I am running sound. Right now. As we speak. I’ve been trying to get rid of this annoying high-pitched feedback that I now realize is an intentional part of the band’s loops.

My church is currently putting on a youth concert for a fantastic cause, and I volunteered for this…well, and I’m afraid of how the church will look if I’m not here tonight. However, it seems that some of the bands think the cause is for them to get signed by Capitol Records, who is, of course showing up to our little church in SoCal. 😉 Quotes of the night include:

Bassist: I don’t have a cable to go from my bass to my amp.

Keyboardist: We always run these loops.
Me: How? This is an input end of the cable; it cannot run as an output into a system.
Keyboardist: (tries to connect female end to female end in the snake)

Guitarist: Will you run our loops for us?

Guitarist (playing out of a 100 watt Marshall): Can I get more high end out of my guitar in the monitor?


:) Am I this much of a premadonna when I play? Probably. This is so penance.

(And if any of you bands are reading this, I love you. I’m a jerk tonight, but go easy on me; the sound has been attacking my ears all day. I’ll buy you coffee tomorrow. :) )

Splendid. Nope. That’s a lie.

34 thoughts on “Penance

  1. Hey man how come no one told me about this concert thingy? I probably would have come! How bad were the bands really?!? And really 100 watt marshal what the heck is that doing on the stage?!

  2. Jon, I thought Steve and Cory said they told you! Some of the bands were really good…just loud. No one heavy enough for you though, brother! hehe 😉

  3. I remember a time back in the day, playing at a different church and giving huge attitude to the sound guy like I knew more than he did…..ummmmm…..I really didn’t. That was also back when I thought my tone was so awesome – guitar tone coming out of a Carvin Flying V kit guitar through a 60 watt Kustom solid state amp and a DOD Hard Rock Distortion pedal, phew…thank goodness those days are over and I’ve now seen the light.

    Having the chance to run sound every now and then really puts things in perspective for us guitar players/worship leaders doesn’t it?

  4. I ran sound for about 5 years at church. It’s a thankless job. If you do everything right…you’re invisible. If you mess up…you get the over-the-shoulder looks from the congregation. Prima donnas have you adjusting their monitor mixes untill hair loss is imminent. Mic cables vanish over night. I give only the greatest respect to our sound guys. Paying penance is a good thing. Especially for us guitar players. I haven’t met a guitar player yet (Including, YES MOST DEFINITELY INCLUDING, myself.) that didn’t need an occasionaly sharp smack on the back of the head. 😉

  5. Ah worship music, the pain and the joy. When I think about it music in almost any other venue is less of a headache. When you turn on the radio in your car you listen to the station you want and who is there to complain?

    Go to a concert, who is there? People who knew in advance what they wanted to hear and they’re rarely going to hear something else. If you like U2 and hate classical you probably won’t buy Phantom of the Opera tickets.

    In church? Well I have to keep things in perspective because, largely due to tolerance/love/Spiritual maturity, the good times predominate and I rarely hear a complaint. But unless you do multiple services with different styles of worship at each, it’s a challenge. Where else do folks with widely varying musical tastes cram themselves in to listen to the same songs?

    One thing our Pastor said when I first joined our worship team still confuses me. He said “play songs that are ‘welcoming’ to everyone who comes through the door.” Well plainly put, I think that’s impossible.

    Then there’s the “too many new songs” issue. I know it’s a dream, but I ask myself why songs like Today is the Day are considered new — isn’t the congregation listening to Christian music outside of church?

  6. LOL….

    I kinda have the inverse relationship. I ran sound for 3 years in college before being part of a band. I used to tweak the guitar down and try to make it all work.

    NOW… man, I wish I had encouraged the guitar to turn up to hear the tubes break.

    I think I’m still 1/2 into the sound booth mindset when I turn up.

  7. It’s hard to fault the “kids” too much. We were that young once and would have made the same mistakes. Hopefully they can accept some advice from their older brothers in the Lord.

    It is possible to play an electric, with overdrive/distortion when called for, through a nice miked amp — IF you know how to do it to make the whole band sound better.

    If it’s 3 or 4 musicians ( old or young ) who just want to look and sound cool with the big amp stack, and don’t care about blending, there’s only one answer: first some loving counseling and if that doesn’t work, you can’t play.

    Playing in a secular band of some kind might relieve the “pressure to crank it inappropriately in church,” or it might just reinforce the tendency.

  8. One thing I’ve seen in our church on occasion, is a tendency for the youth ( thinking mainly High School to young college age) to have their own “thing” — Saturday night concert or Coffee House event etc etc.

    At first glance this is understandable — I’m so far past that age that I have to try hard to remember how I might have felt about it — but at that age I wasn’t in church at all.

    There was a guest youth “Christian” rock group that played at our church one Saturday night and I was asked to cover sound. As I walked in a couple looked at me like “what are you doing here?” That night the crowd was probably 40% our Youth group and 60% young folks I’d never seen. No bigee, overall I was happy they could get together like that and I think most were grateful I was helping out.

    When I lead worship Sunday mornings I don’t see much singing by the Youth. Some of the more mature college-age folks do. Don’t get me wrong, as far as the Youth who actually attend our church, I don’t see a huge generation gap — nothing I would consider abnormal or unhealthy anyway. Maybe they sing better with a young band leading.

    Funny thing, I do a lot of recent songs from Tomlin, Brewster, Baloche etc but our Senior Pastor ( who does only older praise songs ) played guitar and led worship for the youth not long ago and found they responded ( sang ) to those. A quick survey I did recently showed me that there are precious few of any age in our congregation who listen to contemporary Christian radio or CDs during the week.

    Sorry for meandering.

  9. I think all youth bands run into the same issues,
    and hence the cross-country tour comment.

    Playing live is constant learning expeience and all the mistakes serve a purpose.

    Except when I make a mistake live, I see no purpose in that. :-)

  10. Randy: Just curious, which “Christian” rock band was it? Just some no-name youth group band? Similarly curious, why did you put “Christian” in quotes right there?

    Karl: Oh, it’s bittersweet alright. Being in both places gives you heaps of new respect and insight for the other side, doesn’t it? What’s even better is when the bassist asks, “Can I borrow your cord? And your bass?”

  11. Colty, it was just a youth band from the local area. If they had a name I didn’t catch it. No one you would have heard of. The quotes around Christian were a mistake. Since our Youth Pastor invited them I sure he checked them out first.

    I have no idea as to their personal beliefs.
    I’m certainly not saying that being Christian and a rock band are mutually exclusive.

  12. Matt–haha Absolutely! I’ve so done the exact same thing. Had terrible gear mixed with terrible playing, and then given the sound guy a hard time for just ‘not knowing how to mix good tone.’ Yep. :)

    Definite perspective.

    Mark–loud and clear and the smack in the back of the head thing. With horrible tone. hehehe

    Randy–so true. It’s incredibly hard to please everyone! Just today I had to field the ‘it’s too loud’ and ‘it’s too soft’ from different people. It’s the joys of service! :)

    Mark–aye. :)

    Kenrick– :) lol That was a killer comment!

    Larry–haha That’d be every guitarist’s dream sound guy!!

    TimH–lol So awesome.

    Randy–yep, great point! Can’t blame the youth too much because I was just there, and way worse off then those I meet. lol And sometimes they don’t sing, but I do remember being in junior high and wanting desperately to sing, but doing deathly afraid of what my friends would think.

    And ya, not too many listen to the Christian radio. But hopefully we can do enough of the same songs that we become their Christian radio, kinda. :)

    TimH–yep, absolutely. And yes, at the same time, we never see our own mistakes as learning experiences, even though they are. Great point!

    Colty–so right, bro! Neither side sees exactly the same things the other one does, so the perspective (although painful), is priceless.

    And a band really asked to borrow your bass? That’s awesome!!

    Randy and Colty–oh wait, this has nothing to do with me. 😉 I’m so selfish.

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