Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Control and Eratta



My best friend Ron (above left) was in the station with his band,  Hotel X,  Saturday and I was not scheduled to do the sound for it, a snub which had been nagging me for days...to be frank, I was deeply upset and insulted that the station had chosen someone else to do his band- I have worked with them many times, it's a huge, nine-piece band  jazz/world/jam band that is not suitable for beginner soundpersons ,and it's my best friend's band.

I found out about the gig from him- he assumed I was doing it and was surprised to hear that I wasn't ...when I asked around, I was told that someone else had been selected to do it. I expressed my doubts to a Senior Member , telling him that  having a newbie mix a complex band on live radio was not a good plan. I was told to "deal with it."  

It's not gonna work, I said, but let it go.

So I left after my show and went shopping for supper...I was  at the market, reading the ingredients list on a can of chili powder when my cell phone rang. It was our station manager:

"Can you come down to the station? Jill needs help with the band- it's a lot bigger than we thought."

"Hmm. I could have told you that. If you had asked. Anyway, I have been there all day and I just left and don't want to go back- I'm buying supper and going home. Good luck."

"But...she needs the help. You don't have to do anything, just help her set-up."

"Look, I'm tired and hungry and you could have asked me at anytime during the last week...it is now one hour until show time. That is really short notice  bullshit and I hate short notice bullshit."

We argued for a while and she finally said:

"The station is counting on you. We need to sound our best."

It was a cheap shot, appealing to my vanity and all...but she was right- and it worked. I shoved a banana and some toast down my throat and rushed back to the studio just in time to salvage the show. It went fine, but it left me angry...first I was told that I wasn't needed, despite my insistence that I was the only one with the skills to do it- and then I get asked to drop everything and rush back to do the job I originally wanted, but was denied.

There was  brief,  angry exchange with the DJ who botched the planning -setting up a professional band is a high-skill job that  is not easy to do at  and I was livid at being asked to bail his ass out at the last second...plus he really put the new kid on the spot...didn't it occur to him that a very large band might be a bit much for beginner?

Mind you, I don't get paid for my radio work- like the rest of our volunteers, I do it because I love what I do.  I am allowed to play whatever music I wish (within legal limits) on my show and I get to do live sound for high-quality bands, which I love on an almost spiritual level.
It is hard to describe the feeling that get when things sound right- a lot of things need happen before it gets there, but when the band finds that special groove -the 'zone' in sports jargon- it all passes directly through my fingers, my mind and ears my and is then channeled to the audience.

It's a truly beautiful, magical feeling-the transfer of positive energy -and to be candid, it's a real control trip for me. I bumble and stumble and fuck-up almost every aspect of my real-life to some degree, but when I am on the air,  I am in control. There are no unsolvable problems...just give me the headphones and get the hell  out of my way.

The show went fine, but I left feeling used , rudely treated and unappreciated by my colleagues.

Things got better, though. I had a gift from a faraway friend waiting for me when I arrived home and I got several notes to the effect that the show sounded really good; the gift and  the notes made me feel considerably less unappreciated. Loved, even.


I know I haven't blogged much lately, but I am engaged in several new ventures, at least one of which  keeps me giddy nearly every waking hour - my Muse is directing me back to my first love- music. Suddenly, my main motivation for finding a job is so I can upgrade my gear...I can eat cheaply, but I can't make a Firewire mixer out of oatmeal.

On the downside, I still need a job- or I need an extension on my unemployment check...but that's not a rare thing these days, lots of people are hurting, sad to say... I can eat cheaply at home and get by OK, but I worry about people that can't  cook and can't afford to eat out. What will they do?

I have an idea. But I ain't tellin'.

3 comments:

AC@46 said...

enjoy .. don't let them get you down .. just do what you enjoy .. I remember the rush of mixing a really good show, relish it...

secret agent woman said...

How thoroughly infuriating.

(My older son today, while we were listening to a sang, said, "I wish I were that girl's sound dude."

Craig D said...

For it's "Tommy this,"
And "Tommy that,"
And "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But 'tis the
Savior of the country,
When the guns begin to shoot.

Trust me, this will bother you for decades to come.

And, yes, you can't make a firewire mixer out of oatmeal.

You need cream of wheat for that.