up the side and we see that the thing has blown the water pump ... i ask him how long before it goes altogether .. he says when the temp reaches 200 degrees .... well it was at 175 already and climbing ... i go into JDM and tell these guys (mark linett was mixing) ... now this was a look of WTF are you talking about as i tell them we need to shut down the genny and we are having another delivered ASAP ... good thing it was not the headliner soundchecking but still ... so long story short we power the genny down and they send out another genny and in the meantime JDM as an onboard genny (that jimmy said cost a boat load of cash and i think worth every penny that day) that runs for the last soundcheck ... good thing jimmy D had that ...

strange thing is that was not the worst thing that happened that 22 hour day ...

more another time ...


Old 14th November 2007
Lives for gear
Plush's Avatar
The whole scene surrounding the live recording of Louis Farrakhan playing the violin MUST qualify for one of the hairiest.

Some valuable gear, including the console, was stolen at this gig.

All engineers on our crew had to go through metal detectors.
No members of "the community" had to go through any metal detectors even though they carried a gun.
Old 14th November 2007
Originally Posted by Remoteness View Post
With about six weeks left in this year what were your hairyest moments of 2007?
i think i posted about this before but i'll re-cap:

while not technically a "remote" recording, we recorded Matisyahu and band for
a future release for "The Concert to End Slavery" at my day-job studio Tequila Mockingbird. this shoot was over the July 4th holiday and Matis was in town for a 2-day we were to set up on the 4th, and record/shoot him in the studio on the 5th.

i'll cut to the took well over a day to dress the set and it's some 200+ lightbulbs and cans. we had to have an electrician tie into our 220V coming in from the outside world to power a massive A/C distro box...that they set up right by my splitter at the 11th hour!

so by the time they finished dressing the set, i had exactly 1/2 hour to get sounds on a 6-piece band...who had to leave pretty quickly to get back to the venue where their show was later that night.

everything had an electrical buzz on it, as you might expect with a giant electro-behemoth right by my we lifted/moved cables, re-routed everything, and generally told the camera crew to get the f*ck out of our way for just 10 damn
minutes (politely) so we could trouble shoot this.

in the end, we were able to get pretty much everything quiet and i got everyone recorded with not half-bad results. anyway, the band was happy, so that's all i cared about at that point.

many lessons learned that day...
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 19th November 2007
Gear Addict
mrsteaks's Avatar

It was 1975....

At Steve's behest, I decided to go ahead and tell this story. It was a "hairy moment" (one of many, but the most memorable) from my days as a "roadie" in 1974-75. There were no A1's or A2's back then; you were a roadie or a road manager. Oh, you had a specialized job - you mixed mains or monitors, but everyone did the load in/out, setup/tear down, and drove the truck.

Spring 1975 - I was working for the Next City Corporation and we were contracted to Wolfman Jack for his "I Saw Radio" tour. We had no specs, no stage plots, no set description, no nothing from the tour. We were to arrive in Akron, Ohio with the PA and lights and spend a week mounting the production for the tour, and that was the extent of our knowledge of what we were to expected to do. Oh - we had the itinerary, and it was interesting to note that the average distance bewteen gigs was 400 miles - a day. We - the PA - had a 24 foot former Ryder truck and a Dodge Maxivan, which the four of us took turns driving. The set arrived in a semi, and that truck had a driver and another Teamster to help man handle the set. Oh - did I mention we were expected to help do that, too??

Shure Brothers had something to do with the tour, I can't remember exactly what. They did provide some power amps and a couple of new mixers, plus some mics, and two techs to help us with the gear (it was new, not for sale yet).

We spent a week thrashing around in Akron (in some old second rate cinema house) trying to get things coordinated and working, plus learn the (elaborate) show. Wolfman was at the time the host of a Saturday night show on TV (I forget the name of it) with his front man, Doctor John (not the Doctor John we all know). The show was themed around his years of watching rock n roll evolve from his perspective in radio. The set was big, heavy, had two steel radio towers on each side, and some very heavy platforms, plus two 8 foot grand pianos. We had some wedge monitors we needed to use that we were having trouble getting the set designer to accept, and the show had some backup singers that were having trouble understanding that the monitor system could not provide a separate mix to them!

I guess you've all decided all ready that we were off to a rocky start. It gets better.

We did the opening show in Akron, and it went well (as I remember). Next was another Ohio venue, Columbus I think, then up to Detroit, then on to Toledo.

By the time we finished the Detroit gig, none of us had slept well in a week (or more). We were pretty loopy, evidenced by the fact that it took us three hours to load out, and that we had torched an automobile prop (wooden) because we'd dropped it and f**ked it up. But, we finally got on the road. I was driving the van, with a couple of guys asleep in the back, and a guy named Dave was driving the Ryder truck. It was 3AM.

Just above Toledo, on I-75, Dave started weaving back and forth. Falling asleep. I tried pulling along side him to get him to stop, but almost got sideswiped in the process. No - we had no CB's! The bad news was there really was no place to stop, because the shoulder was dug up and was blocked with (metal, not plastic like now) 55 gallon drums. The Interstate started a slow curve to the left and Dave went straight - up a blocked off ramp. I was right along side the truck when it hit one of those big overhead signposts, at 55 MPH. The gas tank exploded, quite impressive, and I freaked out. I pulled over and yelled to the guys in the back that "Dave *****'s dead!" They jumped out, ran back to the truck, then came back, saying "grab blankets and come with us, Dave and ****** are okay, truckers got 'em out."

I hurried back to the now fully engulfed PA carrying Ryder truck, and found Dave lying on the ground, apparently okay, except for a pretty twisted right arm. Around then police and fire started to arrive, and things started to get under control.

By the time the fire was out, the sun was up, and we were able to see that the PA was ash, except for a couple of ATA cases with cables, mics and the mixers. They'd gotten really hot and really wet, though. We ended up salvaging the amp and drive racks, only because they were in the van I was driving.

Yup, the tour got cancelled. We got a bill from the State of Ohio for the cleanup, from Shure for their wrecked gear, and from the hospital that admitted Dave and the other person. The real capper was that the PA was supposed to be insured - the guy who was given the money to do it never did. We were out a ton of money.

Wolfman told me, over breakfast that morning, that this was all "part of rock n roll".
Old 19th November 2007
Lives for gear
tenor39's Avatar

During the setup and shoot of the annual Univision Mariachi Christmas Special at Epcot we get one of the hairiest storms of the year. After faxing every mic on stage (all DPA, so mucho denero!), the first wave rolls in. Lots of instant rain, wind etc. Thankfully, we had bagged everything, so no harm done. Next wave features all of the previous plus lightning. With only 3 of us to cover the entire stage it was all we could do to catch the mic stands as they were blowing over. 1 hour from "roll tape" and the third wave comes, only this time if includes a funnel cloud and violent downdrafts. Holy **it, Batman! Thunder, Lightning, 70mph winds, and horizontal rain! Even with all of the electronics covered and under a tent, we loose the PS to the monitor console, which in turn burns out the output stage of said console. Holy silicon smoke, Batman! Thank God for PRG (I know, the Borg). They had a new console to us in less than an hour. Over half of the mic's were full of water, even after being bagged and laid down. Needless to say, as the engineer in charge of everything going from the stage to the truck, I was freaked (glad we had fiber)! Amazingly, we were able to literally pour the water out of the mic's and do the show that night (way to go DPA)! We only had to replace 1 mic after all of that. Bagging all of your connections, from snakes to individual cables, sure keeps your hair on your head!
Old 19th November 2007
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar
i worked a job as the technical director years ago with Louis Farrakhan playing the violin at the cerritos performing atrs center .... we all got searched and there must have been 2 dozen security guards of his with automatic weapons ... hope this is not the gig you are talking about ... i cannot remember who did the multi-track ...

last week in NYC .. (sorry steve, i still want to get you a cocktail or two on me but no time this trip) .. we were shooting Jay Z at Hmmerstein in Mahattan .. i am backstage after the show making sure that he is not going to go back on one more time .. backstage stairs are packed full of peeps .. i look up as sean puffy combs and jayz walk by to the dressing rooms .. security in tow .. 2 sec's later i see the head security guy throwing a guy down the stairs (but he has a hold of him the whole way) i cannot go up the stairs (very narrow stairway) and i cannot go down because of all the peeps .. well security is coming down the stairs whether we like it or not .. i start yelling make a hole .. but of course no one is moving .. i can hear people saying "who is that skinny security guy with the funny loking headset on" .. screw him .. so i strat pushing down the stairs because security is throwing this guy over me now .. must have been 40 people in a place where you can fit 8 .. i got to the bottom of the stairs with this guys feet nearly over my head .. fun stuff .. undercover cops everywhere .. all of a sudden there are more badges flying out ..

another quick security one ... philly a few weeks back shooting smashing pumpkins ...

after seeing the show the night before we are taping i am standing at the lip of the stage on the floor .. i see the stage manager and ask if i can come up to talk to the monitor engineer about placement for Effanels audio rack the following day .. he says come on up .. well i get up on stage by jumping up on the downstage lip ... not 1 sec and i have this guy dive out from behind a monitor and grab me like a riot cop in ohio ... screaming at me .. i go limp to show no resistance and tell him i am the technical producer for tomorrows TV taping .. he had a grip on me so hard and was about to fling me into the audience seating down front .. the stage manager is looking at him like please don't hurt him, we need him .. turns out he was billy's personal security guy ... security and i are best of friends now, great guy btw , if i was famous i would love to have him watching my back ...

well, after 4 months on the road in the last 6 months, 57 airplanes, over 200 taxis, countless rental cars, and several trains, it seems to be winding down a bit ...

lets stay safe and keep the blackberry's away from the drivers in 2008

cheers ... i love stories .. great idea
Old 11th February 2009
Hairy situations.

Old 11th February 2009
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Man, I even have a few more to tell one of these days.
Old 12th February 2009
Lives for gear

I have two stories, both from live sound jobs. Number 1 was an outdoor concert where power was provided by a generator. During the show (I think between bands, thankfully) we noticed that there was a lot of smoke coming from behind the stage around the genny area. Come to find out the inside of the generator was on fire! Fire personnel are required to be at these concerts and they were able to quickly extinguish the fire. After the flames were under control the electrician on site said, "Start it up; let's finish the show!"

Number 2 was also involving power at an outdoor show (Johnny Maestro). This time we were taking power from a breaker installed on the side of the building which got its source directly from the pole. Sound, lights, and backline come from this and it's never given a problem in the past (two summers of once a week concerts). In the middle of the show we lose all power. Go to the main breaker and it's tripped. This show was all IEM's so no monitor amps drawing current, minimal lighting and backline. We meter again and everything seems to be normal. What's the deal? Flip it back on and everything seems fine for another few minutes until it does it again. We ended up having to cut the show short. It turned out that the breaker was just old and wouldn't hold. It was replaced the next day and the following week we had no problems.
Old 12th February 2009
Gear Addict
Mike Derrick's Avatar

Location recording.

Had a bit of a bad cold. I was set-up in the same room as the performance. Singer songwriter guy with his acoustic guitar, so the music is somewhat quiet. About part way through an incredible take I get that scratchy throat scenario where ya have to clear your throat cause it's got that tingley tickle that seems to just get annoyingly worse and worse the longer you avoid clearing your throat. It gets to the point where I can't breathe because if I do it's gonna cause an involuntary cough. I can't get up and leave the room without causing a distraction or making a certain amount of noise. There are no loud parts to hide a subtle clearing-of-the-throat behind, it's a ballad. So I decide to hold my breathe until the performer screws up and decides to start again, as had been the case for several takes up to now anyhow. He'll screw up, I'll cough, and we'll rewind and roll tape for the next take.

But of course this take is going really well, performance is stellar, emotion is passionate, I hear it, I can tell this is likely "the take." So I stoutly decide to keep holding my breathe, now hoping he's gonna screw up. But nope, he keeps going with this amazing performance. Now the tickle in my throat is soooo bad I'm tensing all the muscles in my throat to prevent any involuntary coughing. This goes on for a while and still the performance is going great. Near the end of the song my lungs start to spasm and I'm doing everything I can to keep from making any noise, and I'm likely turning blue for lack of oxygen. I'm grabbing my throat, it musta looked like I was choking to death. (If only there was video.) The take is going really really well, and finally the guy hits the last strum of the guitar for the end of the song.

I know I know, you're thinking I finally cough and wreck a beautiful take right on the last chord...well,...nope, I'm able to hold out just long enough for the last notes to fade away. And then finally cough and choke and heave for oxygen. Ah the things we do to get a good take. Of course the performer has no idea, and is kind-of wondering what's wrong with me as I seem to have a bit of a crazy coughing/choking fit at the end of his song. I can't remember if I stopped the tape before I had my cough, probably not, so it's probably on tape somewhere. The take of that song was kept so my silent choking fit paid off.
Old 12th February 2009
Running live sound for an Informational event last fall for prospective students at the College of William and Mary. The request was for:

Three mics for an acappella group.
Set Time: 8AM Saturday Morning

I was there bright and early, set everything up, and had it all ready to go and in position. Then no one showed. And then they arrived around 9:30ish. And I still didn't see an acappella group. And then when the portion of the program came for the entertainment, the Improvisational Theatre troupe runs out from backstage totally pumped. But then they're like, "What are all these mics for?", and they proceed to clear the stage for their skits. (I WASN'T NEEDED FOR ANYTHING!!! WHAT DID I WAKE UP FOR?!?!?! I WAS UP LAAAATE RUNNING SOMETHING ELSE.)

I went back to the office and proceeded to send a very stern email to the head of the sponsoring organization saying that in the future, they risked their AV requests being ignored if they are submitted erroneous requests now. (Like crying wolf!) The person responded and was very confused, and there was some back and forthness.

Later I found out my boss had accidentally left the request on the schedule. Go figure.


OK, so that wasn't hairy in a technical sense, but setting up a whole PA at 8AM on a Saturday when it isn't needed REALLY sucks.
Old 12th February 2009
Lives for gear
huub's Avatar
I've had a few very hairy moments..
But noone ever found out my mistakes, so I'm not going to put these on the internet

Worst one was delivering a multitrack (my first remote multitrack job ever) that did not have any audio and timecode on it.... Luckily they used my live mix, so somewhere in an archive there's empty DA88 tapes sitting..
Old 12th February 2009
Lives for gear
taturana's Avatar

Just last night... i went to do P.A. for some friends of mine in a small show at a private party... since it was a small club we were using 4 powered speakers, 2 of them were 110v and 2 of them were 220v.... for pa and monitors... the guy who assembled them ( i was only setting up mikes and operating the mixer..) manged to connect the 220v ones with the 220v transformer into a 220v outlet... giving it 440v instead of 220v

Needless to say we had a speaker catch fire onstage, with lots of smoke some 10mins before the show started... and luckily that was all... thankfully i did not touch any outlets.. just audio cables... heh heh
Old 13th February 2009
Lives for gear
Corran's Avatar

I've got one, though it's not that bad, and was last night.

I am recording our district's honor jazz band, but because of scheduling, I had to setup and be ready to roll in 1 hour - but I was running 12 mics and it's just me!

I meticulously planned everything out (mic positions and such) and it worked out perfectly. I had no time for hesitation - I hit the floor running.

And now I'm up to make this recording happen (setup last night, concert is early this morning). I'm definitely posting some clips later this week - the brief sound check sounded great last night!
Old 14th February 2009
Let's see where to begin.

Our truck going north on I-75 through Detroit, MI. We were in a van following. Snowing and raining and freezing rain all mixed together. We get a call on the CB that the truck is having problems braking. We follow them off a steep incline and the finally get the truck stopped at the top of the hill using the emergency break. No brakes at all except for the emergency and we are about two miles from the hall and late. Duct tape and some aluminum foil off my sandwich to the rescue on the brake line that was ruptured. Luckily we have some spare brake fluid in the truck and we can get the brakes working marginally. We get to the gig, unpack the truck and send the truck and driver off to get the brakes fixed while we setup and do the show. No problems on the way home.

Set up for a show in North Western Ohio. The weather forecast is for rain but light rain. We are set up ON a race track and the stage is also on the track and the audience is sitting in the bleachers. About half way through the show the heavens open up and we get a downpour that would make the great flood seem like an afternoon shower. Everything gets drenched including the sound board which had a tarp over it and the race track. They cancel the show for fear of lighting and we huddle on stage with the performers (covered stage) and finally move to the buses for more protection. Then we start striking. What a mess. It is still raining but not quite so hard. This was years ago but I think I still have some of the mud under my fingernails. It took as about three hours to strike and when I got to the motel my shoes were about 3 inches thick with mud and I was soaked through to my underwear. I took a good long shower and fell into bed about three AM.

Show in Detroit Michigan. Done at the Renaissance outdoor amphitheater. The" Association" on tour, we were hired to do the recording and provide a feed to a local radio station for the show. Temperature is 101 degrees and the only place we can setup is next to the place where the restaurant dumps their grease. What a bad smell. A local sound company has been hired to do the PA and they are really nice to work with. We get setup about 10 am in the morning and there are lots of local bands and the Association is suppose to play about 6 pm. We got the top of the split and everything checked out AOK. About 3 pm I am listening to the mix and all the microphones (Shure SM-58s and SM-57s) are all sounding like they are distorting. It gets worse as the day goes on and by the time the Association comes on the diaphragms are toast in most of the microphones. It was distortion city. Radio station calls us and says "what the "fuc*" are you doing. We tell them about the problem and they tell us to "fix it". No fix possible and they are pissed. We do the show and half way through the general manager of the radio station is knocking on the van. We show him the problem by soloing all the channels one after another. He is understandably upset but sees that there is nothing that can be done. He says "just do the best you can" and leaves. We get done with the show and after the van is packed we walked over to the sound company and have a couple of beers with them before driving back to Ohio. The station later refused to pay my boss but since it was not our fault he eventually got paid. I learned a BIG lesson. Don't do outdoor shows in 101 degree weather with no canopy over the stage and if possible take along some fresh microphones for the featured act. Live and learn...
Just the start...
Old 14th February 2009
Lives for gear
Sonic Lush's Avatar
Not a recording story and probably not all that hairy, the heat of the moment.

Some years ago I was mixing FOH for a band I traveled with at an outdoor festival.

Group was a six piece Afro-Funk stylee with horns and a slamming rhythm section.

We had a 45 minute set that day, and a little while yet before we started. I introduced myself to the FOH mixer and checked out the scene...Really nice board, with a HUGE PA system that was just barely cracked open!

The main fader was literally up just a hair from being all the way down.

Now salivating with the reality of soon having all that power at my disposal, I only sort of noticed the act onstage right before our funky explosion was about to drop:

pennywhistle and fiddle.

hmmmm....I think, 'no matter, we're gonna ROCK THE F*** OUT!'

My boys and girls start taking the stage and I open that sucker up.

The band is totally rockin' and I get the system really cookin' with subs and gobs of bass and a nice gritty slap on the horns, maybe some dub ghosts, too.

The audience starts to move a bit, and then starts to dance and it's all really going well.

All of a sudden about three or four songs in, conveniently right between numbers, the console, racks, and everything at FOH goes TOTALLY DEAD. No power. At all.

The band and I drop out of hyper space and are standing there going WTF? in stunned silence as the audience is shouting for more.

I'm losing my s*it, the main FOH guy is freaking out, running around all over the place, and then disappears to find the stage manager. This fiddle fartin' around continues conveniently until the time for our slot has passed.....and finally, the FOH guy comes back with the stage manager in tow, who graciously informs me:

"Oh hey, oh wow! We finally figured it out. Funny thing. Someone hung their GOLF BAG on the main breaker and accidentally TURNED OFF THE POWER. Isn't that strange?"

The FOH mixer guy says to her:

"um, I'll say it's strange, that is one HUGE breaker, you'd have to hang on it with both hands to turn it off....grumble grumble"

Stage manager slickly cuts him off as he slinks back to FOH, "We're awful sorry you missed your slot. Yeah, that's too bad, mkay. Maybe you can come back next year and they'll book you on the appropriate stage for dance music, mkay?"

I go back to get my cans and notice the next act, already onstage:

Pennywhistle, fiddle, and jug playing spirited but quiet reels, and that 2 mix fader is back down to just barely cracked open...mkay?
Old 14th February 2009
Gear Maniac

Hmm Not quite remote record but... 4th Outside gig mixing. 35K system at largest street festival in country. That was OK. But then 10 minute changeover time to my 9 piece mostly ethnic acoustic band. The rig guy has the drum kit mic'd and 3 vocal mic's 'everything else is DI'd', set for rock and not to be touched.. in his words, scuse my french but he was a &*%*^. - there was a grand total of maybe 2 'rock' bands in a line up of 15 or so. Somehow we made it sound quite good and lots of summery honeys jumped around.

Next Virtually out of battery life mid song 60 head choir. Stupidly left back up's stage left/ working stage right - bad hangover. No throughfare. Went under the stage and made it back without missing a moment, they picked a great time for the lead to do some thank you's

Kinda OT as well, but mixing Kids stage at Sweetwaters festival. Saw Bananas in Pajamas approximately 12 times in three days. Almost went crazy. Didn't end up getting paid either after the Hell's Angel's or whatever gang - I think it was them, decided they wanted compensation since they hadn't been asked to do security so they received some and the organiser, Daniel Keighly took off with the rest. He went to jail for fraud.

4th Huge outdoor dance-party New Years Eve 12000 punters Main stage - Was supposed to be mixing a friend's (kind of) strictly analogue techno when he had a change of mind, left his 303 kick on about 70 BPM, climbed up the stage, removed his clothing while screaming "analogue is God" and then ran around the dance floor patting people on the head. Post gig he went and buried his very nice synth collection in the forest and then went and tried to punch the main event organiser. Luckily no-one was hurt but he got to spend some quality time with the nice men in white coats.

Not really remote recording but definitely sketchy at times, had a good giggle remembering this stuff.
Old 14th February 2009
Gear Maniac

I would like to point out that these all occured during my mis-spent youth - I have since matured to a mis-spent adult.
Old 14th February 2009
Outdoor festival as part of a carnival in mid Ohio.

The site had been checked by my boss. He was very concerned over the amount of power we would have to do the recording since it looked like the amphitheater was under powered to begin with. We were assured that a licensed electrician would be at the festival and he would have as much power as we needed. <ya right>

We get to the festival and we are told that BOXCAR WILLY will be the featured act. We need about 15 amps for the van and we go to find the electrician but we are told that he has done his work and left. We are taken to where we can plug in. It was three duplex outlets wired together on a pole with 12 ga romex feeding them. There are no outlets left and in fact some one has plugged in a power strip which is also full. I take out my trusty VOM and I am reading about 95 volts. I call my boss and he calls the promoter and tells him that we cannot find any power that we need and could he call the electrician and have him come out and give us the needed power.

The promoter says "I will take care of it" and hangs up. About 30 minutes later a 18 year old kid shows up to help us. I tell him of the problem and he says he can run us a separate line from the mains. GREAT! but he says he does not have any additional cable so can we sacrifice one of our extension cords.

I give him one and he runs it to the main breaker box but tells everyone that he will have to turn off the power to the overloaded duplex outlets for a couple of minutes while he does the connection. The carnival part is in full swing and the people using the duplex outlets are none too pleased but agree to have their stuff shut off for 10 minutes. He gets the feed connected and turns back on the breaker but it blows almost immediately. I go and unplug every plug in the power strip and the duplex outlets and the breaker is reset. I start plugging the power in one at a time. When I get to number 4 the breaker trips. I follow the plug to a food tent where there is a deep fat fryer and a hot dog grill plugged into the cord. This tent was drawing about 20 amps out of a 20 amp circuit so I tell the 18 year old what is happening and he calls his father who it turns out is the promoter. We finally get the promoter to come out and he takes care of the problem by cutting off the ends of the cord feeding the offending tent.

We get set up but we are still only getting about 95 volts and the solenoid for the multi-track will not pull in. Luckily we have a buck and boost transformer and are able to get the voltage to 105 and every thing in the truck is happy. We start to to do the recording but about 20 minutes into the set the van goes dark. The person who had their extension cord cut off has found a plug replaced the cut off one and plugged himself back in so we and everyone else on the pole are without power and the 18 year old son and the promoter are no where to be found. So we got 20 minutes of tape and that is about all. Not a good situation but we wait it out and while we are tearing down Boxcar is on stage signing autographs and posing for pictures. He spends over an hour and says to the people that he will stay there until everyone is finished. Now THAT is a performer of the people.

We had one other gig we were doing in the flats. It was a PA and recording job and when I went to survey it there were very few outdoor outlets but I was told that we could draw power from the cook shack which would not be used during the event. I get there the day of the event and the food service people had plugged in three warming ovens into the cook shack and were sucking up all the power. The only other outlet was about 100 feet from where we set up and we got a heavy duty extension cord and plugged our stuff into it. I measured the voltage and it was about 101 volts. We had to do PA and record. We are about 1/3 of the way through the event and someone trips over the power cord and down we go. (cord was taped to the ground and to the pole where the outlet was) so this guy really had to trip over something to pull it out. We plugged it back in and finished the event. Then we were told our services were needed on the boat that was going to tour the inner harbor so we set up a small PA system for the event and tore down our larger system The boat trip was fun and we got to eat from the same table as the guest and it took about an hour to go around the inner harbor which was something that I had never done. We basically got paid for having fun and eating which is always a good thing to do.
Old 15th February 2009
Lives for gear
Sonic Lush's Avatar
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
...We basically got paid for having fun and eating which is always a good thing to do.
words to live by!
Old 16th September 2009
Lives for gear
audiothings's Avatar

three from the last three weeks!

* i was mixing monitors (for a michael jackson tribute concert) and one of the most important acts was a bunch of local percussionists playing on a version of 'they don't really care about us'... we were using two AT PZMs to get these guys... and the damn mics have switches on them. The assistant forgot to switch 'em on, and refused to go on stage and do it because he was scared of the producer who had promised to fire him in case of any **** ups... poor old me was left scampering on the stage to get it accomplished...

* i was mixing a corporate music gig... a sort of acoustic thing with just 12 channels being used... the mackie onyx died on us half hour before the show... luckily the rental guys had a d-show profile which was lying in their truck from the previous gig they had done... damn good on them, they carted it in and set it up in minutes! the monitor mix for the first song was screwed, but the show was otherwise a great success!

* last month, i was recording a 270 piece choir in a church with piano/pipe organ... i was using my yamaha MR816X and i tested all the mics and cables (including the new firewire cable) with it before the gig. but the yamaha sound card talks directly to Cubase AI, and the firewire cable was only sending control signals at the time of my testing... when we actually recorded audio at the venue, it was a digital crackle fest! i can say i have the dubious distinction of wasting over 5000 man-minutes that day, while i could arrange for another firewire cable!

(please nobody flame me about backups, i am yet to complete payments on my main rig!)

Old 16th September 2009
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
No worries; back-ups are for sissies...

Or not!
Old 16th September 2009
Gear Guru
jwh1192's Avatar
hey cool to see this thread is still going ...

steve, looks like i might be in NYC next week for an advance .. if schedule permits i would love to buy you a cocktail, coffee, or whatever floats your liver will probably be in the times square area, maybe that cool boxing bar that no one knows about .. cheers john

a couple months ago ... tucson ... tech manager as usual, but also doing communications and acting as A2 for the multi-track ... needless to say, low budget but a fairly big network of course ..

up front i want to say that the engineers busted their asses to make this shoot happen .. albeit, right up to show time (we should have had a 3 hour meal not cold pizza in the dirt on the side of the truck after the show) .. here goes ..

nine video record decks in the truck .. took the engineers 9, yes 9 hours to get them plugged in (video trucks will put in whatever decks needed as the formats are many these days for HD) .. the cables behind the decks were not all labeled, and there were many ... the computer, (same one used for communications setup), used for the router was being used by the engineers to suss thing nightmare out .. so comm was in the backseat from the start .. i start labeling / patching / running cable / i find that channel one is coming out of 6, 2 out of 5, and so on .. i ask them to just one to one the comm .. they are so busy scrambling to get the decks plugged in they cannot free up the computer to do it .. after running about 20 miles back and forth to the truck in 100+ heat (it was only 10 feet outside the venue so you can see how silly this is) i get the comm working the best it will be .. cameras cannot hear correctly .. have to home run feeds to those that are not hearing the director ... blah blah blah .. all can hear now ..

multi-track guy and i get that part together (dual 24 track records, with no backup, real man doing a real job LOL .. ) show starts, all going well, guest girl walks out onstage and that mic line is nowhere to be found except at FOH ... FOH guy was cool all day .. we had all the holes filled but they pulled a mic line from the opener and threw it in but did not tell anyone they moved it .. so we dive to the opener recorders to get them rolling as well because strangely enough it was showing up there all of a sudden .. good thing we did not wrap those recorders but by the time we got them rolling she was walking off to a round of applause .. the show only uses thre or four songs of the set and that one was not one of them ... i think the FOH guy was tired as he say at the end .. this is the last day of this nightmare tour and i am happy to be going home ... nice !!!

sounds like the sound guy 15 + years ago in atlanta .. cold mic on stage, guy standing there trying to speak and this guy would not push up the fader .. i am asking him on comm to push it up .. what is going on ?? one of his guys chimes in and says, his wife asked him for a divorce the night before .. he was in a huge funk and was not caring about anything that day and locked into the booth upstairs .. i have never said please so many times in one MINUTE .. needless to say, talk to your guys and see what frame of mind they are in, everyday ... they are more important than any piece of gear ...

cheers and happy remotes ..
Old 24th September 2009
Gear Nut
kstrauss's Avatar

live recording of Louis Farrakhan

Originally Posted by Plush View Post
The whole scene surrounding the live recording of Louis Farrakhan playing the violin MUST qualify for one of the hairiest.

Some valuable gear, including the console, was stolen at this gig.

All engineers on our crew had to go through metal detectors.
No members of "the community" had to go through any metal detectors even though they carried a gun.
Hi Plush, Was this the Mendelssohn violin concerto back in '93 or '94? I did the Post on that gig, probably the strangest one I've ever done.

I knew his concert master quite well, she was a regular on sessions and played in several of the orchestras in the Chicago area. She called me and asked if Farrakhan could overdub the violin part in a couple of spots. I said that was impossible because it was a live recording, but she was very insistent. To get her off my back I told her that if they reassembled the orchestra we could record some patches which I could edit into the original, I assumed that this would scare them off, but about a week later she called me and said the session was a go - she had assembled a smallish group; single winds and only a few strings - and was planning to do multiple passes to cover all the parts and get a big string sound. Crazy idea, but somehow I allowed myself to be talked into it.

Original recording was on a 1" 16-track Tascam, recorded to 4 tracks – violin on two and orchestra on the other two. So to match tempo and pitch I figured that we'd just record the patches to the remaining 12 tracks in parallel with the sections that needed to be replaced. Fortunately I had the foresight to do a mix before the session - more on that in a minute.

Well, they booked the "best studio in town" which for some reason was a tiny jingle studio in Evanston, I guess it was the best studio in town that had a 1" 16-track deck. the live room was maybe 15' square with 9' ceilings. I jammed all the musicians in there and started getting sounds, only Farrakhan couldn't play the passages in question, so he asked the concertmaster to play it for him, she proceeded to do so and finally the sound was, well, not even close (and never would be). But I decided to start recording anyway.

I armed four tracks on the tascam, cued up to my preroll, and started the machine. But as soon as I hit record, the original tracks went silent. I looked over to the tape deck to see 16 record lights glowing red... As it turned out, the studio hadn't used the deck in who knows how many years, they just rolled it out for the session, no tests, no alignment. nothing. And as I had just found out, the logic was shot.

lucky thing that I had mixed it a couple of days earlier. To be continued...
Old 30th September 2009
Lives for gear

Not recording-related, but what the heck.

Sometime in the early/mid 80s, my band was booked to play the Creem magazine christmas party (back when they were still in Birmingham) at the University Club in Detroit, on a Saturday afternoon. No money, but great "exposure" etc.

So we start playing, and pretty quickly one of the employees of the club comes in to tell us that we were Too Loud (a frequent complaint.) So we turn down a bit and keep playing. Nobody's paying any attention.

Pretty soon the same guy comes back and says that we're *still* too loud, and that folks are complaining. Geez, we're a rock & roll band, what do they expect? We turn down a bit more. Nobody's paying attention, we're not getting paid, we're not getting Discovered, it's just not fun.

Pretty soon the same guy comes back in, looking really worried, and says that we *really* need to turn down more. Hrmph. We turn down a bit more.

Next thing we know, the door at the back of the stage bursts open, and a bunch of US Marines in full dress uniform start pouring out, pulling all the plugs.

Turns out that the Marines were having some kind of ceremony in the auditorium backing up against ours, and the strains of 60s garage rock were just not in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion.

At that point we decided that we were done...
Old 1st October 2009
I was doing sound for the local college.

We had a group that was coming in and warned us in advance that they were going to be using water guns and that all our speakers should be covered and all microphones should have prophylactics on them. They also told us to cover the monitor mixer with a plastic sheet. We were not comfortable with this but did as requested. They arrived and we talked things over and asked if their were any last minute changes. We did a sound check which came off well. About the time the concert started they all showed up with nothing on but mud. The came to the stage through the audience but instead of water they were throwing smoke grenades and fireworks. They threw a string of fireworks on my monitor mixers lap and if he had not immediately stood up he would have been severely injured. As it was the fireworks went on to the monitor console and if it had not been protected by the plastic they would have had to pay for a ruined console. This lasted for about 2 minutes and then the fire alarms started to sound and the flashing strobe lights went off and about 3 minutes later about 15 very burly firemen showed up with axes and portable fire extinguishers. The concert never got started. We later found out that this band is INFAMOUS for doing weird unexpected things. Needless to say they did not get paid and were so pissed that on their way out turned over all the garbage cans and slit open all the plastic trash bags piled up outside the venue.

We were doing sound for an all girl rock group. About 1/2 way though the first set the lead singer invites one of her female roadies on stage with a 2 foot dildo. She then felicitates the roadie's dildo which is held between the roadie's thighs. The audience went wild. It was shortly after this that I asked myself the question "why am I really doing concert sound?"

Fun stuff~!
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