Study Hall

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Old Soundman: Deep Questions & Intriguing Quests

Answers to the questions "When will I see the worst band ever?" and "Is it just possible that I’ve done rock ‘n’ roll too long?"

Greetings, Old Soundman, from the Great North Woods—

And greetings to you from my secret location!

I’m not all that old, only been riding the faders for a few years now.

Ride ‘em, soundman! Yee-ha!! Hey, did you ever hear of the X Bar X Boys?

The calluses are just about right on my fingers and in my ears.

What a bizarre viewpoint. I don’t really like to think about calluses. But whatever floats your boat!

I was one of those “dumb youngsters” who thought a fancy school was the way to go. Luckily, I didn’t pay my tuition right away and spent it on some crappy gear after dropping out (don’t tell the government).

They’ll have to torture me with old Bing Crosby records before I talk!

My first gig was with a 10-piece funk band with horns, lots of fun. But I made it and they kept hiring me.

You probably worked cheap.

Anyway, after a few years of fumbling through gigs and paying the first of my dues, I have two questions that haven’t been answered. First: What’s the best microphone to use on a sewing machine?

You’ve stepped across the line. I’ve told you people countless times: funny stuff—me; audio and philosophical questions—you.

But to answer your question, use a condenser mic, and crouch there all night, holding it up to the sewing machine. Don’t use a mic stand like the cheaters do.

Second:  When will I see the worst band ever?


Tomorrow night. If you survive that, you’ve only got 20-some years to go in order to catch up with my main man here…

Hello Old Soundman—

Like you, I’ve been at this for a long time, over 30 years.

Believe it or not, you’ve got me beat, brother!

Remember when bands didn’t use monitors?

I’ve heard tell of those days!

I appreciate and respect your words of wisdom, biting whit and especially your ability to keep doing show after show.

But you have the same ability…Just like Willie Nelson and Blue Oyster Cult!

I’ve toured the world with large and small acts, and even became a dreaded FOH/tour manager to get out of banging gear.

Isn’t that the worst? Every whining musician on your case all of the time. Forgetful bandleaders. Insane agents. Demented wives and girlfriends. Checking everybody in/out of hotels. Waiting at airports. Selling merchandise. Ah, the devil was working overtime when he came up with the position of tour manager!

After 20 years on the road. I went back to school to get my degree in order to land a “suit ‘n’ tie” gig that paid off with stock options. I got the degree, but never the gig.

How come? Didn’t you ever apply at a Fortune 500 company? How about Wal-Mart? Toys-R-Us? Chili’s? National Public Radio? Chico’s Bail Bonds?

Is it just possible that I’ve done rock ‘n’ roll too long and there’s no hope of ever becoming a member of the establishment?


It sounds like it to me. But the good news is that you’ve got plenty of company!

When you come to my club, the drinks are on me, pal of mine. We’ll solve all the world’s problems. And watch the sun come up!

The Old Soundman

There’s simply no denying the love from The Old Soundman. Read more from him here.

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